How to master the art of Cocktail Celebrations

Whether it’s a 21st, engagement or end-of-year corporate gig, cocktail style events are the perfect way to keep your guests schmoozing and grooving from beginning to end. Let us be your guide to planning the perfect cocktail party.

1. Stop, look – and listen to your needs


With so much work to do, your fingers are probably itching to pick up the phone and start making calls. But how can you shop for the right things, if you don’t know what you’re shopping for?

So before you start, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:


  • How many am I inviting? Okay, this may seem obvious. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t estimate this accurately from the outset. By the time you consider possible ‘plus ones’ and ‘no shows’, your initial estimate may be way off. If you don’t get it right, you could be looking at a last-minute venue change you didn’t see coming.


  • Do I want a theme? Don’t dismiss this idea too quickly. Themes are a great way to make your event extra entertaining – and even more memorable. From bad sweater celebrations and op-shop shindigs to 20s, 80s or 90s extravaganzas, let your theme become your planning touchstone.


  • How much can I spend? It’s often easier to stick to your budget when you host an event at a venue (rather than at home or your workplace). That’s because you can ask your Function Coordinator to provide an all-inclusive quote that covers venue hire, decorations, food, drinks and more.


2. Pick the perfect place


Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs have hundreds of fantastic venues on offer. But with so many options and not enough time to visit them all, how on earth are you going to find your fairy tale function space?

Don’t worry, here are some tips to point you in the right direction and narrow down your choices:


  • Size matters: Once you know your numbers, be sure to choose the perfect Goldilocks space – not too big and not too small. You don’t want it too squishy, but you don’t want the place to look empty either.


  • Atmosphere: Sometimes it’s what is on the outside that counts. Whether you’re in the mood for a lush forest setting, magical sunsets or a starry night sky, Melbourne really does have it all!


  • Silver service: A venue is just a venue without attentive waiters to dazzle and delight. So try to meet the people who’ll be serving your guests ahead of time. Also, work closely with your Function Coordinator to ensure they have what it takes to meet your high service standards and expectations.


  • Location, location, location: The further your location from home and the more difficult it is to reach, the less impressed your guests will be. Keeping your event local makes it super easy (and inexpensive) for your family and friends to jump in a taxi or Uber when it’s time to bid farewell.


3. Make your food #onpoint


When it comes to food, the world is your smorgasbord. Literally.


Do you have a cultural cuisine you’re particularly partial to? From spring rolls and samosas to bruschetta and burgers, the options are endless. Whatever you go for, ensure you have a mix of hot and cold options – and a range to suit all tastes.


These days, you also have to be mindful of gluten-free Gary, nut-free Nick, Halal Helen and vegetarian Veronica. So be sure to ask your Function Coordinator exactly what’s possible.


Deciding the menu also begs the question: How much food will I need? A good rule of thumb is about 5-6 bites per person every hour during non-mealtimes, and 8-10 during meal times.


When it comes to selecting your drinks, include wine, cider, spirits or other beverages for those who aren’t crazy about cocktails. But be weary of what you can afford and consider different ways to pay for the drinks, such as setting a tab. After all, you can’t have champagne taste on a beer budget.


4. Razzle dazzle em’


Your entertainment will depend on the type of event you’re planning.


If it’s a 21st, a dance floor is probably a non-negotiable. But if you want to make socialising the centre of attention, then some mellow mood music should do.


Take a look at what your chosen venue can offer. If they don’t provide entertainment, then what can they accommodate? Again, ask the Function Coordinator what’s worked best in their space in the past and if they have any connections or recommendations for you.


Now that you’re set to start planning your cocktail event, why not take a look at the Lower Plenty Hotel functions pack? Or call us on 03 9435 1722 to learn more.

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