Does the thought of a romantic Valentine’s day make you feel queasy? Would you rather avoid the commercial hype and spend the day having fun? Love doesn’t just have to be for ‘couples,’ so grab your friends, spread the love and make a date with them. Why not try one, or more, of these great North East attractions.
Escape Newcastle – Newcastle’s answer to The Crystal Maze! Find clues, solve puzzles and crack codes in order to escape to freedom. You and your team are locked in a room and given 60 minutes to escape. With 2 games rooms, teams of up to 10 people can play.
Surfing – Don’t let this cold weather put you off, be brave and get into the North Sea for a surfing session. Northside Surf School in Amble organises surfing lessons for groups and individuals at various locations on the beautiful Northumberland coastline or give Tynemouth Surf Co. a try and enjoy a surf off the award winning Tynemouth Longsands Beach. Beginners sessions generally run from March – October, but contact the company as additional sessions can be arranged, subject to conditions.
Afternoon Tea – You can never go wrong with afternoon tea and the North East has an array of eateries where you can sit back, relax and treat yourself to some home baked goods. Why not add a glass (or bottle) of fizz to proceedings too! Some of our favourite afternoon tea locations are The Great British Cup Cakery, Jesmond Dene House, The Running Fox Bakery and The Grand Hotel, Tynemouth.
Sausage Making – Yes you read that right, Sausage Making. Northumberland Sausage Company offers sausage making courses for beginners, intermediates and the advanced. Learn about the history of sausages, the ingredients that make them special and then have a go at making some yourself. You get to take your own creation home and on top of that you can enjoy a glass of fizz whilst making them. Groups of approx 10 can enjoy the fun with Northumberland Sausage Company at Brockbushes Farm.
Feeling blue because you’re not sharing this Valentine’s day with a beloved? They say laughter is the cure for everything, so laugh it off, grab your mates and enjoy a rip roaring night at The Stand Comedy Club. Live stand-up is planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday across Valentines weekend so you’ve got no excuse to avoid a chortle! Make a proper date of it and enjoy a meal at the on-site bistro too.
Perhaps adventure is more your thing. Head to Slaley Hall in Northumberland where you can get your adrenalin pumping with All Out Adventures. Activities on offer include quad biking, archery, off road driving, mountain biking and segway. With all of this on offer you won’t have time to think of Valentines, long lost love or heartbreak, you’ll be too busy having fun!
If you’re planning a day out with friends, an action-packed weekend with a loved one, or if you’d like some more tips on things to do to make your event or occasion more exciting, get in touch with Waterfall Events via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you some inspiration.
Children’s parties are big business these days. When I was younger I was happy to invite a few friends over for some cake and watch a rented/hired video. If I was really lucky I was allowed to have a sleepover! But now, it’s all about the dressing up, entertainment and activities. From princess and pirate parties for the younger tots, to proms for teenagers and everything in between. Some of the things we’ve been involved with recently have included live animals, bake-offs and a Disney princess – not all on the same day thankfully!
It can be tricky planning a party for children – particularly young children. They need to be kept entertained at all times, whether its dancing, making, baking, eating or singing – there’s no time for a break! They all need to be involved so activities need to be planned to suit all abilities. And they all need to enjoy it, so activities have to appeal to a wide range of tastes. Phew, we’re worn out just thinking about it.
Luckily, help is at hand. Many venues now cater for children’s parties and rooms can be set-up and decorated with young ones in mind. Rarely a weekend goes by without a village or parish hall being taken over by a group of excitable children. See what’s available in your local area as these venues can be much more cost-effective too. There are many companies who specialise in children’s entertainment, whether it be providing a disco or karaoke, a magician or clown, live animals to hold and feed (snakes and spiders being the animals on show at one of our recent parties!), or dressing up as the latest Disney star and entertaining the masses! If you are hiring entertainment, do check to see whether or not the provider is DBS checked. Under no circumstances should children be left unsupervised, and if you are organising and supervising the party yourself, ask some of the other parents to help out.
If your child is a little older, make-over parties are becoming more popular and hiring a hot tob isn’t unheard of either! If you’re looking for something for people who don’t want their nails painted and their eyebrows shaped, try a sporting activity. Many activity centres cater for groups of children and often offer a package where food is included too.
There is so much to choose from, if you’re having difficulty deciding what to do, just ask us, we’re here to help!
