Middleton Events Group management team boasts over 30 years in the industry and have won many ABIA awards along with MEA (Meetings Events Australia) State and National Awards for “Australia's best Technical and Creative Production Company”. We've managed over 20,000 events and have a wealth of knowledge and experience at your disposal. It's with this experience, we pass onto our clients to ensure your event, is your way, on time, on budget and has the WOW factor.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten……so be diligent, do your homework and research all suppliers given your budget.
After 20,000 events experience, we can tell you that the 3 core elements to a successful event are:
The Quality of Food
Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! The following steps are offered to help guide you through your event planning:
1. Selecting your date is crucial to the success of your event.
Major sporting events, holidays, long weekends, outdoor events and the weather should all be taken into consideration when selecting your date. Set the date and time that is best suited to your guests and in accordance with the theme of your event. Winter events are becoming increasingly popular as they are generally discounted. Most winter weddings for example can be spectacular and worth considering if you're on a tight budget.
2. Send out save the dates.
This ensures your guests don't make other arrangements. Save the dates are less formal and you are simply asking your guests to not plan anything on your date. You then have sufficient time to organise your invitations. You can do this yourself by going to stationery shops and purchasing all the material and doing them yourself, or get a professional to do them for you. The invitation tells all and sets the scene for your event! Invitations can start from as low as $2.50 each and if you're after something special, you can pay significantly more. Have a think about a website for your event that will allow you to Invite, RSVP on line and blog your guests. These prices start from $250 and can save a lot of money and time.
3. Set a budget
And stick to it, plan for an additional 10% of the overall budget. Once your budget is set, you can now start negotiating and making enquiries. Use our Event Planner Budget Template to assist you in your planning. The last thing you want is a big bill at the end of your event you can't afford.
4. Plan your event well in advance
This ensures that you secure the service providers and venue ahead of time. The three most important elements for a successful function are the food, the service and the entertainment. Pay service providers a minimal deposit and ask about payment plans and early bird payment discounts. Most suppliers will offer you a discount if you're in a position to pay the full amount upfront. Always negotiate. Events booked other than Friday and Saturday nights should be negotiable and most suppliers offer reduced rates for events planned outside these peak nights. See our Event Planning Portal!
5. Select the right venue for the right reasons
Don't base your decision purely based on price. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. The practical aspects of the venue are important such as atmosphere, décor, lighting, access, departure times and the venue's location. Food and service are the most important aspects of the function and experience the venue's hospitality prior to booking. Always have a tasting dinner prior to booking, as most venues provide this service. You are under no obligation to use the venues preferred suppliers, as some make commissions from forcing you to use them. This practice is illegal and is called third party enforcement. Always negotiate direct with the suppliers and take advice from the venue as to their top 3 recommendations. Refuse to pay any penalties a venue may demand for not using their suppliers, as this is also illegal. Remember nothing is for Free! You're paying for it in the package price. Ask the venue how much they charge if you extend the duration of your event. Generally they will charge by the hour for service only, as the bar will still be open. Don't pay additional room hire as you've more than likely already paid this. See Recommended Venues!
6. Choose the right food and beverage package that best suits your specific needs.
It is sometimes more cost effective to pay for beverages on a consumption basis rather than a package. Not everyone drinks the full amount. A two-course meal with more variety is sometimes better than 3 courses, as sweets are quite often not eaten. Candy tables are extremely popular and can be an option for sweets. If you are on a consumption package. Start at pre dinners and not when seated for dinner. This means you will make a better impression at the start of your event and finish beverage service earlier. It's more responsible to do this and guests don't mind paying after your hospitality, but not before. If you expect guests to pay for their own drinks, negotiate good prices from your venue and make it very clear on your invitations, so your guests are prepared. If you're considering a caterer, be sure to see references and email and talk to their last three clients for recommendations. Good caterers are hard to find!
