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Q&A with Derek De Jongh on what makes a great event 

What makes an event HOT or NOT!

After many years at the helm of MPR Hiring our owner and CEO Derek De Jongh has been to his fair share of events. We decided to sit down and ask him for his tips on what makes a great event especially memorable.


What are the biggest mistakes for hosts to make at their events?

Micromanaging on the night. For me that’s the biggest mistake. The guests are seeking to engage with the host on the evening, but if they’re too busy to interact with guests it may come off as indifference. Having a distracted organiser on the evening often means that an important connection is lost.

Make sure that you have staff that can handle any issues that occur  and that you (as the host) are able to interact with as many of the party goers as you can.


How important is the venue selection?

To paraphrase an estate agent, “VENUE, VENUE, VENUE!” MRP Hiring’s main job is to set up the venues anywhere our clients want. However, Even though we can set up a tent in any location clients still need to really consider the space. We’ve had some unique and distant destinations, but in some instances this has been the undoing of the occasion.

Before choosing a venue consider how far your guests are willing to travel, and if it is a far-flung destination is there accommodation nearby? The second factor to consider when selecting a location is if weather will be a major factor. If you’re planning an event on farm in February in Gauteng make sure the road surface isn’t affected by heavy rains. After all, the last thing guests want to struggle with is a car stuck in mud.


Do you think themes are important?

While it may seem like there is a choice, there isn’t – you need a theme! Themeless events often fall flat as there isn’t that extra excitement factor. Find a theme that is easy to carry through all the event elements, such as invites and decorations.


What is your opinion on chairs?

While most party tips suggest less chairs than guests, I would disagree. Simply put, comfortable party goers are happy party goers. The idea is that less seats for guests will force them to socialise and mingle – but the truth is people interact when they’re comfy. So give people the option of a chair, if they want to move around they’ll do so on their own accord.


How important are SNACKS?

Very, is the short answer. If you’re a South African you know that we’re a boozy nation. The fact is snacks are crucial, and you should make sure that they are available throughout the event, especially if you are not serving a full meal. In any case, great snacks make for very happy guests.