Make Your Event Fun for the WHOLE Family

When your event is an all family affair, it presents a whole new challenge to your event planning. How can you satisfy parents, kids, and every adult that attends? Whether it’s a grand opening, company picnic, festival, or another family event, we’ve put together some general event planning tips that are sure to please your youngest and “most experienced” event attendees.

Hire entertainers fun for the whole family.

One of the key things your event goers are going to remember is whether they enjoyed—or didn’t enjoy—the event. You don’t want to hear “I’m bored” from anyone. To avoid the boredom, contact a pro that can point you to entertainers that aren’t necessarily targeted at one age group over the other or can provide a group of entertainers for every audience in attendance.

If you’re hosting a country-fair themed event, set up stations that are suited for everyone, such as a dunk tank, face painters (that can do kid and adult designs), jugglers, and other acts perfect for your event. For a country luau, contact an entertainment agent who coordinate dancers that the adults approve of but can customize their act so the kids can join them on stage.

Include dishes in the menu that a picky kid would enjoy.

You don’t want the parents in attendance to have to be fishing in their bags continually for fruit snacks. Instead, plan a menu fitting for everyone in attendance. Talk to your caterer about adding kid-friendly dishes to the menu, such as PBJ’s, chicken tenders, cheese quesadillas, corn dogs. In addition, be open to dietary restrictions for buffet or sit down menus that can accommodate any dietary restrictions or allergies (i.e. peanut-free dishes, gluten free, vegan, etc.)

Avoid anything even remotely risqué.

Including anything risqué can back fire, so go to great lengths to plan an event that can offend attendees or leave the parents in an awkward situation around their kids. Make sure that every part of the event is kid-friendly without boring the adults so you don’t have an egg on your face when the event is over.

Choose a family-friendly venue.

It’s your job to think like a parent—even beyond their wildest expectations—and plan for any situation. One of the biggest ways you can do that is by choosing a family-friendly venue (another factor to add to this list when choosing a venue). Locate your entertainers in kid-friendly areas that are safe. Your youngest attendees are going to appreciate your efforts—and so aretheir parents.

Company Picnic Entertainment Ideas for Adults

dance group at adult-only company picnicNot every company picnic is a family affair; when your company picnic is more of a adults-only event, it takes a strategic approach to choose entertainers for your “more experienced” guests. Here are a few ideas that can kickstart your company planning—and put your event on the successful list.

Celebrity impersonators

Nothing impresses your guests more than a celebrity impersonator they can identify (unlike the younger crowd). Contact an entertainment agent that can connect you with an impersonator appropriate for your picnic theme and guest demographic. Nothing completes your anniversary celebration or your retro company picnic than Frank Sinatra (or another appropriate celebrity!).

Band

Give your guests dinner and a concert. Choose the appropriate kind of band that your guests want to see and fits with your theme. A country band is the perfect fit for a country hoe down with barbecue dishes. A jazz band can give your audience the perfect entertainment for your jazz lounge theme. Beach bands work perfect for a lakefront souire, or an orchestra for a more elegant night on the town. Choose an entertainment agent with a full line-up of entertainers so you can get the right band for your company picnic theme.

Themed entertainers

If networking is a goal, contact your entertainment agent for themed entertainers that contribute to the atmosphere but allow your guests to circulate and mingle throughout the event. Themed entertainers and a strategic seating and eating arrangement can combine together to meet your goal and create an enjoyable atmosphere.

Mentalists/Hypnotists/Psychics

If you’re looking for unique entertainment geared more toward adult guests, mentalists, hypnotists, or psychics are the way to go. Use these tips to choose the right venue to set the atmosphere for your guests—then let the décor and their mind do the best.

Ways to Cool Down Your Summer Event

summer drinks that cool down event guests in chicagoA hot and humid summer event is as Chicago as chili hot dogs and deep dish pizza. We’re not going to lie to you: it gets HOT. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ways to cool down your summer event—while still keeping your event strategic and stylish.

Think AC when choosing an event venue, or make your own.

To keep your guests comfortable and healthy, consider a venue with air conditioning (use these tips to choose the right site for your event) or an indoor and outdoor space where guests can enjoy the outdoors and circulate inside when they need to cool down. If your guest demographic is more prone to heat-related emergencies, take extra effort to find a venue with AC or position your tent to capture cool breezes.

Choose vendors and entertainers that cool & entertain.

