1. Use Eventbrite. Take all the hassle out of organising guest lists and RSVPs. Eventbrite can manage RSVP’s and produce a guest list for you on the day of your event. And it is free too!
2. Choose the right venue. It may be exciting to pick a new venue, but it is best to choose an established venue and a permanent structure. Think about your objectives for the event and whether the venue matches them.
3. Negotiate. If your event is on an off peak date (normally a Monday/Tuesday), you might qualify for a discounted rate. Either way, it’s definitely worth asking. Then you have more budget to treat your guests to a Prosecco/champagne reception!
4. Feed your guests with adequate amounts of food. Think about your guests. If the catering is going to act as a meal replacement, have something substantial such as circulating bowl food. If guests will have eaten before, or if guests will be coming and going as they please, canapés will work well.
5. Plan your seating. Have your guests had a long day and will therefore be expecting to sit down for dinner? If so, go for a more formal event! A typical cocktail party should have a maximum of 20% seating available. It’s all about anticipating your guest’s needs.
6. Keep your guests entertained. Entertainment adds that extra touch, be it a lounge DJ or roaming act during the drinks reception. Think about the objectives of your event. If you’re networking, why not include an interactive act that will get everyone talking? I would recommend Sternberg Clarke to source some great entertainment in London.
7. Will your guests want to dance? If so, it may be best to look at more of a longer party style event, as these events run longer and include a DJ. Cocktail parties are ideal for corporate networking evenings and product launches.
8. What’s the theme? Does having a theme enhance your drinks reception? Or is it enough to have a uniquely themed venue that will act as a point of interest for your guests. If theming works for your plans, then try Pinterest for some inspiration!
9. Join the party yourself. Choose a venue where an event manager can take over so you are free to enjoy the evening with your guests! After all, if your plans are to network, you don’t want to be rushing around worrying about food service and timings.
10. Don’t forget the guest’s journey home. Think about the transport options available for your guests and choose a venue which is in a good location. Some venues have affiliations with nearby hotels, so you may be able to set up a hotel rate for your guests.