10 FUN Office Holiday Party Planning Tips

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office holiday party entertainersThere are more than just three letters that separate a fun office holiday party from another boring company holiday event that your guests feel compelled to attend.  We’ve been part of many, many company holiday party planning processes over the years—everything from selecting a holiday party venue and event planning to booking holiday party entertainment—and here’s what we’ve seen that sets the enjoyable holiday parties apart.

  1. Hold your office holiday party at a unique event venue that makes your guests WANT to come and entertains them (i.e. museum, aquarium, etc.)
  2. Utilize these tips in your holiday party planning to select an ideal venue for your party. If your party is for a location in another city, contact a local event planner to select the best venue for your event.
  3. Use a holiday party theme to create a cohesive event.
  4. Establish a theme with invitations (electronic or paper) designed with the same colors and elements of your theme.
  5. Create holiday party atmosphere through your menu, décor, and entertainment.
  6. Don’t overlook one detail that ties your details together into one cohesive event.
  7. If your company holiday party is an event for families, don’t forget to book children’s entertainers (i.e. Father Christmas giving out presents, elves, face painters, etc.)
  8. Use entertainers to serve food and mingle with guests to create an atmosphere.
  9. Don’t feel you have to manage your office holiday party planning all alone; use an event planner or contact experienced professionals (i.e. caterers, entertainment agents, etc.) and ask for recommendations that tie everything together.
  10. Be careful when hiring entertainers; look for experienced, reliable professionals that come highly recommended (or ask an entertainment agent for dependable, quality entertainers).

7 Mistakes Companies Make When Choosing Their Event Venue

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesThe perfect corporate event is dependent upon so many details: atmosphere, food, décor, event venue.  The latter detail, the perfect event venue, is more than just a detail; it’s the crux of a successful event venue.  We know because we’ve helped companies plan the perfect event for more years than we care to admit.  For more than 20 years, we’ve seen company planners and event planners make one—or all—of these mistakes when choosing the perfect venue for their corporate event.

Not having a clear event purpose

It’s one of the top mistakes companies make when choosing a corporate event venue: planning an event with a generic goal or without a goal at all.  Be specific with your event goal, and you get an added bonus: clear direction for your corporate event.  For example, if your goal involves making an impact in a certain community, choose a prominent corporate event venue in that town.

Not booking a big enough venue

There are so many reasons every company needs to compile a complete and realistic guest list before booking their event venue: safety reasons, guest comfort, and for proper event execution.  If your event is going to have breakout sessions, select a corporate event venue with multiple spaces and the amenities you need (i.e. audio visual, wi-fi, etc.).  With regards to budget, ask or review the contract closely for any event minimums to ensure that you are not charged for more guests than expected to attend.

Booking just any venue in an area you are not familiar with

Just as in real estate, it’s one of the top rules of corporate event planning: location, location, location.  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 or plan your event for you.  Ignoring this step can cost you more in staff time, canceled contracts, and event success if you book a venue in a less-than-prime venue or without the options you need for your specific corporate event.

Not setting a corporate event budget

A lump sum is a start, but a corporate event budget should be more specific to ensure funds are adequately utilized.  Professional tip: to ensure that you stick to the budget for your event venue, ask your prospective venues for a full list of charges so you don’t get stuck with an invoice full of add-on charges (i.e. set-up, overtime, etc.).

Not factoring in your ideal event atmosphere

Once you’ve factored in the practical criteria for your event (budget, adequate space, purpose, location), don’t neglect to factor in the aesthetics of your event when choosing your corporate event venue.  Consider the atmosphere you want to set, formality of the event, and budget for décor.  Need assistance? Trust the professionals to help you choose the right corporate event venue.

Not considering event venue amenities

As they say, the devil is in the details—so are the extra costs you incur if you don’t play close enough attention to booking a corporate event venue with the amenities you need: (i.e. acoustics, audio visual, kitchen, event equipment, full service staff, parking, handicap accessibility).

Not visiting the venue

Social media and websites are a great asset to the event planner today; they give you a snapshot of some of the most beautiful scenes from every venue.  Remember they are just snapshots.  If you want to make sure the event venue is right for your event, make sure you visit the venue or hire someone to plan your corporate event who has seen the venue in person.

