College balls, charity balls, massive parties, and other black-tie, summertime shenanigans are enormous fun to attend. It's a hoot getting dressed up, well fed and dancing all night, but all this revelry is no happy accident. Behind every ball is normally a team of committed people who may have zero experience of organising such things. These guys are heroes, and deserve all the help they can get. Here are some top tips from some of Clara's big party-planning friends:
1) Do the basics well
It may sounds obvious, but if you don't sort the basics, all those flourishes that make everyone go "ooooooh" will fall seriously flat. Before you commission an ice sculpture, or work up the all important table centrepieces, think power and shelter. That means generators and marquees, Good suppliers tend to get booked up, and prices vary hugely, so don't leave infrastructure to the last minute.
2) Food and drink
Attending a ball is seriously thirsty, exhausting work. Don't underestimate the importance of feeding your guests once at dinner, and again later on, and supplying more than enough drink! Otherwise all that drink will become a bit much. What you feed everyone will be talked about, so make this something fun, and that fits well with your theme if you have one. Sit down meals are expensive to pull off effectively, so if your budget is tight, a street food type food experience makes a lot more sense, and works really well later in the evening too. Of course, serving coffee after dinner is essential, and we cover that brilliantly at Clara's. A caffeine hit in the small hours is also highly recommended. As for alcohol. Make sure you're operating within the law, and that you use a trusted supplier.
3) Entertainment, lights and sound
Booking a music act that everyone's heard of, or a seriously talented covers band is going to take up a sizeable chunk of budget but it's easy to see why this forms one of the biggest hooks to get guests to attend. Don't spoil this investment with a cheap light show and shoddy sound. So often overlooked, but absolutely critical is how you showcase the talent you hire - think of lights and sound as part of the talent budget. Your guests will definitely appreciate the effort here just as much as the booking of amazing acts.
4) The morning after
Depending on who your guests are of course, it is highly likely that you'll still have guests on site as the sun comes up. These brave souls need to be rewarded. Fresh breakfast pastries, steaming coffee and a bottle of water will all be received with enormous gratitude. It's a lovely way to end the night!
5) Rules and regulations
This should really come first, but its the least fun bit, so I've put it last. That's not to say that it is hugely important to do more than just comply. Do your homework on all your suppliers. Everyone serving food and drink should be qualified, and will have a star rating for their food hygiene. Ask questions if a supplier can't or won't show you proof of this. Anything less than 5 stars warrants an explanation. Other suppliers need to comply too - temporary structures, electrical equipment and such like all have to be inspected regularly and everyone should have all the relevant insurance. It's simply not worth taking the risk with non-compliance.
So there you have. It's not easy, but think of how rewarding it'll be when the ball is in full swing and you finally get to see the fruits of your labours.
Clara's provides coffee for black and white tie events of all sizes. Use our booking form for a quote, or just give us a ring.