Creating a company’s festive event proved a bigger challenge than anticipated for Liz Taylor, Manchester-based founder and MD of event organisation Taylor Lynn Corporation (TLC). Liz explains…
To create a unique 10th anniversary celebration party at Christmas time for a high-profile insurance group, with a geographical challenge thrown in!
A purpose-built marquee in Reigate, Surrey.
400 guests from central London and Reigate, ranging from senior management to frontline staff members.
TLC initially worked alongside key senior personnel within the company and once the concept was signed-off, we took over the reins to deliver the event. Constant communication with the company was key though.
I was recommended for the job by the chair to the events team and the relationship with your client is crucial with events such as this. We make it our mission to get to know the company, its brand, philosophy and team. Once you really are ‘under the skin’ of a business you can create an event that delivers results on multiple levels. That’s a successful corporate event.
Choosing the Venue
The first of many challenges lay in the venue choice, or rather, lack of choice. Our team are experts at finding those venue hidden gems and we turned over every stone to uncover the perfect place; to no avail. Thinking caps on…we created our own venue instead. We found the location and negotiated to hire a farmer’s field – a prime location for a luxury marquee. Problem solved.
Bringing the Concept to Life
It was a festive celebration, and a chance to reward and thank staff members. With any such event, people have an expectation around design. You just can’t take ‘Christmas out of Christmas’. Anything that diverts too much from the festive feel is a real disappointment. For our team, the key was to creatively interpret the traditional but re-invent it with something magical.
A ‘white Christmas’ was the overall design concept. The access to the field where the marquee was positioned was through woodland, so tricky. TLC embraced the challenge and had the trees trimmed back to create a magical, theatrically lit path, leading into a spectacular marquee.
Inside, white and silver were the main colour ways; featuring tall silver vases overflowing with frosted twigs and leaves. Crushed velvet silver table linens added texture, warmth and glamour. Simple tea lights completed the look. A large stage was in place with video screen for company presentation.
Lighting was crucial. A theatrical lighting production from Luminate Events bathed the room with blue, white and pink lighting. This added drama and atmosphere, really standing out against the white backdrop. Entertainment by the Swanband and fine dining by Barretts Event Caterers guaranteed the levels of service and innovation that the planners demand for clients.
Entertainment from drinks reception until the lights go down was the request. Swanband were flown in from France to offer a unique musical experience that brought everyone, from all levels in the company together on the dancefloor. And they did. Music is a key aspect to any party, so for me, it is one of the biggest elements to get right.
Reigate was not an easy location to find a venue suitable for this event. Never one to shirk a challenge – it was time to get creative with venue ideas! The farmer on the private field embraced the design by building bespoke poseur tables and a bar. It added rustic, authenticity to the design – and an eco-touch.
The pathway into the site was a narrow drive off a country road. The event planners had to accommodate the movement of buses and different modes of transport, to ensure that the party goers and suppliers didn’t block the whole road! With December weather prevailing, TLC managed this meticulous planning and in true military style!
Liz’s Personal Highlights
Overcoming the geographical challenge and not only finding a location for the client but turning it into a most magical setting was a great achievement. For me, it demonstrated our creative thinking and resourcefulness. This was an inaugural event, but a huge success and we are continuing to work for the client.
Lessons for Next Time
I’d change the weather. Always a challenge in December!