Having attended my fair share of glamorous parties in my television career, when it came to planning my own event, I wanted to make sure I really added the wow factor and a big sprinkle of magic.
While sending out the invites early is a must, getting the venue right is crucial. For this big birthday bash, I booked Camden Place in Chislehurst – a magnificent Georgian mansion set within 70 acres of beautiful grounds.
Working in the television industry and having produced many live shows in my career, I know the importance of organisation, working to strict timings and how adding some extra production value can really make a world of difference.
The Venue Styling:
Even though I’d booked a stunning venue, styling can add so much more. Being summer, I wanted to keep the look fresh, with natural foliage, and of course, no party is complete without balloons! Not knowing where to start, I was so happy when I met with Karis, managing director of The Kent Wedding Company. She was terrific and really got what look I was going for. She visited the venue on numerous occasions before the event to make sure everything we’d planned would be executed flawlessly. From the table centres to the beautiful balloon arches that framed the two fireplaces, every detail was carefully considered. On the day of the event, she worked endlessly to make sure all the final touches were completed before any of the guests arrived. With a mix of fake and fresh flowers and gold and cream balloons, the venue looked stunning and had the perfect wow factor for the birthday girl’s arrival.
Nothing is better at a party than live music. I could have spent ages listening to different bands, but I knew that I would find none better than The Revolvers – The UK number one 60s tribute band. Forming in the summer of 2006, The Revolvers consists of four young guys with an unrivalled, burning passion for the greatest musical decade of all time – the 60s. They have amazing authenticity and energy that really gets the party started and people on the dance floor. I opted for three sets during the evening, which were all fantastic and included cover songs from artists such as Small Faces, The Kinks, The Beatles, The Who, Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones and many more. The guys are incredibly professional and even managed all my music lists between their sets. I have continuously been asked, since the night, for their contact details, so if you have an event in the pipeline and fancy rocking to some of the greatest music of all time, you had better book them soon.
I opted for a hog roast to keep guests happy and hunger-free. I booked a local catering company who specialises in serving authentic hog roasts. This is a family run business with a family history in butchery, they only use quality, local suppliers, and this was evident in the taste! Russel turned up at the venue six hours before the guests to set up and cook the hog to perfection; he was professional and very accommodating with my many requests. We did have some guests who didn’t eat pork, the provision of an alternative was entirely hassle-free. There was just something special about knowing that the whole hog had been cooked on site. The pork baps, apple sauce and crackling were delicious, and many of the guests commented on the professional service and taste. At the end of the evening, the final pork baps were packaged up for those guests who fancied one for the road.
Having professional photographs from an event is the icing on the cake. It meant that I didn’t have to worry about taking a camera or carrying my phone. I booked through Pure Photography and Aneta, the owner of the company couldn’t have been easier to work with. Her passion for photography and capturing special moments was clear from the moment we met. She naturally weaved her way in and out of guests, taking beautiful shots. Before Aneta started the business, she dreamed of spending her days behind the camera, helping others capture the precious moments of their lives to keep forever. She mainly works as a family portrait and lifestyle photographer and her work is a natural reportage style which allows you to feel like you’re right there in the moment the photo was captured. I am over the moon with her work and can credit her for all the photographs in this feature. She is a wonderful photographer, and I am so happy I chose to book her for this event.
For me, no party is complete without a photo booth – but we are not talking a hideous massive box suck in the corner where people keep entering and emerging with smiles on their faces. Things have changed, nowadays it’s all about the backdrops, and hardly any space is needed to set up one up. I booked the signature Halo booth from Quirky-Hire and was so pleased with the professionalism of the company and the quality of the photos and guest book. I opted for a balloon wall in colours to compliment the venue and was overwhelmed with how amazing it looked and how dedicated the company were to creating something special. Arriving at the venue over four hours before the guests, Malvia worked tirelessly until it looked perfect. The guests loved it and kept returning over and over to pose for the camera. Each set of photos were printed twice, which allowed for one to be taken home and one to be stuck in a guest book for the birthday girl with a personal message from the guests. I was actually told that this was the best birthday present ever! Malvia and Ryan, who run the company, made sure the photobooth was manned all night and were so lovely to work with and have around. This was definitely one of those little extras that gave the party an extra sprinkling of glitter.
Now some may think me over the top – but being over the top is what I do best! So instead of just being happy with the bar inside the venue, I booked a gorgeous show-stopping Ice Bar. This truly was the centrepiece of the party and had guests’ jaws dropping. I booked it through a company called Ice Box, who were brilliant at helping me decide what to choose. I wanted to keep it classy and was given the option of a two-metre Icebar with a fruit luge on one end. Just perfect! The bar was set outside and was dressed with Prosecco, wine and bottled beer. As the sun went down, the bar lit up – stunning. Icebox is the UK and Europe’s number one ice specialist and is continuously breaking boundaries while maintaining the highest level of style and creativity. I was really impressed with the workmanship and just how professional the company were, no wonder they have been leading the way in the global and UK ice carving industry since 1993.
I wanted to make sure the party went off with a bang, and I was in no doubt that some surprise fireworks would be perfect. They bring out the child in most adults and add a special va-va-voom to a party. Being on the golf course, we had the ideal location for a display, and the weather was kind to us. I booked through Firework Crazy who offer professional firework displays for any event. They tailor the display to individual requirements and, as well as designing the display, provide a full 10 million pound public liability insurance. The guys on site were very professional, and I had complete faith that this was going to be a magical moment. I asked the band to announce that everyone should make their way outside and when the time was right I gave my nod and the display began. It was just amazing, and the delight could be heard amongst the party guests. The display was around eight minutes long, the entirety of which was spectacular, I never wanted them to end. They were certainly the talk of the night, bringing plenty of joy to a lot of satisfied party-goers that evening.