Five tips to help you plan your next event

Planning an event? Whether you’re hosting a wedding, a birthday cocktail or a good old-fashioned family lunch, getting the details right can make all the difference. Here are our top five tips to help you get the most out of your big day.

  • Choose your venue

There are countless venues out there, which means narrowing them down can be a pretty big job. Hannah Platt, Functions Manager for the Haberfield Rowers Club, suggests starting by writing down your top three must-haves, such as water views, an outdoor terrace, and/or the option to bring in live music and searching only for venues that tick all the boxes. This means you can put your energy into comparing details like venue hire costs, food and beverage package prices at suitable locations, rather than sifting through hundreds of venues that might not fit the bill.

“The biggest thing is to figure out what you’re looking for. If a water view is your number one priority, then that should be at the forefront of your mind when you start looking for options,” says Hannah.

  • Set your budget – and share it

Most people don’t have unlimited funds when it comes to throwing an event. Be frank about your budget and talk through what you can and can’t afford with the function coordinators at your shortlisted venues. While it may be their job to try and sell you on pricey packages, they’re also the people who know how to cut corners to get you what you want, such as getting you access to discounted venue hire rates for midweek events. 

“They can tell you where to prioritise your money to maximise your guest experience,” Hannah says. 

  • Choose your food and drinks

Most function venues will offer a range of food options that have been designed for different event types – think cocktails and canapes, sit-down family-style dinners, or more formal alternate drop menus. Think about the sort of event you’re hosting, as well as the dietary requirements of your guests, before you commit to a particular menu.

When it comes to beverages, there are three main options: a cash bar, a bar tab or a beverage package. Cash bars are a great option for small events with people you know well; however, if you’re throwing a larger or more formal event and don’t want guests paying their own way, the choice comes down to bar tab versus beverage package. The trick, Hannah says, is knowing your guests and how much they’re likely to drink.

“Most people go for bar tabs because they can set an amount to fit their budget and the guests can pay for their own drinks after that. However, the package does sometimes end up good value for money if you have big drinkers in your group,” she says.

  • Plan your run sheet

A run sheet is a basic schedule that guides function staff in what will happen and when. Run sheets are essential for complex events like weddings – staff need to know when to seat people for dinner, when to serve the cake, and when to cut the music for speeches. For more basic events, such as a birthday lunch, a detailed run sheet is probably unnecessary, but it’s still important to ensure that staff are across how you’d like your event to go.

“At the very least, every single event should have a basic run sheet in the sense of, ‘My guests are arriving at 12, we would like mains to be served at 1, we would like desserts to be served at 2, and everyone will leave by 3,” Hannah says.

  • Stay flexible

As the client, it’s reasonable to expect that the venue team will work with you to help you bring your event vision to life. But, Hannah says, it’s also important for clients to be receptive to suggestions from the function coordinator. That’s because they’ve had extensive experience hosting events at the venue and can offer really valuable advice about how to get the most out of the venue and the packages you’ve chosen.

“Sometimes being flexible with your vision is better, because the venue team can say, ‘I see what you want to do here, but if you do it this way, it may work better,” she says.  

The Haberfield Rowers Club is now open for functions bookings. From cocktail events and dinners to weddings with water views, visit our website or contact the club to find out how we can make your next event something truly special. 

Get in touch with our team on 9514 1632 or email [email protected] to start planning your event.