When selecting your vendors and entertainers, add vendors or entertainers that cool off your guests. Think snow cones, iced coffee stations, sundae bars, or entertainers that can add cool to their act (i.e. magicians, jugglers, hypnotists, bands, etc.) To find the right people to cool down your guests and heat up the fun, ask an entertainment agent to match you with the entertainers that can customize their act to your summer event.

Keep your guests hydrated (stylishly).

Hydration is essential to keeping your guests cool; make sure you include drinks that are coordinated with your other details. For a beach theme, give your guests drinks that fit with your theme, décor on the drinks that matches with your event, and fruit garnishments that make every detail part of your theme.

Incorporate fans into your décor.

If appropriate, add paper fans to your line-up of favors and décor. Make sure your venue has plenty of fans or ventilation. For an outdoor venue, add stylish fans and misters to your list of event ‘musts.’ To make your fans even more stylish, add entertainers with large fans to your line-up for a big hit with your guests.

6 Factors to Use When Choosing the Perfect Company Picnic Venue

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesThe success of your company picnic depends on more than the attractiveness of the invitation. Choosing the right company picnic venue impacts the attendance rate, event experience, and even the takeaway of your guests. Put simply, it’s important to select the perfect company picnic venue when you want positive results. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of factors to consider as you search for the right venue for your company picnic.

Event purpose

This may be the most common mistake made by amateur event planners, but professionals know that the goal of the event is the top factor in choosing the perfect company picnic list. Identifying the goal and guest demographic is one of the first steps in planning a company picnic, and choosing the right company picnic venue.

Location, location, location

Venue location is everything, especially to your guests. For maximum attendance, choose a company picnic venue that is convenient and in an ideal neighborhood for your guests. In an urban setting, select a location that is easily accessible to public transportation. For a more rural feel, choose a park that is in an ideal neighborhood.

Guest list

Event planning is a very guest-centric effort. Every event planner knows to focus on their guests’ comfort, especially when choosing the event venue. This is a Goldilocks task: the right venue is not too big and not too small. The right venue should be large enough to accommodate your expected attendance, but not so large that it feels like the picnic is not well-attended. With regards to budget, ask each venue about any minimums imposed by the venue to ensure that the final bill does not include charges for guests that did not attend.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere is what every event planner strives for, and every company picnic should deliver. The venue plays a large part in establishing atmosphere—another reason why the stakes are high to find the perfect company picnic venue. To find the perfect backdrop, have an idea of a company picnic theme (find picnic theme ideas here) before vetting event venues.

Budget

Before you select a company picnic venue, set a budget for the event. If budget numbers are minimal, maximize your budget dollars into picnic areas that make a big impact on your guests: food and entertainment. Request an invoice with a complete list of charges to ensure that there are no surprise costs when the company picnic is over—just the satisfaction of a well-attended and successful company picnic.

Event Needs

For a company picnic with multiple activities (i.e. kids’ crafts, concert space, etc.), look for a venue with multiple spaces and any options you need (i.e. audio visual, wi-fi, catering space, etc.). If you are not familiar with a city, such as our national clients who host a corporate event in Chicago, contact a local event planner that knows the area and can make recommendations for the perfect event venue (and any other company picnic details).

 

Creative Company Picnic Themes That’ll Trump all Your Past Picnics

uncle sam on unicycle, a unique entertainer for unique company picnic themeWas your last company picnic the definition of ho-hum? Are your employees sick of the same boring company picnic year after year? It’s time to up the ante on your company picnic planning and execution.  Abandon your boring company picnic theme (those themes that have been giving you lackluster results), and choose from one of these unusual company picnic themes that’ll take your picnic from boring to memorable.

Hawaiian Luau

Make your guests feel transported to the islands with an all out beach front Hawaiian luau.  Combine traditional Hawaiian entrees, luau décor, and the right entertainers, and you’ve got a Hawaiian luau thousands of miles away from the islands—but convenient for your guests.

This is one company picnic theme that you can’t skimp on though; many a company picnic has been thrown cheaply.  Instead, choose to go all out with cuisine and entertainment that fits the theme (ask an entertainment agent to connect you with the right entertainers).

