When you’re first asked to plan a conference, it may seem like an overwhelming task – they’re not small events and there’s a lot of pressure to make sure that they go off without a hitch, especially since they’re a reflection on your business or company as a whole. We’ve put together a list of the key steps you need to follow to make sure your conference has everything it needs to be a success.
These steps aren’t strictly chronological, so it doesn’t matter if you book the venue before you get your speakers or vice versa. Also, we are making these suggestions under the assumption that you already have a planning team created for the event. If you haven’t organised a team to take responsibility for different aspects of the conference, you’ll need to do that before you start any of the steps below.
Step 1: Choose your theme
The first question you need to ask yourself when planning a conference is: how am I going to theme this event? Choosing a theme can be a great way to get the ball rolling, since it sets some parameters for your event and can make your conference stand out from the crowd.
Different themes work better for different events; a cabaret theme could be great for a corporate Christmas party but may not work so well for a day conference with industry specialists. Choose a theme that fits with your brand values and your audience; getting the theme right means that attendees will not only remember the event in conjunction with your brand, but it could also inspire them to share their experience on social media.
Before you can make any decisions regarding venues or speakers, you’ll need to decide on your budget. If you’re financing the conference without sponsors or grants, you’ll need to know exactly what budget your company has available.
You will need to split your budget on some or all of the following:
Any accommodation needed for speakers or organisers
Transportation for attendees, if necessary
Fees for speakers
Any activities you’d like to run
The marketing for your event
Step 3: Save the date
Plan well in advance, so the date you choose for your conference is at least six months or even a year in advance. You’ll want to choose the date quite early on in your planning process because you will need at least a benchmark date to choose your venue and organise the other services.
Make sure you don’t pick a date that coincides with another event in the area, such as a festival or national celebration. This can make it harder to book both venues and travel and can force your event to compete for attention. Also, it’s better to avoid the summer and winter holiday periods because people can miss your event if they’re on holiday.
Pick a date during the week, maybe even closer to the end of the week, since it gives attendees the ability to travel and then stay in the area instead of having to dash back to where they came from.
Step 4: Book your venue
Create a list of your requirements before you start looking for a venue. These requirements can include anything from catering services to technological support and everything in between. You’ll need to consider the size venue you need, based on the number of attendees you’re expecting, where you want the venue to be located, what kind of atmosphere you’d like, the facilities available, such as accommodation and catering, and venue transport links.
The speakers for your event are ostensibly one of the most important aspects, since it’s these people that your attendees will be coming to see. You will need to secure speakers who are experts in your industry and it may be prudent to find one big-name speaker who is well respected, since that will encourage other speakers to get involved.
You’ll need to consider compensation for the speakers and find out whether they need any specialist equipment or requirements.
Once you’ve organised your speakers, you can then put together your agenda and get it sent out to your potential attendees to get them signing up!
For many of us, the comfort zone is a wonderful place to be. But to be seen, heard and recognised as a high achiever, we need to step out into the unknown and embrace the uncertainty, the doubts and the knockbacks, we will inevitably face. Only then will we truly know what amazing feats we’re capable of.
The latest installment in the highly regarded Knowledge Guild series was hosted by Sally Bundock. The three speakers Ed Stafford, Brendan Hall and Maggie Alphonsi have all achieved way beyond what they thought possible with their lives. Each of them shared their gripping, inspiring stories with us, and challenged the audience to take the next step and prosper in an age of uncertainty.
The Knowledge Guild is a collaborative production between The Brewery and Speakers Corner.
Weddings are the days where a couple commit to each other in front of their friends and family, in a location that they have chosen because it means something to them and surrounded by the décor and styles that reflect them as people.
If you’re planning your wedding for 2019, and need some inspiration, why not take a look at some of the trends that experts think will be big in the wedding industry this year.
Flowers are undergoing a big change this year with LauraJean, from LauraJean Floral and Event Design, telling Wedding Wire that arrangements and installations will be coming down from the rafters – as was a recent trend for a few years – and solidifying themselves back on the tables. Not only that, but floral arches are making a comeback in 2019, according to WeddingForward.com. If you want to make your entrance through a towering archway of blooms, then this is your year to do it.
