Amber Walker has been a Senior Level Event Planner for over 6 years now and has quickly established a name for herself in everything from large scale conferences, elegant weddings, charity events to small intimate parties. She’s been recognized for her excellent ability at planning corporate summits and has coordinated events all over Canada and across the United States.
We asked her some questions about planning events and here’s what she had to say:
What are the most important things to consider when selecting a venue for any professional event (networking, cocktail receptions, off-site meeting, etc.)?
There are a lot of important factors when choosing a venue for a corporate event, but a couple really stand out to me. For me, the single most important thing is taking into account your audience for the event. Is this a corporate function for the Bay Street crowd, or is your audience a more artsy crowd?
If I was targeting a corporate crowd on Bay Street, I may choose a venue that is considered an ‘it’ spot on King West or perhaps a venue with an unobstructed view of the city. But for more artsy and creative types, I may opt for a venue that is more low-key with exposed brick and natural wood. Remember, just because a certain venue is perfect for one event doesn’t necessarily mean it’s perfect for the next. The other factor I would consider is the food. Food REALLY sets the tone for an event.
“If the food isn’t tasty and well presented, the energy at your event will be very low.”
It’s important to pick a style of food that matches with your venue, the time of day and your audience.
If I were planning a short, after work event, some passed hors d’oeuvres would work great. However, if the event would be continuing into the attendees’ dinner time, it would be a good idea to have some food stations with items that are much more substantial.
What tip would you give to someone planning an event such as a product launch or a cocktail reception for the first time?
My one tip is: make it memorable. Don’t follow trends. Go outside the box and set the trend. This is especially true for a product launch. In such a case, you are setting the tone for the product that your event is based around. You really have to think about your audience’s mindset – “Why should I buy this one? There are 3 other products on the market that look the same.” Our response? No, this product is not the same, not even close. Set the tone for your product with your own innovative trends. Your product launch is the first impression you make, so make sure it speaks to your brand.
Based on your feedback from previous clients, what do you think makes the most memorable impression at an event?
That is a tricky question because one thing doesn’t make or break an event – it’s the combination of things. So my answer is: DETAILS. Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s all in the details.”? Well, it sure is. All those little items add up to set the tone for the event. It may be the napkins, the themed beverage with logos engraved in the ice cubes, the giveaways with handwritten notes, or a themed ice sculpture. All things added together make for a fantastic event because attendees see the consistency and the care put in!
What impresses you when working with a client?
I think the most impressive thing when working with a client is when they have a clear vision of what they want and what they can afford. When you have a realistic, clear vision of what you want, I can easily move forward and make it happen flawlessly!