October 20th, 2017

The Seven Secrets To Hosting A Successful Event

Allison Newton, the Director of Catering at Savannah Quarters®, has been in the events industry for more than six years. As such, she’s learned some tricks of the trade to ensure your event is a successful one. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a luncheon, a wedding, or a corporate event, you want it to be remembered,” Allison says. So here are her secrets on how to accomplish just that.

#1. Plan ahead.

It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people fail to give themselves enough time to make their event a rousing success. First of all, there are seasonal adjustments to consider: everyone tends to have an event over the holidays or in early spring, when weddings pop up like flowers. So to get the venue you want at the time you want, take a long look ahead at the calendar. “You don’t want to wait until the last minute because you might have to compromise on a space you don’t love, or a musician that doesn’t fit your style,” Allison advises.

There’s another benefit to planning ahead: The more lead time you can give your guests, the clearer their calendars will be and the better the attendance at your very special event.

#2.  Make a list. And check it twice.

Know what you want to happen at your event, and write it down. This will keep you and your event organizer focused on what needs to be done, and when. For example, if you’re planning a speech at your event, you’ll need a microphone. Create a “behind-the scenes” list of all vendors, when they will arrive and set-up, break down and clean up, etc. Ditto for the actual event. Know when the cocktails start, the speakers present, and the event ends. Just don’t be surprised by how much the list will change as you get into the details.

#3  Go with the flow.

successful event

Photography Credit: Izzy Hudgins

The best events have a rhythm and coordination to them. It helps to have a theme of some sort, so food, drinks, music—even the colors in the room—all have a synergy to them, and build on each other. “Ask yourself: what’s the takeaway you desire for your guests? That’s the best way to give your event a holistic feel,” says Allison.

#4  Make it interactive (Part I).

Think about the best events you’ve attended. You met new people, took part in interesting and unexpected conversations, and laughed more than you knew you could. People like being engaged, so be sure the event encourages a lot of social interaction. That’s where the fun begins and memories are made. Think lawn games for a wedding, mix up seat assignments (on purpose), or hire a DJ who keeps the music moving and the guests dancing.

#5  Make it interactive (Part II).

Technology can also up the entertainment quotient, especially in a world where people love to be on their smartphones. Start early, with e-vites and reminders that this is the must-attend event of the season. There might be an app to download, tied to a chef’s dinner with wine pairings and unique plating’s. Or give guests a hashtag that lets them post on social media and view photos of the event as it’s happening, and after.

#6  Personalize the event to make it your event.

Have a signature drink named for the bride and groom, or recreate a favorite dessert item for the person you are honoring. Allison remembers fondly the brilliantly colored “SQ Sunset,” comprised of Prosecco, cranberries, orange juice, and a lot of happy guests. And don’t forget to make those invited feel special and welcomed for attending – don’t just pop mints or chocolates on the table. One especially successful wedding event gave guests honey made from the family’s own bee colony. Now that’s sweet.

#7  Surprise!

It’s not mandatory, of course, but a big surprise can make the event even more memorable. Allison has seen brand-new cars given away at significant birthday celebrations, or a coveted guest speaker suddenly show up to deliver words of wisdom. “A surprise doesn’t have to be expensive,” explains Allison. “It just has to be a surprise.”

Finally, take a deep breath and RELAX. Allison reminds us that “this is life and something always pops up. I’ve done this for a long time and that’s why we proactively think through and prepare for every scenario.”

Allison’s experience, enthusiasm, and personal involvement are the keys to success. She’ll make sure that everything goes smoothly, and that guests will fondly remember your event for a long time to come.

In fact, why not reach out to Allison right now? Email her at ANewton@SavannahQuartersCC.com.

You can also learn more about weddings and events at Savannah Quarters® here