Event plan­ners

Lead­ing event plan­ners share some of their se­crets with Anthea Ger­rie

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Contents -

IS THERE a sure fire way to im­press, even on a lim­ited bud­get?

RJ: The wow fac­tor al­ways comes from the de­tail. It only takes some­thing small, like the way we present a ta­ble plan or place cards. We might seat chil­dren at high ta­bles on stools, rather than at din­ing ta­bles, or the cen­tral ar­range­ments will be dif­fer­ent on each ta­ble, so as guests walk around, they have some­thing new to take in.

WP: Chang­ing the way peo­ple are used to see­ing a space is key — trans­form­ing a shul hall with chan­de­liers or pro­ject­ing im­ages of the Champs Elysées on to a wall, for ex­am­ple. I have also screened off part of the venue un­til af­ter din­ner, when its trans­for­ma­tion into a night­club for the evening was re­vealed.

PD: It could be some­thing as sim­ple as writ­ing a lit­tle note to each guest and at­tach­ing them to the un­der­side of each chair. Mid-way through the meal, the toast­mas­ter or MC could ask guests to check un­der their seats. This in­stantly cre­ates a talk­ing point, is tai­lored to each in­di­vid­ual guest and is some­thing guests will take home and re­mem­ber.

Q: What is the most im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber when you are plan­ning a bar/ bat­mitz­vah?

GSP: Get to know the child-host. Most chil­dren are pas­sion­ate about some­thing, be it magic, mu­sic, sport, the arts, danc­ing. See the event through a 13-year-old’s eyes and in par­tic­u­lar this 13-year-old’s eyes. Un­der­stand what makes the child tick and that this is in all like­li­hood the first time he has ever hosted an event for his friends. Also, he is likely to share his pas­sion with most of his friends, so get the theme right and the au­di­ence will be on your side.

PD: Chil­dren’s ma­tu­rity lev­els vary greatly and this should be con­sid­ered. Is there plenty go­ing on dur­ing the re­cep­tion, to avoid bore­dom? Could there be tar­geted en­ter­tain­ment dur­ing the main course ser­vice, so that the kids (who will gen­er­ally eat a lot faster than adults) have some­thing to do?

RJ: Some­times par­ents get car­ried away with­want­ing to cre­ate a party for their own friends. They for­get the evening is sup­posed to be tai­lored around the chil­dren.

Q: What is the ideal sim­chah food?

GSP: For the chil­dren it’s all about dessert. Cre­ate an elab­o­rate dessert buf­fet and in­clude all your fam­ily favourites.

WP: A pick-and-mix ap­proach is pop­u­lar, rather than one dish at each course. And adults do love a choco­late schwarma stand!

RJ: Chil­dren nowa­days eat at top restau­rants with their par­ents, not just pasta and cheese! Fam­ily-style feasts work well, as kids can so­cialise while eat­ing — have plat­ters of dips and bite- sized foods in the cen­tre of their ta­bles for ev­ery­one to tuck in.

Q: What about en­ter­tain­ment?

RJ: There are some great new con­cepts that al­low guests’ pho­tos to be up­loaded to a be­spoke In­sta­gram page dur­ing the party, so ev­ery­one can see what is hap­pen­ing live. With chil­dren par­tic­u­larly, if there is a way for them to get their pho­tos on to Twit­ter, In­sta­gram or Face­book, they are happy!

WP: Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the im­pact of a bag­piper to wel­come guests, es­pe­cially if there is a Scot­tish el­e­ment to the event!

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