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The rise of the entrepreneur is steadily growing, since 2008 it has grown 70%. From postable flowers, to Apps, to the creation of Art stock markets. These are all new ideas or products however there seems to be new companies popping up offering age old services but standing out as they are executing their businesses well. I spoke to Jessica founder of Conker Events to get the ins and outs of setting up a service industry start up in a climate where there is perfect market competition.

“What does it look like to take the bull by the horns and go into the world of an Entrepreneur?” She laughed and said it felt like it was the only natural way to go. Thinking that she would enter the world of Marketing after doing a psychology degree at Newcastle. She randomly (she says) ended up working at a charity and happened upon organising a fundraising event for them, which led on to another and then another and before she knew it the world of marketing seemed like a faint dream and instead she was immersed in a world where you could spend a day talking about what shade of taupe should the table cloths be, or how many flowers is too much. After a couple of years of working out that she had the knack for throwing together a good bash, she set up Conker Events. I asked her if she was scared at all to leave the world of a 9-5 and a comfy pay check. Instead she confidently said “no, I was just excited, it made sense to me and it happened pretty quickly. If I did have time to think about it I don’t think I would have been so brave.”

“Were you not worried about the competition you were faced with?” She smiled and said that she didn’t really think about it “I just aim to provide the best possible service, creating exceptional events within the budget, however big or small.”. Conker Events identity is focused on each project working with the client to make a unique occasion for the individual and does not remanufacture the same event in different guises. “People always want to celebrate and thankfully there is still enough money around to employ people like me to provide that service.”

Jessica said that a good event is a seamless experience where the participant is led to believe that whilst a lot of work and preparation has gone into it that no work or effort is happening around them, the event is almost as though they stepped into a world that has always been there and everything is working like clockwork.

Conker Event’s office is based in the delightful district of Chelsea surrounded by well-manicured stores and prim houses whose pictures should be adorned on overly priced chocolate boxes. I ask her what inspires her and she replies, that by being in the heart of Chelsea she is surrounded by excellent things. But what really gets her inspired is going abroad often (a key benefit of working for herself). Last year she was cruising down the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar and a month later skiing the mountains in Val Thorens. Although, this may sound like a rather ritzy way of life, the travelling does have its benefits inspiring different themed parties and also opening her eyes to authentic details that you wouldn’t find on pintrest or instagram.

Since setting up shop she has had some exciting projects, such as an App launch for Heelo (a successful instant messaging service in Asia) which was featured in the press and fundraisers that casually had Miranda Hart as host. She also booked Dynamo the famous magician for an event and told me that she was relieved that he had not included her in one of his acts!

The future looks exciting for Conker Events and she hopes to employ someone else full time, as the event requests are coming in thick and fast from here and also across the pond. So my conclusion is that although people may dissuade you from going into a service industry that already has a lot of competition if you market yourself well and are tenacious about your own brand identity then what is to stop you from getting regular business and becoming successful?

How can you make your money stretch so you can plan the best event? Ideally you would have an unlimited amount of money to plan your dream event with your dream theme, however, more often than not a budget is what dictates the planning for an event. And when the budget is less than you were expecting an event can seem infinitely more difficult to plan. But how do you make the most of the money you have? While it is possible to successfully throw any themed event with a low budget there are certain themes that are easier to do than others. Here are three event theme ideas that please guests without breaking the bank. These could be used for celebration events, charity fundraisers or even corporate events.

Cinema

A cinema theme is great for a lower budget because it offers opportunities to swap out traditionally more expensive parts of an event with cheaper options. Instead of a huge array of fancy desserts for the event, opt for some nostalgic cinema snacks like pick and mix and popcorn. Entertainment can be found in many different forms like charades, or a guessing game of which famous lines come from which films. Don’t forget to decorate with some homemade clapboards. A cinema theme provides the perfect opportunity to opt for some cheaper food, decoration, and entertainment options while still providing a wonderful experience for your guests.

