How to Choose Holiday Entertainment
Don’t you hate it when stores take down the Halloween décor and replace it immediately with Christmas items? Event planners are even worse! The ghosts and goblins haven’t risen and the Thanksgiving turkey is still on the farm. But planning professionals are focusing on the holiday season. So should you if you want to ensure your end-of-year company event is a winner!
The Entertainment Checklist
Venue, catering, transportation, promotion, goodie bags, floral arrangements. There’s a long list of things to organize for when it comes time to plan the annual corporate Christmas party. That’s a good reason to go with an event producer, who will already have the contacts, know-how, and experience to make it a success. But even if you decide to you arrange your end-of-year festivities in-house, you need to be making arrangements now. Here’s some things we always consider when we are short-listing entertainment options for our clients.
Choose Top Talent
When it comes to corporate events, the biggest ‘make or break’ factor after the catering and venue is the show. Make sure your performers are a good fit for your audience. If budget permits, ensure there’s a variety of acts for everyone.
Consider the Space
Keep the room in mind. A young crowd that likes to dance may not be interested in sitting down for an hour after dinner to enjoy a headline act. If you do decide on a feature act, remember, not many people will enjoy standing for a long time, so schedule accordingly.
Know Your Crowd
With many companies having a diverse workforce, a one-size-fits-all approach can backfire – unless you invest in a big-name performer who can wow a crowd. We will often recommend a range of entertainment options over the course of the evening.
Keep it Fresh
You can start the night with wandering performers or low-key team building fun such as Bright Ideas’ PartyHats. Once plates and tables are cleared, you can entertain with a headline act, or bring on a DJ to keep the party atmosphere rolling.
Or, Stay Traditional
We love the idea of jolly old St. Nick bringing us great gifts. If you want to go traditional for your holiday staff event, Bright Ideas’ can show you how the tried and true can have a fresh angle and keep a bit of old-fashioned fun at the same time.
Start Now for Success
Whatever party you choose, the key ingredient is planning. The best entertainers are booked early. Give us a call today, or use our online quote request form to find the entertainment that will have guests giving your party a five-star review!
You Dream it, We’ll Theme it!
Themes are a mainstay of corporate events. But for a while they were getting a bit stale, as the popularity of certain themes led to overkill. Christmas time events are a great example. Relying on the tried and true was easy, but the same old-same old made it increasingly difficult to create the pre-event buzz that ensures a well-attended, successful event.
Top 3 Holiday Theme Events
Bright Ideas is continually finding great ways to update and invigorate the theme options you can consider. Some of the innovations we offer include downloadable event programs – putting the information right onto your guests smartphones, clever scavenger hunts to challenge your guests’ knowledge, and high-tech innovations that make it easy to share the fun via social media. Here are three themes that are getting rave reviews from our clients:
Swingin’ with Gatsby
Swing music and hot jazz are making a cool comeback. So is the desire to dress up at special events, going beyond business casual and offering guests an opportunity to relive the elegance of the Gilded Age. Our Gatsby theme is the perfect setting for a ‘swellegant’ night of champagne luxury.
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If you have your heart set on a holiday season theme, why not go with the cool blue and white décor that marks our Winter Wonderland theme? Ice sculptures, elegant lighting effects, and snowflake themed décor keeps your event in season with a unique and sophisticated variation on a crisp winter motif.
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Viva Las Vegas
What happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay there. We can bring the city to you, with Viva Las Vegas! Consider raising money for charity and/or offer prizes to the best gamblers, add in some Vegas-style floor shows, and round it out with a few celebrity impersonators for a memorable event.
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Guest Blogger of the Month
Name: Cindy Y. Lo,
Title: President | Event Strategist
Company: Red Velvet Events, Inc.
Bio: When Cindy Lo started Red Velvet Events, Inc. (RVE) 11 years ago, she did so with the mission to Outplan, Outplay and Outparty! Cindy has grown the firm into delivering just that and more. RVE has earned multiple ISES Esprit Awards, Esprit nominations, MPI-THCC Planner of the Year and this year Cindy will receive the McCombs School of Business Alumni Rising Star Award.
Themed Events Without Looking
Like You Overshot the Mark
With the abundance of social media outlets like Pinterest and CraftGawker, it is very easy for someone to get creative ideas for any event, let alone a holiday event. HOWEVER, the art to a well-designed event is to know what special touches you should do and which you should avoid. Below are my Top 5 rules when designing a themed event:
1. First, pick a theme that is of the simplest form (for example, if you’ve decided on A Starry Night, your motif can either be the color blue/silver or even a star-shape). Do not ever feel the need to overdo it as you may start to realize your event resembles more of a high school prom.
2. Then break down your event into the 6 key areas of every event and find ways to tie it back to the theme.
ii. Arrival (what’s the first impression a guest will experience)
iii. Atmosphere (ie, Lighting, Décor, Rentals)
iv. Food & Beverage
v. Agenda/Flow of the Event
vi. Amenity (Give-Aways, Take-home, etc.)
Something to keep in mind when using a shape motif – we highly recommend keeping the shape the same style so if you are buying items from multiple stores/vendors, try to stay true to your design. Unless you are intentionally mixing the shapes, your event will start to look cluttered.
3. While planning out the details, ask yourself what are the goals of the event? For example – are they to celebrate the holidays; motivate employees; or just allow everyone to have a good time? Design towards the goal.
