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Smart Ideas


Conference or Workshop refreshment needs

As a general rule, meetings go more smoothly when food is available for guests. Not only does it provide your guests with an opportunity to rest and refresh themselves, but also opens another window for company networking. However, there are some important aspects of food planning that should not be overlooked. Follow the advice below to ensure a perfect presentation of well-planned cuisine.

Make the food fit your purpose

If the event calls for several short meetings throughout the day, having a snack table constantly available at the back of the room would be a wise idea. However, if the event calls for a more upscale evening, you need to think gourmet buffet or a fancy sit down dinner. Depending on what effect the food is to have on your guests, it is important to decide early on whether food is going to play a major or minor role in your event.

Always know the budget

Be realistic as to what your company can afford in terms of food and beverage costs. If this is the smallest area of the allotted budget, you may have to save the gourmet buffet for another day and go for the snack table instead. There are always ways to make a food table look fancier by adding decorative arrangements and multi-level serving platters.

Knowing what your venue offers

When deciding on food services, know what type of help will be available at your chosen facility. Will you have access to a kitchen? Does the venue have an in-house catering team or will you need to bring in an outside catering company? These are all important questions to ask up front. Alternative venues often have little to offer as far as food services are concerned, so plan ahead to make special arrangements.

Cater to your guests

If everyone liked the same type of food, restaurants wouldn’t offer so many choices on the menu. Your guests are bound to have different likes and dislikes, so it is important to cater to the tastes of different groups of people. Be sure to always include vegetarian options, as well as some low fat and low cholesterol meals. If serving a sit down meal, it is helpful to ask in advance if there are any special accommodations your guests will need. Chefs are usually more than happy to provide some alternative dishes if given enough prior notice.

Know when to serve

Although not the main focus of your event, the food can become a large ordeal and an appropriate time should be allotted for the serving and consuming of your provided meal. This is prime time for socialising and networking with other employees. Try to serve the food at a distinct break between meetings or speeches and not during the break of a discussion on a single topic. Let the snack time be a time of relaxation, not a timed break before quickly getting back to business. If you are allowing a small break from a meeting for basic snacks, never give more than thirty minutes and provide the food in a location very close to the meeting room.

Stick to these rules and any of your food concerns can be put to rest.

Courtesy Event Source

How to Decorate for a Banquet

Banquets are usually sit-down dinners with a large number of guests. They are often held in honour of a special event, such as an anniversary, in honour of a person, or to raise money for a charity. Frequently banquets have a theme, which can make it easier to decorate. Most often, banquets are formal in dress and menu. Carefully plan how you will decorate, and your banquet's decor is sure to be as beautiful as the banquet is meaningful.


Choose a theme

If the banquet does not have a theme, then think about what mood you want to convey with the decor. For example, you might want formal decorations or you might prefer something more trendy and young.


Select colours

Tie together your decorations by sticking with the same colours or colour family, such as pastels, neutrals or red and green, which work well for banquets during the holiday season.


Make a centerpiece for each table


Create beautiful centrepiece for each table at your banquet.

This can be something elegant, such as a crystal or silver vase of white roses, or it can be something less expensive, such as votive candles set in decorative glass bowls. Or, it can be something unusual. Try using colourful Chinese paper lanterns as centrepieces, or a bonsaitree. Just make sure each table has a beautiful decoration at its centre.



Decorate the podium

Banquets often have guest speakers, and a decorated podium should be provided for the speaker. Place a large flower arrangement at the base of the podium to draw attention to and honour the speaker, then give it to her as a thank-you gift.


Look up


Make a statement and decorate the ceiling. Stretch streamers or even yards of fabric from each corner to the centre of the room and attach them to a light fixture or a fan. Or, purchase a lot of helium balloons and let them float to the ceiling, covering the space. For a winter banquet, hang glittering snowflakes from the ceiling with fishing line so it looks like they are floating in mid-air.


If your banquet has a gift table or other special tables, don't forget to decorate those, as well. You can do something as simple as a single rose in a vase


Planning and hosting and Event or Function

When considering possible venues to hold your event or function, it is necessary to match the venue in which the event is being held with the actual event taking place. The setting you chose will inevitably create the mood of your function. By considering all of the following, you will be in a perfect position to accurately determine what setting is right for you.

Outdoor Events

Although outdoor events can be tempting to plan, especially during the spring and summer months, it is always important to consider the possible downfalls of being unable to control Mother Nature. The possibility of even the tiniest amount of rain falling should always be in the back of your mind. Having a portable rain canopy available is always a good idea. Another point to consider is the instability of the ground (including possible holes, unevenness of ground level, and softness of soil), which can be a poor choice for more formal occasions where women may be wearing heeled shoes.

It can be difficult to make presentations outdoors, as it is nearly impossible to project a voice in the open as well as one can in an enclosed space. Display screens are also difficult to set up outside, and can be difficult to manage if the wind picks up. As a guideline, try to avoid holding any formal event or important meeting outside. If you wish to take advantage of the good weather, try renting an outdoor patio as well as the adjoining conference room. That way food can be served and free time spent in the open air, while more structured events can be well prepared inside.

There are, however, more appropriate times to hold out of doors events for your company. Informal events such as barbecues, picnics, and customer appreciation days are wonderful opportunities to come together and get to know one another on a more casual level. These types of events often require less work on your part, as disposable flatware and silverware are easy to clean up and dispose. Barbecues and picnics leave you the option of providing the catering or implementing a potluck style buffet. If you are on a tight budget, outdoor events are the way to go. It is often less costly to rent out a park or picnic area, and food costs can be almost eliminated. If you wish to serve alcohol at the event, be sure to check into the company’s liability exposure and licensing requirements related to the dispensing of liquor well before the event takes place.

Directions to location

When hosting outdoor events, make sure to provide maps to the location, with instructions to the specific area of the facility where the event will be held. Parks are often large, with more than one picnic or barbecue area. Placing signs in conspicuous places along the path from the parking lot is always a good idea. Along with signs to the event, always make signs pointing to the nearest bathroom. As a rule, make sure you have one bathroom available per 50 guests at the event. If the facility looks like it is inadequate to cover the number of people, consider bringing in portable toilets for the event.

Indoor Events

When the occasion calls for an indoor venue, keep in mind that convention centre’s and conference rooms are not your only option. To create a fun and interesting atmosphere, consider other large available spaces, such as restaurants, movie theatres, museums, art galleries, an aquarium, a nightclub, the racetrack, or even a boat. This is a good way to liven up the atmosphere while still having full control of the environment.

If you do choose to go with a larger hotel or conference centre, it is likely that yours will not be the only event of the evening. Be sure to check into what other events will be held at the same time and take appropriate precautions to ensure that your guests are informed as to the correct room for your event. Make sure the room you book has enough tables and chairs to seat everyone comfortably. It is wise to get the room’s inventory in writing in case of any disputes on the day of the event.


As far as decorations go, always ask what is permissible at the locations. Not all venues will let you hang decorations on the walls or ceiling, and some don’t allow helium balloons. Be sure to inquire about any other regulations the building may have that will restrict what can take place in the room.


Parking your car at a formal event should not be a stressful endeavour. In order to avoid possible parking dilemmas, make sure the facility you are renting has adequate parking available. Try negotiating a flat rate for your guests and make them aware of the price for parking before the event. If at all possible, consider having valet parking for those that desire it.

Lastly, arrive several hours before your guests in order to ensure that everything is going as planned. If it is not, you will still have time for damage control. When your guests arrive, you should be poised and ready to host your event, not making last minute changes and concessions.

Courtesy Event Source