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FAQs - Answers to the most common questions about corporate event production.

Looking for answers to common event production questions? We’ve taken all the great advice from the Ask an Event Planner section of our newsletter and put it into one handy list.
What is the biggest mistake event planners make when booking entertainment?

They don’t consider their audience and the event agenda – not everyone is into the Top 40 danice hits from dinner until closing! Timing and taste are the keys to good entertainment. Make sure you’re confident the you understand this parictular crowd’s tastes.  If you’re not, start asking some pointed questions.

How early do you need to book entertainment to get the act you want?

Entertainment that is popular and good value for your money, generally book about 6 months in advance. It’s best to get your main act booked as early as possible.

How much should my entertainment cost?

There are many variables, but $20-$25 per person is a good guide.

How do I properly plan my holiday party?

Planning a holiday party may seem straightforward. But there’s more to it than renting a venue and handing out Christmas carol lyric sheets. Here are some common problems we often see when organizations decide not to hire a professional event planner:

    • Choosing the Room – Too small a space makes for a crowded, uncomfortable event. Go too big however, and the room feels empty. Make sure you know roughly how many guests will attend the event so you can book the appropriately sized venue.
    • Music Matters – Unless your entertainment is the centerpiece of the evening, music is best left in the background. Make sure your entertainers aren’t so loud that people can’t enjoy each others’ company.
    • Age Appropriate – Age appropriate activities and entertainment are always important, but especially so during the winter holiday season. Make sure there are things for children to enjoy, so parents aren’t stressed out by bored kids, but ensure there’s a bit of grown-up fun beyond just a buffet and a bar.
    • Leave ’em satisfied – Nothing leaves a worse impression than running out of food and drink. Of all the event details, this can be the toughest one for the lay person to figure out. It’s easy to under-estimate the requirements and a terrible waste of food and money to throw away large quantities of prepared items.

The the most common glitches can all be handled by hiring an event professional.  Call Bright Ideas to help you do it, and avoid all the planning pitfalls!

Where do I start when planning catering for my event?

The first thing you need to do is to analyse your guests needs, event agenda, and available space. For example, if you have a group of men coming for a one hour reception and there isn’t space for a buffet dinner, consider a menu with hearty food stations and fulfilling appetizers.

What is a common catering mistake?

It’s not uncommon to underestimate the amount of desserts per person when a dessert buffet is being offered. Guests often want to try several items and take more than anticipated. Always increase the per person dessert allotment to allow people to indulge their sweet tooth.

What is the number one catering "no-no"?

Messy, hard to eat foods. Special events are rarely the right place for heaping plates of pasta or finicky foods that require special utensils and an engineering degree to eat. Never offer your guests complicated hors d’oeuvres when there are no plates during the reception. Not only will guests feel uncomfortable eating them, but they may spill food on their clothing and leave the party early. You don’t want your event to be associated with an unexpected dry cleaning bill!

What is the most common mistake people make when planning their Summer BBQ?

An entertaining barbeque has to have more than just burgers and buns. Without an interesting theme or activities, your guests are left with awkward small talk or even worse: office gossip! Not a great way to ensure a memorable event. Make sure you have a plan and a balance between entertainment and activities so that your guests have plenty of things to choose from.

Is it possible to create an event in seven days?

Yes, if you have a good plan. Here’s what we did for the Westside Gallery. Just 7 easy steps!

    • Set event objectives
    • Design event plan
    • Create guest list
    • Establish event budget
    • Secure vendors
    • Book event staff
    • Welcome your guests and enjoy your event!

Actually, there are a million other things to do, but don’t worry about it. Just call Bright Ideas. We will take care of everything, so you can relax and enjoy your event.

Where do I book a boat for a boat cruise?

Coal Harbour near the Westin Bayshore hotel as well as Granville Island both offer a wide variety of boat charter options. You can choose from party boats for a crowd, or smaller vessels perfect for an exclusive sunset cruise. Small boat rentals are also available from Horseshoe Bay.

What duration should a car rally be?

Are we there yet? Like many things, spending all day driving can be too much of a good thing. Most car rallies take about 2 – 3 hours from start to finish, just the right length of time for each group to bond over their successes and failures, while allowing room in the schedule for some fun after they cross the finish line.