4. When you find an idea that really reflects your or your client’s personality, ask yourself how easy is it to really to replicate on a larger scale, whether that be size and/or quantity. You want to be realistic about your available time and costs involved.
5. Last but not least, step away from your event design board, and ask yourself if this event would photograph well if certain details of your event were staged for a magazine photo shoot.
And honestly, it takes practice. The first themed event you do, it will probably end up taking 200 man-hours to put together all the special details that you initially found that you could not live without. Next time, you will use that experience to help you prioritize and choose the elements that are not only easier to re-create but also appealing to the design eye. Good luck and most importantly, HAVE FUN! If you are not having fun working in this industry, best to hire a professional ☺
Ask An Event Planner
Want great advice on event planning? Send us a question and Sharon will answer it in a future newsletter!
1. How do I decide what entertainment to choose for my event?
The first thing to do is to analyze the purpose of the entertainment. Does it need to be engaging, or is it simply something going on in the background? Once you make that determination, decide what role the entertainment will take in your event. For example, is a customized Game Show the main focus of the event or one of several types of entertainment? If it is the main focus of the event, don’t have schedule competing activities or entertainment at the same time.
The entertainment is meant to complement the theme of the event, not overshadow it. If the event is 3 hours long and you have the same entertainment for 2 hours, it will ruin the event. I remember once I attended an event where Christmas Carolers were used as the main entertainment, when they should have been used cocktail entertainment to greet the guests upon arrival. They ended up singing all night and irritating the guests as the entertainment didn’t fit with the upbeat tempo of the event.
2. If I hire Bright Ideas to plan my next corporate event, what do I have to do?
You get the fun part; you get to make all of the decisions and leave the leg work to us! When we work with clients we initially sit down and establish your event goals. This gives us a platform to build and design the event, always keeping in mind what we are trying to achieve together. We then set out a meeting schedule, create a critical path, and outline key dates in our timeline letter. Our clients are always well informed as to the status of the event and where we are at in the planning process. We consider our clients to be our event partners and include them on all key decisions. We ask your input (if you choose) when it comes to menu planning, designing the floor plan, and planning the event timing. Most times we will prepare an initial draft and show it to the client for amendments.
3. What are some tips to planning a successful corporate Halloween party?
This is always a tricky situation and requires careful consideration. Halloween is a time when many people dress up, portray themselves as another persona, and sometimes lose inhibitions behind the disguise. If you are hosting a company Halloween party, set some friendly guidelines to avoid embarrassing situations for both the employee as well as management.
Halloween parties are best suited to casual food stations, roving entertainers and activity stations. As some costumes are cumbersome for sitting, strategically placed stools throughout the venue is a thoughtful touch that helps guests in elaborate costumes choose to stay and enjoy the fun. Halloween activities which encompass the “ghoulish” are great fun Can you are guess what you are feeling? Yuck! Are these really cow eyeballs???? Magicians, Tarot Card Readers, Fortune Tellers and a Haunted House are also good choices for entertainment. And of course, what is a Halloween party without a Costume Contest? Give out prizes for pre-determined categories such as most creative, best movie character, scariest costume, best make-up, etc.
Staff Pick of the Month
High Tea at Ascot – Catherina Ehrsam
I had only been working for Bright Ideas for a bit more than 2 months, but the High Tea at Ascot event in August was definitely a fantastic start! The guests arrived at the event looking stunning in their best high tea/horse race outfits. The Bright Ideas female staff looked amazing with the girls dressed in nice black dresses, white gloves and beautiful customized fascinators. Our handsome male staff wore suits and top hats.
Beside great activities like tea tasting, fascinator decorating, nail art, and the comical photo booth, the most exciting part of the day was the horse races. Guests posing as jockeys raced on the beautifully decorated stick horses with the crowd cheering on the jockey and betting on a winner. The Emcee, dressed as Lord Grantham, along with his never smiling butler, added even more humour, with their hilarious British Ascot jokes.
Everybody left the event with a smile, funny pictures from the photo booth, take home gifts such as top hats, gloves, pearls, boas – and a lot of great memories. For my part, I will definitely never forget the great time I had at this event. What an introduction into the world of Bright Ideas!
Our Frightfully Fun Contest!
Sometimes thinking up and creating a costume for Halloween can be stressful and time-consuming. This year, Bright Ideas is giving you an opportunity to skip the hassle and win costume accessories of your choice ($150 value) from our huge selection of fun props and accessories!
To enter for a chance to win, just vote for one of the 9 movies we picked as the most frightening. Can’t find your favourite scary movie? Post an image of your favourite scary movie on our Facebook wall describing why this movie is the scariest Halloween movie, and be entered to win a BONUS PRIZE basket full of cool retro-candy favourites such as Whirly Pops, Unicorn Pops, Twinkle Bears & Flowers, Chupa Chups, and BB Bats (valued at $80).
Contest closes Friday, Oct 25 – so the winners can wear their costume or share their candy on Halloween day.
Click to enter the Frightfully Fun Contest!
Book Your Best Event Ever
Don’t leave your important corporate events to chance. A great event requires superior planning, preparation, and experience. At Bright Ideas, our award-winning corporate events and satisfied clients are proof we can deliver. Call us or request a no-obligation quote to find out how Bright Ideas can create an exceptional event for your company. Want to see more great images from the events mentioned in this newsletter? Visit our portfolio.
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