Reception & Meeting Facility

Corporate Party Planning

Whether it’s helping organize a celebrity press conference, raising funds for a worthwhile cause or executing a theme for a gala soiree at the Pasfield House, Tony Leone uses all his resources to make sure every detail is executed successfully. I fact for his entire political career he’s always been the go to guy that makes events a success. Leone’s newest and best venue for coordinating all types of activities is a newly restored Georgian styled mansion just west of the capitol complex. Whether it’s corporate entertaining or funding; a special e vent like a wedding rehearsal dinner or anniversary party; or just a gathering of friends, Leone personally sees each event making sure their memorable and that the guests leave with just the impression that the best wishes to convey. Through Leone hesitates calling himself an event planner, he does offer the following insights to the Springfield Bisiness Journal of Corporate Party Planning.

There are typically three types of business related, gathering; those which entertain customers/clients; those for the purpose of entertaining staff or sales organizations; and ones that simply recognize hardworking staff. Once you determine which type of event you wish to hold, ask yourself what type of atmosphere you want to achieve. Some business events are festive, others can be competitive, inspirational, or team building. When entertaining visitors, my advise is to keep it light, don’t make them sit through a presentation unless it is disclosed up front and has a separate time element that allows your guests to comfortably side step the lecture/press conference if they wish.

The first key decision to consider is your budget. Will there be a theme appropriate for your guests and pocket book. If your name is on the line, do it right. That doesn’t mean your gathering has to be elegant, just make sure the atmosphere you wish to establish carried through for the entire event. Make each event memorable; something your guest would remember and be pleased that they took their time to attend.

Client events are probably more restrained than holiday party for employees. For each event determine if spouses will be included. Including spouses will have a major affect on cost but my personal feeling is that it’s worth doing. Placing your event outside the office where you work gives the gathering a more special stamp, be it business or inform al. Outdoor informal events can be very nice if the weather and mosquitoes cooperate but make sure you’ve got a backup place to go. Entertainment is nice. A jazz trio, string quartet or an acoustical guitarist adds so much without breaking the bank, plus you get a built in microphone and speaker to use when you make your thank everyone for coming speech.

A location with atmosphere is way more important than you may think. A great atmosphere keeps your guests occupied when conversations run dry. I like to remind clients that there is much more to consider than food and drink only for an event to be a memorable one.

There are two budgets you must consider for every event, the budget for Food and Beverages and the one for other Services. Food and Beverages may or may not be handled completely by the caterer. Most places for entertaining in Springfield have there own on site or preferred service provider. A lot of caterers buy all of the plateware, glassware, linens, etc. at an additional fee or you may rent them at a local party rental store. Either way, they usually add a significant amount to the cost of an event. Other services to budget for are the hall rental itself, floral arrangements, other decorations, musicians, party favors, as well as a long list of electronic equipment needed. Other parties even provide a babysitter for the guests who entertain small children perhaps in a lower level watching videos and serving kid-oriented snacks.

When it comes to making a decision about liquor, the more difficult question is, “What should I buy”. Size up your audience, are they beer, wine or cocktail drinkers. Wine is very popular at most events. The Pasfield House often offers wine and cheese parties that are elegant while still fitting in a tight budget. If a full bar is in order, you also need to add at least tow kinds of beer, one being a light brand. Sprits or hard liquors can vary dramatically. Unless you feel you have to be prepared to make a variety of cocktails, I suggest having a vodka, scotch, whiskey, gin and a rum on hand. Let the brand quality suit the tastes of your guests. Don’t forget the mixers and to include soft drinks tea, coffee, and other beverages for those non-alcoholic drinkers.

Liquor costs can be dramatically reduced if you incorporate what you are offering to the theme of your party. For example, a wine and cheese party or a Cinco De Mayo party serving only Margaritas, Sangria and Corona beer. For a New Orleans party serve Dixie Beer and Hurricanes, or Mint Julips for a Kentucky Derby party. One cardinal rule however, is being sure you don’t run out of refreshments. You always overestimate the beverage quantity since they are not perishable.

The food for serving is often is often a central focus, something that carries off your party’s theme. Plan menus that suit your guests taste. Will vegetarians be present friends with religious restriction or is anyone allergic to shellfish? I prefer throwing a heavy buffet cocktail reception that offers a wide variety to avoid these headaches, especially when you are not that familiar with your entire guest list. Cocktail receptions as opposed to sit-down dinners also allow people to mingle and not be stuck at a table with the same people for most of the evening. That’s why cocktail receptions are so popular with the legislative crowd, it allows everyone to network more readily. Anther great hint, be sure your food is recognizable. If your guests have to ask you what you are serving, you should be explaining your menu up front.

Take into consideration the role your menu plays at the party. Think about your guests, are they well-traveled foodies or meat and potato people. At a dinner buffet or reception serving only hors deurves make sure your food service does not set directly next to the bar. At the Pasfield House, we provide the wait staff and bartenders to assure that everything runs smoothly, with plateware and glassware whisked away in an unobtrusive manner.

You might want to let the caterers’ help customize your menu after you pick a few items to complement your theme. That way, the caterer may include some inexpensive items that help fit the presentation giving your food offering the appearance of abundance without dramatically increasing the budget. A few caterers want complete control that kind of confidence usually works out well for the host who can concentrate on other aspects of the event, but if you are like me, that is difficult to give up since the event reflects directly on my sometimes compulsive addiction to detail.

Fortunately, at the Pasfield House, an elegant allows you to offer to drink a t the top of the scale without looking out of place or you may scale down the cost and let the ambiance of house grounds carry off a inexpensive but high class event. I developed a good relationship with caterers that work out of the Pasfield House. They appreciate the business I send them of a regular basis, so when problems arise, they help me solve them. The same goes for the florist, photographers, musicians, and party rental shops.

With the space allotted let me finish up by suggesting that you always give yourself a minimum of 5 weeks for planning an event for a business group even more if there are out of town guests. Three weeks is plenty for friends and family. But before anything happens, get your guest list together. The guest list usually is the inspiration of all parties.