Anyone can plan an event. But not everyone can plan a GREAT event. I’ve compiled some of my top tips for corporate event planning ideas to make your event extraordinary. From the moment your guests walk in to the moment guests leave, there should be something that provides a positive associate with your brand at an event. It’s really the fine details that make an event special and memorable.

Surprise and delight your guests with interactive food stations

Passed canapes will always have a place in events. They allow a lot of guests to eat food without having to line up at a station. However there is always something special about seeing your food being prepared fresh. For that reason, we love having interactive food stations mixed with passed canapes. At the Shangri-La Hotel’s Lunar New Year Party, we invited guests to enjoy traditional Chinese egg waffles, made fresh. It was a huge hit!

Ensure there is enough seating at your next corporate event

Corporate event planning ideas: Provide enough seating for your guests with a mix of chairs and soft seating

If you are hosting a cocktail style event, you have to ensure you have enough seating for guests. Guests are always upset when there is not enough seating, especially if they are wearing heels and unconfortable shoes. Guests will not want to stay long if there is not enough seating. Rent furniture that coordinates with your event’s look and feel for an added event design touch.

How much seating should you provide for a cocktail-style event? A good rule of thumb is to provide seating for 50-60% of the guest count. You can use a mix of soft seating like couches and hard seating like chairs and barstools.

Corporate event planning ideas: Wow guests with flair bartenders

Corporate event planning ideas: Add flair bartending for entertainment and functionality

Flair bartending is almost always a must an my events. They serve the dual purpose of serving drinks to your guests while adding an entertainment element. Smoke and fancy flame elements also add another layer of flavour to a drink as a bonus. At the breakup party segment for Cityline, we created custom colour-coordinated drinks that had a flair element for added mystery and excitement.

Incorporate passive activities in your event

Corporate event planning ideas: Create passive activities for guests to interact with your brand like a wordsearch

At branded events, there are often interactive elements that everyone expects like food stations or photobooths. I recommend adding in what I call “passive” activities that tie in the event theme, so guests have opportunities to interact with your brand when they are wandering the event. At the Olay Super Serum media event, there was a word search to find the active ingredients of the new product. Guests could wander over anytime and participate in the wordsearch. It’s a fun way to reinforce a theme with a fun activity with no pressure.

Corporate event planning ideas: Leave on a sweet note with personalized favours

Corporate event planning ideas: Provide branded take home favours

Maybe it’s the event hostess in me, but you always want to end an event on a sweet note. Having a nice takeaway or swag at the end of a corporate event is a great way to leave a lasting impression to your guests. It is another opportunity to reinforce your brand’s messaging. At the Shangri-La Hotel’s Lunar New Year themed corporate event party, we gave guests jars of organic cherry blossom cotton candy to take home. The labels had the hotel’s logo on it.

Planning an event can be done by just about anyone. Now you have the tools and ideas to plan a really fabulous event. How will you outfit your next corporate event?

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto event designer and event planner. If you have a brand activation, media launch event, design project, trade show or a special event, connect with her today to see how we can collaborate on your next project.