7. Choosing the right entertainment for your function is crucial.
Consider the needs of your guests and the variety of music that's played. Is a DJ or Live Band or both suited to the demographic of the guests? Pre-determine the music mix before the function and make sure you and the Entertainment Company fully understands the music directive prior to the function. Also be sure to know who you are booking. Are they experienced? What attire will they wear? Make sure if booking a DJ they can talk and are professionally trained MC's. Most DJ's are scared to use the microphone and simply don't talk or know how to build an atmosphere. On the other hand booking a professional DJ/Entertainer will ensure guests are entertained and there until the end of your event and not looking for excuses to leave early....and we've all done that. Ensure your DJ provides access for you to plan your music selections on line and allows guests to remotely log in and request and dedicate songs. You can choose what to accept or reject, so you have the power. This is a great way to involve the guests so they enjoy the music selections. Entertainers, comedians and guest speakers should also be considered carefully as you need to fully understand their pitch and delivery. We have seen so many failed presenters due to the wrong demographic suitability. Ask to see their content before booking and be sure to get a proposal in writing before booking. Ask for testimonials, email addresses and phone numbers of their last 3 shows.
8. Prepare a timeline running sheet of times for all service, entertainment and formalities.
This should be discussed with your event coordinator to ensure the smooth running of your event. Once all are in agreement, be sure to provide all parties with a copy and delegate timings and management of this to your MC. There is nothing worse than falling behind schedule and having no time to celebrate and party! Your coordinator should provide you with a BEO (Banquet Event Order) and will ask you to sign this. The BEO is what the venue takes as final instructions from you. See Wedding Timelines!
9. Prepare a guest list and seating plan.
On the night, delegate this duty to someone other than the Function Coordinator to see that all guests are greeted personally and are escorted to their seats. Make sure your seating plan is in alphabetical order with surnames first followed by Christian names.
10. Try a visual display - a point of difference.
When guests enter the room, something unique in the way of décor, theme, lighting and other effects to create a mood and atmosphere. It is advisable to have table centrepieces and table numbers facing the entrance for impact on guests arrival.
11. Arrange for a professional photographer/photo booth for the evening to be in attendance to capture the moment.
Generally you can negotiate prices and shop around as there are good and bad photographers. You cannot get a photographer back if they have failed to capture the moment. Be sure to again check references and delivery times of your images and/or disc. As an option, why not consider a photo booth? They are becoming increasingly popular and involve all your guests. They also provide instant copies of pictures and provide all photographs in an album. Guests can now text the digital photo immediately to their phone for social media and after the event you can download all the original photos at your leisure. Most photographers leave early, however a photo booth is there all night capturing all the fun! Be mindful of the quality of the booth and service as there is a vast difference in price. Photographers that stay on throughout your event on the other hand, are roving and can capture the moment throughout your room.
12. Make sure the volume levels of music are not too loud.
There's nothing more annoying than being at a function and not being able to talk. Discuss this prior to the start of the function with the Entertainment Company and ask that they keep the levels reasonable throughout dinner and increase the volume later when the celebration is in full swing.
13. Ensure you have a signed booking and or Hire Agreement.
Do not under any circumstance pay a deposit for anything unless you have read and understood all conditions of your agreement. Take it home, read it, understand it and ask questions about any clause you have an issue with. Try to negotiate where reasonable and always keep a signed copy. Ensure you get receipts and statements for any payments received. Check for peace of mind and technical and personnel back up and support in the unlikely event of illness or technical failure.....after all your event must go on regardless.
14. Insurances anD licenses.
Make sure you sight your vendors public liability and insurance certificate and ensure it's current and you have a record......after all you are the client and deemed responsible. Do not book any vendor until you sight these certificates to ensure they are 100% covered on your behalf. PPCA is a non-profit organisation that provides licenses to Australian businesses to play recorded music in public. The net fees are distributed to record labels & registered Australian artists who create the recordings so they can continue to make music for us all to enjoy. No venue/entertainer has the legal right to perform or play music without this license.
15. Relax and Enjoy
As the organiser of the event you need to be socialising, mingling and enjoying the function as time passes very quickly and before you know it, you'll be saying goodnight. Relax and enjoy the occasion and enjoy your rewards of all your hard work planning for a memorable function. Leave the detail to your chosen vendors and allow them to do their job and deliver their services and/or products beyond your expectations......try not micro manage your event.
We wish you well during the planning stages, and we share your excitement, as it's a fun time. Our advisory service is free to you, so please call our office at any time and feel free to ask any questions, or seek further advice via our email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us during office hours on 0400 416 991.
Happy Planning from the events team!