Bouquets, centrepieces and other arrangements alike will all see an increase in the amount of greenery used by florists, emphasising a few large and bold flowers instead of a number of smaller blossoms. Wedding planner Bruce Russell states that “Trees and use of foliage throughout floral designs will take centre stage… Florals will be natural, whimsical, and romantic.”
As greenery is becoming a focal point this year, décor on tables is being transformed to help make that bold statement. Some brides and grooms may choose to swap out tall centrepieces completely, instead opting for rows of low flowers that won’t obstruct any views and will instead create a subtle romantic atmosphere throughout the venue.
Some couples may choose to take their aesthetic in a completely different direction, opting for darker tones and colour palettes to make the greenery stand out and emphasise certain features of the décor above others, such as velvet table cloths or stunning place settings. These striking accents are directly in contrast to recent years trends of pastels, but it will be fun to see how couples embrace the new style.
There are a few differing expert opinions when it comes to the colours that will be at the fore of the wedding industry in 2019.
At the end of 2018, Pantone announced its colour of the year for 2019, choosing a pinky-orange “Living Coral”. This colour could be seen as a centre-point in summer weddings with its sunny disposition and bright personality.
Wedding Wire reports that we could see the classic pink shades being overtaken by hints of purples this year. Christina Millikin, from Glow Events, believes that purple allows for more scope and atmosphere, saying: “You can make it light and airy or bold and dramatic”. With some couples’ move towards a moodier colour scheme, purple could be a great way to bridge the gap between too dark and too pastel.
However, in contrast to the moodier scheme, many couples are still leaning towards the traditional with silvers, sages, roses, pale blues and champagne gold staying in the top 10 list for 2019 colours, according to ElegantWeddingInvites.com.
Sustainability and ethical practices
As was the case at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, sustainability and eco-conscious decisions are set to be a big consideration for couples planning their weddings in 2019. Many couples are looking to reduce their eco-footprint by using foam free flower installations, cutting out the harmful toxins in a flower oasis, sourcing their wedding cakes from local companies that use in season and local ingredients, and finding wedding dresses made using ethical practices.
On a sustainable front, couples are also choosing to save money by reusing their décor from one venue to the next – moving their floral arrangements from the ceremony to the reception and using food as part of the décor of the day.
At the Brewery, we can host wedding ceremonies as well as receptions in our venue rooms, meaning the same décor can be used for both aspects of your day – allowing you to have a consistent theme throughout your day and saving you money on outfitting two venues.
If you’re looking for a stunning, historical venue to host your wedding day, right in the heart of London, why not consider The Brewery. We have six separate venue spaces that can be fully customised by our fantastic event design team, drawing on 2019 trends or your personal inspiration, and a wonderful wedding planner to help tie your day together.
Did you know that using a recognisable signature colour at your event can increase brand awareness by 80 per cent, according to a study carried out by the University of Loyola? Not only that, but as millennials become the target market of many brands, over 60 per cent of them expect a consistent experience with a brand, whether they’re interacting with them online or face-to-face.
For that reason, and many more, it’s important to create a brand identity for your company that makes you recognisable online and out in the world, whether that’s at an event you’re hosting or one that you’re attending. You want people to leave an event your company has attended wanting to know more about what you do and how you work, and there’s no better way to solidify your business in their minds than through branding.
Read on to find out some of the best ways you can brand your corporate events in 2019.
Online and website branding
In most cases, the first touch-point that a future attendee has with your event is your website or social media accounts. Your website needs to capture their attention and emphasise your branding without being too garish or cluttered.
Focus on keeping colours, fonts, logos and the theme of your event in the forefront when creating an event website. You’ll want the colours, fonts and logo to be in keeping with your company theme, although the theme of your event may allow you to play around with those features in different ways.
The themes of the event, and the industry the event is focused on, will shape how it is shared both on an event website, and on other online sources. If your event relates to the finance sector, and your business portrays itself as cutting edge and sleek, then your online event branding must reflect that.
According to a study carried out by Event Manager Blog, over 40 per cent of event planners now use event apps in conjunction with their events. Event apps are a great way to get your participants involved with all aspects of your event, from planning their schedules for the day and learning about the talks that are happening, to sharing their experience and finding out helpful information about the event.
