Dec 9th 2019

Alternative Christmas Party Ideas

Alternative Christmas Party Ideas

Not everyone wants an alcohol-fuelled office Christmas party that’s spent dancing the night away. In fact, with an increasing number of teetotallers in the workplace, at TLC we’re often asked for creative Alternative Christmas Party Ideas to the traditional dinner and dance. And in opting for something a little different, there may be opportunities for team bonding that go way beyond the communal office hangover the next morning. Here are our top alternative Christmas party ideas to help you decide:

Have a Party on the Move

First on our list of Alternative Christmas Party Ideas, is simple. There’s no rule that says your Christmas party venue has to be stationary when a traveling party is double the fun. Why not hire your very own Xmas party train and have cocktails and canapes on the go? You could even design the space as the Orient Express, and host a glamorous murder mystery evening.

For a quirky take on the obvious bar crawl provide your team with a traditional red London bus to transport them to different cocktail bars across the capital.

Make the Impossible Happen

Sometimes our clients come to us with something so specific in mind that there isn’t a venue in the world that will live up their dream. So, what do we do? We create it for them!

Perhaps you’d love to whisk your team away for a ski holiday but are constrained by budget – we’ll bring The Alps to you. Just like when we made the impossible happen for a client who’s vision of an exclusive party retreat in the middle of an enchanted forest was proving difficult to locate. We hired an entire field and constructed the forest around it – complete with a magical woodland walkway. We can make your dreams come true too.

Alternative Christmas Party Ideas

Embrace Their Inner Child

Everyone loves party games, but at TLC we do them on a grand scale. Think the world’s largest Scalextric track, giant table football (played with real people) or a real casino where all the guests gamble the night away (with fake money of course).

Alternative Christmas Party Ideas

Set Your Team a Challenge

Escape rooms, themed mysteries, even the Crystal Maze – there are challenge experiences popping up all over the country. This type of Christmas party encourages your team to connect and network, as everyone works together to achieve the end goal.

Why not get out and about with a treasure hunt incorporating a trail of clues to seek out across your city. Fancy something a little more adrenaline fuelled? Ramp up the excitement with a treasure hunt on segways.

Related Topic: Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts

Appeal to their Creative Side

Getting creative is a fantastic way to motivate a team, especially if there’s an element of competition. Why not stage your very own live ‘Bake Off’ challenge; it’s easy to recreate the format complete with a marque in a field if you desire.

If your team has their heart set on boozing, then a cocktail or gin masterclass could be the perfect activity. Why not choose something a bit more unusual like The Bletchley in Chelsea. A fully immersive experience that takes inspiration from the code-breaking operations at Bletchley Park during WWII to create a bespoke cocktail that caters to your unique taste. https://www.thebletchley.co.uk/

Alternative Christmas Party Ideas

Chase the Sun

What could be more energising for your team than jetting off for a weekend in the winter sun. There are lots of locations that enjoy year-round good weather within a 4-7-hour travel time of the UK. Depending on your budget you could take in the heady sights of Morocco, combine toasty temperatures with festive cheer in Dubai or relax and unwind in Cape Verde – where the accommodation also happens to be extremely reasonable. Another alternative would be a cruise around the Canary Islands; an easy-to-reach winter sun haven set against an extraordinary volcanic backdrop. From Paris to New York, Milan to Marrakesh – we’ve created Christmas parties all over the world.

Hire an Amazing Space

The UK has some pretty amazing party venues, many of which we’ve featured on our blog {INSERT LINK}. From Manchester’s Imperial War Museum to the Barbican Conservatory, our major cities have a rich architectural history that is second to none. But for a Christmas party like no other it’s time to get truly creative with your venue.

Seek out a unique event space such as the London Dungeons – here at TLC we love a clash of themes so why not have a frightfully festive and macabre masquerade ball as guests mingle amidst the torture chambers.

And it doesn’t stop there – from aquariums and zoos to rooftop terraces there are thousands of quirky venues. Using one of these inspiring spaces as the backdrop to your Christmas party will make it all the more memorable for your team. What’s more, if you postpone your get together until January you may even be able to take advantage of a quiet time of year and save yourself some money.

Make it a Season of Goodwill

Last on our collection of Alternative Christmas Party Ideas is the act of giving. Not everyone team wants a big party, so keep it low key by going out for a lovely lunch then arrange for your team to do something charitable instead. It is the season of goodwill after all. There are so many charities in need of help at this time of year meaning lots of options to choose from. Some ideas could include delivering parcels to food banks or arranging a get together for the elderly – using your resources to cook Christmas dinner for those who will spend the festive season alone. Warm and fuzzy feelings guaranteed for everyone involved

Continue reading  
 Nov 28th 2019

4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts

4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts

As experienced event planners, the TLC team know a few tricks of the trade when it comes to creating a fabulous but stress-free Christmas party. And when it comes to organising your Christmas party at home, our team of experts is on hand to help you this year with 4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts that a big on style, and low on stress! You know, those little Christmas party planning secrets that will elevate your party so that it looks like it was lifted straight out of the pages of a glossy magazine, with minimal effort. All the glamour – no stress!

Limited budget? Short on time? Tired, stressed and trying to squeeze your party planning in amongst the growing list of festive tasks? No problem. Follow our 4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts below and we’re sure you’ll be hosting a party to remember for all the right reasons. But shhhhhh, don’t tell everybody…

Events director Jess Randall shares décor ideas to delight your guests.

“I’d always recommend sticking to one colour palette when decorating your room and the festive table. Decorations don’t have to be expensive, but if you stick to the same colour palette throughout – you’ll create a look that’s far more elegant than the price tag suggests! Introduce tones of a rich deep red and use a colour fade effect to take it through to the palest pink. Navy blue, through sky blue to lightest turquoise works brilliantly with a touch of silver for a contemporary look. Or opt for a modern white and silver scheme – perhaps adding a deep grey or natural green accent.