Sports

Whether your sport of choice is football, tennis, or cricket, a sports theme is a great way to have fun high energy event without going over budget. Sports is a good low budget theme because the theme itself implies a more casual event.  Skip over some of the more expensive decorations and food and opt for their more casual counterparts. Choose BBQ food and decorate with different banners of different teams. Have people come in their favorite team’s kit. Choose to serve some of people’s favorite beers and ale’s over pricier cocktails. Entertainment can be as simple as a fun game of darts or some cricket in an outdoors venue. This theme is meant to be casual and fun, so don’t worry about spending too much and have a fun event.

Cowboys

If you’re looking for a creative theme for a lower budget event a cowboy theme might be a good idea. While more popular in the United States, this theme is still fun and entertaining but doesn’t require you to break the bank. You can take your guests back in time by having a hand made “Most wanted photo frame” that attendees can take pictures with for decoration or you can show clips from famous old western films. A cowboy theme also allows you to get creative with food. Nearly any food can be made into something to fit a cowboy theme.  Many of the decorations for this event, like hay or bandanas tend to already be on the cheaper side. If you want an event that stands out but doesn’t go over budget, then a Cowboy theme is a good idea.

While many considerations go into choosing a theme for an event, budget is by far the biggest factor to consider. It is easy to feel restricted with certain themes because of a budget. However, if the amount of money you have isn’t as much as you were hoping then don’t sweat because by choosing one of these themes you can give your guests a wonderful experience at an event they won’t forget without having to worry about going over budget.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to organise a themed event!

There is a lot that goes into planning a budget for a wedding. From the small touches to costs you may have not even considered, every part of a wedding is important to consider when determining a budget. As difficult as pinning down (and sticking to) a budget may be, there are ways to determine the general price range that your budget will fall into. Here are the five main components that will make up the majority of the costs for your wedding.

1. Venue

The venue is one of the most important parts of your wedding. It will set the tone and play a huge part in the theme for your wedding. The venue will also make up the majority of your budget so it is one of the first things you should consider. Remember when considering where to have your wedding, you are essentially looking at two venues, the venue for your ceremony and the venue for your reception. Take into consideration the price range of the type of venues you are looking at for both of these places.

2. Catering

Food is easily our favorite part of any day. Deciding what food to serve on your special day will be another important factor to consider when making your wedding budget. Determining budget for catering alone can be a complex issue because many factors need to be considered. Number of guests, how it is served, and type of food served all go into determining how much catering will cost. It is important to consider all of these when looking for a caterer as it will give you a more accurate estimate of how much the food will cost and how that will factor into your overall budget for your wedding.

3. Photographer

One cost that can easily be forgotten when planning is the wedding photographer. According to a survey conducted in the UK by yourperfectweddingphotographer.co.uk, the average cost for a wedding photographer in 2017 was £1,480. There are ways to save on photographers, such as using a student photographer or a friend who can do photography, however remember one of the reasons why photographers cost so much is because they are professionals. A professional photographer will take the time to set up and edit the photographs after a wedding. So when laying out your budget don’t forget to consider the photographer.

4. Dress

If you have seen Say Yes to the Dress then you know, finding your dream dress does not come cheap. If you have a dream designer in mind as well, then your dress will cost even more. Your dress and where you want to get it from will be a big part of your budget. While there are ways to cut back on wedding dress costs, like using your mum’s old dress, or buying a second hand dress, if you do plan to go the traditional route of buying a wedding dress from a shop, it will put you back quite a few pounds. Take into consideration your dress and how you plan to purchase it when planning your budget.

5. Flowers

From the beautiful bouquets for the bridesmaids to the centre pieces of the tables, flowers can quickly become one of the bigger parts of your budget. You may be a person who only wants a small bouquet for the bride and the bridesmaids, in which case flowers may compose a smaller part of the budget. However, if you are looking to make flowers the centre pieces for your tables or are looking for flower arrangements to be a part of the decorations, floral costs will become a large part of your budget. Large floral arrangements can end up costing over £,1000. Take into considerations how many flowers you want when composing your budget.

