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When you're planning a corporate event, the choice of venue should reflect the theme you want to evoke.
It's that much harder - and much more expensive - to transform, for example, a rough-hewn shearing shed into a Space Age fantasy, and a sweeping ballroom into a boho themed affair.
Essentially, it is the venue that will determine the inclusions you need and the costs involved.
Restaurants, hotels, function centres, resorts or yacht/golf clubs will supply chairs, tables, table linen, table numbers, cutlery, crockery, and glasses - however these typically won't be unique, nor necessarily match your theme.
They may also have a range of centrepieces and/or vases, candle holders, AV equipment, and a podium, for example.
Venues that are more specialised, offer more of what you need. A garden venue may have outdoor umbrellas, outdoor heaters and pedestal fans while a nightclub will obviously have a dedicated dancefloor, and usually a DJ deck included, while a corporate space will offer at least a projector and whiteboard.
A blank space venue gives you enormous flexibility and creativity to create whatever you want. It’s unlikely your guests will have ever been there – and if they have, it will have been styled entirely differently.
Imagine you want to book an outdoor marquee to be installed in your company grounds. A marquee requires you to supply literally everything from the marquee and flooring and then everything inside, and outside as well (such as Portaloos and decking to protect your grass and your attendees' heels from damage).
An Indian-style Raj tent marquee for a 100-guest sit-down dinner costs $6,500 to hire on its own, excluding delivery and requires a perfectly flat grass lawn or carpark. The area needs to measure at least 28m x 4m or 14m x 8m to fit the marquee and its staked poles. Not many premises have that much available space.
Alternatively, you could hire a "blank canvas" industrial warehouse - but again you need to bring in nearly all your event items. They are also located in, unsurprisingly, industrial areas which aren't always well-served by public transport.
The ideal venue matches your style and offers many inclusions in the style you want. A poorly chosen venue requires more money and effort than one which is congruent with your style.
Your styling budget rises very quickly if you need to bring in furniture and structural elements to your venue to achieve the look you want.
Event hire and styling companies typically have very tight turnaround times (such as 60-90 minutes) to deliver, unpack and install your items before your guests arrive, and then very late return times of midnight-1am which attracts staff overtime rates.
Include a minimum delivery and installation fee of at least $2,000 in your budget.
If your venue has unsightly generic function chairs (grey polyester oval-back chairs, I'm looking at you) - or no chairs at all such as with warehouses - you will need to budget for chair hire per guest.
Simple folding wooden chairs cost $6-$8 per chair, Tiffany chairs typically run to $10-$15 each as do French bistro-style Bentwoods.
You'll pay up to $24 per Victoria Ghost chair so if you have 100 guests, chair hire can cost anywhere from $600-$2,400 excluding delivery.
Your table decor is limited only by your imagination and your budget.
You could spend anything from a modest $30 per table on centrepiece hire, such as clear cylindrical glass vase hire (excluding flowers) to up to thousands of dollars per table on highly sophisticated designer centrepiece features.
You can hire gold metal stands, typically 100cm high at $35-$45 each, with florals arranged above, or faux trees of 150cm and taller ($400-$500 each).
As soon as you venture into custom-made centrepieces, florals and lighting, you automatically increase your decor budget by tens of thousands of dollars.
Virtually all venues supply only white tablecloths and napkins; black table linen is less common. Napkins provide a pop of colour and help theme your event. Coloured polyester or cotton napkins cost around $2.50 each while velvet napkins cost about $4 each to hire. Add around $250-$400 for special napkin hire for 100 guests.
Allow about $5-$6 per guest for hiring glass charger plates plus $8-$10 per guest for hiring special cutlery (based on an entree fork and knife, dinner fork and knife and dessert spoon). This will add $1,300-$1,600 for 100 guests.
Ask your venue if it is a condition of booking that you use their preferred suppliers. This removes your ability to choose who you want to hire but these suppliers work regularly with the venue and know all its inner workings which may mean they're faster at bumping in and/or they're given more priority than other suppliers.
However it can mean that your guests are likely to have seen exactly the same decorative details if they've attended events previously at that space.
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