4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts

“I’m also a huge fan of DIY, especially if you’re quite artistic. You can achieve some really high end looks at a fraction of the price and with minimal effort.

“One idea is to create a stylish festive table topper by measuring your dining table and getting a piece of clear Perspex cut to fit. Arrange winter foliage, flowers and inexpensive decorations (they need to be flat) on top of your table, then simply place the Perspex over it all. Weight this down for a few hours, so that the table top is flat. It provides a gorgeous setting upon which to dine – and a real talking point! I have also done this with old newspapers, magazines and Christmas artwork created by a client’s children too, to create a unique festive table-top!”

4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts

“Our 4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts is about saving time, without losing style.  So I look for lovely shortcuts that do double duty as décor and dessert. For example, with a rustic design (popular this year) have small bowls of satsumas, apples and nuts lining a table which can be eaten with dessert or a cheese course, and add in simple candles for light.  Have iced gingerbread as place markers and a sweet treat with coffee (you can buy these of course and just ice the names on!). Or have a lazy Susan in the centre of the table – dress with mini desserts, tealights, fruits and goodies to give a stunning focal point and sharing dessert.

4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts

Feeling inspired by Elsa and Ana in Frozen 2 or simply looking to create a frost-covered winter wonderland for your party. Well our very own ice queen Jess, shares some of her coolest ideas in our 4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts; including a show-stopping centre-piece.

“A simple and easy icy tip is to buy lemons and limes in advance. Cut into slices. Lay flat on a tray and freeze. Once frozen, place into a bag and keep in the freezer. Then, simply add to drinks as you need at the party. They help to keep the G&T chilled and add little citrus hit too! Similarly, you can place cranberries, raspberries or blackberries and a little water into ice cube trays and freeze. They make for fun festive ice cubes!

“One of my all-time favourite party hacks that looks sensational is to create the most amazing seasonal table centre with a frozen vodka or tequila bottle. Here’s how you do it: cut the top off a 1 litre plastic bottle and place a 770ml bottle of vodka, tequila or whatever sprit you fancy inside. Gin is still very much having a moment, as is flavoured or premium vodka. Fill between the plastic bottle and bottle of booze with distilled water and place leaves, berries, sprigs of herbs, holly, seasonal berries and sliced oranges around the side. Stand this carefully in your freezer and leave for at least three hours or until everything freezes. When your party is in full swing and you want to serve, simply run the plastic bottle sleeve quickly under a tap. It will slide it off to reveal a festive ice-wrap around the bottle.”

Create a feast of festive fayre with these insider tips from TLC’s answer to Mary Berry, festive foodie Frankie Lyons.

Let’s face it, we don’t all have the time to be cooking and freezing endless mince pies weeks in advance of a festive get together. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying from a good local bakery and piling them high on a cake stand in the centre of your table. Sprinkle your haul with icing sugar (make a template in the shape of a star out of cereal box cardboard, and sprinkle icing sugar through this to give the pies a professional finish). Dress the plate with festive garden greenery, satsumas, nuts, chocolates and some sprayed pinecones to create a festive table decoration and dessert in one!

If you are happy to bake – the easiest trick is to simply bake dessert in festive shaped moulds. Christmas trees, Santa, Rudolph….all available as small metal baking cutters or cake tins in discount stores. Use as a mold for chocolate orange brownies or festive flavoured cheesecakes – we love rum and raisin! Simple.

And for the children, a hot chocolate station is included in our 4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts.  The difference – you simply make the hot chocolate in a slow cooker to save time slaving over a hob, and leave on low to keep warm.  Minimal management needed.  Have an array of toppings for kids to help themselves to; cream, marshmallows, sprinkles and perhaps Brandy for the parents!  Serve in inexpensive Christmas cups (which they can use as a take-home present) with a candy cane on the side. Delicious and fun.

Party like an A-lister and ramp up the glamour, without the big budget price tag, with these simple switches from our CEO and creative director Liz Taylor.

Forget expensive champagne. Switch it up using sparkling wines such as Cava or Prosecco or one of the ‘own brands’ that always do well in blind taste tests. Mix with Pomegranate juice and dress with a sprig of Rosemary to create a ‘Poinsettia’ cocktail – gorgeous – or satsuma juice for a pimped-up Bucks Fizz. Any good celebrity party focuses on presentation though, so look for interesting glasses to serve them in. Vintage champagne goblets are always a favourite with my clients – you can scour car boot sales for them. An uber stylish way to serve up cocktails.

“Souper Canapes. Canapes may be featured at many celebrity parties, but they can be expensive to buy and time consuming to make. Try this. Buy inexpensive vintage tea pots and china cups (e-bay, jumble sales) and then make a quick homemade veggie soup (or buy a good chilled soup if you prefer). Pour the hot soup from the tea pots and serve as ‘canape’s in the china tea cups. Very stylish.

“A huge trend at celebrity parties is to personalise the guest’s party experience. This can be done simply. Buy individual baking pots with lids from discount shops (similar in style to Le Creuset, but far less expensive). Make one homemade casserole, but decant and serve in the individual dishes. A rustic treat! Place individual gravy jugs and salt and pepper pots at every place setting. Looks so much more stylish. Buy chocolate plaques and have them iced with guest’s names (Thornton’s chocolate stores can help here!). They are great as a place marker and chocolate treats with coffee! “

If you enjoyed our 4 Christmas Party Planning Shortcuts, check this out too: Festive Brunch 

Continue reading  
 Nov 7th 2019

Liz Taylor Launches New Company

Event Entrepreneur and TV’s ‘Millionaire Party Planner’ Launches New Company

With 30 years of events management, entertainment industry and business experience, Liz Taylor – company founder and MD of Manchester-based event planners the Taylor Lynn Corporation (TLC) – has now embarked on a new business challenge. This month she launches her personal management company, Liz Taylor Consultancy.

