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  
 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  
 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  
 Jul 11th 2019

How to put the wow factor into an event – Confex North

How to put the wow factor into an event – Confex North

TLC’s founder and MD, Liz Taylor, was delighted to be asked to host a fabulous cocktail reception and presentation at Confex North.  Transforming the Luxury Pavilion at Victoria Warehouse into a presentation looking at ‘how to put the wow factor into an event’. Followed by drinks – with a little added TLC style!  Here’s a snapshot of Liz’s presentation, and a few secret ingredients to adding those crucial elements that takes your event from average, to stunning.

It’s that million-dollar question. And sometimes quite literally. How to put the wow factor into an event? With the ever-growing necessity to invest in recognition and motivation, with clients accepting the value of why events are the advertising of today it is essential that your event is bespoke – it has the wow factor to stand alone.   Everyone has their own perception of the wow factor …. Today I would like to share mine. It may not be gospel and you may not agree, but it has served TLC well over the last twenty-five years!

How to put the WOIW factor into an event

So, how to put the wow factor into an event. There are three vital ingredients that contribute, and here they are:

Imagination

It is never how much you spend but how you spend it. Its allowing someone to think out of the box and take a concept and create magic. So, when I was asked some years back to create a circus theme for a twenty first birthday, I ditched the predictable red and yellow and designed a revolving vintage carousel. With a skilled design team, I poured over Victorian carousel images, and in a modern touch we built the turntable into the floor of a marquee. Guests slowly circled around the carousel picking up their goldfish in a plastic bag filled with vodka and tonic, and a popcorn cocktail served in a popcorn carton.

How to put the WOIW factor into an event How to put the WOIW factor into an event

event agencies manchester

 

Individuality

Individual interpretation … The clients favourite show was ‘Wicked’, so we were tasked with bringing it to life off the stage. My most inspiring moments are honestly on my treadmill every morning … with my desert island discs on full blast music takes me into a most creative corner where I find the impossible. A 10-foot witch greeted guests – and I mean greeted 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 red shoes. The entertainment … Diana Ross. Now that’s wow.

The moment least expected

Is the greatest wow factor of the event. A wall drops on a drum roll. Pyrotechnics burst into the room to announce employee of the year. A ceiling drops hundreds of hidden petals when they say I do. The key to this is to choreograph the visual feast accordingly. So, you will know where the guests will be looking, and it’s the perfect time to capture the moment. There’s no point in a surprise where they can’t absorb the magic!

Some moments just happen. They evolve and I’d like to take all the credit, but by having an experienced producer throughout the event last minute decisions can change the entire direction of the night. When a CEO makes an impromptu announcement and you jump on an appropriate piece of music. When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is escorted into an MUFC Christmas party as the new manager with one moment’s notice, the band strikes up the glories. I often have certain tables at events reinforced, so that artists can jump on the tables and perform during dinner – a lesson learned when I hadn’t had them reinforced and they jumped on them anyway!

Imagination, individuality and least expected …..

Key messages to consider in every event. Whether you are the producer or whether you work with an events team – two heads are always better than one.

All well and good you might say. These sound like unlimited budgets … but my mantra .. It’s never how much you spend but how you spend it.  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 cocktails, served in a milk bottle that oozes dry ice and sustainable branded straws!

RELATED TOPIC: Planning the Perfect Awards Event

How do we at TLC deliver the imaginative, individual, least expected moments ……..

The infrastructure at TLC is simple. We are a team of 5 and we are surrounded by a loyal band of suppliers who have supported my journey for thirty years. This enables the team to play on individual strengths. My bag is the wow … my background is creative. From the age of four years I studied music and played the piano to grade 8 and GCSE level at 16. Then after A levels, I pursued a career in fashion retail until the age of 29. It was then that I fell into the industry.  Creating the wow is my strength. I have the most ridiculously bonkers Pisces inspired ideas, that I can make happen. I believe that this sets TLC apart from the competition.

