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Chocolate Rivers….

Chocolate Fountains make a great addition to any cocktail party.  This is a fun  conversation piece and encourages guests to congregate,  besides, who doesn’t love chocolate at the end of a day?  1822154-1354000-thumbnail.jpgChocolate fountains can be rented from most caterers and you can offer pretzels, marshmallows, the classic strawberries, cantaloupe, or really any fruit that guests can place on a long stick.  I do recommend renting rather than buying these machines, the only thing harder to clean could be one of those turkey deep fryers – no thank you.


Pillow Gifts - The Tooth Fairy at your event?

And what exactly is a "Pillow Gift"?  A pillow gift is a small welcome item provided to guests in their hotel room during turndown service and ties into your event via branding or in theme. 

If you're trying to promote your brand at a conference this is a unique sponsorship opportunity that has much more impact than a banner on the wall.  One of the best ideas I've seen was a pillow case with a very clever, funny tagline printed on it.  But the ink was "glow in the dark" ink so guests did not notice the "branding" until they turned off the lights.  And then, hopefully, had a big laugh.

Pillow Gifts are a really nice extra touch for your guest speakers or clients to remind them you appreciate their participation in your event.  Always include a note card expressing your gratitude along with the gift. 

Some ideas for pillow gifts: 

  • Chocolates - who doesn't love chocolate and you can either place them in a branded box, have the chocolate molded into your logo, or simply bag M&Ms that match your event colors. 
  • Lotion/Bath amenities - a company called Blue Ribbon Supply sellsAveda travel sizes at  $.40/bottle and then you can place the items in nice baskets with a card (phone # is on our vendor section)
  • Golf Balls - if there is a golf component to your event the guests probably do dream about short puts and long drives....If you go this route be sure to select a high quality golf ball - logos can be put on the best balls as easily as terrible ones.  Golfers will appreciate high quality.  You can buy these from our store if you need a source.
  • Wine - you can provide a nice bottle or 1/2 bottle with your company or wedding ribbon tied around the bottle or a basket with the wine and goodies.  You can even have custom wine for your wedding or company and it doesn't take a fortune to have your very own "label".  I found Signature Wines to be a great resource for this type of gift - their Rutherford Cab is outstanding.  ***Word of caution: make sure your company's legal team approves this prior to ordering and your executive team is on board with providing wine as a gift.  
  • Spa Robes - okay, if your budget allows this could be the ultimate pillow gift.  The brand a lot of 5 star hotels use is "Robeworks" - such nice quality and a front pocket that has a nice space for logos.
Got ideas, please add them to this thread for the other divas....

Never let them see you sweat

Seriously – on event days carry deodorant in your purse and provide spray deodorant in your speaker ready room.

Along these lines, while looks aren’t everything it helps if the one in charge takes a few moments to “put herself together” every so often during the event.  Allow yourself 90 seconds for lipstick renewal, pull up the hair, dab some powder, drink water and give yourself a big smile.  It’s amazing all a multitasking wizard can do in 90 seconds.

No matter what twist, turn, surprise comes along – there is always a solution.  Deep breaths and thinking before reacting goes a long way.  And no matter what, never let them see you sweat.  Guests should never know there is an issue.  No points for being a drama queen.   


Cocktails with a Twist

How fun is it to arrive to an event and be greeted with a clever cocktail, unique to that event and a waiter dressed the part. 

If your brand doesn’t require the typical formal black and white uniform, have some fun with the wait staff and let them be part of the client brand experience.  For very little budget, you can have the wait staff wearing a t-shirt or tie that has the name of your clever cocktail, your current ad campaign, or the theme of your party.  And if the branded item is tastefully done the wait staff love the free swag to take home.  1822154-1477874-thumbnail.jpg

Creating a cocktail (non-alcoholic and leaded) can be a lot of fun and when you engage with a creative copywriter the sky is the limit.  The clever recipe can be shared on napkins, plastic signs and coasters to add some thing more to the party conversation.  And isn’t the whole point of a cocktail party to start conversations?   

Know a great tasting, unique drink recipe? Please share your recipe and how you made it tie in with your event. Here's a list of more drink recipes.


Timing is Everything

So you’re throwing a cocktail party, be sure you’re hitting the “cocktail” hour, not the dinner hour.  As a rule of thumb, cocktail parties should begin around 5 and conclude by 7pm. Once you pass 7 it’s time to serve dinner, finger foods won’t hold even Holly Golightly.

Dinner parties typically begin around 7:00pm, with dinner being served no later than 8:00pm. Be sure you have a conversation, and preferably provide a written schedule, with your caterer or restaurant manager regarding the flow of the evening.  It’s your job to ensure guests are not kept until 11pm – discussing this ahead of time will save a lot of negotiations on site (with your host looking at a watch instead of enjoying the company).  Some restaurants are better set up for large groups, while some of the finest restaurants pride themselves on the three hour dinner. Remember, this is a corporate function, not a Valentines Dinner.  We’have hosted dinners at Thomas Keller’s fabulous restaurants and his team has always been willing to serve our guests a four course meal in 90 minutes, and guests didn't feel rushed.

Don’t expect your guests to stay at a dinner past 10pm – they have lives outside of us and you don't want to reserve hotel rooms for all those that missed the last train to Connecticut.

Where you live and who you’re targeting will always play a role in the timing.  Is your audience 20-something account executives or senior clients who want to get home to their children?  Do you live in a city where guests will have to drive home or do majority hop on a subway?  Take into consideration who you’re targeting and then be sure your plan fits with the guest’s lifestyle before preceding.  

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