How to throw the perfect corporate function

Throwing a corporate function can often be fraught with danger – striking the balance between casual and professional, while juggling budgets and priorities is never an easy task.

Lincoln of Toorak manager Dimmy Alevizos has overseen hundreds of corporate events and said that planning a corporate event is often overcomplicated when planners get bogged up in the tiny details, failing to see the overall big picture.

“People often overthink things when they plan the event,” she said.

“Quite often, planning a corporate event is down to several basics – once you’ve written up a plan and stick to it, the rest of the event will be a success.”

1.            Create a budget
Know your limits and beware of hidden costs when organising a corporate event, especially if it is a large-scale one. Don’t get carried away with decorations and centrepieces as costs often add up in the end. Your budget will also determine if spouses, significant others, children and clients will be invited to the event.

2.            Lock in a date
Avoid days near the beginning or end of a company holiday period, as employees may be away. If you can, choose a weekday so that employees are not forced to forgo their personal commitments for a work function. Also, don’t worry if people are unable to make a day you choose – you will never be able to cater for everyone, especially if you have a lengthy guest list.

3.            Determine the type of event
Work out if it is best for the event to be indoor or outdoor, casual or cocktail. Factor in the seasons, the aim of the event and the guests who will be attending. If you are planning to have numerous presentations and speeches, it is best to provide plenty of seating and tables so people can sit and eat for the duration. On the other hand, stand-up cocktails and finger food is more appropriate for meet-and-greet networking events so that guests can move around and mingle.

4.            Pick the right entertainment
Don’t go for a big-name entertainer, as they may not have the most professional attitudes due to their already-established fame. Select entertainment appropriate for the event and its guests, making sure you have activities to appeal to everyone attending. Hosting a creative function? Perhaps burlesque dancers and circus performers could be an option. Planning something a little more serious? A guest speaker on a relevant topic may be a better choice.

5.            Spend on quality food and beverages
Be mindful of both quality and quantity – make sure that the food provided is good and plentiful, as it will make or break the event. Don’t forget to check your guests’ dietary requirements ahead of time as well.

6.            Make sure the right people attend
When the event begins to take shape, begin promoting the function and send invitations out. Invitations should always be personalised. If you can, make a follow-up phone call to make sure your guests received their invitations. After drafting your RSVP list, make a second round of follow-up calls to ensure they are all attending. This will also ensure that the event won’t slip from people’s minds, potentially increasing the amount of guests as well.