16 Wedding Picnic Reception Ideas (Especially Entertainment)

happy just married young couple at wedding picnicBeautiful Midwestern weather + beautiful setting = a fantastic wedding picnic ceremony followed by a wonderful wedding picnic reception.  We’ve assisted with planning wedding entertainment for more years than we care to admit, and now we’re focusing on passing on our knowledge and expertise so you can plan the perfect wedding reception for your guests.

One of the first steps in planning the perfect wedding picnic reception is to choose a theme that connects every detail of your wedding picnic reception.  Choose a wedding theme that’s uniquely you, or pick a wedding theme that you can plan into an event that embodies who you are as a couple.  Once you’ve chosen a wedding picnic theme, it’s time to lock in all the details—including wedding picnic reception entertainment which can create the atmosphere that’ll make your wedding day a unique and memorable experience for your guests.

Country Fair

  1. Country band,
  2. Themed Servers (passing out popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, and other treats),
  3. Jugglers,
  4. Musicians,
  5. Tarot & Psychic Reader,
  6. Caricature/Event Painter,
  7. Yard games,
  8. Dunk tank,

Vintage Picnic

  1. Jazz band,
  2. Themed Servers,
  3. 20’s Entertainers,
  4. Yard Games

Carnivale

  1. Carnivale characters,
  2. Jugglers
  3. Tarot & Psychic Reader,
  4. Mimes

If you want top quality entertainers for your wedding picnic, contact us to book the “best of the best” and get recommendations for entertainers that fit your unique day and wedding picnic theme.

Company Picnic Children’s Entertainers the Kids’ll LOVE

kids enjoying company picnic with their family because of children's entertainersThere are a lot of aspects of planning a company picnic: venue, food, schedule, entertainment.  If your company picnic is a family event, don’t neglect planning entertainment for the youngest members of your company picnic: the kids.  They—and their parents—will appreciate yard games, coloring books, and any of these children’s entertainers at your next company picnic.

Magicians

Magicians are one of the first children’s entertainers that come to everyone’s mind, and for good reason. Magicians are versatile children’s entertainers because they can adapt to almost any event venue—on a stage or interacting one-to-one with your guests—and provide tricks that wow guests of all ages.

Jugglers

Just like magicians, jugglers are versatile and can cater their entertainment to your event venue. They are also entertainers that are suitable for adults and children of all ages, and can even incorporate your guests into their act.

Face painters

Face painters are a young crowd favorite, and it’s easy to see why.  Who wouldn’t want to leave a company picnic looking like a beautiful unicorn or a ninja?  A professional face painter gives your kids a memorable time at your company picnic—and their parents plenty of pictures of their excited child.

Fun singers

Singers are unique children’s entertainers who can customize their act to almost any event, and any size event venue. Ask us about singers that can include children and adults into their acts, or for a children’s singer for one stage, and a singer more suited to adults at another stage.

These children’s entertainers are just a few of the many acts that an entertainment agent (we) can book for your company picnic; contact us for other entertainers that fit with your theme or event venue.  We’ll connect you with a reliable, quality children’s entertainers that you and your young guests’ll love.

22+ Grand Opening Entertainment Ideas That’ll Set Your Event Apart

showgirl entertainer in red dress at grand openingThe best grand openings are events that go above and beyond the ‘normal’ small plates of refreshments.  If you really want to make a splash with your grand opening, plan a grand opening that draws, entertains AND converts your guests into customers.  As entertainment agents, we’ve been part of our share of 25+ years of grand openings—including an incredibly memorable grand opening with a tight walker—and can connect your organization with entertainment ideas that’ll draw a crowd and entertain them while you give them incentives to come back.