Event apps can be a great way to increase your corporate branding; you can create an app that not only provides all the information attendees will need, but also one that reinforces your brand and company identity, as well as your role at the event and your key messages.
Attendees who use your app will therefore be far more familiar with your company and brand and may be more likely to follow up with you after your event.
Event branding can be a successful tool on social media. Tweeting or posting sharing graphics about the event, using the same style and branding that you have used on your event website will tie the two together and further emphasise your brand’s connection to the event.
Including an event-specific header or profile picture on your social profiles for the run-up and duration of the event can be a great way to get some visibility for your event branding and your event itself.
Create an event hashtag that includes both event-specific details and your company brand details – for example, #CollisionConf was used for a Collision tech event conference, and #LIBFestival was used for the Lightning in a Bottle festival. Both hashtags use the name of their event combined with what the event is to gain visibility and give attendees something easy to include in their own social media posts.
Onsite event branding
We’ve already written a blog about some of the onsite event branding opportunities available at events; click here to read more about that. However, there are some new opportunities available that we didn’t talk about then that we’d like to draw your attention to.
Venue is a very important part of event branding since you can tailor your choice of venue to reflect and complement your company, values and branding. If you’re looking to present a highly professional, sleek brand image at your event, you could choose a more industrial or modern venue to emphasise those points.
Similarly, if you’re looking for a more traditional, yet contemporary venue, choosing one that has modern amenities but a wealth of history behind it could create the atmosphere you’re looking for. One venue that does just that is The Brewery – adapted from a brewery in 1976, our venue marries state-of-the-art technology with the cultural heritage of the building itself.
Having a social feed of the mentions relating to your brand and event can be a great way of adding movement and action to your social spaces in your venue. Showcasing the people talking about your event can help other attendees find out what they want to be visiting, who they want to be listening to, what they want to attend, and what aspects of the event people are enjoying, as well as encouraging them to join in with their own update.
This new light feature offers something more than simple posters and banners, giving you a way to emphasise the architecture of the venue as well as the branding of your event. Projection mapping can be carried out on both 2-D and 3-D surfaces and gives a much more dynamic range of display options, allowing your brand to really come to life.
If you’re looking for a venue that can accommodate all your corporate branding ideas and create an event that speaks not just about the subject but you as a company, look no further than The Brewery. With six fully customisable venue spaces and a specialist event design team, all located right in the heart of London, we’re completely prepared to make your event the best it can be.
We always enjoy hosting #KnowledgeGuild with Speakers Corner and last week was no different, with amazing speakers including Brendan Hall, Maggie Alphonsi, Sally Bundock and Ed Stafford taking to the stage. We jotted down their insights and advice which will help us in our quest for #MondayMotivation. Here’s some of what we learnt…
A victim mentality hinders not helps
In order to encourage a certain level of resilience, we need to let go of the negative thoughts that seep into our minds during a challenging situation. Phrases such as “we don’t deserve this” and “why us” should be pushed away in favour of a growth mindset. Learning from mistakes is much more important than being regretful about them.
We need to remember our “why”
Remembering the reason behind the goals you want to achieve often provides a sense of clarity that enables you to succeed, according to the wonderful Maggie Alphonsi. We will be writing our why’s in the front of our notebooks from now on!
We should embrace our instincts
Ed Stafford overcame many challenges surviving on a desert island for 60 days by himself. He highlighted that, in order to push yourself out of your comfort zone, it is important to quieten our overactive analytical brains and focus on our gut instincts more often.
Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome
All speakers touched upon that dreaded Imposter Syndrome and noted that it is vital that we remember that everyone struggles and we should talk to each other about it. The more we acknowledge Imposter Syndrome, whether in our professional or personal lives, the less affected we will be by those sneaky self-doubts.
We hope everyone who attended last week enjoyed the #event! Keep an eye out for announcements about the summer iteration of Knowledge Guild!
Your wedding day is a special day where you commit to your future spouse, promise to love each other for the rest of your days and have a wonderful party to celebrate. All of this is done in front of your family and friends – people who have been there for your journey as a couple and whom you want to share the day with.
But, how do you actually ensure you spend time with every single guest in one day? You’ve invited everyone because you want them to be part of your day, but with so much going on, how do you maximise time with your guests and not miss anyone out?