Liz Taylor Launches New Company

During a successful event management career, Liz has planned thousands of business and private events across the UK and Europe. She has worked with some of the country’s top business leaders, showbusiness icons, world-class brands, Royal clients, sports personalities, media giants, music legends and high-profile entrepreneurs, in addition to appearing as Channel 4’s ‘Millionaire Party Planner’. And from her success, has evolved a series of additional roles and projects which she will now bring together under the umbrella of her new business.

Liz Taylor Consultancy combines Liz’s growing UK and international public speaking engagements, media work as an expert contributor to TV and radio programmes such as ITV This Morning and BBC Breakfast, and music management for exclusive bands and individual artists. This sits alongside a growing portfolio of marketing consultancy for clients such as the luxury Lone Star Boutique Hotel in Barbados and the Renovatio Clinic in Cheshire.

Liz commented: “This is a hugely exciting development for me personally. Over the last two years I have been asked to provide marketing advice to a range of hospitality and luxury brand projects such as hotels, retail businesses and restaurants, as well undertake as a calendar of public speaking engagements to business and professional groups. It’s a chance for me to share my knowledge and skills with other businesses, and I love it.”

“Occasions when I work with the media, offering thoughts and advice on trending stories, has always been an interesting and fun part of my event management work. And with 30 years of experience to draw upon and thousands of events organised, it is also a growing area of opportunity for me. I enjoy the challenge of providing knowledgeable, interesting and colourful opinions on a range of topics, but also something that provokes conversation and that audiences will respond to.”

She added: “I am still very much the creative influence and business strategist behind TLC though, and I will certainly continue at the helm of the company that I have built and love. A new structure at TLC will afford me the time to invest in developing the consultancy on a more formal basis. It is something that I am passionate to achieve, alongside celebrating TLC’s 25th anniversary next year and delivering on a host of client events that we have booked. Busy times ahead!”

For details about TLC, visit www.tlc-ltd.co.uk and for Liz Taylor Consultancy, visit www.liz-taylor-consulting.co.uk

Continue reading  
 Oct 30th 2019

Planning the Perfect Christmas Party

Planning the Perfect Christmas Party

Liz Taylor, founder and MD of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, took time out of her events schedule to share her tips on planning the perfect Christmas Party with guests who were invited to a networking lunch at Sheffield’s stunning Whirlowbrook Hall, part of Vine Hotels. Guests had the opportunity to hear advice and anecdotes from this award-winning event organiser. Here’s what she had to say:

“It’s only 90 days away and you can’t take the Christmas out of Christmas.”

But everyone does have a different perception of Christmas and there is no right way or wrong way. What is essential is that in planning the perfect Christmas Party, you take a drop of eggnog, a bunch of mistletoe, raise the curtain and kiss goodbye to the old, as you celebrate bringing in the new. In any event, expectations are high – especially in my world, where the client has turned to a professional to create the theatre.

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

Festive trends

As founder and MD of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, I have been planning and producing corporate and private events for over 30 years. The 5am starts and the 2am finishes. The constant challenge to reinvent, reinterpret and re-energise an event. The bigger the challenge, the greater the sense of achievement. I am passionate about what I do. I want to share with you a little of the theatre, drama, passion and backbone; with my tips to planning the perfect Christmas party.

I often get asked early in the year what the coming trends are for this much anticipated time. This year I am in the middle of designing and delivering a Christmas dinner for 80 guests in a marquee immersed in chocolate brown velvet, pull out crackers with menu details and guests names at each place setting printed in a lush copper plate. A deconstructed Christmas tree decorated with bronze and copper foliage and baubles – all built on a square truss overhead, so it becomes the roof of the dining space. A gospel choir during reception entertaining with Christmas favourites, and a band from Paris to rock the room. So, I’ve taken some traditional and mixed it with a variety of colours and textures to give it that touch of TLC.

Planning the perfect Christmas Party inevitably attracts trends. We have provided the décor for private clients where they have spent circa £50k on dressing door frames, trees, banisters. These had to reflect the traditional New York and American movie vision of Christmas that we soak up in those old films.

Then there is the contemporary – where you select ice baubles and use them as name places, throw faux skins over the back of chairs. Then put the light-up reindeer in the front garden. Twee? Maybe. But providing it’s tucked behind a tree, it’s fun.

Be bold with colours and dare to be different. Teal, deep reds, copper, gold, orange shades – the rich hues that can be found in winter flowers and foliage.  In this vain, I’ve just bought 24 copper water glasses which are amazing for £1 each. They will sit at my table on Christmas Day amongst the wood, the bark and tiny tea lights; offering a rustic feel. My Christmas this year is natural bark – baccara roses and candles.

But what of corporate Christmas. For me, there are three vital ingredients that contribute to the TLC wow factor in planning the perfect Christmas Party, and are the basis for a successful event – exclusive imagination, individuality and that moment least expected. Let me explain……

Exclusive imagination

Its allowing someone to think out of the box and take a concept and create magic. Here’s an example. A 21st birthday – the girl who still had the magic of youth and wanted Narnia. And Narnia she got.

