Function Organisation

Function Organisation


There are so many considerations and possible components to think about when organising a function. Here are some that you should consider when next you have an important function

There is a simple Checklist at the end of this article which should really assist you with your function planning


1. Food/ Menu/ Catering

Generally the most important component of your function!
There are obviously a number of considerations including:

  • Menu concept eg cocktail with finger foods; buffet dinner; plated dinner; working lunch or breakfast etc
  • Choosing a caterer
  • Venue
  • Briefing of caterer


Click onto “Corporate Catering Checklist” – this should help you with these important decisions

2. Beverage

Yes, you will certainly need some drinks for your guests at your function!  What range of drinks to get and how much to order are foremost and obvious considerations!

Click onto “Event Planning – how much beverage do you need?” Once again this should assist you

3. Venue

If the venue is your home or office, that’s one tick in the box. If not below are some checklist points
  • Is the venue appropriate for your function ie will it work well?
  • Size- sufficient but not too large for your function. There are relatively standard formulae and the prospective venue staff should be able to provide you with suitable advice and assistance
  • Facilities- what is included with the venue and what are the costs?

Do you need a marquee/ temporary structure? If you do, there are numerous marquee/ hire companies and many different types of structure/ sizes so it certainly pays to get quotes and ensure that you get a good understanding of costs and what is included eg labour to erect and dismantle, delivery charges etc

Below are some of the marquee companies in New Zealand that I have been very happy to work with over the years:

     • Carlton Party Hire
     • Hamilton Party Hire
     • HireQuip
     • HireMaster
     • Continental

When considering a marquee, there are other components that you will need, certainly furniture. Others include:

     • Furniture
     • Trestle tables for bar and buffet
     • Linen
     • Carpet – do you want?
     • Chilling of beverage
     • Power/ extension leads
     • Toilets
     • Pot plants etc 

The marquee companies will be able to assist you or point you in the right direction regarding these items

If you have a large or really important function or event requiring temporary structure, I can strongly recommend John Culpitt of Plan It Events as someone that I have worked with over the past fifteen years and whom I continue to use to organise and manage all my infrastructure/ marquee/ furniture/ AV requirements. 

He is quite simply the best in the business in Australasia!

His contact details are johnc@planitevents.co.nz. M- 027 4752648.

He would also look after any consents that might be required

4. Theming – Whether your function is in an existing venue or temporary structure, I believe that it’s always a good idea to add some atmosphere and colour by incorporating some theming components.

Standard examples include:

     • Chair covers and possibly band
     • Table centerpiece
     • Additional linen such as napkins or floor length tablecloths (your caterer may provide        these?)
     • Feature floral arrangements
     • Special lighting etc
     • Silk roof and wall linings


There are two basic options for you:

1. Engage the services of a theming company – there are many to choose from. If you have a large, important function or have a theme in mind, tell the theming company what you’re thinking about/ “conceptualising” and get them to interpret your brief/ idea and come back to you with concept and price. Make sure that you get at least two quotes and can compare “apples with apples”


2. Unless your function is a large, major corporate event, an Event Manager can look after your theming requirements as part of the overall event management responsibilities. If they are good, for most functions the most inexpensive option is for them to “dry hire” some basic theming items such as chair covers, bands, table runners and even linen (if not supplied by either the caterer or the venue). – this should save you many $$ and still create that special, classy look for your function.


5. Entertainment – subject to what your function is for, you may want to consider some “entertainment”. Standard options are:

Music – generally DJ or live band. Subject to what your function is all about, could also, for example, be a string trio. Band could be just one person performing up to any number of musicians you want! Unless you know a band or DJ, either your venue can give you options or alternatively work through a music broker who will provide a range of options to suit budget, taste and size of function/ venue

Guest speaker – these days mostly motivational or humorous or with a sporting theme. There are a number of companies which can source/ provide you with a suitable speaker

MC - if your function is an important corporate function or event, you may want to consider the use of an MC. They can perform a valuable role in introductions and housekeeping as well as humour and holding the function together.

There is quite a bit of work involved in coordinating the entertainment requirements for a function including ensuring that all the entertainers arrive on time, get fed and “watered”, payment of etc. These can easily be managed by an event manager

6. Audio Visual/ Lighting/ Sound – could be required for large, mainly corporate functions, both in function venues or temporary structures. You have no doubt been to some large functions where there is a guest speaker, a band is playing and quite possibly there is some additional lighting – quite likely you will have taken these components of the function for granted(!), however, if you want a band or guest speaker and don’t just want standard neon/ room lighting, you will need to factor this into your planning.

     • Audio-Visual - if using an existing venue such as a hotel ballroom, they will be able   to assist you and will likely have their in-house contracted supplier

     • Lighting- there are various lighting requirements and effects, from the basic need to light a marquee through to mood/ ambiance lighting and lighting which is an integral component and feature of the theming

     • Sound system – if not a large function, a band may have their own sound system which will suffice and may be able to be used by the speakers. 