We’ve recently been helping a client to plan a festival style wedding for next summer. An outdoor wedding like this is a great way to celebrate in a fun and informal way. Depending on your venue it can also serve as an opportunity to invite a larger number of guests that would otherwise struggle to fit inside a more formal, indoor venue.
As our client has a number of guests travelling from across the UK, she also wanted to extend the wedding party to incorporate the whole weekend – with camping facilities available to guests who were making the journey north – a real festival weekend!
A wedding or celebration like this means you can really personalise the event – without the boundaries and limitations often associated with traditional venues. The styling, menu, entertainment and general ‘feel’ of the wedding can be totally unique and tailored to an individual’s tastes and passions.
However, there are a number of things that need careful planning and consideration – the main one being, the great British weather. Whilst an outdoor wedding can be an amazing experience on a beautiful sunny day, it can be a somewhat different experience altogether if the heavens open. A wet weather plan must be in place right from the beginning. Another important factor to consider is site access, not only for your guests – but also for your suppliers. It’s one thing if your guests are struggling to reach your venue as their heels are getting stuck in the mud, but its another thing if your caterer or entertainment can’t access the site or other essentials like electricity and water supplies.
At each step of the planning process it’s important to consider your guests and their comfort. Remember to think about toilets and sanitary facilities, will your guests be warm enough, who will manage waste and the post-party clean-up. Rules and regulations must be considered too. In a managed venue bar and music licenses are already in place, first aiders are on-site and emergency evacuation plans and security staff are on-hand. All of these must be considered when planning an event like this.
However, if all plans are in place, a outdoor festival wedding can be a fantastic and memorable event – even if it rains!
Some people love planning events, others hate it. We obviously fall into the first group so we’ve even wondered ourselves – why hire an event planner? We’ve asked a few friends, some of who like to plan their own events, parties and celebrations, and others who like to avoid organising at all cost. From our own and from their experience, here are our top five reasons for hiring an event planner.
1. It saves you time. Why spend hours searching for the perfect venue, caterer, band, entertainer, table decorations, price…when someone can do it for you. Instead of telling each individual supplier what you want every time you speak to them – you just need to have this conversation once with your event planner. They will then use their contacts to find exactly what you’re looking for. This bring us to number 2…
2. Contacts. Event planners build up relationships with suppliers and over time build up a huge network of contacts. This means that they know who to speak to to get just what you’re looking for.
3. It saves you money. Thanks to their networks and relationships, event planners are in a good position to negotiate a better deal than you might do on your own. Event planners always want their clients to get value for money and quality will never be sacrificed.
4. Your event will look great and run smoothly. An event planner will think of all the little details you might not have – the position of the stage, seating, tables or the cake stand, the location of the toilets, the colour theme, licensing arrangements, sound and lighting, event break-down and clean-up. All this means that…
5. You can relax and enjoy your event. No stress, no fuss, no drama. All the hard work has been done, now all you need to do is have fun at your event.
If you want Waterfall Events to help you plan an event, contact us at email@example.com
A group of my University friends recently got together to spend a weekend in the town where we studied. Although we all think we’re still young and fashionable, we realised it was approaching 15 years since we’d left university, and the looks we were getting when we wandered around our old campus were probably not admiring glances from our ‘peers’, but looks of curiosity from the present students who were wondering why a group of ‘old birds’ were invading their space.
The 6 of us had kept in touch over the years but as we reminisced, conversation soon turned to the people we used to share our halls of residence with, who we had shared an important part of our life with, but we had not seen or heard from for over a decade. Thanks to social media some of us had an arms length idea of what some people were up to, and after a few glasses of wine we were soon logged into our various accounts, tagging photos and sharing anecdotes with our long lost peers.
None of us had ever fancied holding a reunion before, all of us dreading the stilted conversations, the comparisons, and endless repetition of the same old questions ‘so, what do you do now, where do you live…etc’, but we all realised that there were a number of people we’d quite like to see again and an informal reunion might well be a good idea. But how would we go about organising an event that even we didn’t fancy attending. We came up with some thoughts:
Think carefully about who you want to invite and perhaps more importantly who you don’t! We all thought that a year group reunion was too large a group, but meeting up with the people from our halls of residence was much more manageable and appealing. We lived in a pretty small hostel with just 25 people and seeing this relatively small group again was neither too intimidating or daunting. Of course, it’s possible to organise a much bigger event and these can work well, just think about your guests and what would work best for them. Be aware though – it’s not nice to be left out, if you’re arranging something for a group, try to remember everyone and don’t single people out. It was bad enough feeling left out when you were young, try not to make anyone experience it again.