Set designers descended and built a magnificent wardrobe door. Creatively lit this was the focus as guests drove into the car park. Our Narnia queen guided them in – through a wardrobe of mink coats that touched the sides into a walkway of characters on stilts and a pathway of leaves. As they walked along the path, they turned a corner with two huskies on a sleigh guiding them into Narnia. Continuing their journey through the snow – with snowflakes falling from the ceiling, before eventually arriving in Narnia. Perspex tables with magnificent white birch trees growing out of them, and a multitude of candles against crystal glassware and opaque crockery. A combination of Narnia and a white Christmas. Anticipation, exclamation and exclusive imagination in abundance.

Exclusive imagination – of ideas, of concepts, of entertainment and of venues. Infusing your Christmas event with some exclusive touches can make all the difference. Take this venue, here at Whirlowbrook Hall, as an example. Exclusive hire means you can party here until the early hours without worrying about the DJ upsetting anyone next door. Hire the space, and you are lord and lady of the manor. Dress the space to your own taste and you’re assured of the staff’s full attention – no sharing them with other companies.

When it comes to entertainment – invest in the best. I only work with exclusive entertainers – phenomenal ensemble bands and the best DJs from the continent. Companies will often ask me to just book their Christmas party entertainment because they know that we don’t offer average. My belief is that this is an area where a little more should be invested. When we orgnaise parties and clients ask if we have a DJ for £150, we don’t. You get what you pay for and mixing music is an art in itself.

 

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

Related Topic: Can you Host a Christmas Party in January?

Individuality

Individual interpretation is a bit part of planning the perfect Christmas Party. As I said before, you can’t take Christmas out of Christmas, but you can interpret it in a unique style. Take every element of the party and re-imagine it. Food is a great example. We fuse food and theatre to great effect. The rise in informal catering has allowed us to be imaginative. Sushi bars. Gourmet pizza. And a traditional fish and chip van as guests depart. Food stations merging into theatrical props. For a more formal meal – take the traditional Christmas turkey and transform it into individual pies served miniature jugs of gravy on the side. Sticky toffee pudding served in shot glasses. And Christmas pudding – serve as a martini. Yes, it is a cocktail!

My most inspiring moments are honestly on my treadmill every morning. With my eclectic mix on full blast music takes me into a most creative corner where I find the impossible. For a Wizard of Oz inspired party, we offered a 10-foot witch greeting guests – and I mean greeting them. A custom-built animated statue guided them into a wicked inspired set, and then at the appropriate time, the entire wall dropped and there was the yellow brick road. The detail in the room and on the tables was insane, with Perspex tables resting on large ruby red shoes. The entertainment … Diana ross and a serious DJ! Now that’s wow.

Putting your own mark on an event is all about the details.

The moment least expected

This is the greatest wow factor moment planning the perfect Christmas Party. When a wall drops on a drum roll … when pyrotechnics burst into the room to announce employee of the year or when a ceiling drops hundreds of hidden petals when they say, ‘I do’.

Take a festive party for a financial services client. Guests ferried in private cars to a farmer’s field in Surrey [a surprise in itself for the well-dressed guests]. Walking on a purpose-built footpath carved through wintry woodland – and then – a stunning marquee nestled in the landscape and sprinkled with TLC’s winter magic. Oversized frosted trees. A spectacular lighting production bathing the rustic wooden bar and tables in light. This surprise venue created out of a challenge. We scoured the county for the right venue – no luck. When I hit a brick wall, I start digging. If we don’t have a venue – we build one. We hired a farmer’s field and erected a fabulous marquee. We cut back the woodland to create an entrance walkway – placed hundreds of candles along the way and voila! A wow moment for festive party goers that they will remember.

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

And let’s not forget one of the most surprising moments at any Christmas party. When the Duke of Cambridge bounds onto a stage to sing Livin’ on a Prayer with Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift. A charity event that I was involved with on just two weeks’ notice. Dr Zhivago inspired. Kensington Palace the venue. The guest list a Who’s Who. The photos of the Prince and the Rock Stars went global.

Exclusive imagination, individuality and the moment least expected…. three of my top tips to planning the perfect Christmas Party.

All well and good you might say – these sound like unlimited budgets. My mantra is that it’s never how much you spend, but how you spend it. If you have £500 to throw into a reception – don’t invest it in an inexperienced and underrated musical act. Invest it in a ten-foot vase filled with an abundance of flower heads that takes the breath away. Or a bar full of festive inspired cocktails served in a milk bottle that oozes dry ice and sustainable branded straws! Paper of course!

planning the perfect Christmas Party

At home, styling can be simple but effective too. Take the festive lunch table. Here’s three different styles you could choose from:

Contemporary Chic

If you are opting for linens, a contemporary feel should use a plain, white, crisp tablecloth as your starting point. Bring your table to life with a gorgeous electric blue silk table runner. Use clear and blue ‘crackled effect’ glassware to enhance the colour scheme. Place tall candles into crystal or glass holders and put chunkier ones straight onto mirrors down the table centre. Dress with frosted ivy, twigs, pinecones and leaves. Crockery and cutlery are always best kept simple with contemporary white linens, so opt for silver or chrome cutlery. Add lots of miniature ‘snowflake’ crystals for sparkle and you’ll have an elegant, contemporary table.

corporate event planners in manchester tlc limited

Downton Inspired

Or go more traditional in planning the perfect Christmas Party – Downton Abbey is influencing styles again with its recent reincarnation at the cinema. Black Watch Tartan linens and deep purple napkins tied with a gold napkin ring. Add some traditional glamour to this look by using gold candelabra on the table, or some of the fabulous deep gold candles now available. The gold in this style should be deep, and rich, not the highly polished commercial look. You are creating a very traditional and slightly vintage feel, so a more burnished gold is better.

