How to Plan a Corporate Event in 2020: A Step-by-Step Guide

by the PartySlate Team

Corporate events are an amazing way to celebrate your company’s success and hard work, launch new products and partnerships, or inspire your team as you move into a new quarter. Corporate event planning must be detailed and creative — go beyond your average conference room meeting. Plan an epic event to encourage co-workers to celebrate and get to know each other socially. This corporate event planning checklist offers 7 steps for throwing the most amazing party — and impressing your guests.

1. Hire an Event Planner

For corporate event planning on a large scale with much to coordinate, you may be interested in hiring an event planner. For smaller scale events — or if your organization has an events team of your own — you may opt for a day-of planner to coordinate last-minute details. PartySlate features the top event professionals for both options. The benefit of hiring an event planner is all of the knowledge and attention to detail they will bring to your event. Event planners know the ins and outs of the industry and will quickly be able to bring your vision to life with their creativity, experience, and key contacts. From event theming and never-before-done ideas, to difficult-to-manage logistics — think parking, valet, set up and break down schedules — they will be your go-to guide for corporate event planning and hosting a seamless celebration.

Photography: Osh Images | Venue: Pier Sixty | Event Planning: Apotheosis Events | Design: TINSEL Experiential Design

2. Find a Venue

Venues book their private event spaces far in advance, so it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect location for your corporate event. Consider the size of your celebration — if you’re planning to host thousands people for an all-employee event, you’ll need a larger warehouse space or ballroom, and somewhere with hotels nearby for out of town guests. Smaller corporate soirees — such as a client appreciation dinner — are perfectly suited for the private space at a restaurant, but there are also many creative ways to make a large event space more intimate. Once you have an estimated headcount and an idea of what you’d like this event to feel like, start narrowing down your favorite venues, then contact them for an in-person viewing.

Photography: From Parris with Love | Venue: ASPIRE at One World Observatory | Planner & Design: Luxury Makers

3. Hire a Photographer

Photographers also book up in advance, and since you’ll want to capture all your out-of-the-office moments with your co-workers and friends, hiring a photographer is an important step. They’ll want to know the date and time of your event, while other planning details can come later. Photographers want to capture moments important to you, so be sure to fill them in on the flow of your event — when guests plan to arrive, speeches and toasts, and so on. If you’re interested in recording the event, videographers can usually be found at the same organization, or the photographer or event planner may have recommendations based on who they’ve worked with before.

Photographer: LaCour Images | Venue: House of Blues Chicago | Entertainment: Maggie Speaks

4. Design, Décor & Creative Theming

Once your venue, planner, and photographer have been booked, you have some time to brainstorm and ideate how you want the event to look and feel. Start by browsing curated photo collections on PartySlate to find ideas and inspiration. Corporate events are becoming more and more creative in their theming as companies strive to entertain and reward their hardworking teams. Theming your event gives great direction to everything from décor and food to entertainment. When it comes to design, we recommend creating a mental blueprint — where will you place your bar, lounge areas, tables or catering stations, and the stage. Once you have an idea of all of the different elements you want for your event, you can have some fun with decor, like stand-out centerpieces, eye-catching ceiling decor, an unforgettable entrance, and so on.

Venue: The Geraghty | Décor & Design: Kehoe Designs | Lighting, Audio/Video & Staging: BlackOak Technical Productions

5. Select a Caterer

Arguably the most important element of a corporate event (as no one is happy on an empty stomach!) is the food and drink. First, we recommend deciding whether or not you want to do sit down dining, a buffet, or passed hors d’oeuvres. Once you have a better idea of how you want the food served, you and your caterer can get creative with the menu. From cocktails to canapés, PartySlate has photos of all types of dishes and cuisine. We love an event offering custom cocktails, and these can also be a great way to show off your organization’s branding.

Photographer: Harley Bonham | Caterer: M Culinary Concepts | Food Station Décor: EDG Productions | Production: Merestone

6. Incorporate Your Branding

As we mentioned before, cocktails can be a fun way to incorporate your branding. But don’t stop there — corporate events give your company’s brand a place to come to life. Consider amazing signage or a custom photo booth for your employees to pose in front of. Your logo can be spelled out in florals, printed on balloons, illuminated in marquee lights, or spelled across lounge area pillows. Branding should also be incorporated into your swag or event takeaways, for attendees to remember how epic the night was.

Photographer: Ross Daniels Photography | Venue: Shlomo’s Aspen | Event Design: Pink Monkey Solutions

7. Hire Entertainment & Incorporate Activities

Once your employees have arrived, gotten a drink and a bite to eat, and taken photos in front of your amazing décor, it’s time to hit the dance floor. Entertainment can make an evening, so be sure to choose different bands, DJs, and dancers who can add to your theme and make your night come to life. On-brand activities are also a great idea — and are growing in popularity. Think of different kinds of games guests can get involved in or stations they’ll enjoy, such as creating a custom takeaway with a live artist. Be creative in hiring your entertainment — you’ll want this night to stand out from your everyday 9-to-5.

Photographer: Cole Simon Photography | Venue: Carnivale | Entertainment: The Actors Gymnasium

Want more ways to wow your co-workers? If you sign up with your email, you’ll get weekly inspiration sent to your inbox to help you plan your corporate event, plus you’ll be able to save everything you find and love on PartySlate.

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