The vast amount of planning that goes into a wedding can be overwhelming and trying to plan out a budget can seem daunting. However, by looking at these five areas and considering what you want for your wedding in each area, you will be able to get an accurate idea of what your budget will be and how you can prepare more for your dream wedding.

If you would like some help with your budgeting or any other element of your wedding then please get in touch with us!

Food can make or break an event. Bad food can ruin an otherwise perfect event and great food can be the highlight of a fantastic night. Everything from the type of food served to how it is served should be considered when choosing a caterer. But how do you ensure that you find the best caterer for your event? Here are five things to consider when choosing your next caterer.

1. Budget

The bulk of your budget is going to go towards food. The caterer and the price that you settle on will determine how much money you can spend on the rest of the event. When determining how much to spend on a caterer consider some of the following things: How much food will the event need? How do you want the food served eg. Table service or buffet? And what type of food do you want for the event? A steak dinner is going to be a lot more expensive than a pasta dinner. Think realistically about how much you can spend on catering and find a caterer that can match these criteria.

2. Flexibility

Flexibility is an important characteristic of any caterer. No event ever goes completely according to the original plan. The number of guests change, venue arrangements change, and sometimes menu items need to change. It’s important to have a caterer that can work with and be flexible with these unforeseen changes. It is also important for the caterer to have flexibility in terms of allergies. Check to see if they have allergy friendly foods and alternatives to dishes for guests with allergies.

3. Size of your event

Before you can commit to any caterer you have to ask yourself this simple question: Are they able to handle the size of my event? While a caterer may have great prices and quality food, if they are a one-person company they probably won’t be able to handle an event for 800 people. On the other hand, a catering company that has their pricing model based on meals per person (for example £12.50 per person) may work great for a party of 20 people but not so much for a fundraiser with 500 people. Find a caterer that is compatible and capable of handing the size of your event.

4. Venue and Theme

As delicious as they may sound, ribs and barbeque may not go so well with a white winter themed party. When choosing your caterer its important to know what type of food would work well with the theme of the event. Also, another important aspect to consider is the venue. Is there room to set up a buffet of food? Does the caterer need more need heating containers that your venue doesn’t have room for? Before you book and caterer, make sure that they are compatible with your venue of choice.

5. Previous Events

Look at what type of events this caterer has done in the past. Try to see if they are similar to the one you are hoping to host. If they are then the caterer will probably have a good idea of what to do and expect. If not ask the caterer how they might adjust to encompass all your needs for your event. Also, if possible, talk to some of the people they have worked with in the past. Ask how their overall experience was and if there is anything you should know before you book them. A caterer’s past events are great indicator to see if they will be able to handle your needs and if you will have a pleasant time working with them.

There are many aspects to consider when planning an event but a caterer is one of the most important. The food can set the tone of the night and can create a memorable experience for the guests. Choosing a caterer can be challenging but if you choose the right caterer they can take your event to the next level. Remember these five tips when choosing who to make food for your next event and go ahead and plan your perfect event!

Having organised a wedding in December and attended three personal weddings last winter I have a new found love for winter weddings. Winter is such a romantic time of year….

Venues

It’s important to get the venue right for a winter wedding as the weather is so unpredictable. Obviously, it’s going to be cold but realistically, if it’s in the UK, the likelihood of it raining is high! Therefore, it’s important to have a venue that requires minimal time outside. It’s important to consider the guest experience and insure that if they need to walk from one part of the venue to another it doesn’t require too much time outside.

Decorations and lighting

Winter is the perfect time to max out with candles and fairy lights. So many people have fairy lights hanging around that they don’t want any more so be sure to set up a gumtree alert in your area so you can buy them cheaply or even get them for free. Tea lights are a must and transform a room. Make sure you get eight hour ones as the four hour ones will run out too quickly. Before doing that just make sure that your venue allow naked flames.

