Wedding planning ideas for 2017

Weddings just get better and better! If you need wedding planning ideas for 2017, have a quick look at some of the wedding venues that we have covered this year.

Brides are becoming more creative with wedding ideas and guests are playing their part by dressing to impress. The outlook for 2017 is very exciting for anyone who is planning their wedding and the best part is that there won’t be as many major sporting events in the summer to distract you. Have a look below at images from recent weddings.

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Bouquet toss at The Psychic Gardens
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Stokes Farm Barn
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A private wedding in Wiltshire
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The grounds at Wotton House, Dorking
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The Walled Garden, Four Seasons Hampshire

Our steel drum band has become one of the most sought after ensembles for weddings, especially during the spring and summer months. From our perspective, the reasons are quite simple and it is just that we have been doing this for long enough to know the drill.  To use our service, it is best to book early as the key dates get booked early by other brides. Some clients leave the music as an after thought and try to hire a band with just 2 or 3 weeks to go; try to avoid this situation and plan ahead. Our service is guaranteed.

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Steel band for weddings

To send an inquiry it’s info@bigsand-steelband.co.uk and you will receive a quick response.

If you need more inspiration, you can visit wedding sites like Love My Dress or Style Me Pretty and for wedding planning, speak to a company called Lillingstone events who we can recommend. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

 

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Celebrating a birthday in London (2 exciting suggestions)

If you quickly need some birthday party ideas, here are 2 exciting suggestions for celebrating a birthday in London. I have selected these birthday party options from two of our best parties this year.

The first is a river cruise on the Thames. In September, we covered a fantastic 21st birthday party on a boat called The Erasmus, boarding at Butler’s Wharf Pier and also at Waterloo Pier for more guests. If I was planning my 21st birthday in London now, I would arrange to have drinks close to Butler’s Wharf and then walk over to the Pier for boarding. There are many options for hiring a boat on the Thames and The Erasmus was a good option. They had a DJ set up on the first floor and our steel drum band performed during the arrival drinks which were also on the same floor. One thing I liked was that the acoustics were fantastic with the low ceiling and wooden floor which were complementary to our steel band sound. On the upper deck, you can enjoy a nice seating area and just watch the sights. We one did a boat party on a barge and it was really difficult to get a level surface to set up and there was no protection for bad weather, but we managed to improvise and we lucky on that occasion.

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Cruising the Thames
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The Shard
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The O2 Arena and Canary Wharf

Our client had around 70 to 80 guests for celebrating her 21st birthday party in London and they totally enjoyed the experience. We also saw another party on a passing boat and they had a pirates theme.

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Themed boat parties

The second suggestion, is a Tropicana themed party at one of the preset venues in London.

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Tropicana theme decor
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Tropicana themed party

We have been to many themed birthday parties and the Tropicana theme wins every time. People have the most fun with this theme. Even the most stiff and stubborn person eventually succumbs to the strong rum punch and vibrant music. The above party was at a venue called Barrio East, which is just a nice warm well presented venue for this type of party. In addition, you could also check out the Kanaloa Club which is in the City, we covered an amazing Hawaiian themed party over there. We also like the popular Toga theme for celebrating a birthday, our clients have had lots of fun with it. Once again, our band provided music during the drinks reception and then the DJ took over. You can also check current tweets or Instagram for birthday party ideas, or hire an experienced party planner like Lillingston, who we’ve worked with and can recommend. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

https://twitter.com/JackMenhinick/status/661825194126897152

Instagram

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Ideas For A Summer Birthday Party In London

London gets really hot in the summer! If recent summers are an indicator, then you can expect to have fantastic summer weather in London to celebrate your birthday in June, July, August and September. This means that you can plan the most amazing garden party which runs from midday right through until late evening.

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There are also lots of Roof Top venues in London to hire if you would prefer someone else to do all the preparations and clearing up after a party. However, you could also try something a bit different and hire the upper deck of a boat. There are many options along the Embankment in London and there is also the Sunborn Yacht in East London.

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Sunborn London

The Sunborn is very easy to get to and just a short walk from the nearest tube station. It also has an excellent position for having drinks and watching the sunset over Canary Wharf.

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Embankment

For many people a party is really something that you host at home despite all the self-inflicted punishment with preparations and the stress of finding all the right service providers, but nowadays there are so many party planners for hire and event organisers that you can easily hire one person to arrange everything. As mentioned many times in previous posts, the party host should not be multi-tasking during a party or tied to a station like the barbecue, etc,. That’s just bad planning! It is much better when the host is free to meet & greet and spend quality face time with all the guests. Some host like to show off their skills at cooking or being the DJ or mixing drinks or all of the above; just forget that and use professional caterers and see the difference.

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We have worked with some of the best catering companies in London like Ampersand, Lexington Catering and Burrell which specialises in Caribbean cuisine and the standard is very good. Everything runs like clockwork and your guests are greeted with chilled drinks instead of the host asking each person what they would like to drink.

