All images by Adam Bird Photography.
For many of us growing up, our ideal party meant stacks of red Solo cups, a 30 rack of cheap beer and lots of Beer Pong. These kinds of parties still show us a great time, but for those occasions that require entertainment other than beer pong and an upgrade from chips and dip, you may need some party-planning advice!
Last week, 616 Lofts hosted an event for investors and community leaders to experience the new 7 Monks Taproom located at 616 Lofts on Michigan at the corner of Eastern and Michigan. Everyone enjoyed the space, beer, food, networking, and most of all—the hospitality of our team.
Wondering how to plan a big hit party or event like this yourself? Here are some of our best party planning tips!
Making the Guest List
Use Excel to record your initial guest list. Start by creating the following columns:
- First name
- Last name
- Full Address
- Phone number
- Email address
- Who from your team primarily interacts with the guest
Once you have input all of your contacts, then alpha sort by the guest’s company and last name. Make sure to print the list to have at the door of the event so you can highlight all those attending as they check in.
You may be debating whether to send your invites electronically or through snail mail. For this 7 Monks event, we chose the old-school way to have more of a personal touchpoint with our guests. In a sea of never-ending emails and Facebook events, it’s nice to get a paper invite in the mail. Since our offices are downtown and many of our guests are located near us, we hand-delivered a small wrapped beverage with the paper invite.
One thing we learned while planning the 7 Monks event—make sure to check Facebook and other community resources to determine if there are any other events happening on the same night as your own. There were quite a few large-scale events happening during the night of our 7 Monks opening with GRAM, WMEAC, HopCat, and ArtPrize, among others. Luckily, we started early so guests could still attend our event and then head out to other community events afterward.
Food & Drink
When it comes to food, keep it simple and easy with tasty appetizers and small plates. 7 Monks makes a great slider—so most dove into those! In regards to beverage offerings, it obviously helped that our event was held at a bar! If your event isn’t hosted at a bar, then we recommend serving a few different beers (a local craft IPA, stout, and a schwag beer) as well as a red and white wine.
We also went the extra mile and ordered wooden nickels from Markit Products so we could keep track of the drinks 616 Lofts purchased for guests (each attendee got two nickels upon entry). These devices help us to easily keep tabs on our tab, and now we can use them for future events!
Simply put: Hire a professional. In a world of selfies and iPhone photography, it’s still great to have a professional capture the energy of the event. We were lucky enough to have the wonderful Adam Bird capture the picture-perfect moments at our 7 Monks event last week. Thank you, Adam, for being available for us. We look forward to sharing the photos on our website and social media!
While we didn’t valet this time, we recommend (and plan on) using Ellis Parking Valet Services for future events. Their team is excellent!
Distribute permanent name badges to your team to distinguish between guest and team members. Then, have guests write their first name only on a sticky, disposable name tag. Name tags allow guests to greet each other on a more personal level instead of shouting, “Hey, you!” or, “I thought that was you!” or, “Looking good, you!” from across the room.
The Check-In Process
Leave the hosting to your team members who know the most folks on the guest list—it’s great to greet guests with the warmth of knowing them by name. Ensure the check-in desk is close to the door and away from the food and beverage table to make the arrival process quick and easy—nobody wants a traffic jam at the front door!
If you’re renting out an event space, then let the space remain their space. If you bring flowers, keep it simple and coordinated to no more than three colors that fit your theme. Ask décor experts like Mike at Wealthy at Charles, Elizabeth at Posh Petals, Jenn at Modern Day Floral, or other creatives in our community for help with choosing the best finishes for your event.
Make sure to thank everyone for coming and if there is a chance for a takeaway from the event, make it simple and connected. A ping pong ball and red Solo cup don’t always work. 😉
With these party-planning tips, your next event should be a hit! Remember: the more planning you do leading up to the event, the smoother everything will go on event day. And we hope to see you at our next event this Thursday, April 27 at 7 Monks Taproom! There is limited space, so make sure to RSVP here!