Baseball

Your guests should be singing “talk me out to the ball game…” if you give them a complete baseball fame experience.  Rent out a suite at a local ball game with atmospheric entertainers serving out their favorite treats or host a smaller affair at a local park.  To take your picnic to the next level, have their favorite baseball mascot make an appearance or bring back one of their favorite baseball greats from the past (celebrity impersonators!).

Make sure you don’t forget about your youngest guests; choose a venue that’s got space for the youngest baseball fans.  Provide entertainers that keep them occupied, so the event is enjoyable for the kids and their parents.

Country Fair

child with butterfly face painting from professional face painterTake your guests back in time to a vintage country fair.  Red checkered tablecloths, old time country fair treats, and entertainers can make your country fair company picnic incredibly memorable. Face painters and magicians can entertain your youngest guests, while bands, mimes, and other entertainers can make your more experienced guests enjoy themselves.

Make sure you add all the country fair favorites to the menu to immerse your guests in the theme: corn on the cob, popcorn, cotton candy and all the rest.  Hold the event a fairground or park for the backdrop for your unforgettable vintage country fair.

Theatre Night

During winter, a theatre-themed company picnic includes dinner and a show; during summer, it’s time to take advantage of the weather and move your picnic outdoors.  Invite your guests to a night out at the outdoor theatres; you can rent out an outdoor movie theatre or rent a portable movie screen at the venue of your choice.

Add entertainers to complete the theme.  Ask your entertainment agent to connect you with main stage entertainment that can capture your guests’ attention until the sun goes down. Atmospheric entertainers can offer your guests glow-in-the-dark fun, caricature sketches, yard games, and all the refreshments that come with a night out.

6 Uncommon Entertainers that Make Your Event Extraordinary

Wow factor.  It’s what every event planner strives to achieve, and is so often completely and entirely missed.  If you want a unique, over-the-top event, you have to look for the unique, the uncommon, the unusual, one-of-a-kind entertainers that make your corporate event, party, or wedding guests say “wow” (and mean it).

aerialists at event

Aerialists

If you want to take your event to the next level, ask your entertainment agent about entertainers that entertain on another level—above you.  To add function to fun, aerialists can serve your guests or just serve as a unique show that your guests are going to talk about long after the event is over.

wedding artist painting picture of reception

Artists

Artists may not be the highest energy entertainment, but they are still showstoppers.  An elegant wedding painter, comical caricature artist, or face painter attracts attention from your target demographic (ask us for the artist, we’ll match you with the right artist that fits your event) and adds atmosphere to an event.

Celebrity impersonators

Surprises are what make an event memorable.  It’s the unexpected part of an event that leaves an impression on your guests—and it’s up to you to deliver.  Not many people expect James Bond, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, or another celebrity to grace your event or meet them at the door—and it’s an experience not many of your guests are going to forget any time soon.

human statue at event

Human Statues

Human statues are unexpected and unusual.  That’s what makes them a unique addition to the right event—so unique and one-of-a-kind that your guests can’t help but be amused.  When coordinated with other appropriate entertainment (ask your entertainment agent to create a custom line-up), human statues can be the perfect start or end (or both) of a great event.

LED Entertainers

LED Entertainers

It’s all about bling at a night event—and nothing’s more visually illuminating than a LED entertainer (or a group of LED entertainers).  Just like bright stars in a night sky, a LED entertainer can add bling to any event and entertain any guest that feels like they are in the dark.

Psychic

If you want to see a successful event in your future, add a psychic and tarot card reader to your event line-up.  Either as main stage entertainment or as atmospheric entertainment, a psychic entertainer can be just the right addition to your event line-up.

Obviously, there are more options for uncommon entertainment; contact an entertainment agent with a full line-up of entertainers to find the right uncommon entertainer that can put your event over the top.

5 FUN Wedding Themes (& the Entertainers to Go With Them)

champagne glass with mardi gras themed ideasUsing a wedding theme to guide your wedding planning is either totally your thing or totally NOT your thing; there’s really no in between.  There are some perks to planning your wedding around a central theme, however; it gives you a basis for connecting all the details of your wedding into an awesome atmosphere—from the food to the entertainment. Here are some wedding theme ideas that you can inspire your wedding planning (and the entertainers that can take your event over-the-top).  Of course, your wedding is your personalized take on any theme, so make sure you contact a pro to match your wedding with the right entertainment that makes your theme totally you.

Beach

What: A beach theme can be whatever you want it to be: a casual khaki and sundress affair or a formal wedding with elegant beach details.