Colours and Theming

There is a fine line between using the Christmas period to your advantage in terms of theming and making it into a glorified Christmas party! Pine cones are great as they are free (as long as you don’t mind foraging!) and can be used in loads of different ways. I also love ivy as it hangs so beautifully but do be aware that it is actually bad luck to have at a wedding (if you believe in that stuff!).

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Photography

Make sure that your photographers have done winter weddings before because I’m told it is tricky to get good photos when the light is dim and it goes dark early. Photographers won’t mind you asking for examples of other winter weddings that they have done. The advantage of it going dark earlier is that you can get some amazing shots with smoke bombs- again, check this with your venue before going ahead with them!

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Food and drink

Mulled wine and mince pies seems like an obvious choice and I’d say it probably is! Why not!? However, be aware that not everyone likes the classic Christmas food and drinks so make sure there is an alternative. Bubbles are a must at a wedding and make for a very good alternative. People expect hot food at winter so make sure that you the food it hot and tasty! Personally, I’d stay away from turkey as people have normally had enough of it by time Christmas comes!

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If getting married around Christmas is an option, then definitely give it some consideration. It’s a beautiful time of year and people are in the party mood. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you’d like any help or advice with your wedding!

‘Heelo’, is the first social media app to be made and launched in the UK. The creator and developer is Khurram Asif, a 16 year-old A-Level Student! We worked with Khurram to make his two year dream of launching this app a reality, in creating an amazing launch event for him. It was an absolute pleasure working with such a talented young man who is already achieving so much at such a young age.

Heelo-Launch-0001

Heelo combines instant messaging, voice calling and video calling as well as the ability to make group voice and video calls for up to twelve people – the maximum with any messaging app. It uses 234KB less data on a 1GB plan than WhatsApp giving an additional 19 minutes of use per day. This would save users up to 30% on average from their mobile phone bill. Khurram has also built in e-safety features, such as under-18 accounts, profanity and nudity filters to protect the users.

Heelo-Launch-0084

The event took place at the prestigious May Fair Hotel on 3rd March and was attended by over 100 guests including business owners, financiers and students. Guests were able to hear all about Heelo from Khurram himself as well as trying out the app and enjoying a delicious lunch. The event was a great success and enjoyed by everyone who attended. We love Bubblegum Balloons and the personalised balloons really added some fun and personality to the event. Big thanks also to the amazing Heelo ambassadors that played a huge part in the smooth running of the event.

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Heelo is available to download on iTunes now, be sure to check it out!

Although the following tips may be slightly more applicable to a larger charity fundraiser, whatever the size of the event, these 10 top tips that will help you to not go far wrong!

Charity

1.    Decide the purpose of the event

The event you put on depends on what the purpose of the event is, how much do you want to raise or is it more for raising awareness? These factors will really influence the kind of event that you put on.

2.    Decide who the target audience are

You need to have a clear idea of who might be coming to your event. How much will they be happy to spend on tickets and do they know people who they can invite? It’s also important to think about what the people you will be inviting will enjoy, eg. Would they prefer a sit down dinner, or a more informal event? Also, what do you need to do to get the right people at your event, do you need celebrity endorsement, high end auction lots etc.

3.    Brainstorm and get ideas

Brainstorm. Gather ideas. Make mood boards. Use Pinterest. Get googling. Think outside the box. Dare to be different. Get creative. Be memorable and give the wow factor. Putting on a really memorable, fun event will mean people are more likely to relax, give money and want to come back to another similar event.

4.    Set a goal and a budget

Setting a goal of how much you want to raise is really useful for planning and motivation. It is also important to have goals for how many guests you want to attend, how many prizes you want to secure etc. Setting a budget for each element of the event helps you to keep on track and raise the most amount of money on the night!

5.    Build a good team

Getting others on board is important to build momentum. When people feel ownership over something they are more invested. Use other people to invite their friends and family, ask for prizes and auction lots, get ideas and use contacts! It is also great to get sponsorship for the event where possible- if you don’t ask you won’t get so be bold!

6. Spread the word

The more people that know about the event the more likely you are to get good numbers and support in general. It really helps to get ambassadors who can invite people on behalf of the event.