This is a real technical skill/expertise area and is a really important component of most functions. Obvious options:

     1. If in an existing venue get their assistance and talk to their supplier

     2. Get your event manager to look after these requirements following a good discussion about what you want/ think is required! They have the expertise and experience to organise all of this for you


7. Gifts – certainly not essential but if you have a corporate function or event, you might like to consider a small gift for your guests- this could, for example, feature your logo/ brand. There are many companies who can assist you and have catalogues with ideas and options. We use Brand Storming, www.bsp.co.nz 

8. Set up / Pack down - if you are hiring a venue, make sure that you are clear about when you can move in and set up and when you have to get out! Carefully plan around these times


9. Security - what about security? Do you need some security presence at your function? If it is a marquee function, depending on the function, it may be worth considering especially if either:

     • You have expensive gear/ equipment in the marquee

     • You are concerned about “gatecrashers”! For example, if it is a teenager’s party, it could be as simple of asking a couple of adult, family friends to assist


10. Invitations/ RSVP – invitations to a function and especially the essential RSVP process are so critical for the success of a function. It is well worth making the effort to do this properly, at very least incorporating the following basic steps!

     • Carefully determine who you would ideally like to invite

     • Get the invitations out with good lead time before your event and with an RSVP date

     • No later than two weeks out, follow up on the RSVP’s

     • Get your final numbers in to the caterers, venue and other suppliers by the agreed deadline

     • After the function, why not consider a follow up communication – could be as simple as “Thank you for joining us, trust that you enjoyed yourself etc” through to something a bit more elaborate such as a small memento of the function

Most important to do all this efficiently and in a timely manner – it could save you many dollars as well as making you look good!


11. Toilets (for temporary structures) - hopefully there will be existing toilets that you can use but if not, you will certainly need to provide! There are good options available aside from the standard portaloos (!)


10. Using an Event Manager – as you can see, subject to the size of your function, there is a great deal of very important thinking, planning and organisation required which generally takes time! You can of course do all of this yourself or have one of your staff perform this requirement. If your function is important, and most are, it makes real sense to certainly have a discussion with an event manager/ event management company. They will, at very least, take all the stress, pressure and worry away from you/ your organisation, save you a great deal of time and, most importantly, organise and deliver a professional event which will likely be a memorable experience for both you and your guests!

 .

Function Organisation Checklist 

Key Function Component

Required Detail/ Action

Actioned

Food/ Catering/ Menu – generally the most important component of your function

There are obviously a number of considerations including:

  • Menu concept e.g. cocktail with finger foods; buffet dinner; plated dinner; working lunch or breakfast etc
  • Choosing a caterer
  • Venue


Beverages - another rather important component!

Key considerations:


Venue - including


  • Is the venue appropriate for your function ie will it work well?
  • Size - sufficient but not too large for your function. There are relatively standard formulae and the prospective venue staff should be able to provide you with suitable advice and assistance
  • Facilities - what is included with the venue (eg all linen, napkins, centerpieces etc). What will you have to hire or bring in?
  • Venue contract - ensure that you read and understand the contract/ implications 


Theming - carefully check what linen and "theming" components are provided by venue and caterer


  • Chair covers and possibly bands
  • Table centerpiece
  • Additional linen such as napkins or floor length tablecloths (your caterer may provide these?)
  • Feature floral arrangements
  • Special lighting etc
  • Silk roof and wall linings


Entertainment


  • Music - generally DJ or live band. As a complete alternative, music could also, for example, be a string trio. Band could be just one person performing up to any number of musicians you want! Unless you know a band or a DJ, either your venue can give you options or alternatively work through a music broker who will provide a range of options to suit budget, taste and size of function/ venue.
  • Guest speaker - these days mostly motivational or humorous or with a sporting theme. There are a number of companies which can source/ provide you with a suitable speaker
  • MC - if your function is an important corporate function or event, you may want to consider the use of an MC. They can perform a valuable role in both introductions and housekeeping as well as humour and holding the function together


Audio Visual/ Lighting/ Sound


  • Audio Visual - if using an existing venue such as a hotel ballroom, they will be able to assist you and will likely have their in-house contracter supplied
  • Lighting - there are various lighting requirements and effects, from the basic need to light a marquee through to mood/ ambiance lighting and lighting which is an integral component and feature of the theming
  • Sound system - if not a large function, a band may have their own sound system which will suffice and may be able to be used by the speakers 


Gifts


  • Certainly not essential but if you have a corporate function or event, you might like to consider a small gift for your guests - this could, for example, feature your logo/ brand. There are many companies who can assist you and have catalogues with ideas and options



Set up/ pack down

  • If you are hiring a venue, ensure you are clear about when you can set up and when you have to get out of the venue
  • Are all your suppliers aware of the available timelines?
  • Make sure you have sufficient resource to handle the set up and pack down 


Invitations - especially with corporate functions, insufficient focus is given to invitations and the required process

  • Carefully determine who you would ideally like to invite
  • Get the invitations out with good lead time before your event and with an RSVP date
  • No later than two weeks out, follow up on the RSVP's
  • Get your final numbers in to the caterers, venue and other suppliers by the agreed deadline
  • After the function, why not consider a follow up communication - could be as simple as "Thank you for joining us, trust that you enjoyed yourself etc" through to something a bit more elaborate such as a small memento of the function 


Security


  • Give some thought to whether you need security at your function
  • For a young adult party it may be useful, but as an option for consideration, maybe some adult friends could assist? Make sure you have a full invited guest list for these occasions too!


Budget


  • Unless it is a small private function you should compile a budget for your function
  • Make sure you include all components
  • Check off quotes/ costs against the budget 


Ian Fraser


Contact us
+64 9 6200 957
021 742 557
info@hospitalitysolutions.co.nz

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