Get the guest numbers right
In the wedding industry, there is talk of a ‘magic number’ of guests that you should invite to your wedding – the consensus is 180 people. This is the maximum number of people you will be able to speak to in one night, even if just for a few minutes, without having to rush or speed past tables.
You don’t have to have exactly 180 guests. You can invite less people if you’d prefer your wedding to be more intimate, but this is a guideline to ensure that you don’t feel stretched too thin on your big day.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t invite more people to your wedding; you’ll just have to be prepared that you’ll either only have fleeting conversation with some guests, or you won’t be able to get face time with everyone.
Consider a destination wedding
Destination weddings, beyond being a getaway to a wonderful location, have one key advantage over traditional weddings with regards to guests – these normally take place over a couple of days, meaning that there’s more quality time available to spend with your loved ones.
You’ll all be in one location, meaning that socialising and engaging with all your guests is much easier, and you can organise other activities and meals to prioritise time spent with your guests, such as welcome drinks, dinners and excursions to local areas.
However, there is one disadvantage to a destination wedding and that is the fact that some guests may find the cost of attending a destination wedding to be too high. While you will have more days to spend with the guests who attend your wedding, you may also see less people attending overall compared to a wedding at home.
Plan your day
There are certain moments during the course of your wedding day that will need to be planned, such as the photo timings and your wedding breakfast.
For the photos, make sure that the people you want included know beforehand. Let your family know when the photos are being taken and they’ll be able to make their way there, instead of having to be found at the right time.
When it comes to food, having a wedding planner or catering staff to let your guests know when it’s time to take their seats will save you from needing to manage it yourself. If you’re thinking of holding your wedding at The Brewery, our specialist wedding planner will be able to make sure every aspect of your day runs smoothly, maximising time with your guests.
Include a send-off activity
As we mentioned when discussing destination weddings, it can be nice to spend more than one day with your loved ones to celebrate your wedding. If you’re not wanting to go abroad, why not consider a send-off activity instead?
This could be anything from a morning-after brunch at a hotel, restaurant, or family member’s house to a group outing to a local destination, like a beach. This way, you can meet up with all your guests from the previous day, recap the festivities, and make sure you chat to anyone you missed the day before!
Enjoy your day and stay in the moment
It can be easy to worry about all the aspects of your big day that need to go well, all the people you need to see and all the things you need to do. We’re here to tell you that you need to ensure you relax – weddings go by in the blink of an eye and you’ll regret it if you were too busy worrying about the things coming up to enjoy the food, the music and the time with the people you love and your new husband or wife.
Don’t let the pressure of speaking to every single guest ruin your experience or create too much unnecessary stress. There will be plenty of time to catch up with them post-wedding, whether that’s to look at the wedding video or photos, or simply to have a coffee and a catch up after you get back from your honeymoon.
You’re getting married! You or your partner has popped the question and now you’re on your way to walking down the aisle towards your happily ever after.
Before you continue reading though, make sure you read our blog that tells you the five things you need to do as soon as you get engaged – it’s a great place to start and a good way to check if you’ve missed anything out. For example, not all future brides remember to insure their engagement rings!
So, once you’ve started off the process, it’s time to look into the main aspects of your wedding; these are the things that will need to be sorted out much further in advance than other parts. Read on to find out what you should include in your plan of action.
Decide on your budget
When you first get engaged, you may have some discussions with your fiancé about the budget you think you’d be able to work with, including any savings and contributions on either side.
After some time to relax and enjoy being engaged, it’s a good idea to fully confirm how much of a budget you have available for your future wedding, since this will inform what venues you can consider and allow you to prioritise any specific things that you’d definitely like to include in your wedding – such as a certain band, a special venue, or a custom cake.
There are many ways to create a magical wedding day without breaking the bank, so don’t worry if you don’t have a huge budget. Knowing what you have available will help you create a day that is special and unique to you and your partner, including all the aspects you really want.
Decide on a date
This step may cause you to panic – how on earth will I know what date yet? How do I decide? – but you don’t actually need to be that specific yet. When well-meaning friends and family ask you when the date is, all they’re looking for is an indication of when they need to be available so that they can attend your special day.
