What to consider when planning your event

Planning an Event? We have some lovely tips for you.

So you’ve got an idea for an event, your concept is clear, guest list sorted, dates set and now you need to find your perfect location.

Krug Champagne Event at First Option Location Studio

Running an event can be pretty overwhelming and involve a crazy amount of decisions. Transforming an idea into a successful event isn’t just about throwing a good party, it’s about taking care of all the details that ensure your guests will have an incredible experience. Whether a conference, dinner, pop up, party or wedding, an event is the result of careful planning and preparation.

Krug Champagne event in the loft open warehouse space of First Option Location Studio Shoreditch.

So what should you consider when looking to hire a location?

We look at two perspectives, First Option‘s experiences as a hire location and those of one of London’s top event project managers

The first thing to consider is ease of access for both your guests and crew. There is perhaps nothing more off-putting than realising that the event you’ve been invited to is nowhere near rail or underground stations, taking a bus would mean three changes and cabs have only vaguely heard of the postcode. Choose a location that is well served by public transport and ideally one that has good parking options.

Freelance events project manager Kate Langley, of Disappearing Dining Club and Events by Kate, agrees. 

“The great thing about unusual spaces is that more often than not, people haven’t heard of them! Or at least, they don’t realise they can be used for events. It’s a lot of fun to take a client to a new space and help them reimagine it for their brief, guiding them through it and unlocking their own creativity. With this is mind, I tend to look for spaces that are off the beaten-track, but near to main transport links.”

Disappearing Dining Club event in the open kitchen warehouse space of First Option Location Studio Shoreditch.

Consider the venue’s access points for both guests and staff. Two entrances can be incredibly helpful particularly if your event is being catered for; crews of people rushing in and out don’t want to have to navigate swarms of people and likewise, your guests won’t appreciate a flipped tray of drinks spraying the vicinity. Paying attention to the flow of movement from room to room and the positioning of key elements and facilities will make everyone’s life a lot easier.

“Always do a site visit! Using pictures and scaled CAD drawings and floorplans is always really helpful, but nothing can compare to being physically inside a space when mapping out the experience with your client,” says Kate.

Disappearing Dining Club event in the open loft warehouse space of First Option Location Studio Shoreditch.

When booking your venue, the times that you book will invariably mean the time that your crew arrive at the location for setting up until the time you’ve cleared the space and left the building, so remember to work out the time you’ll need either side of your event for both your set up and pack down. Any time used outside of these hours will almost always be charged for as overtime.

Kate’s advice is to “keep it simple when it comes to bringing in extra ‘stuff’ (furniture, décor, interactive items); usually if you’ve got good drinks, great food, friendly professional staff and a decent playlist, people are going to have a great time. If you are bringing in lots of stuff, check-out load-in/out access and timings!”

“It’s important for a space to have some kind of individual or uncommon qualities that the client will appreciate, such as beautiful architecture or an outstanding original feature,” explains Kate. “Something that means you can spend less money and effort on hiring the ‘look & feel’ in, and more on highlighting the space that you already have.”

It’s important to ask about the surroundings. If you are having music late in to the night, check with the venue regarding their noise licensing. Usually there will be a cut off point for loud music if located within or nearby residential areas.

Sometimes you just need that extra sense of security. Check with local companies who provide security (SIA licensed), or if the location is in a building or business complex it may have its own security that you can book. It gives your guests the confidence that the security of their vehicles, belongings, and safety are being well looked after.

Studio Hire location event space at First Option Location Studio Shoreditch.

Kate’s nightmare event experiences?

“Not having time to do a site visit, and then not being able to fit the hired equipment through the door on the night! That was a fun one. In the end we managed with one games item less and the venue were very accommodating with the drinks, so the guests still had a brilliant time.”

And finally, her number 1 tip for event planners: “Hire a professional photographer and capture all that hard work and the good times on record!”

Thanks Kate!

A great event is one where its guests feel the organisers went that extra mile, to make sure the event runs smoothly, to create an environment perfect for the occasion where the guests don’t have to think about anything other than having a good time, and where the only complaints after your event were that the night had to end.

Disappearing Dining Club event in the open warehouse space of First Option Location Studio Shoreditch.

Kate Langley is Freelance Events Project Manager for Disappearing Dining Club and Events by Kate. Other clients include Digitas LBi, the British Horseracing Authority, and Drive Worldwide. Check out more here on her Instagram and Twitter pages.