Theme ideas: Shell-covered letters, sand and flower centerpieces, sand dollar and sea star accents, lanterns, shells in bouquets

Entertainment ideas: Tropical band, Steel drum entertainers, Bands that can play beach tunes (think Jimmy Buffet & Beach Boys)

Mardi Gras

event entertainers Mardi Gras entertainersWhat: If you want a party, this is your wedding theme.  Make your guests feel like they are attending the ultimate Bourbon Street party a little closer to home.

Theme ideas: Masks, feathers, centerpieces with beads and candles, jambalaya, gumbo, king cake

Entertainment ideas: Show girls, jazz bands, parade entertainers

Country Fair

What: Give your guests a day at the fair—with all their favorite foods and entertainment that comes with it.

Theme ideas: Games, popcorn stand, balloons, family-style tables or picnic benches, cotton candy

Entertainment ideas: Yard games, fair entertainers, cover band that’ll give your wedding a BIG ending

Roaring 20’s

gangster and flapper entertainersWhat: Match your vintage theme to a fun era.  Your guests’ll feel like they stepped back in time to a roaring party at your wedding.

Theme ideas: Old automobile, hairpieces, feathers, pearls, beads

Entertainment ideas: Retro jazz bands, flappers, gangsters

 Country

What: Get those images of square dances out of your head.  Today country weddings can be as elegant or as country chic as you plan.

Theme ideas: Rustic venue, crates (& aged wood), chalkboard signs, strands of shining lights, flowers

Entertainment ideas: Country band, yard games

20+ Gala Entertainment Ideas that Wow & Inspire Your Guests

showgirl at elegant galaOnce you’ve decided what event theme is best for your corporate or charity gala, it’s time to start exploring your options for entertainment that coordinate with your theme.  If you are hosting a casino night, fill your event bill with showgirls, black jack dealers, and other acts that enhance your event atmosphere.  For a Mardi Gras night, contact an agency that connect you with carnival girls, bands, and other suitable entertainers in one call.  For a tropical theme (especially popular during our cold Midwestern winters), a steel drum band and island servers can get your event planning started—and get your guests ready for a warm, fun evening.

The list could go on and on…here are a few other gala entertainment ideas that can be the perfect part of your next event:

  1. Showgirls
  2. Black Jack Dealers
  3. Dance band
  4. Burlesque entertainers
  5. Steel drum band
  6. Blues band
  7. Comedians
  8. Celebrities look alikes
  9. Orchestra
  10. Jazz musicians
  11. Flappers
  12. Gangsters
  13. Jazz performers
  14. Carnival girls
  15. Mariachi band
  16. Island servers
  17. Hypnotists
  18. Magicians
  19. Show (holiday show, short musical, etc.)
  20. Mimes
  21. Country band
  22. Stilt walkers
  23. Accoustic acts

Want some fundraising ideas that tie in with your event entertainment?  Check out our blog post for ideas that can make your event goal (raising funds) as much a part of your event atmosphere as the table décor.

Event Planning: 8 Tips for Over-the-Top Event Success

event entertainers at tropical themed eventWe can tell you that every event—every grand opening, corporate gala, employee picnic, every event—is “its own animal” as the saying goes.  We know because we’ve been part of the event planning process—and many, many events—for far longer than we care to admit.  And yet, while every event is incredibly different, the tips that take an event from ho-hum event to over-the-top success are remarkably similar.

Don’t plan without a goal.

The event planning to-do list can be long; if you don’t have a goal that guides you through that list, each event planning task is going to be just another to-do without any connection to your other event details.  The solution: set a specific goal for your event that guides each decision you make.  Your event goal can be especially important when booking the most essential detail: your venue (tips for choosing the right venue can be found here).

Avoid procrastination.

As soon as your event is confirmed, it’s time to start planning.  Make sure you organize (or hire an event planner who is organized) as you plan to ensure that every detail is taken care of and confirmed.  Don’t wait to get started; the best venues and vendors’ calendars fill up fast.

Select an event date that works for your targeted audience.

As tempting as it may be to book an event date that works for you, the attendance of your event depends upon a thorough consideration of your guests’ schedules.  Statistically, Mondays and Fridays are on average lower attendance days. Once you have a date, create a promotion plan that targets your guests through targeted online and offline channels.

Focus on your guests.

