Your checklist for planning the perfect event
Event planner Rebecca Kobus is known for her eye for detail when it comes to staging a special occasion. Here she reveals her essential checklist to ensure everything is alright on the night...
Rebecca Kobus has been working in the events industry for over 15 years. Her previous roles include Event Planner for TATE Modern and TATE Britain, as well as Weddings and Special Events Executive at Kings Place in King’s Cross.
In 2017, she started her own business, Rebecca K Events, which provides clients, with a fresh stylish and personal approach to planning a special occasion.
With a keen eye for detail and passion for providing those special touches designed to make clients and guests remember the occasion long after it has finished, Rebecca has kindly provided 116 Pall Mall with her essential checklist for planning any event, at any location, of any size…
Set your objective
The first thing to consider is the goal or the objective of the event. Is it a summer party, where the objective is to entertain, have fun and connect with other colleagues? Or is it a conference where the goal is to introduce a new product to your employees?
In 2017 and 2018, we held a Galentine’s event at 116 Pall Mall. As the name suggests, Galentine’s is a day to celebrate female friendships and gather your favourite gals together.
In the event industry, where it is full of busy weekends and busy schedules, where many of us have little ones, a husband, another business or another job, we thought it would be a great idea to get a group of London ladies together to celebrate Galentine’s and indulge. So, that was our objective.
Once you’ve set out your own objective, it will determine how you go about planning the rest of the event.
Pick a date
I would actually recommend picking three dates because the space you’re trying to book may not be available at a certain time or there may be a conflict in terms of dates for the guests that you are planning to invite.
As an example, for last year’s Galentine’s brunch we decided to throw the party in January which is not quite such a hectic time for people in the events industry.
Fix your budget
Have a budget to cover every aspect from the catering to the audiovisual to staff to hiring the venue. Further down the line (once you’ve sent the invites, you’ve looked at your theme, you’ve contacted the suppliers) you should also re-check your budget. It’s not unusual for the final cost to go above the original figure.
So, it’s important to keep track of those numbers. Often when you plan a party you go ‘oh, I didn’t see that when I was doing it. They had a photo booth and a dessert station!’ That may have been a great idea but how much did you put aside for catering?
Book your space
If you use 116 Pall Mall as an example, depending on the size of the event you may want to book the wine bar, or it may be the Nash Room but once you’ve agreed on that space that everything else starts to fall into place.
The wine bar at 116 is SUCH an amazing space that I feel is underused. With a quick move of some of the lounge seating in the bar area, a lot of candles and a large table in the back, it is easy to transform it into a venue for a glamorous evening!
So, those are the top four things. From there you want to consider the following areas…
Think of the theme
What is the look and feel, or theme, of your event going to be? It’s a good idea to do that before you start contacting suppliers because it’s easier for them and easier for you. So, if you contact a florist to say, ‘I’ve got £35 to spend per table’, they will say ‘okay, what’s your theme? What are you looking for?’
To get some ideas, you might want to look on Pinterest or Instagram or magazines or ask the venue for pictures of previous events they have hosted.
It might not be flowers. It could be that you want to use logos and banners. Even if it’s an AV presentation or a meeting, there will be some type of theme going through that event.
For Galentine’s event we held in the wine bar at 116, we purposely did not ask everyone to wear red and pink, instead, asking guests to dress in their favourite shade of wine. The decor was based around berry colours with pops of hot pink to bring in the Valentines theme in bursts. We thought it was fun to play with a different colour palette than what is usually expected for the very pink and red holiday.
We treated the guests - a mix of wedding planners, florists and creative women in the wedding industry - to personalised cheese boards, a champagne escort wall set up in the entry of the building and a wine tasting led by a local wine sommelier.
Send out the invites
So, you’ve booked your room and decided on your theme. What you don’t want to do is send out the invites out to the guests before you’ve booked your space. You want to make sure the contract is signed, you’ve read the terms and conditions.
For example, if your budget is x and the room has a minimum capacity of 50 people but you may only get 25 guests, you want to make sure that there is a not a minimum guest count guarantee that you need to meet within the contract. In that case, you may need to change spaces to meet the needs of your budget and the number of guests that you are inviting.
It is also good to send out reminders to guests. But don’t wait until the week before the event. Send a reminder maybe a month or three weeks beforehand.
The earlier you plan the better. You’ll get the first pick of the perfect space, you’ll have more time to contact suppliers and more time for guests to make their arrangements.
Book your event at 116 Pall Mall
One of the most prestigious addresses in London, 116 Pall Mall is situated in the heart of the West End and offers a range of flexible spaces across five floors, perfect for any kind of event for up to 1,500 people.
You can even hire our whole building exclusively on weekends.