Theme Entertainment (to play into a theme)

  1. Showgirls
  2. Carnivale characters
  3. Mariachi band
  4. Steel drum band
  5. Caricature artist
  6. Stiltwalkers
  7. 20’s entertainers
  8. Celebrity look-alikes

Kid Fun

  1. Magician
  2. Face Painters
  3. Juggler
  4. Balloon artists

Main Entertainers

  1. Barbershoppe Quartet
  2. Jazz band
  3. Dance band
  4. Reggae band
  5. Country band
  6. Hypnotists
  7. Magicians
  8. Classic band (you pick the era)
  9. Orchestra
  10. Pianists
  11. Anything else you want…just ask!

3 Common Company Picnic Planning Questions (& Answers) from the Pros

picture of family enjoying company picnicWe’ve been involved in planning a few (dozen or so…) company picnics in our 25+ years of event planning, and have heard some of the most common—and critical—questions just as many times.  Here are our (experienced!) answers.

How do I choose the right venue for my company picnic?

Your company picnic venue is one of the most critical decisions you make during planning and plays a key role in the success of your company picnic.  Take the old real estate rule to heart: “location, location, location” and choose a venue that is a ideal location for your guests.  Beyond location, consider these factors to narrow your company picnic options: budget, event purpose, atmosphere, event needs, and number of guests when choosing the right hall, park, arena, aquarium, or other space for your picnic festivities.

We’ve given you a list of potential company picnic venue sites to start your company picnic planning.  If you’re holding a company picnic for one of your remote locations, we’d recommend you hire a local expert knowledgeable in venues.  They can recommend and book venues that can assist with meeting your event goals, fit your guest list quantity, has the appropriate accommodations for your event and fits any other criteria needed for your event.

How do I get started planning a company picnic?

Anyone can plan a company picnic and hire a caterer.  To create a company picnic atmosphere that makes your guests feel appreciated and want to come back, you have to plan a company picnic with atmosphere.

Start with a theme (we’ve given you company picnic theme ideas here).  Plan every other detail around that theme: venue, food, entertainment, etc.—or hire an event planner that can put all the pieces together and plan an event beyond your expectations.

What entertainment is right for your company picnic?

Company picnic entertainment is an important part of your picnic, and with a lot of risk; your entertainers are the highlight of your picnic—and what your employees are going to talk about after your picnic is over.  There are a lot of factors that play into the selection of entertainers for a company picnic—and so many entertainers to choose from.  To get the best combination of entertainers for your picnic, contact an entertainment agent with a full line-up of quality, reliable entertainers.  An entertainment agent can recommend main entertainers (bands, hypnotists, etc.), children’s entertainers (jugglers, face painters, magicians, etc.), and all the atmosphere entertainers that’ll make your company picnic unforgettable.

Wedding Picnic Entertainment Tips from the Pros

wedded couple on scooter having fun at wedding picnicSummer is a fantastic time to plan a wedding picnic with all the bells and whistles: food, picnic décor, yard games, fun…and all the unique challenges that come with an outdoor wedding.  If you’re planning a wedding picnic and hope to take it to the next level, use these wedding entertainment tips from the professional entertainment agents to put your special day over the top.

Take the #1 rule of event planning to heart.

Location, location, location.  We’ve all seen the beautiful pictures of an outdoor wedding with guests swaying to band out in the middle of nowhere.  Seems idyllic, right? In reality, that scenario is challenging with the equipment required by many bands.  When booking an outdoor picnic wedding venue, ask specifically about accommodations for the band and any other entertainers—and bring your entertainment agent into the mix to make sure the requirements of the band are met in your outdoor venue.

Connect all the dots.

The right wedding entertainment is an opportunity to connect all the dots of your wedding theme.  Don’t miss out on the chance to play up your tropical theme with a steel drum band, or a group of entertainers to make your picnic feel like a country fair.

Think about ALL your guests.

Give the parents attending your wedding a gift, and your youngest guests to have an awesome time at your wedding.  Hire children’s entertainers like face painters, jugglers, and magicians to ensure all your guests have a good time.

Have a plan B.

No matter how sure you are that your wedding date is going to be weather-free, have a plan for just in case it isn’t—and bring everyone into the loop on that plan. Find an indoor location for “just in case” weather, and make sure your wedding planner, entertainment agent, entertainers, caterer, and any other vendor are in the loop about your plan B.  Planning ahead for contingencies is far easier than scrambling on your wedding day.