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For entertainment, you can easily find lots of bands for hire in London and many DJ’s for your party. Some care is needed when doing this and it is best to have a recommendation from your party planner. We were recently at a birthday party and there was the most annoying DJ that we have ever heard as he came across like someone who had really wanted to be a singer but ended up being a DJ. His selection of music was actually very good, but just when you are enjoying the music he was either shouting announcements or singing and to compound the problem, the music was already very loud for the size of venue and he didn’t reduce the volume during the announcements. It was like torture after a while. Having covered over 1000 events, that was one of the worst. Notwithstanding, there are some excellent DJ’s and live bands in London which you can hire for most venues or parties in a private marquee.

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Band for birthday party

Many of our clients prefer the marquee in the garden option as they have the space for this type of entertaining. There would be several service providers including a live band and even a fireworks display at the end of the evening. One summer birthday party that we are covering this year starts at midday with a beach theme by the pool, plus inflatable entertainment for the kids. They are also having different live music throughout the day with our steel drum band covering the earlier part, plus another ensemble and a DJ for the evening entertainment. If you have the space and money is not a concern, these formats are great for celebrating a landmark birthday during the summer. However, if you are at the other end of the spectrum, then one thing which London has lots of, is free open spaces. Ofcourse, there are restrictions on what you are allowed to do, but, you can easily arrange a grand picnic with your closest friends and family in a park and have lots of fun.

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Open spaces in London

An outdoor space is a luxury in a crowded city and not everyone can have an amazing penthouse party with live entertainment or host a birthday party around an indoor swimming pool at their private mews in Mayfair or Kensington. But, anyone can have a picnic in the park and even walk with their acoustic guitar to sing some songs and amuse their friends. What will you be doing for your summer birthday party? Or, does your birthday occur during the middle of the coldest month of the year? If so, how do you celebrate? Leave a comment and share your feelings about this post.

 

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What to do for my birthday?

What to do for my birthday?

Consider this, if there were only 2 clubs in London and 2 restaurants and 2 hotels and 2 cinemas, and 2 shopping centres, it would be an easy decision when thinking about what to do for your birthday. In London, we have the longest list of multiple choice for social activity compared to any other city. Just trawl through any Timeout magazine and you will see what I mean. In addition to that, there is social media coming at you from all directions and this makes it harder to make a final decision on how to celebrate your birthday. To inspire you, I have hand-picked some interesting videos of people having fun at their birthday party in London.

Ideally, a birthday party should be planned many months in advance especially a landmark birthday. It is nice to really treat yourself by celebrating in 2 or 3 stages and including a holiday. The idea is that at some point in the future you will reflect on those special birthdays with fond memories and there is nothing more enjoyable than looking back at your timeline and seeing footage from when you had the most fun in your life. At this point, the challenge is to set aside enough resources to have a memorable celebration.

There are many party suppliers and party venues that tweet their services and you can easily hand pick some of the best ones to check out.

https://twitter.com/HOUGHTON_J/status/507248131285975040

But what if you don’t want a party? Well, why not? What’s wrong with having a party? It doesn’t have to be a big party, just a few friends. I prefer the idea of going out with my inner circle of friends to a special place and having a 3 or 4 course meal served by the best waiters in London. Most people have their favourite places where they feel welcome and the service is always of a high professional standard.

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Dinner options
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Dessert at Hakkasan Mayfair

You could easily find a good restaurant and book a table or use a luxury hotel and do the same. I recently tried a restaurant called Hakkasan in Mayfair, which I can recommend if you want to impress your friends. Alternatively, for a small gathering, you could transform your dining room and hire a professional catering company. Ofcourse, you can do the cooking, but chances are that your inner circle of friends have already tasted your cooking and wouldn’t mind something different, as a surprise.

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Sea food

To complete the package, all you then need is some entertainment or a small ensemble to perform a set during your reception drinks. Some of the best parties that I covered with my band had used similar ideas and on some occasions there were just 15 to 20 guests, but another 15 people to provide the services. It may seem extravagant, but it’s a treat; something that your inner circle will appreciate. After all, that inner circle of friends is what you rely upon when you need people who understand your idiosyncrasies and know how to help you. There are many bands and entertainers that specialize in performing at house parties and you can easily do a search for your local area rather than the whole of London.

Whichever option you choose to celebrate your birthday, be sure to capture the best moments with your smartphone or hire a photographer.

 

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10 Things You Probably Knew About Planning A Party

Here are 10 things that you probably knew about planning a party.

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Party planning ideas

There are many dedicated party sites and articles offering help with party planning and the tips below are probably already on your list, or are they? When did you last host a party?

