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Advice for the next 6 months – Derek de Jongh

The year has been racing by and we find ourselves in the downhill sprint to sunny December and the holiday season. Even though we are in the throws of a cold and chilly winter and there seems to be a lot of time till the end of the year, I would highly recommend that you start planning the second half of the year. Plan your goals for your business and your potential/ proposed events and functions you wish to host. There are many occasions to celebrate as winter comes to a close and the temperature starts to increase.

Some of these events include…

– International Women’s Day (9th of August)
– Heritage Day/ Braai Day (24th of September)
– Halloween (31 October)
– Armistice Day (11 November)
– World Aids Day (1 December)
– Reconciliation Day (16 December)
– Christmas (25 December)
– New Year (31 December)

All these special occasions plus other occasions such as product launches, birthday celebrations, weddings and end of year functions must also be taken into account when thinking of the six months ahead.

My advice to all individuals and companies is to plan your calendar. Schedule your proposed event/s that you wish to host and write them down in your calendar. Once you know of your plans you can go about organising the function. The first thing to do is to book your venue! Without a venue you will have no event. Venues book up very quickly towards the end of the year, due to the high demand for Christmas parties and end of year functions, so do not waste time.

Before you book a venue remember to consider the following…
How many people the venue can host?

Do not book a venue that is too small or too big, spend some time compiling a draft of a guest list so that you have an estimate on how many people you may be expecting. If your venue is too small your guests will feel cramped but if your venue is too big your event will not have the same impact as there will be no intimacy and energy to the event and thus the guests will feel lost.

Before booking your venue ask yourself the following … What requirements do you need from the venue for your event? For example – do you need a dance floor for an evening function? Would you require a bar area that is managed by you, the host or by the venue? Do you need an outside area for seating? Is there enough parking space for your guests to attend the event? All these aspects need to be considered prior to booking the venue.

Consider the weather during the month of your event. In Johannesburg, summers rain is predicted to fall in the afternoons, so make sure if you are planning on hosting an afternoon/evening function you have an area that can keep your guests warm and dry, should there be a thunderstorm. If you would like an outside function we would highly recommend putting a marquee tent up to ensure that your guests are dry and happy.

You have now booked your venue. The next step is to send out a “save the date” to your guests to ensure that they can put the date in their diary and not double book the date. Everyone’s schedule becomes very busy as the year heads towards December so make sure you give your guests some warning regarding your event. A save the date can be sent with an email, SMS and/or official paper invite.

Once you have booked your venue it is time to book any extra equipment/ items you may need. Many venues may not have everything you need, so make sure you find out what furniture, crockery and cutlery the venue has to offer. Should you need to rent other items such as a Marquee Tent (as mentioned above), glasses, fire pits, extra tables, champagne buckets – we advise that you book these items as soon as you can. Rental agents (such as ourselves) are very busy towards the end of the year and we would hate to not have your items available for you. Avoid disappointment and place an order as soon as possible.

Now that your venue and equipment has been organised and book you can start organising the rest of the event. This includes organising a caterer, booking a DJ, planning a theme and sorting out the decor. All these items should not be left to the last minute due to the high demand of all suppliers during the next 6 months. Seek assistance from your team if you do not have sufficient time to plan everything, as the saying goes a problem share is a problem halved.

My final advice for the following 6 months is to not wish the year away. Enjoy every week, every season and embrace the planning stages of every event/ function as well as enjoying the function.

MPR has a team of experts who can assist you with any assistance you may need planning your event for the rest of the year.