Most weddings happen around a year to a year and a half after the couple became engaged. If you became engaged on Valentine’s Day, for example, the most common time of year for you to get married would probably be either the Spring or Summer in the following year, but of course, your timeline is completely up to you.
Whenever you come to think about setting a date, remember there’s no need to specify a day or even a month. Simply saying the season and the year e.g. Summer 2020, will give people enough of an idea at the early stages.
Make a start on your guest list
You won’t need to finalise your guest list at this early stage, but it’s a good idea to get started so that you have an idea of how many people you’d like to attend your wedding. This number will not only influence what venue you choose, but also other decisions, such as what kind of catering you decide on, what style of reception you choose, and your budget for the venue itself.
Choose your venue
The date for your wedding will become a lot more specific and set in stone once you’ve organised your venue.
When looking around venues, you’ll need to consider the capacity of the space – both for a wedding venue and reception perspective – whether the venue is registered to hold ceremonies, what features they offer, whether they cater for events onsite, and whether it fits into your budget. You’ll also want to consider your wedding vision – what do you want the venue to look like? What decorations would you like? How do you want to style your day?
If you’d like to get married in the heart of the city at a wedding venue that not only offers first-class cuisine and a skilled wedding planner, but also the ability to design your event space and adapt to your guest list, look no further than The Brewery. We offer six different venue spaces of varying sizes and our specialised wedding website, The Proposal, will be able to give you an indication of exactly what you can expect if you hold your wedding with us.
Start looking for the dress
Depending on what kind of dress you’re looking for or where you’re going to go looking for it, it’s key to note that wedding dresses can take up to nine months to be produced and finalised. For that reason, we suggest starting your search as early as possible, so that you reduce any stress and can be confident that your dress will be ready for your big day.
You can start this process knowing nothing about what you’d like but, if you start early enough, it can give you the time to visit a few different bridal stores to try on a number of styles and figure out exactly what you’d like. Make sure to keep in mind both your venue and the time of year you’re getting married when you choose your dress.
We hope this has given you the starting blocks to get you on your way to planning your magical big day. If you would like to get married at The Brewery – a venue full of character and easily adaptable with six unique spaces – simply get in touch with us today and we can help you on your engagement journey.
Veganism is all about not using or consuming any animal products. Accommodating vegan attendees isn’t as hard a task as you may think and it’s more than worth the effort to make sure everyone feels included and looked after.
Read on to find out about the four key areas you need to be aware of when organising an event, and how you can adapt them for vegans.
This is the most obvious category to start with since it’s the one where most changes may need to be made. As we mentioned above, vegans don’t eat or use any animal products, so there are a number of items that you’ll need to remove from your menu before you plan it; namely meat and dairy products, like milk and eggs.
However, while there are many obvious foods to leave off the menu, there are also some that could be overlooked if you’re not aware of them. Many vegans don’t eat honey, since it’s produced by bees, and some vegans don’t eat figs due to the way they are pollinated by female wasps. For a full list of food that vegans can’t eat, click here.
Planning a menu for a vegan-friendly event doesn’t have to be limited though. There are still many great vegan foods that can make some wonderful dishes. At The Brewery, our fantastic, renowned chefs are able to create wonderful bespoke menus that cater to the individual needs of your event. So, if you’re thinking of holding your event at our venue, you’re in good hands.
As surprising as it may seem, some alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are actually non-vegan. Top of this list is beer, since it’s filtered through isinglass (which is made from tropical fish bladders) as a fining agent. Some beers can also contain gelatin, glycerin, and casein.
The way to avoid serving your vegan guests non-vegan beers is to source them from certain brewers. Many German and Belgian beers are made through traditional methods of brewing, which are vegan, and the German purity law makes sure that only water, grain, hops and yeast, can be used in the production of beer. There are also some great brewers, both international and local, who produce vegan beer – Guinness’s draft stout is now vegan-friendly, as are beers from Carlsburg, Stella Artois, and Heineken.
Additionally, wine can often not be vegan-friendly since it’s filtered through a number of agents that can be made from blood and marrow, milk protein, and crustacean shell fibres and gelatin. However, there are some great vegan wines available from many big supermarkets, including Co-Op and Waitrose.
This may be a less well-known stumbling block for a vegan event since many people forget the second part of the vegan lifestyle – vegans don’t just avoid eating animal products, but also avoid using anything made from animals.