 

Handmade or Homemade

Let’s not forget, and TV’s Kirsty Allsopp would be proud of me here, that the ‘handmade’ family Christmas style is still popular. Choose a very simple red gingham cloth and then adorn with homemade décor items. Create a table centre out of a three miniature gingerbread houses filled with chunky candles, or hessian wrapped bowls of nuts, cinnamon sticks, dried oranges and pinecones. It’ll be wonderfully scented. Just add simple tea lights and red napkins tied with raffia to complete the look.

Glassware is something that really shows quality – don’t leave the crystal in the cupboard, get it out and enjoy it! A simple tip is to tie matching Black Watch Tartan ribbon around the stem of each glass; you could even add a delicate sleigh bell for additional tinkle! For a more earthy Christmas style, add a hessian bow to some of the chunkier wine glasses to reflect the less formal feel of the table.

Personalise your table for maximum effect. The first way to do this is with your crackers, which must be quality whether that is bought or homemade. Try using different paper or materials to craft them with personalised gifts inside.

The other key personal touch is your place settings. You could get your children to craft gingerbread name plates with iced names written on top, or simply write names in gold pen onto holly leaves or a plain glass bauble that matches your colour scheme. Simple. Inexpensive.

Christmas parties arranged by the Taylor Lynn Corporation the party planner in Manchester

To conclude

I have said this before, but it’s truer now than ever. After 30 years I get up event morning, decide what diet I am on that day, and then embrace the madness. I love it. I am lucky enough to have worked in my dream job. My team inspire me. My events challenge me still.

2020 marks TLC’s 25th anniversary – a time to reflect, celebrate and innovate. We have plans. Big plans. No sitting on our laurels. We are forging into 2020 with a healthy order book, unlimited imagination and a hunger to take the company to new levels. Bring it on!

www.whirlowbrook.co.uk

Continue reading  
 Oct 24th 2019

Destination Weddings for Gay Couples

Destination Weddings for Gay Couples

It’s a whole five years since gay marriage was legalised in most of the UK and in Northern Ireland just this month. Landmark moments that finally gave same sex couples equal rights to tie the knot in the many of the kingdom’s most stylish and varied wedding locations. The change in law certainly opened-up many more options for gay couples in terms of how and where they can celebrate their nuptials. But, what about those same sex couples who long to jet off to more exotic climes for their wedding day? Our Destination Weddings for Gay Couples is here to help explain the pitfalls and some of the world’s most exotic locations that embrace gay couples on their big day.

In which countries can Gay couples wed?

When it comes to gay marriage not all countries are as far along the journey to equality as the UK (yet some of course are much further). Currently 28 countries have opened their hearts and minds to the union of all couples no matter what their gender. These include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay. Same-sex marriage is also due to become legal in Costa Rica.

Destination Weddings for Gay Couples

Be aware!

If you’re planning to get married abroad it’s important to do your research. This Destination Weddings for Gay Couples will help. It may not be possible to get married in a country, even if gay marriage is legal. Take the Netherlands for instance where gay weddings were first legalised back in 2001. Yet it’s only possible to marry here if at least one partner is Dutch. Similar laws apply in Spain where couples may hold a blessing following a legally binding marriage in their own country. And in France, the couple must reside there for at least 30 days before the ceremony.

So where are the best places for gay weddings?

For breath-taking natural beauty, colourful architecture, epic coastlines and with no minimum residency requirements South Africa is hard to beat. You could even stay on an epic safari for your honeymoon. Looking for somewhere a little more iconic? Then why not head to the city that never sleeps and tie the knot in NYC. Mexico is another fantastic option for anyone looking for sandy beaches followed by dancing into the night.

Destination Weddings for Gay Couples

Once you’ve found your perfect destination wedding location, remember that not all venues are LGBT friendly. Enlisting the help of a wedding planner may be the answer to ensure they do all the hard work for you. In the meantime, you could take a look through these beautiful LGBT friendly wedding venues for some inspiration.

Once you have secured the location and venue – embrace the wedding design.

Here, for us at TLC, it is simply a special wedding day for a special couple.  We plan gay weddings like any other.  A design crafted around the couple’s personalities and choices. There are a few elements that destination weddings do raise though, such as international logistics and weather.  Beach wedding; opt for late afternoon ceremonies and lighter clothing.   There’s plenty advice here to help in planning your destination wedding day

Continue reading  
 Sep 24th 2019

Five of the Spookiest Venues in the UK and Ireland

Five of the Spookiest Venues in the UK and Ireland

With Halloween on the horizon it’s time to start party planning. And what does every good Halloween party need? A creepy, haunted venue of course. The brave souls at TLC HQ have scoured the country for the most spine-chilling places to host your scary soiree; five of the spookiest venues in the UK and Ireland. You might even find yourself with a few extra guests (of the supernatural variety).

five of the spookiest venues in the UK and Ireland

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
https://chillingham-castle.com/

First in our collection that brings together five of the spookiest venues in the UK and Ireland is chilling by name and nature. This Northumbrian castle is a medieval military stronghold in fabled for battles and bloodshed. It’s inhabited by military spirits, floating orbs and an infamous ‘white pantry ghost’. Yet many guests describe the apparitions as unfrightening, even friendly. The perfect place to throw a Halloween party! From private functions to grand balls, there is scope for parties of all shapes and sizes, with many options for accommodation.

Five of the UK’s Spookiest Venues

Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire

www.woodchestermansion.org.uk

An imposing Victorian Gothic building complete with grotesque gargoyles. This venue has an alarming reputation for paranormal activity. Woodchester Mansion is available to hire for private and corporate functions with rooms that can comfortably cater for 180 guests. That’s if they dare to attend! Visitors have reported floating heads and being attacked by ghosts. Some guests have even collapsed in fear. Inside some of the rooms and entire floors are missing or unfinished which only adds to the unnerving atmosphere.

Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire
www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/whitby-abbey/

We couldn’t put together a list of five of the spookiest venues in the UK and Ireland without mentioning the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Whitby Abbey is a seventh century Christian monastery that dominate the skyline of the seaside town in North Yorkshire. Legend has it that if your heart is pure when you look into the Abbey’s well at midnight St Hilda will appear.  If not, the devil will take you. From the Raithwaite Estate to Sanders Yard Bistro there are plenty of venues in Whitby where you can party in the shadows of the ruins.

RELATED TOPIC: Take a look at our Penny Dreadful inspired party

Renvyle House Hotel and Resort, Galway
https://www.renvyle.com/

We couldn’t leave this Irish gem out of the list. Don’t let the idyllic scenery fool you. If it’s a relaxing break and a good night’s sleep you’re after, Renvyle House may not be the place for you. Guests have frequently reported thudding footsteps, an eerie presence in their bedrooms, as well as bedsheets being tugged off in the middle of the night. There’s only one answer then. Throw a huge Halloween party in one of the hotel’s gorgeous function rooms and dance the night away instead.

Elvey Farm, Pluckley, Kent
http://elveyfarm.co.uk/

Lastly, five of the spookiest venues in the UK and Ireland wouldn’t be complete without this venue. The ghostly goings on in the small village of Pluckley in Kent have made it infamous as an epicentre for supernatural activity. In fact, it was even given the accolade of Britain’s Most Haunted Village in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989. A hanged schoolmaster and a screaming man are just some of the apparitions you may encounter during your stay in the town. Enjoy a haunted hike en-route to the party. Drop into the Black Horse public house where mischievous spectres are said to tease drinkers by moving their belongings around the pub. With a brand-new event space at your disposal, Grade II listed Elvey Farm is the perfect final venue for a Halloween shindig.

Five of the UK's Spookiest Venues

Continue reading  
 Sep 13th 2019

Venues + Events Live – Creating a dedicated destination for the northern events community

Venues + Events Live – Creating a dedicated destination for the northern events community

Following the success of its London exhibition, Venues and Events Live will introduce its inaugural Manchester event on 24th September at Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Over 1500 industry professionals are expected to attend the free-to-register event which is set to host over 120 industry exhibitors including hotels, venues, bars, restaurants and event suppliers.

Ahead of Venues + Events Live Manchester, Kane Thomas, Group Show Manager discusses the reason behind launching the Show.

Venues + Events Live Venues + Events Live Venues + Events Live

Why did you decide to launch Venues + Events Live Manchester?

After speaking to the industry it was evident that there was a need for a show that was dedicated to the northern events community. Over 67% of our visitors to the 2018 London Show, reported they organise events outside London. Therefore when Ocean Media acquired the show last year, we made the decision to bring the Venues + Events Live brand to the North. We’re delighted to be supporting the industry and promoting a destination of the North.

 

What types of suppliers will be exhibiting at Venues + Events Live Manchester?

You’ll find a mix of suppliers at the Show this year, everything from hotels such as The Lowry Hotel, Malmaison, King Street Townhouse and the Titanic Hotel. Venues include Manchester United FC, Yorkshire Event Centre and Emirates Old Trafford. Then there’s bars and restaurants such as Be At One, 20 Stories, Cloud 23 and The Alchemist. Not forgetting our event suppliers Hawthorn, Wow Grass and Thorns. We’ve had a great response from the industry so far and over 100 brands are booked in for the Show. So, if you’re looking to reach an events audience outside of London then please get in touch and join us in September.

 

Who will attend the Show?

In short, anyone who plans events! Venues + Events Live typically attracts a loyal audience of corporate event bookers and other event professionals including managers, directors, agents, partners, consultants, executives, PA’s/EA’s and many others working in the field.

 

What is the Hosted Buyer programme and what are the benefits?

Our hosted buyer programme is for those who organise more than 10 events a year and have a budget of over £100,000. We aim to decrease the weeks they spend on research, online planning and phone calls by providing you with key, innovative information. Hosted buyers will have access to our exclusive networking lounge, a VIP lunch and complimentary accommodation or travel to the Show.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about what visitors can learn at the Show?

Aside from saving the time on sourcing new suppliers, our visitors will leave with new tips and tricks to take back to the office! We fully understand that taking a day out to come to the Show can be tricky, if you’re busy event planner or PA, so we’ve tried to ensure visitors make the most of their time at the show by putting on an educational seminar programme and hands-on masterclasses.

Our sessions give you important face time with key industry experts to get top tips on how to improve efficiency when venue hunting and planning events. We’ve got some great names this year such as Liz Taylor from TLC and Mike Blake-Crawford, Social Chain.

Our masterclasses cover a range of topics, from what cocktails and wine to use at your events, to how to hack stress levels and confidence issues at work.

 

In a snapshot..

Venues + Events Live lets you explore a world filled with unlimited creativity and ideas for planning your next event so if you’re an event planner or organise any kind of event then Venues + Events Live is not to be missed.

Register now for your free ticket to Venues + Events Live, 24 September at Manchester Central: https://ve-manchester-2019.reg.buzz/liz-taylor 

Continue reading  
 Sep 10th 2019

Destination Guide to London

Destination Guide to London

The best event venues, stellar eateries, a vibrant nightlife and a luxury hotel opening almost weekly, it’s no wonder event planners from across the globe flock to London. TLC has overseen many  events in the big smoke, both large scale and more intimate in nature. Here Lauren Worsley, Business Development Manager at TLC, uncovers the best of what the capital has to offer with her destination guide to London.