Find out where our your guests live, where might be an easy place for everyone to meet? If everyone has moved to London, there would be no point holding the reunion in Newcastle. Think about travelling time and costs and try to find a location that is equidistant from most people’s homes. If you are organising a school or university reunion it might be nice to hold it in the place where you studied.
Think about what you want to do with the group. If you want to sit and chat – go to a pub or function room. If you want another distraction for the evening – go to a restaurant, talking about the food being served can be a good icebreaker if nothing else! If you’re an adventurous lot, perhaps try a daytime activity followed by a meal. If you think a few hours with the group is long enough – don’t arrange a weekend residential! Choose something that will make everyone feel comfortable.
If people are travelling to attend the reunion they may need to stay overnight. You might want to make arrangements for everyone to stay in the same place or you might want to let people arrange their own accommodation. A night spent reminiscing and catching up can take its toll, although exciting and interesting you might crawl into bed shattered and needing some ‘me’ time. If you’d rather not re-live the question and answer session the next morning, leave accommodation up to individuals.
Will you recognise your guests? You might think you’ve not changed over the years, but actually, take a look at those old photographs you keep in the loft and you might be surprised. There’s nothing worse than forgetting someone’s name so if you’re a bit unsure ask your guests to wear name badges.
Going back to those old photographs – are they in the loft because they’re perhaps a little embarrassing. Did you have a crazy hair cut or the worst dress sense. Chances are your old friends did too. Bring the photos along, they can be a great way to re-live and remember the days gone by and can be a starting point for a great giggle!
Ice breakers. Some people may have come on their own and may feel nervous about starting up conversations with people. Have some ice-breakers on hand, conversation starters or games to play. Remember, you’re all adults now though – drinking games or forced team games might not be appropriate. A simple quiz might be a nice idea.
It’s time to say goodbye again. Sending people home with something to remember the reunion by would add a nice touch. Arrange to have a group photograph taken or make up a memento book using some old and new photographs given to you by the group (ask for these in advance!), if you’ve met in the town where you’ve studied, give guests a postcard or a locally themed gift. Think about whether or not you’ll continue to stay in touch after the event, if so, swap numbers and emails. If you or other people in the group would rather not, don’t feel guilty and don’t pressure others into doing so.
The main thing is to feel comfortable and have fun and if you don’t want to organise your own reunion get in touch with us and we’ll do all of the hard work for you! Visit our website and get in touch!
After learning that you can now get married in the Planetarium at the Centre for Life, we thought we’d look at some other more unusual wedding venues in the North East.
Holding your ceremony in a place that means something to you and/or your partner is a great way to really personalise your day and give it a unique edge. What better way to declare your love for each other – in a venue or a place that you love! It might be a building you love, a place you’ve enjoyed going together as a couple or it might be somewhere that reflects your interests and hobbies. Choosing an unusual venue really is the first step towards creating an entire wedding day theme around your venue and why you love it.
Are you an art fan? Check out BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and combine a picturesque view of NewcastleGateshead with your love of modern art. The city vista views from the viewing box, from SIX restaurant or the riverside terrace will impress your guests from near or far. Perhaps you’re more of an admirer of traditional masterpieces – if so, head to the Laing Art Gallery and say your vows amongst the marble statues and gilt framed pieces on display.
Are a fan of history, of kings and queens, or do you just love the magnificence of our north-east castles; Alnwick, Bamburgh and Lindisfarne are some of our local castles that can provide you with a ceremony for a king or queen.
Perhaps the arts and entertainment are more your thing? Did you spend many a happy date in the cinema or the theatre before your engagement? If so – Tyneside Cinema or the Theatre Royal are great venues that can really add some pizzazz to your day. The theatre stage or the big screen can provide a fabulous back-drop to a couple who want to make a statement. Theme your wedding day around films, musicals, drama, dance – the opportunities are endless.