Don’t feel confined to one entertainer.

If you really want to take your wedding to the next level, think beyond the stereotypical one-band wedding entertainment.  Think children’s entertainers, wedding painters, ceremony soloists, steel drum bands, atmospheric entertainment…to get the right combination of entertainers, trust the professionals to select the right entertainers for your wedding picnic.  Entertainment agents can select characters and entertainers that take it over the top based on your wedding details and guest demographic. They’ve also seen what works and doesn’t work, and good entertainment agents only hire the best entertainers for your wedding.

Ask the pros.

Weather, equipment requirements, selecting the right entertainers for your wedding picnic theme—all of the details of an outdoor wedding can be overwhelming.  Don’t be afraid to bring in the professionals to help nail down the details, and to take your wedding to the next level.

5 Company Picnic Planning Mistakes to Avoid

picture of family enjoying company picnicThere are a lot of details to sort through when planning a company picnic; a serious misstep in any area can jeopardize all the corporate event goals you’re trying to achieve. To avoid another mediocre company picnic, avoid these major mistakes when planning your company picnic.

Ignoring “location, location, location” event planning rule

Your company picnic venue is one of the most important decisions you make during planning.  Take the old real estate rule to heart: “location, location, location.”  Consider these factors when choosing the right hall, park, arena, aquarium, or other space for your picnic festivities.  If the “normal” locations aren’t available, be creative—or consult someone with experience who can make original recommendations.

No back-up plan for an outdoor event

Midwestern weather is unpredictable.  NEVER plan an outdoor event—even with a clear forecast—without a plan B just in case of a pop up shower, intense heat, or a surprise storm.  The comfort of your guests and the success of your event is at stake.  Arrange for a back-up tent, alternate location for food, and other options for all contingencies.

Not providing entertainment for ALL your guests

Even if your primary audience is adults, never forget to include your youngest guests in your entertainment plans.  The parents in the crowd are going to thank you too!  Think face painters, magicians, jugglers…we’ve listed a few suggestions for children’s entertainers here.  If you need an entertainer that fits your “out of the box” theme, contact an entertainment agent for a truly unique entertainment line-up that speaks to ALL of your guests.

Not having entertainment…at all

Don’t just leave the fun of your company picnic to chance.  While networking is an important part of any company picnic, keep your picnic moving and your guests entertained through the whole event.  The food, atmosphere, venue all play an important part in company picnic success…but the entertainment is what your guests’ll talk about for years to come.

Not having enough

Not having enough of anything during a company picnic…enough food, enough restrooms, enough room in the venue, enough…well you get the idea.  If you want to increase your chance of company picnic success, have an accurate guests list that you can use to work with your vendors to make sure you have all your bases sufficiently covered.  Contact an entertainment agent for enough entertainment.  A caterer for enough food.  A venue to find out if there is enough space.  An event planner to coordinate all the details of your company picnic.  You, and your guests, will be glad you did.

6 Tips for Selecting the Right Corporate Event Venue

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesWhether planning a grand opening, company picnic, seminar, conference, team building, VIP event—-any kind of corporate event—one of the most important decisions is selecting the right venue for your event.  Choosing the right venue for your corporate event increases your chances of success, so take these tips to heart when selecting the right venue for your corporate event.

Define the purpose of your corporate event.

Every corporate event should have a goal.  Be specific with your goal, and select your venue based on your event purpose.  Does your event check off all the boxes you need to accomplish that goal?  Just as in real estate, remember, “location, location, location.”

Don’t be afraid to ask the experts.

Professional advice can be worth its weight in gold, especially when the success of your event is on the line.  If you are not familiar with a city, such as our national clients who host a corporate event in Chicago, contact a local expet that knows the area and can make recommendations or plan your event for you.

Compile a full guest list.

For optimal results, safety reasons, and guest feedback, select a corporate event venue with adequate space and spaces for your guests.  If your event is going to have breakout sessions, select a corporate event venue with multiple spaces with the options you need (i.e. audio visual, wi-fi, etc.).  With regards to budget, pay special attention to any minimums imposed by the venue to ensure that you are not charged for more guests than you expect to attend.