 

If you went to invest in something special, you would look for advice from an expert – someone who could support you in your vision. Whether it be a product or something intangible, perhaps for your home. I have endeavoured over the years to provide that support to a discerning corporate and private client portfolio – pushing the boundaries and delivering the impossible. And that’s what makes it and us wow ……

So, to summarise …. how to put the wow factor into an event.  Imaginative. Individual. The moment least expected … they are the three to remember!

Continue reading  
 Jun 19th 2019

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Warmer weather is the season for enjoying TLC’s open-air celebrations and stylish outdoor parties. But when your guests have seasonal allergies such as hayfever, the thought of spending time outside can bring visions of sneezing and wheezing rather than having fun! If you’re hosting an outdoor party this summer, our Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties can help to ensure a good time is had by everyone, even those with summer allergies:

Timing is Everything

Pollen counts are highest in the morning (5am-10am), so plan your party for later in the day or evening. Or go a step further and try to hold your celebration on a day that should have a low pollen count. Most summer weather forecasts detail this, but to plan further ahead, check out the Met Office forecast.

Knowledge is Wisdom

Allergy medications are more effective when you take them before you have symptoms, Telling your guests in advance that your party is outdoors gives them the opportunity to take their allergy medication before they arrive. It also serves as a reminder for them to bring any emergency medication with them.

Location, Location

Sea breezes blow pollen inland, so choosing a more coastal location for your party can help hayfever and summer allergy sufferers. Beach front venues, or the beach itself, can provide an inspiration backdrop and enhances the ‘endless summer’ vibe of any outdoor party.

Super Shady

Third on our list of top Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties is both practical and stylish. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce, but not totally prevent, pollen from getting into your eyes and making them water and itch. Embrace this with bespoke sunglasses for your event. These can be given as a gift or used as a place marker on tables – a little tag attached does the trick.

Trim and Tidy

Remove weeds and prune borders, where triggers can lurk, well ahead of the party. Mow a day or two before, and not the day of. And use any garden blowers well before the party, as can stir up dust and mouldy leaves. Think about the placement of the event too. Are their surrounding fields with high allergens such as rape seed plants?

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Inside Out

Choose a high-quality marquee, Yurts or gazebo structure (preferably air-conditioned) to provide shade from the sun, but also offer an indoor space where guests bothered by pollen can go. Going indoors will be important for anyone who develops an allergy attack despite their, and your, best efforts. Once an attack has begun, an air-conditioned environment is best, as this filters out any pollen; so have an indoor chill-out space at the ready.

Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties

Floral Fabulousness

When choosing the floral design for your party, opt for flowers that produce little to no pollen. Daffodils, lilies, pansies, petunias, roses, snapdragons, and tulips for example are all less likely to aggravate allergies. Beware of summer standbys like sunflowers, daisies and chrysanthemums that are in the ragweed family and can trigger pollen allergies.

Private Parties organisers Decor tlc limited

 

Related Topic: Top 5 Summer Cocktails

 

Foodie Fun

People with seasonal allergies can experience a tingling of the mouth or itchy throat from oral allergy syndrome. There is evidence that this happens after eating certain fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. As a party host, it will be important to know what the guest’s specific allergy is, and ensure a meal is prepared that minimises any reactions. Not forgetting other allergies and intolerances, such as dairy, wheat and gluten. All of which, with TLC’s team of creative chefs, need not be a problem. Modern catering allows for an innovative menu to suit all guests – it just needs careful planning and some theatrical presentation. Allergy UK have some excellent advice on their website.

Private Parties Caterers in Manchester

Last, but not Least

So regardless of your summer allergies, there is no reason for you to miss out on the summer fun. A great host will have soft tissues to hand (branded for a wedding or special party of course), large sun hats and a ‘standby’ box with anti-allergy creams and something to soothe stings. It is also though that a splash of water on the face will dislodge any pollen, so offer facial spritz as a table gift. Ladies may be reluctant at first – make up considered – but we love this Vichy Thermal Mineralising Spa Water…and your guest will too. Always be prepared!

 

I hope our Tips to Beat Summer Allergies at Outdoor Parties has helped with your planning!