Looking for something a little bit quirky, how about a wedding at sea? St Marys Lighthouse and visitor centre in Whitley Bay hold wedding ceremonies; or are you a fan of real ale? Why not say ‘I do’ amongst the beer barrels of High House Farm Brewery? Another venue fairly new to the scene is Woodhorn Museum which offers a range of function suites within the backdrop of what used to be a coal mine, but don’t worry, the miners are long-gone and a light and airy museum pays homage to the mining industry that once thrived in the region.
Science and nature might be more your thing. Don’t let a life sized model of a dinosaur put you off – say ‘I do’ in the shadow of a T-Rex at the Great North Museum.
Whatever your theme, budget size of guest list, there’s something for everyone in the North East.
Contact us today if you’d like to find out more.
The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky, it’s time to take the party outdoors! Check out our summer party essentials so that your day out is a day to remember.
• Sun protection: You want a golden glow not a red raw burn, do like the Australians do – slip, slap slop. Take sun creams, hats and UV protective clothing for little ones.
• Food and drink: Picnic, BBQ, pimms…enjoy some al fresco dining – but don’t forget your cutlery and (plastic) crockery. A pack of napkins and an empty bag for rubbish are useful too. If you want to keep your food and drinks cool, invest in an ice/cool box. If you’re taking a disposable BBQ remember that it’ll be hot for a while after you’ve finished cooking!
• Glass stands/holders: Does your glass of fizz keep sinking into the sand as you enjoy a tipple on the beach, try one of these – great for the garden too. (see image)
• Bottle opener: There’s nothing worse than setting out your picnic, whetting your appetite and working up a thirst, only to realise you’ve left the bottle opener at home.
• Table and chairs: Lightweight collapsible furniture is a great way to take the indoors – outdoors!
• Rug: If you don’t want to carry all those table and chairs, grab a rug. Ones with a waterproof bottom are great.
• A summer soundtrack: Make a playlist of your favourite tunes and while away the hours listening to them without having to skip the songs you don’t like.
• Ipod speakers – waterproof and sandproof: Mini, portable speakers are great. If you’re heading to the beach, protect them from the sand and the sea!
• Games: Heading to the park? Take a lawn game. We had great fun playing Kubb last week. There are loads of outdoor games. This website has some great ideas: www.traditionalgardengames.com
• Lighting: If you’re in your garden; solar lights, fairy lights and outdoor candles are a lovely way to give some glow when the sun starts to set.
• Towels: You might not be planning on a dip in the sea or a paddle in the stream, but once you’ve warmed up you might be aching to get refreshed in some water. Take a towel just in case. If you’re with children, there’s no doubt it won’t be long before they’re having a splashing time! If you’re swimming – always make sure that you’re with a responsible adult.
• Change of clothes: Your trousers rolled down mid-paddle, you spilled ice cream down your favourite top, your jeans are covered in mud after tripping over the Kubb King (see Games above)…take a change of clothes. An extra jumper is also useful just in case it clouds over and you start to feel a chill.
• Emergency kit: torch, mobile phone (fully charged), first aid kit: One minute you’re enjoying the sun, the next, you realise its way past home time and the sun has gone down. Don’t get lost, keep a torch with you just in case. A phone and first aid kit might prove essential in an emergency too.
Have fun in the sun!
We asked our resident man-of-the-moment to write a few words about being a Best Man. Here’s what he said…
Being asked to be best man for someone is an honour but it is also a task that would bring most men out in a cold sweat!
Preparation is key here. It is important to remember that you are there to help the groom and make his day pass without any hitches. You do have your moment in the limelight with the speech but that isn’t the only thing you’ll have to do. If there are any issues during the day then you’re probably the person who needs to solve it.
Your speech should be entertaining and should allow guests to get a better knowledge/understanding of the groom/couple. Try not to talk about previous girlfriends or past indiscretions. Not everyone at the wedding will know the groom so try to paint a picture. Some things can be hinted at so people in the know would understand but try to make sure that the stories are valid for everyone and that people don’t switch off.
Everyone is willing you to do a good job so don’t try too hard. If a joke feels forced then don’t say it. There are lots of tips online that can be used but it is important to try and make the speech personal and relevant. People will appreciate it more if it comes from the heart rather than having endless jokes thrown at them.
If the groom can look you in the eye after the speech, then you know you’ve done OK – the worst thing you could do is to upset anyone so keep it safe!