Best airline: British Airways

First of all, it’s hard to beat British Airways for a premium airline with a proven track record. Customer service is impeccable and there’s a huge route network and good frequent flyer reward programme.

Also once you (and your event attendees) arrive in London, it’s likely you’ll use a variety of means of transport to get around. It’s worth exploring whether a visitor Oyster card or travelcard is the best way to cover off your travel expense, opt for a black cab or book a private car to whisk you across the Capital.  However, worth remembering that London’s landmarks are sometimes deceptively close to one another. If it’s a pleasant day – a stroll to your venue could be a fabulous opportunity for guests to take in some of the historic sights of our capital city.

Best hotel: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Thirdly on my destination guide to London, it luxury, luxury, luxury. The rich diversity and sheer scale of London’s luxury hotel scene throws up an almost impossible quandary when selecting London’s best hotel. Consequenlty, for nostalgia and theatrical grandeur, it has to be The Ritz. Where the unique heritage of London’s ‘first hotel’ – Browns of Mayfair – is a must for those who want to follow in the footsteps of historical figures like Rudyard Kipling, Alexander Graham Bell and Agatha Christie.

Yet it’s the Edwardian architecture and un-tempered luxury of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge that makes it our hotel of choice. Lovingly restored under the keen direction of Joyce Wang, the refurbished hotel feels fresh and welcoming. Exemplary service, a Michelin star restaurant with Heston Blumenthal at the helm and central location are huge selling points, with views over Hyde Park the cherry on the cake. Queen Elizabeth II learnt to dance in the ballroom, which has now been transformed into a breath-taking event space.

https://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/hyde-park/luxury-hotel/presentation

Best venue for a corporate event: Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is an imposing Grade II listed building within easy access of Waterloo. Consequently its certain to add to the wow factor to your next event. All types and sizes of event can be catered for within the building’s numerous event spaces. The entire venue can be hired exclusively, holding up to 1250 guests and with access to exhibits available at an extra charge. In addition, the roof terrace is truly spectacular, suspended from the barrel-vaulted glass roof with views over the galleries below.

Destination Guide to London

https://www.tagvenue.com/rooms/london/1869/iwm-london-imperial-war-museum/whole-venue

Best rooftop bar: The Roof Terrace at Vintry and Mercer

When it comes to rooftop bars London has plenty to choose from, each providing its own unique vantagepoint of the city’s landmarks. The Rooftop at St. James overlooking Trafalgar Square is probably one of the best; with an eye line view of Admiral Nelson it’s a magnet for selfie-lovers. Yet, it’s a new kid on the block that gets our vote for the best roof top bar. The roof terrace at Vintry and Mercer offers dinner with a view in a stylish and civilised setting.

https://www.vintryandmercer.com/dining-in-the-city/mercer-roof-terrace/

https://www.timeout.com/london/bars-and-pubs/the-rooftop-st-james

Best lunch spot to wow a client: Sketch, Mayfair

Sketch is possibly the most beautiful restaurant we’ve ever stepped foot in. For that reason, it’s an Instagrammers dream,. Every inch of space is exquisite. Dine in The Gallery, The Lecture Room, The Parlour or The Glade – each more elaborate and theatrical than the last. Oh, and the food isn’t so bad either. Proven by the two Michelin stars.

Best restaurant for a business dinner: Chiltern Firehouse

It wasn’t so long ago that getting a table in the Chiltern Firehouse was a mission impossible. Celebrities and people of notoriety flocked to the venue when it first opened. However, where the initial mania has subsided, the food and impeccable service levels have not. After a sublime dinner in lovely surroundings, you can impress your client with a trip up the watchtower to take in the view – the perfect way to seal a business deal.

Destination Guide to London

https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/londons-best-restaurants-for-business-lunches

A ‘hidden gem’: The Barbican Conservatory

You will have heard of the Barbican of course, but did you know that nestled between the theatre, dance, film and exhibitions is London’s second largest conservatory? Home to over 1500 tropical plants, it’s also a stunning event space for conferences, weddings and corporate events.

https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2019/event/conservatory

What interesting fact could you tell a client?

Finally, London’s black cabs are world-renowned, but becoming a driver of the iconic London taxi isn’t easy. Potential cabbies must pass a rigorous test known as ‘The Knowledge’, where they learn every street in London by heart. With 60,000 streets and over 100,000 places of note that’s some revision!

Destination Guide to London

If you have enjoyed Lauren’s destination guide to London, check-out Frankie Lyon’s Guide to Liverpool

Continue reading  
 Aug 20th 2019

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Home of the Beatles, arguably the most successful footballing city in the UK (although I am not sure this Manchester girl can agree on that!), a unique maritime heritage and stunning period architecture. Liverpool has a lot to offer. And it seems that every week there is a new bar, restaurant or hotel opening in this vibrant city. Luckily, TLC’s Frankie Lyons has the lowdown on the best places to visit and shares them here in her Destination Guide to Liverpool.

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Having worked as PA to TLC’s founder and managing director Liz Taylor for over fifteen years, I have supported the team on many events and been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing destinations.

There is one northern UK city that I love for its unique energy and scouse humour. In my Destination Guide to Liverpool, I am bringing together some of the places that I love to visit for both business and pleasure – enjoy!”

Best airline: Private Jet

Ryan Air and Easy Jet are the main airlines operating from Liverpool airport, so it’s an easy and affordable place to fly from destinations all over Europe. For those who prefer a little more privacy and luxury, the XLR Executive jet centre at Liverpool is a discreet and efficient service for VIP passengers and private aircraft owners. For that reason, it would definitely be my choice of how to travel in style.