Continue reading  
 May 28th 2019

Five unique wedding favour ideas

Five unique wedding favour ideas

Wedding favours provide the perfect opportunity to show your guests how much you appreciate their part in your big day. With our five unique wedding favour ideas you won’t be short of inspiration.

The tradition of giving a gift (bomboniera) to guests on special occasions dates back hundreds of years. Almonds became the gift of choice, because sugar was at that time an expensive luxury.  In the Middle Ages, the European aristocracy and upper classes would give guests five sugared almonds to represent health, wealth, fertility, happiness and longevity. Today, the choice of wedding favours is much more diverse. However the sentiments are the same. And what better way to show your gratitude than with a personalised gift to recognise the contribution each guest has made to your life as a couple and will continue to do in the future.

Here are five unique wedding favours ideas to get you started:

Rustic charm

Place name settings offer the perfect opportunity to integrate personalised unique wedding favours into your day. This will help to streamline your table décor and keeping it clutter free.

Depending on the style and theme of your wedding there are lots of different handmade place-settings to choose from in a variety of materials. For a rural theme we love these hand-sanded wooden coasters from Esty. These can be individually laser-engraved with a guest’s name. Other ideas include a small potted bay tree, wrapped with a hessian bow and individual tag. Individual vintage tin cups with embossed names and filled with treats. Or miniature jars of homemade preserves or local honey.

Warm the heart

If you want your guests to remember your big day with warmth, nothing warms inside and out like a steaming mug of hot chocolate. At the end of the evening, you can either pour out a hot beverage in a personally engraved cuppa. Or else add a sachet of hot chocolate with a small pouch of marshmallows and hand-made cookies for them to enjoy when they get home. There are lots of different types of mugs to choose from. Or, for a truly elegant feel go for a tall hot-chocolate glass engraved with a special, message personalised to present a unique wedding favour to each guest.

For the adults, why not choose their favourite liqueur presented in individual antique medicine bottles. They are popular!  Or offer guests a liqueur from a table side mixologist instead of a favour.  A lovely treat and not many refusals!!

wedding planners based in Manchester TLC LTD

Festive cheer

Third on our list of five unique wedding favour ideas is perfect for Christmas. Winter weddings are magical for many reasons. When it comes to unique wedding favours, use this to your advantage by giving guests gifts they can reuse year after year. For this, any kind of Christmas decoration works well. For personalisation you will need space for engraving, therefore baubles or snow-globes are perfect. These stunning wedding favours will mean that your day is remembered with fondness for years to come.

You could also choose festive spiced gingerbread, iced with names. Or bars of luxury chocolate with a bespoke wedding day wrapper. And for the bigger budgets, individual wrapped gifts that act as place marker and wedding favour.

Five unique wedding favours ideas

Related Topic: If our five unique wedding favours ideas are not enough, here’s some more: More Wedding Favour Ideas

Sweet smell of romance

Don’t forget the importance of fragrance in helping to create atmosphere. Many companies are now offering brides personalised scents for their big day. For a truly luxurious gift, you can capture those memories in a scent and share with guests as scented candles held in beautifully engraved jars.

Jo Malone offers an engraving and monogramming service to allows you to personalise your gifts. For summer the company has some wonderfully evocative fragrances as English Pear & Freesia or Orange Blossom. As well as personalised scents for unique wedding favours.

Five unique wedding favours ideas

Bee-ing kind

While many associate St Valentine with our public day of love, fewer know he is also the patron saint of beekeepers. Personalised wildflower seed-packets help spread the beauty of your love beyond your wedding day. As well as protecting our environment and benefiting future generations. These favours will encourage guests to plant seeds which help bees and other pollinating insects.

Needless to say, ideas are endless when it comes to creating wedding favours. Tie the gift into the design of your big day. Keep it simple and stylish – and you won’t go wrong.

And don’t forget the kids. Colouring packs, personalised rubber ducks, individual boxes of Lego and a jar of coloured smarties.  All make ideal wedding favours.

Continue reading