It may be a good idea to ask first if there are any subjects that are strictly off limits. Don’t give any of your ideas away but it will help to make him feel at ease if he knows that a certain topic won’t be mentioned
One issue that best men sometimes have is nerves. 2-3 beers before the ceremony is acceptable and will help you to relax but any more than that and you’ll be risking slurring and possibly having to nip to the loo halfway through your duties.
You may not feel like eating if your speech is after the meal so make sure that something is left aside for you for afterwards. That meal will taste like the best thing you’ve ever eaten so don’t miss out.
Waterfall Events can help you plan a team away-day. But why should you and your organisation take part in one. Let us explain…
They say a change is as good as a rest! One day away from the work-place can help to shake off those office-cobwebs and re-motivate your team. That’s why many companies now take part in away days and team building/bonding events.
Team Away days provide a great opportunity for employees to interact with colleagues in a different setting, away from the safety-net of their desks and out of their comfort zone, giving them an opportunity make positive connections with people they might usually avoid. Seeing colleagues in a new environment can provide a whole new perspective and can help to build relationships. After all they do say that you should never judge a book by its cover.
Some of the main reasons for organising a team away day are to:
Away Days can also be used for strategic planning or resolving issues and problems. You can structure the day to focus on any specific area of your business. They can be a much more productive way of promoting team work, stimulating discussions and ideas. Your work force is also more likely to be more motivated by the prospect of going to an away-day than sitting in a meeting room or talking over a long conference call.
Here are some key points to think about before organising an away day:
• Objective/Aim – What do you hope to gain from the day?
• Budget – Make sure you don’t scrimp too much – you don’t want everyone to realise you tried to do everything on the cheap. They will understand some cost cutting but try not to make it too basic!
• Structure/Timetable – Make sure that the activities are defined and people know what they are supposed to be doing and when
• Expectations – How are your employees expecting to benefit from the day?
Planning a successful away day – some useful tips:
Plan an activity that although enjoyable, is well structured and organised. A fun activity can still promote values and skills such as team work, negotiation or communication.
Make sure Senior Employees are willing to muck in. This will promote respect and willingness for all staff to take part.
Start the day with an ice breaking session to relax everyone and get them in the mood for thinking and communicating.
To get the most out of the day make sure you regularly check progress and note how things could be improved. You may make your away day a yearly event so the more you learn and take from the day; the better it’ll be next time. The day should be focussed but fun. Make sure that everyone is enjoying themselves and if not, ask why not.
Organise your own event or better still – hire some professional help, someone who organises away days on a regular basis will have a wealth of knowledge that they can share with you. They will also have recommended suppliers and may be able to negotiate discounted rates.
We’ll end on one final note, try and make your day different – think about how you can organise something memorable (for the right reasons!)
For help planning your away-day, get in touch. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.waterfallevents.co.uk
Having recently welcomed a new edition to Waterfall Events – baby Jacob, we have had some first-hand experience of some of the issues pregnant people might experience when attending an event. If you’re planning a party, follow our advice to make it a great experience for any pregnant guests.
Venue – environment and seating: Pregnant women are affected by temperature and often feel hot. Even in winter, crowded rooms can get hot and stuffy. Whether you’re holding an indoor or outdoor event try to ensure there is a fresh air supply / air conditioning. If guests will be standing during your event, make sure there are seats available for your pregnant guests. If possible, try to have a quiet space away from the main body of the party where they could go if they need to escape the heat.
Smoking: Now that it’s not possible to smoke indoors, it’s a lot easier for pregnant ladies to avoid the effects of passive smoking. However, if you are holding an outdoor event, perhaps ask your smoking guests to consider others, and move to an area away from other people
Food and Drink: Pregnant women can’t eat certain foods, consider this when planning your buffet or dinner. Include a ‘pregnancy-friendly’ option. Although some pregnant women do enjoy an occasional drink, it’s unlikely that they’ll be consuming alcohol for the duration of your party. Have soft drinks available. Perhaps find out their favourite soft drink and provide that so that they feel like a valued guest. VIP?
Parking: Heavily pregnant women can find it difficult to be agile. Try to reserve a car parking space for your pregnant guests so that they don’t have to walk too far to join the party.
These quick tips are an easy way for you to provide a safe environment, not only for your pregnant guests to enjoy the party – but everyone there!