  1. Find a special party invitation App. There are some amazing Apps available and it just adds more sophistication to receive a well prepared invitation to a party, than a text or email.
  2. The number of guests should not exceed the capacity for the venue. The last thing on your mind is probably health & safety issues or potential fire risks, etc. However, the host does have a duty of care to ensure that the safety of the guests is guaranteed.
  3. Always remember to include the starting time of the party in the invitation and be sure to include a finishing time. At least most people will start leaving by then.
  4. Some of the most successful parties have a simple theme which most people can get excited about, without having to go shopping for an outfit or props. The simplest theme idea is Colourful Clothing. Just ask your guest to wear something colourful.

  1. As the host, you should not be running around multi-tasking when the guests arrive. Get help. There are many companies that offer party services and in my experience, they have become better and better.
  2. Kids should not be invited to an adult’s party. Kids should have their own party with lots of exciting features.

  3. If you are having a summer party, don’t forget to stock up on Ice.

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Chilled drinks for parties

This is easily overlooked and many party hosts have had to apologise for the drinks not being chilled. Not good!

  1. Be sure to insert a line in your invitation about where to park. You will be surprised how many guests get tickets at parties. If the party is in central London, there is almost a zero tolerance attitude by the well motivated wardens and the signs are ambiguous.
  2. For music, if you are creating a playlist, don’t get stuck in a time warp by ignoring all the recent chart topping hits of the last 5 years unless it is part of the theme. There is nothing more annoying for the guests than listening to your 2 favourite bands all evening.

  3. Hire professional entertainers. If you can afford a live ensemble or a function band, this is much better than asking a friend to sing a few songs, unless the friend is a chart topping artist.

I cover many private parties in London where space is tight and the organisers still manage to create a good balance by not inviting too many people. Some parties are crowded to the point where it takes a few minutes to get to the exit.

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Apartments in London

Experienced party hosts and planners know how to create the right balance so that the guests are not knocking over the waiters and spilling your expensive champagne. They also set aside just enough space for a live ensemble to perform. If you are¬†thinking of¬†music for a penthouse party or some live music for a small house party, then have a look¬†for a good duet or trio. I am not a huge fan of the soloist with backing tracks idea; it¬†is much better to watch a competent musician performing on their own or interacting with at least¬†1 or 2 other musicians. The telepathy and coordination is just amazing. What’s your view on this? Have you ever booked a live band for a party in London, or any other City? Please let me know how it went. Also, if you found this¬†post interest, please share the link with friends.

beach themed parties

Parties in London – Ideas for a 25th birthday party

Ideas for a 25th Birthday Party

I often wonder what it would be like to be 25 again and celebrating my birthday in London. This is one of the most exciting cities for people who are turning 25 and have the means to enjoy the plethora of party options. Just trawling through Time Out magazine you will see that there are many venues which would welcome you to have all your friends and family in a function suite or night club to celebrate a special birthday.

One of the most exciting ideas is to have a beach themed party. I covered a beach themed party last year at the Kanaloa club, which Beyonce had visited when in London, and the average age was around 24/25 and it was such a great night.

beach themed parties
Party ideas for the 25th birthday.

 

All the guests commit to the theme which is so important at a ‚Äúthemed party.‚ÄĚ It was almost as if they all visited a party shop beforehand to get their props. When the girls started dancing around the steel drum band it was a real test of concentration as they all looked stunning in beach wear. If you are planning a big party, then it is worth considering the beach theme and you can ask the venue if they have a list of recommended suppliers to transform the room for your party.

Having said all of that, the James Bond theme is also very popular. Something amazing happens when people get dressed up for a James Bond party; it’s as if the tuxedo or dress comes preloaded with confidence, charm and sophistication. Maybe the simple answer is all the champagne which they drink at the reception and in some cases, the drinks before the party. It’s that feeling of the alcohol disabling your personal firewall and leaving you susceptible to all types of crazy ideas. It’s nice to retain cognitive ability so that you can find your way to your own home or at least remember the address when you call a cab. Worse is when you drink too much and make an error when a stunningly attractive person gives you their number. It is also good to retain some capability to deal with any immediate impulses at a party, perform your duties and enjoy the moment rather than disappoint someone whose hormones had your name written all over them.

In London, we have some of the best night clubs like Boujis, Aquum, Café De Paris, Dstrkt, and Mahiki, so if you want to go out and have fun with the chance of meeting famous people, then this is one way to celebrate your 25th birthday. However, if paying £16 for a glass of champagne is way too expensive or above your means, then I always like the idea of having dinner with my inner circle of friends; the friends who will always take your call no matter what. Just choose a special place and book a table. Choose carefully, as your reputation will be burnt like a steak if you get it wrong. A venue with spectacular views is a good start.

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Boat parties in London.

One of my favourite places is an Indian restaurant called La Porte Des Indes which is near Marble Arch and they have a fantastic reputation for quality. It comes at a price, but you will impress your friends. If you have recently had a 25th birthday party in London or any other city, then leave some comments and share your party ideas.