Putting on a Doo...Part Nine - Decorations

Decoration is a broad subject and actually most of the other areas that we have covered, lighting, entertainment etc are incorporated into this category. So, where to begin? Every aspect of your event needs to be bought together, either through a recurring theme, colour, even a feeling or season can be used to tie everything in.

As usual, your budget plays a big part as to the extent in which you can decorate your venue and the options are endless, why not start with the following:

  • Ask the venue if they provide any decoration or if they have any photos of previous events and suppliers used - this will give you a great visual guide and inspiration of what can be achieved combined with using apps such as Pinterest.

  • Plan out where entertainment, tables/seating, toilets, bar etc will be - a floor/rough plan again will help you envision where everything will be placed - remember to take it with you when you visit your venue and take plenty of photos/video as a reminder of where everything is and what it looks like.

  • Check what the limitations are with the venue in terms of practicality, what you are allowed to do and health and safety - you may want to cover up an unsightly area that is a fire exit or affix fabric swags onto the walls.

  • How much time do you have? Do you want to do DIY personal touches if you have enough time/help? Just remember DIY doesn’t always mean free!

  • Remember to ask what day/time can you get into the venue to decorate? and when everything has to be taken down by.

We have put together the following list of things to think of when choosing your decor:

  • What about incorporating the natural environment of your venue, will your event also be taking place outside/in the gardens?

  • Can you double up exterior lighting carefully placed to highlight existing/natural features?

  • Create an atmosphere by literally rolling out the red carpet and adding practical signage which is still in-keeping with your theme.

  • Cover unsightly areas/section off different parts of your event - using fabric, lighting, screens etc.

  • Bring the ceiling in with drapes, swags, bunting, balloons, hanging decor, fairy lights etc to create a more intimate and cosy atmosphere.

  • Table decorations can be as simple or elaborate as you wish from wild flowers and repurposed jars to tall candelabras and crystal vases with exotic flowers.

  • Consider using flameless candles where you have restrictions on naked flames.

  • Decoration can also be extended to dinnerware, table cloths, chair covers etc - why not co-ordinate your crockery with your chosen style - for example a vintage tea service is a visual feast for the eyes with it’s fine china detail and array of colour and style and personalise your chair covers and table cloths to add colour and that little something different.

  • Check you have day to night/child etc suitable decorations - no-one wants to be tripping over once the lights dim.

  • Don’t be constricted by limiting your theme to a single colour - consider a theme based on pastels, bold natural colours, seasons, textures and patterns, wools, rustic, opulence with golds, silvers, inspiration from travels, cities, eras and styles.

  • Hire, Buy or DIY - consider your budget and time limitations, buying items and personalising them (or not) and then re-selling them is not always the cheaper option to hiring. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and things always take longer that you expect (as well as space in your home!). Consider hiring items you can then add personalised details to - always ask your supplier if they can hire them to you for extra days in advance.

  • Consider the environment - hiring is more eco friendly, using biodegradable confetti, easily recyclable disposables etc.

We hope that we have given you lots of hints and tips to consider when planning your decorations, join us next time for the next instalment!


Putting on a doo...Part Eight - Lighting

Lighting really sets the mood and atmosphere to an event.  From the moment you arrive at the venue the lighting should highlight features and hide unsightly areas.

As usual it depends on your budget as to what you can afford but also some other things to consider are:

  • What power does the venue have?

  • Will you need a generator? - remember you will want a silent generator.

  • Do you have a colour or theme?

  • What entertainment do you need to light?

  • Do you need different lighting for different times throughout your event?

  • Can you use natural lighting/blackout windows if needed?

  • What existing lighting is there?

  • What are the restrictions in regards to hanging lights from the venue - rigging points?

  • Is there room for freestanding lights? How is the room laid out?

  • Which areas need to be lit for safety - exits etc.

  • Venue may have lighting suppliers they know that are familiar with the venue - so ask them for recommendations.

  • Exterior lighting to light up the outside of the venue or to create atmosphere if the guests will be outside during your event.

  • Do you want use lighting as a decor element?

  • Do you want to highlight elements of your event with lighting?

  • Be careful with strobing lights.

  • Check the venue and your insurance for restrictions.

  • How long will it take to set up/take down?

There are so many different options for lighting and it does cross into other categories - decoration and entertainment.  We have listed out different options below:

  • Candles - real or battery

  • Centrepieces - for example - jars and vases with lights and flowers

  • UV lights

  • Light up letters e.g. LOVE

  • Star cloths

  • Gas flambeaux torches

  • Festoon lights

  • Fairy lights

  • LEDS

  • Lanterns

  • Chandeliers

  • Mirror balls

  • Lightbulb canopy

  • Paper lantern canopy with lights.

  • Tree Lights

  • Up lights to highlight venue features etc which can come in different colours

  • Pea light canopy (extra small lights)

  • Stairway/corridor lighting

  • Stage - lighting for speaker/entertainment

  • Dancefloor

  • Drapes

  • Par cans and pin spots to highlight and direct attention to specific areas and create drama by picking out decor elements.

  • Lighting to fill entire room (make sure it is not too bright and stark)

  • Video projections

  • Edison style lamps (large filaments)

  • Lasers

  • LED panels

  • Disco lights/panels

  • Light up signs - personalised signs or to give information

  • Gobos (stand for Go between optics - purpose made stencils that fit onto lights to project images - including logos, designs, patterns etc onto ceilings and walls)

  • Light show - design a custom show for your event.

Remember no matter what your budget there are different options, it may just need abit more planning.