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Best hotel: Titanic

https://www.titanichotelliverpool.com/meetings-events-spaces-liverpool

First of all, although it’s situated a little out of town, the Grade II listed former warehouse that’s now known as the Titanic Hotel is worth a taxi ride. It boasts 153 extremely spacious and distinctive rooms. Many come with impressive vaulted ceilings and all of them have supremely tasteful décor. It’s completed by an amazing subterranean spa. And within the boundaries of this cavernous hotel are two unique and inspiring event spaces. Also ideal for corporate events and weddings alike. The beautifully renovated 1950s Rum Warehouse hosts up to 500 guests, where characterful West Bay, with its steel pillars and stone floors, can hold 180.

Best venue for a corporate event: Royal Liver Building

As Liverpool event venues go, they don’t come more iconic than the Royal Liver Building. Famed for the mythical creatures that roost on its rooftop and with panoramic views of the river Mersey. This venue embodies the spirit of Liverpool. Two contemporary gallery style rooms are available for events, complete with a private Royal Balcony overlooking the waterfront. Each has tasteful, neutral décor that’s a blank canvas for corporate messaging or wedding décor. For that reason – you can let your imagination run wild.

https://royalliverbuildingvenue.co.uk/

Best rooftop bar: Goodness Gracious at Oh Me Oh My

My Destination Guide to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without this. A beautiful hidden venue in the heart of downtown Liverpool, Oh Me Oh My is described as ‘a casual and creative space’. By day it operates as a café and tea house with a laid-back Parisian vibe. By night, it transforms into a unique event space available for private hire. It also frequently opens its doors to the public for evening ‘secret sessions’. The jewel in the crown of this enigmatic venue is Goodness Gracious. The rooftop terrace with a bird’s eye view of Liverpool’s Three Graces. It’s open whenever the sun shines from March to October.

Best lunch spot to wow a client: Panoramic 34

Breath-taking views and fine dining within easy reach of Liverpool’s central business district. What more could you ask for? As the name suggests you can enjoy 360° views of the city along with menus inspired by the seasons that evolve daily.

Destination Guide to Liverpool

Best restaurant for a business dinner: The Art School

In the unlikely setting of a former home for destitute children (which later became an art school), celebrity Chef Paul Askew’s 50 cover restaurant is certain to impress clients. In fact, it’s Liverpool’s first ‘Michelin star contender’ according to a recent review from Cheshire Life magazine. Therfore, a perfect choice for TLC clients.

https://theartschoolrestaurant.co.uk/

A ‘hidden gem’: Dirty Little Secret

Hidden in every sense of the word. Consequently, you have to be very committed to visit this place. But oh, is it worth it! Dirty Little Secret is an intimate and atmospheric speakeasy bar that’s well concealed from partygoers. It’s located by ‘finding the key on Wood Street’. And once inside it’s renowned for even more surprises. Customers have been treated to random ‘free bar’ nights on more than one occasion.

What interesting fact could you tell a client?

Finally, Liverpool has doubled for Paris, London, Dublin and Moscow in numerous feature films and TV shows. A thriving film industry ensures its continued popularity amongst film crews. With Sherlock Homes, Creed, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tolkien, Harry Potter – The Deathly Hallows, Captain American and The Fast and The Furious just some of the films that have been shot in the city.

Continue reading  
 Aug 19th 2019

Summer Into Autumn Wedding Flowers

Summer into Autumn Wedding Flowers

In terms of floral wedding décor, the transition from summer to autumn is one of the most noticeable seasonal changes. Out go the peonies, fuchsia and gerbera and in come red roses and luxurious lilies. The bright, high energy colourways and pretty pastels make way for a richer tonal palette too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have show-stopping flowers at an Autumn wedding. In our trends to watch out for with Summer into Autumn Wedding Flowers, we show how to update some of our most sought after summer wedding looks with an autumnal twist.

#Look 1. Summer Fruits

One of our favourite designs for Summer into Autumn Wedding Flowers is combing tables featuring a long Perspex trough running the full length. In this, we float tea lights and seasonal fruits and blooms. This look can be transformed for autumn with ruby red apples and by weaving in rustic bark and foliage. Use scents of the season as a finishing touch to make your room smell as good as it looks. Muskier scents like sandalwood and aromatic spices often take to the fore at this time of year.

parties for no reason at all taylor lynn corporation the party planner in manchester

#Look 2. Gold Leaf

We’re often asked to replace traditional floral plinths with a summery avenue of trees to line the aisle. In Autumn the colours of the leaves will be even more enchanting as they turn with the change of season. Trees can also be extremely effective in wedding décor, adding both height and drama to table centres. And what better way to dine than under a canopy of crimson and amber foliage. “

#Look 3. Floral Canopy

One of the best flowers to achieve this abundant look is wisteria, which blooms from May – June, so there’s a small window for using the real deal. A way to extend a floral canopy’s life way beyond a couple of months would be to use faux flowers – and there are some brilliant imitations around. Alternatively, focus on greenery for the trailing elements of the canopy, ivy works particularly well, then weave in some seasonal blooms to match your colour palette. Rich, warming orange tones are offset beautifully with coloured table linens.

wedding planners based in Manchester TLC LTD

Related Topic: Creative Ways for Using Flowers

wedding planners based in Manchester TLC LTD

Look 4. Pressed Flowers

Fourth on our tips for Summer into Autumn Wedding Flowers, is a design that sees beautiful cut flowers and leaves pressed between a sheet of Perspex and a glass or Perspex table top. Sitting underneath the table settings, this expertly shows how using seasonal flowers creatively can be affordable and still achieve stunning effects. It would be really easy to replace these pretty pastel blooms with seasonal colours and berries. Perhaps even weaving in some fragrant herbs like rosemary and thyme to bring in all of the senses.

Continue reading