7.    Attention to detail

Whatever the size of the event people always notice attention to detail! It really sets it apart from other events so make sure that you think about everything from the guests point of view from when they are walking towards the venue to leaving it. It’s worth thinking about all the things that could go wrong at the event and making sure there is a plan in place to rectify any problems.

8.    Stay organised

Write a plan and stick to it. It’s really important to have a list of everything that needs to be done from the start until the day with deadlines so that nothing gets forgotten. This document can then be the reference point from which everything is done!

9.    Remain calm

Try not to get stressed in the lead up to the event. It’s supposed to be fun and a celebration of the charity so make sure that you keep persective and remain relaxed on the day (as much as possible!).

10. Enjoy and share success

Thanking your donors is a great way to share the success of the evening. People love to be appreciated so receiving a personalised thank you will make them remember the event.

Fundraiser

Saturday of last weekend was quite a big night for us at Conker Events! It was the night of “Suzanne’s Big 6-oh!”, a 1960s themed party in Bath. We have been working hard on this event for a while so it was fantastic to see it come together and the guests have a brilliant time.

So we thought we’d take a look back and show you what made it just so 60s!

Babycham

We sourced around 200 babycham glasses which was no mean feat but 100% worth it as this little touch helped build on the 60s atmosphere we were creating, as after all wasn’t it the drink of choice back then?!

Retro campervan photobooth

Campervan 

This was a very fun and 60s approach to a party photobooth that went down extremely well as it was different to just a classic photobooth.

Mannequins in Mannequin Legsminiskirts

When initially brainstorming ideas with the client, our Events Director, Jessica was thinking what was iconically 60s? One of the first things that came to mind (after The Beatles and “Flower Power”) was miniskirts. But how could they be displayed in a fun and striking way? Mannequins in miniskirts! The end result was brilliant; aside from the struggle of ensuring that the girls legs actually stayed on the tables and not on a poor guests’ lap!

Vinyl table plan

The event was kicked off back in July, with invitations on vintage vinyls being sent out to the guests. We were keen to carry on this theme so thought of making the table plan and place cards out of vinyls too, with tables being named our clients’ favourite 60s songs.

Peace Signs

Hanging floral peace signs

As well as the mannequins in miniskirts our other feature decorations inspired by iconic 60s things, were hanging floral peace signs that were actually created by our team at Conker Events, out of sports hula hoops and faux flowers! After many hours with a glue gun in hand, the final effect was amazing.

If you would like to see more about this event, please have a watch of our video (below) or follow us on Instagram @conkerevents or on Facebook www.facebook.com/conkerevents for more photos!

Conker Events will be exhibiting at the National Wedding Show on 23rd-25th September and we are so excited! Wedding shows are a one-stop shop for your big day so it’s definitely worth paying a visit if you can.

In light of that, here are our top tips to make the most out of the day/weekend.

1)      Talk to the exhibitors

It’s so important to work with suppliers that you get on with and trust. You’ll only be able to suss them out if you have a good chat with them! They’re more likely to remember you if you engage with them which might be helpful down the line.

2)      Take loads of photos!

It’s so easy for your hard work to be forgotten so make sure you capture all your favourite ideas. You can then add these to your Pintrest boards to add to your collection of ideas.

3)      Go with someone else

It’s great to be able to chat with someone and get a second opinion and plus, it’ll be way more fun with a companion! It’s really hard to make decisions by yourself so definitely good having someone there with you to help you out.

4)      Sign up to as many things as possible…

You never know, you might just win something! It’s always good to have a bit of extra cash in the budget so if you can save by winning something for free then that’s a bonus! It might be annoying getting newsletters but they’re so easy to unsubscribe from if they get too annoying.

5)      Plan your day

Make sure you decide what fashion shows/talks etc. you want to go to so that you know when you have time to wander the stalls! This will mean that you don’t miss anything that you particularly want to see. It’s worth making the most of what is on offer.

We hope to see you there! You can win tickets here.

National Wedding Show

National Wedding Show

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