See you next time when we look at decorations!





Choosing your entertainment

Whether it's a work Christmas doo, wedding, stag or hen party or kid's birthday party there is a broad range of entertainment to suit your guests and your budget.  We have compiled a list of options for you to consider:


  • DJ

  • Live Band (remember bands only play for a limited time)

  • iPod/iPhone with playlist (don't forget the amp and speakers) - why not your guests to submit a song choice!

  • Choirs/Quartets

  • Acapella



  • Lantern making

  • Garland making workshop

  • Knicker making

  • Colouring in & simple crafts for kids

  • Life drawing

  • Cocktail making

  • Perfume workshop

  • Wine tasting



  • Naked/Singing Butler

  • Lookalikes

  • Puppet show

  • Circus performers

  • Dancers

  • Drag Queens

  • Magicians/Table magicians

  • Flash Mobs

  • Cabaret acts

  • Mariachi band

  • Aerial Acts

  • Fire performers

  • Jugglers

  • Burlesque

  • Clowns

  • Ventriloquists

  • Kids theatre

  • Comedians

  • Bubble man/woman

  • Belly dancers

  • Themed actors


Games & Activites

Check out our fete and garden games, inflatables, hula hoops and toys to entertain your guests.  Remember, being on a tight budget doesn't mean you have to miss out, be creative with DIY entertainment and your friends, family and colleagues are guaranteed to have fun!

See you next time


Putting on a doo...Part Seven - Entertainment

There is so much choice when it comes to entertaining your guests and an increase of services that can come to you, the decision can be difficult.  

We have put together a few things to consider when choosing and arranging your entertainment.

Budget is always a key factor along with the type of event and who your guests are.  If you are hosting a children's party, a cocktail bar might be tempting but probably not appropriate ;)

Time is a big influence, when will the entertainment begin and end? Will it have it's own time slot such as a kid's entertainer? or will it run along side other elements of your event like singing butlers? It may be that the entertainment is centre to your doo! in which case your budget should reflect that.

Music is always a given and luckily nowadays you can make an appropriate playlist and leave it running.  Just take into consideration the type of music that you are playing and that it won't offend any of your guests and check that the venue has an appropriate PA system for your phone/tablet/laptop.

Below is a quick checklist and next week we will be posting a long list of entertainment options.

  • Venue - get permission first from your venue, they may have restrictions.

  • Weather - is your entertainment dependant on good weather? If so make sure you have a back up plan if the heavens decide to open!

  • Arrival, start and finish time - make sure they have time to set up.

  • Recce - Do the performers need to visit the venue before to assess?

  • Space - ensure there is enough space and that setting up won't disturb your guests.

  • Payment - they may require payment in cash on the day - don't forget!

  • Parking and unloading - speak to the venue (and council if needed) about designated parking if required close to loading doors etc.

  • Contact - ensure that contact details are exchanged between yourself, the venue manager/representative and entertainment.

  • Insurance - check they have insurance and if you will need to specify on your event insurance.

  • Location - give the full address (including postcode) as well as directions if needed.

  • Facilities - will they need a changing room, mirrors, tables, lights, meals and drinks etc?

  • Who will look after them? - it may be that you need to designate a person, either one of your friends and family or venue staff to make sure that they have everything they need, drinks etc that person could also be the contact for when they arrive.

See you next time!





Putting on a Doo...Part Six - Food & Drink


This week is all about food and drink, so let's get stuck in!

There are lots of different options for you and your guests, here are a some questions to ask yourself which will help guide your options:

  • What is your budget?

  • How many meals do you need to cater? Lunch and evening?

  • How many guests for each meal?

  • Do you need to cater for children, food intolerances etc?

  • What are the venue restrictions?

    • Do you have to use their in-house catering?

    • Can you take your own wine for tables etc?

    • If you want a 'pop up' catering van, where can they park?

    • Do they have a bar? and what do they serve/prices?

    • Alcohol restrictions/limits?

  • How will your food fit in with your day/schedule?

  • What kind of food do you want to serve?

So, with the answers to these questions you can now look at the different options you have:

  • Go with the venue's in-house menu and bar service. Experienced venue's have a dedicated team for weddings and events and where possible will tailor a menu to suit your needs.

  • Use outside events caterers.

  • A popular alternative is the pop up mobile street food vendor, creating a more informal atmosphere. and because they concentrate on serving a specific style of food, they have honed their taste to perfection. The only downside being the limited menu options available.

  • A more personal option is to ask guests to contribute a dish to the buffet a great option for private events like weddings, birthdays etc.

There is the question about the type of food you want:

  • Sit down pre-ordered meal

  • Buffet

  • Sharing plates

  • Food stations - similar to a buffet but serving finger foods so your guests can nibble and mingle

  • Stand up eating - finger foods distributed throughout the event by staff

  • BBQ or hog roast

  • Food trucks

Then there are the drinks options:

  • Drinks on arrival

  • Wine & drinks at the table

  • In house bar

  • Portable bar/drinks trucks

  • Cocktail bartenders

  • Providing your own alcohol and drinks

Food and drink can be a massive chunk of your budget and every option has it's own pros and cons.  There is no escaping it - your guests need feeding and watering! 

However, although it sounds daunting you can always consider catering your event yourself (and/or with your guests help).  By hiring the right cutlery, crockery glasses etc to accompany your food and drinks you can make your catering look unique, special and personal.  Check out our dispensers and glasses, serving dishes, tea service and keep an eye out in the coming weeks for our children, eco/zero waste party collections for hire.

See you all next time!