For that reason, if you’re decorating your venue, make sure to avoid materials such as leather, silk, and wool for a start. You will also want to pay attention to the flowers you’re using – make sure they’re Fairtrade or use potted plants as your centrepieces. If you’re buying artificial flowers, ensure that you avoid buying any that contain silk.
If you’re giving your guests favours of any kind, you’ll need to make sure they’re vegan too. Options can include soy candles, certain soaps or bath bombs, cake jars with vegan ingredients, or specific sweets that are vegan-friendly. Homemade favours are often the easiest to make vegan-friendly since you can control exactly what goes into them; you could get creative with seeds or plants, tea, vegan treats, or even vegan chocolate.
If you’re looking for a venue to host your vegan-friendly event, why not take a look at The Brewery. Our specialist event design team will be able to ensure that all our décor is suitable for vegan attendees, and our chefs will be happy to create a menu that’s not only delicious but also animal free. Click here to make an enquiry and we look forward to helping you with your event!
Summer parties are a great way to kick back, relax and enjoy the sunny weather in the company of good friends, family or colleagues. While the summer never sticks around for long in the UK, we want to help you make the best of it by giving you some tips for creating and hosting the perfect summer party in the heart of London. You don’t need to get out of the city to escape the city this summer!
Read on to find out the best organisation and planning tips to help you create a truly special summer party that you’ll be proud to host.
Pick a theme
Parties are a lot easier to plan when you’ve got a theme to stick to – think of national holidays like Christmas, Halloween or even Valentine’s Day – but a summer party can often get stuck without direction. To counteract this, and to help you create a more specific plan, choose a nice summery theme for your party.
You could decide on a beach or pool party and fill your chosen venue with palm trees and fairy lights. Get inspired by summer events like Wimbledon or festivals to get people involved with either sports or music. You could even do a fiesta theme and get the pinata and sombreros involved!
Once you’ve picked your theme it then makes it easier to decide on décor, food and drinks…
Decide on your drinks
The best part of a summer party is that cocktails can be top of the menu! They’re not only easily customisable but also fun and refreshing for all your guests on a hot day. You can have a lot of fun with your theme when it comes to cocktails because there are so many different ones available.
For example, if you’re following a fiesta party theme, as we mentioned before, tequila sunrises could be a real hit. Additionally, how about Pimms for your guests at a Wimbledon themed party?
Whatever you choose as your cocktails, make sure you pay attention to what they’re served in too – fun and creative glassware can often be just as eye-catching as the drinks themselves.
Create some tasty treats
Your guests won’t survive on cocktails and drinks alone, so it’s up to you to come up with a menu that will epitomise the summer party you’re hosting. Once again, your theme will be very handy for this, but you’ll first need to decide what kind of food you’re planning on offering.
Will you be providing a sit-down meal or is a buffet more your style? You probably won’t need to provide much in the way of hot food, since it’ll hopefully be warm, but maybe you’d like to have a BBQ?
Once you’ve made these decisions, you can then choose what you’d like to include. Maybe buffet items would work best for a fiesta-style party, such as spicy street food, or maybe a BBQ would fit the theme of a summer festival party.
If this sounds like too much work, why not call on the help of The Brewery’s fantastic team of chefs and hold your party at our venue? Our chefs will be able to provide a perfectly bespoke and personalised menu for your summer party, or you’ll be able to take advantage of the summer menu we’ve created for our own summer parties if you book a party with us.
Decorate your space
The best way to maximise your theme is by embracing décor for your party. You can do a lot with a few simple accessories, such as fairy lights and lanterns, or could go all-out with expansive palm trees or festival tents to really create an immersive atmosphere.
You can be as creative as you want and really embrace the theme you’ve chosen – why not take a look on Pinterest for some inspiration, or talk to a designated event design team, like the one we have at The Brewery.
Our specialised event design team can help create whatever style of décor you could wish for, and we’re also holding our own summer party for 2019 themed around an English garden that you could book instead!
If you are looking to attend one of our summer parties, you’ll be able to enjoy a summer city garden, with a delicious BBQ menu, cocktails on arrival, unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks, and a jaw dropping raised clear marquee. Book your package for the summer using our enquiry form.