Every corporate event decision and detail—EVERY DECISION—should be dependent on your targeted audience. Your venue should be selected based on the location of your targeted audience.  Your entertainment should fit with guests demographic and tastes.  If you are not able to make those matches, hire a professional with experience so you can make those matches and increase the chance of event success.

Take the old saying, “location, location, location” to heart.

Your venue is one of the most important details—if not the most important detail—so make sure your venue is the right choice for your event.  Your event venue should check several key boxes off your event planning checklist, such as location, adequate space (and spaces), amenities, and other criteria.  If you are not familiar with the area your event needs to be held in, outsource the selection and booking process; you and your guests are going to be glad you did as they enjoy the right venue for your event.

Don’t overlook the smallest detail.

An overlooked detail can be the crux of a corporate event gone wrong. Don’t leave one stone unturned as you plan the food, seating, schedule, signage, and all the other essentials of your corporate event.   Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from vendors and agents throughout the event planning process.

Use the pros to coordinate all your entertainment needs.

Hire an entertainment agent for several key reasons, most notably as a time-saver. An entertainment agent can locate the right, quality entertainers for your guests, and handle any needs the entertainers might have—decreasing your workload and increasing the chance of event success.

Be flexible.

With more than 25 plus years of experience in events, we can tell you from experience that you need to take the Scout motto to heart. As your event draws near, be prepared to “sweat the details” and adjust your plans accordingly the day of the event.

Hiring a band or entertainer? 6 Wedding Planning Mistakes to Avoid

wedding dance floor full of guests dancing to wedding bandHiring a band or entertainer for your big day can seem like just another task to check off on your wedding planning checklist; as simple as it seems, it’s still a wedding planning task that begets blunders if you don’t take advice from the pros to heart.

Procrastinating

We’ve seen many a couple wait too long (way too long) to consider their wedding entertainment.  Don’t wait to start searching for a great wedding band or entertainer; the best wedding entertainers’ calendars fill up quickly.  As soon as you reserve your wedding venue, start searching for bands or hire an entertainment agent who can find the right entertainer and manage all the important details.

Thinking that wedding entertainment is a low priority

Don’t think of your wedding band or entertainer as an isolated item not connected to your wedding atmosphere.  To the contrary: wedding entertainment can be a powerful part of creating a vintage wedding, country picnic or any other wedding theme you are trying to create.  Search for the entertainers that help you connect all the dots and tie all the details together.

Not asking for help

A typical wedding planning checklist is long.  When you’re busy, vetting entertainers (for your ceremony and reception) to find the best and most reliable can seem like a huge undertaking. To ease your wedding planning stress, consider contacting an entertainment agent as a time-saving life saver (amid other excellent reasons). An entertainment agent can locate the right quality entertainers for your wedding, and handle all details and any needs the entertainers might have—decreasing your wedding planning workload and giving you the wedding you’ve always dreamed of.

Making price the only factor in your decision

It’s a common misconception: any amateur musician can play in a wedding ceremony.  You shouldn’t have to settle for amateur musicians who haven’t touched an instrument since grade school (here’s how to choose a quality ceremony musician) or an inexperienced musician who has never played at a wedding before. Your guests shouldn’t have to settle for a mediocre band that doesn’t play together often or has the experience to keep your dance floor going all night.  The lesson: use more than cost in your decision to hire a wedding entertainer, so you get the right entertainer for your big day.

Not considering the size of your venue

For your ceremony and reception, think about the size of your venue when screening potential musicians and entertainers.  A small group or band that can’t hit the volume in a venue your size is going to leave your guests underwhelmed and waiting for the real entertainers to come out and play.  Ask bands and musicians if they’ve performed at a venue your size before, and how many members of the group is going to be present at your ceremony or reception.

Ignoring advice

This doesn’t mean you have to listen to that advice from your aunt about your wedding dress, but it does mean to be open to advice from your wedding planner, venue consultant or entertainment agent. You’ve hired these wedding professionals for their experience; listen to them when setting a schedule, wedding entertainment line-up and placement. Remember, they are trying to make your vision a reality and work for you; now you can rely on their experience for the perfect wedding entertainment line-up.

Not sweating the details

Hiring an entertainer or band is more than just signing on the bottom line.  If you want to make sure you have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed, lean on the professionals who have experience and can sort through and coordinate all the details.  You’ll be glad you did when you’re enjoying all the benefits of terrific wedding entertainment.