Know your budget.

Obviously, your budget is going to play a large part in selecting the venue for your corporate event.  If your budget is tight, allocate your resources into items that make the biggest impact on your guests: food and entertainment.  To ensure that you stick to your budget, ask your event venues for a full list of charges so you don’t get stuck with an invoice full of add-on charges (i.e. set-up, overage, etc.).

Determine the type of atmosphere you want to create.

Once you’ve gotten through all the practical criteria for your corporate event venue (budget, adequate space, purpose, location), it’s time to look at the aesthetics of your event.  Think about the atmosphere you want to set, formality of the event, and budget for décor.  If you don’t have a large budget for décor, select a venue with ambiance that doesn’t require a significant investment in décor.

Know your event needs.

Acoustics, amenities, audio visual, kitchen, event equipment (i.e. tables, chairs, etc.), full service staff (i.e. coat check, bartenders, servers, set up & take down staff, etc.), parking, handicap accessibility.  Can your prospective event venue fulfill the needs of your event?    If you need a full kitchen, discuss your options with venues in your desired area.  Depending on the weather, if your event venue doesn’t have an on-site kitchen, you may be able to bring a tent in for your catering needs.  Focus on your guests and their needs (or hire someone that can) for optimal corporate event success.  Choosing an event venue is not a time to take anything for granted; ask and double check your lists.  The success of your event is dependent on it.

10 (Unique) Wedding Entertainment Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

happy just married young couple celebrating with wedding entertainment ideasWe all have seen the traditional wedding reception entertainment: a good DJ or one of the best wedding bands that can create a special atmosphere.  For couples that want to go beyond the traditional wedding entertainment, there are a number of unexpected (and fun) wedding entertainment ideas that can take your wedding day over the top.  (If you want more unique ideas, contact us. We’ll find the perfect wedding entertainment for your ceremony and reception.)

Magicians

Your union is a magical experience; why not share that sentiment with your guests?  Hire a magician to entertain your youngest guests in a separate room, or to fill time between your dinner and wedding reception.

Artist

wedding artist painting picture of receptionAn artist is an unexpected wedding entertainment idea that is perfect for a formal or a picnic wedding. A wedding artist can give you a memento of your big day that you can hang on your wall forever.  At a picnic wedding, an artist can face paint your young—and more experienced (adult)—for fun wedding photos that you’ll have for years to come.

Yard Games

If you want fun outdoor wedding entertainment, crack out the traditional yard games: corn hole, lawn dice, tic tac toe (on steroids), ring toss, outdoor bowling, etc.  Put out yard games to keep your guests entertained before your band takes over, or contact an entertainment agent for entertainers to create a fun carnival atmosphere at your wedding. (Remember, due to our unpredictable Midwestern weather, make sure you have a plan B.)

Hayrides

Nothing beats a hayride at a rustic wedding venue.  It’s the perfect entertainment for all your guests, both young and old.  One tip: make sure your hayride is safe, and your venue has adequate insurance for the occasion.

Mariachi Band

For a fun Mexican or beach-themed wedding, hire a Mariachi band to make your guests feel like they’re on vacation.  To enhance the theme, add a piñata to your list of wedding entertainment ideas to enhance your wedding atmosphere.

Bowling

Lawn bowling or a venue with classic bowling options…you’re guests’ll always remember your union as a strike!

Greeters

wedding entertainer with formal red dress and head piece as a wedding entertainment ideaTo establish your theme before your guests enter, hire statement entertainers to greet your guests and circulate through the crowd.  Ask your entertainment agent about entertainers specific to your theme, such as flappers and gangsters for your vintage event.

Bubbles and a coloring table and…

Don’t forget about entertainment for the kids at your wedding.  We’ve listed a few wedding entertainment ideas that your young guests—and their parents—will appreciate!

Fireworks

End your big night with a bang.  Make sure your guests now about it so you can enjoy it together.  For a plan B wedding entertainment idea (the weather, remember?), contact the professionals who have the experience to make your night a big bang everyone’ll remember—even if it’s pouring outside.