Reflecting on the past year, there have been a wonderful variety of groups on campus which have rented space, whether to hold a conference or training, celebrate a milestone within a family or organization, or even to commemorate a religious holiday.
So what makes each of these events distinctly unique?
Define the event’s purpose. This may appear to be a “no brainer” exercise, but often there might be multiple reasons to hold the event. Are you planning to host an informal social gathering of friends or perhaps invite multiple families together for a joint birthday party? At the event, are you planning to raise money to benefit a cause or just celebrate a significant milestone for your organization? There are several questions involved with defining the event’s purpose. Once you define it, you can begin the planning. This will serve as the recipe for your event!
Determining the location can sometimes be as hard as selecting your invitees; however, there are a few questions to ask yourself, which will ease you into making the best choice. First, refer back to your purpose. Here are two examples: If you are inviting local friends, (keyword is local), selecting a location with hotel accommodations might not be the priority; however a location conveniently situated near mass transit with easy accessibility to the option of overnight accommodations would be an added benefit. Scenario 2: Your organization is hosting all-day training. Training means educating…right? Hosting this event at an institution fosters that environment of learning and transitions the group to this learning setting.
Style is the overall feeling of the event. What are these elements that convey emotion? Often the food and beverage selections influence the style. For example, a more formal event may be better suited for a sit-down menu, to take guests through the evening course by course, highlighting food and perhaps wine pairings. Looking to highlight dancing and a more celebratory occasion, consider a cocktail-style reception with passed hors d’oeuvre and food stations. A cocktail-style reception fosters mingling. On the corporate side, an all-day conference with multiple speakers may lend itself better to a heartier breakfast to start off the day and a boxed lunch to match the packed timeline. An in-room snack bar with easy grab and go snack options and hot and cold beverage stations allow for attendees to satisfy their appetite and stay hydrated. How about entertainment? This most definitely sets the mood. A DJ, serving as the MC (Master of Ceremonies), engages with guests, to create a more “party atmosphere” as opposed to a musical trio setting the scene with background tones for your event. Lastly decorations impact the style of the event. Incorporating certain colors can convey different moods. Personalization and branding of each detail conveys the style.
What is the theme of your event? The theme is the realization of your event’s purpose. It drives all your decisions for food, entertainment, etc. Are you planning to hold a school fundraiser and consider creating a casino night? You decide to have heavy appetizers and desserts with beverage stations. This allows guests to enjoy playing the games, bidding on the auction items and creates an overall experience. Perhaps you are hosting your own wedding and traditional elegance is the theme. Let your purpose (with a little creativity) drive your theme!
The process of itemizing through purpose, location, style and theme will guide you through creating a uniquely designed event.
BELOW: A group of neighborhood families came together to celebrate Diwali (India’s Festival of Lights). Music, dance, and food created an occasion of celebration, for the biggest and most important holiday of the year. Celebrating Diwali was reflected in the event’s style and theme.
BELOW: Event entertainment creates the style for your event, setting the backdrop and pulsing the beat for your guests.
BELOW: Baila Conmigo performed their year-end graduation with plenty of excitement from the dancers and the audience! They used the stage inside The Duncan Family Sky Room to showcase the dancers. The lighting and sound system inside the space aided in carrying out the purpose of the event and setting the style.
BELOW: A baby shower luncheon had a Hundred Acre Wood theme. This theme was reflected in the favors, the cake and the décor.
BELOW: A Christmas party with “tree folded” napkins set by the caterer on red tablecloths with votive candles and simple festive centerpieces.