What were your most memorable Bright Ideas events in 2010?
    • Olympic Events – Like a lot of local companies, the Olympics kept us pretty busy. Over the course of the Games, we planned 14 events as part of the CODE (Cultural Olympiad Digital Exhibition) Live 1 site including a variety of cutting edge art exhibits exploring themes of technology, travel, and natural resources. Many of the works incorporated participation by viewers, blurring the lines between art, performance, and audience.
    • Rock ‘N Roll BBQ on the Beach – This summer party was a hit with guests and the BC event industry, winning top honours in the Best Event for a Corporation category at the 2010 CSEME awards. Guests were treated to a complete 1950s experience with antique cars, live rock ‘n roll, and appearances by Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley impersonators. Rock ‘n Roll-themed crafts and activities, as well as a wide range of picnic and drive-in classic dishes to enjoy, rounded out the retro-style fun.
    • Robert Bateman Event – In just a week, Bright Ideas arranged a gala opening for the Westside Gallery, featuring internationally-renowned naturalist and artist Robert Bateman. Guests were delighted by the great food, beautiful paintings, and an opportunity to hear the artist talk about his work. Looking for an upscale venue for an intimate gathering? Ask us about booking the Gallery.
How do I decide what type of entertainment to choose for my event?

The first thing to do is to analyze what the purpose of the entertainment is. Does the entertainment need to be engaging, or is it simply something going on in the background? Once you make that determination the rest is easier.

Once I have decided what type of entertainment I want, what should I do next?

Decide what role the entertainment will take in your event. For example, is the customized Game Show the main focus of the event or is it one of several types of entertainment? If it is the main focus of the event, don’t have other competing activities or entertainment occurring at the same time.

What is the difference between activities and entertainment?

Activities are something that your guests do, while entertainment is something that your guests watch or listen to.

Should I include activities in my event plan as well as entertainment?

This is always a tricky situation and requires careful consideration. You must not “overstimulate” your guests with so many things to do and see that it is not enjoyable. The best thing to do is to have everyone watch the main entertainment attraction at one time, and then afterwards have several activities going on at the same time.

With a limited budget, should I spend more on décor or on entertainment?

This is easy. Spend more on entertainment & activities and less on décor. It’s true that guests will certainly appreciate the décor treatment, but they will actually remember the fun they had on stage playing Family Fued.

What is an example of an activity that 300 guests could do at the same time?

We have the perfect answer. They should have PartyHats at as it is a creative activity that is also a take-home souvenir. And, it can be customized to suit the theme or corporate colours. But maybe your guests aren’t the crafy types?  Try a casino: guests play for prizes, not money, and just watch them compete for the coveted items!

How far in advance of my event date should I book my venue?

It really depends on the type of event. Christmas events and annual summer events should usually be booked 11 months in advance, as many companies tend to host these events on the same several days in their respective seasons. The ideal time to book your venue for any other type of event is at least 6 months in advance so that you have ample planning time.

How do I estimate the size of venue needed for my event?

Start by asking the prospective venue. For example, hotels often have several private event spaces, all with differing features and capacties.  They host hundreds of events a year and will be able to recommend the right size of room for you. If you are bringing in entertainment or activities, it is best to draw a rough floor plan placing all the items you are including before tmaking any decisions, because guest tables and activities both need their own ‘real estate.’ Show your floor plan or list of event components to your venue to see if they think all the components can be accommodated.

What is the biggest mistake when choosing a venue?

Underestimating how much space will be required. There is nothing worse then an overcrowded room once all of the activities and entertainment are in place.

When should I begin planning my company summer event?

Usually the Vancouver Parks Board accepts picnic bookings in January or February for the upcoming summer. Do your research in the fall, so that you are ready to make a booking as soon as the next summer’s reservations become available. Go to The City of Vancouver’s Parks, Recreation, and Culture page for more information on booking a formal picnic site in Vancouver. You can’t have an event in any Vancouver public space with the proper permits, so don’t overlook this step!

What is the best time for a picnic?

Generally, Sundays are preferred, taking into consideration religious commitments. Most picnics are 4 hours long. The most popular times are typically 11 am – 3pm or 12:00pm – 4:00pm

How do I know how many people will attend the event?

The typical attendance for Corporate Picnics is 60% – 70% of the total of your invited guests.  This accounts for about a 15% no-show rate of all those who RSVPed “Yes.”

What is the biggest mistake people make when planning their company picnic?

They usually don’t give much thought to the event agenda which results in guests sitting around awkwardly with nothing to do. Timing at the event is critical.

Still can’t find answers you need? Let us help you personally. Email: info@brightideasevents.com Richmond: 604-303-7707
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