Why hire an event planner?

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 joy@waterfallevents.co.uk

‘I wonder what they’re up to now…’ Organising a reunion

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.

Waterfall Events High School Reunion Image from avondalechapel

High School Reunion

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:

Invite List
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.

Location
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.

Venue
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.

Accommodation
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.

Activities
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.

Home time
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!

Looking after pregnant guests

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!

Bonfire Night parties

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
We see no reason,
Why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot!

Bonfire night is shortly upon us and many people will be wrapping up warm and heading outside to watch an organised firework display. Many of you might also want to throw your own party; it’s a great excuse to get some friends together and enjoy a social winter’s evening!

If you plan to build and light your own bonfire pick a location some distance away from built up areas (houses, shops, schools etc), woodland areas, and any other place that may catch fire. It isn’t illegal to build a garden bonfire but check out the rules. Always keep your fire at a safe distance from your guests, and consider how you will put your fire out once the party is over.

If you’re holding your party in a public place, remember to tidy up afterwards. Take some bin bags and make sure you pick up any litter.

Fireworks are always great fun and are enjoyed by people of all ages. The most important thing to consider when using them is safety. There are laws and regulations surrounding the use of fireworks. Never allow children near fireworks, nominate a team of responsible adults to oversee the management of your display. The Fire Brigade advise to never drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks or attending a bonfire. Sparklers are great fun; children should wear gloves when holding them and they must never be given to a child under 5. See ‘The Firework Code’

November evenings can be chilly, remind your guests to wrap up warm. Perhaps they could bring some chairs and a blanket too so that can really keep out the chill. Consider providing hot drinks such as hot chocolate or ovaltine to warm them through.

Bonfire night might be the last chance you get to do some out-door cooking. A BBQ isn’t just for summer, give it one last go before packing it away for winter. Baked potatoes and sausages make great bonfire party food.

The fire brigade provide some great advice and tips on bonfires and fireworks, see their website so that your party can go off with a bang that is safe!