Meetings September October 2023

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FOCUS: YEAR-END FUN Photo Credit: STRONG PR, Marketing and Events

THE EVENT PROFS GUIDE TO CRAFTING UNFORGETTABLE YEAR-END CELEBRATIONS

Whether you’re only just starting to plan your year-end event or are looking for some fantastic finishing touches, we have you covered! Meetings explores a range of creative ideas and tips from the experts.

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hile the formula for year-end events is fairly consistent – great venue, delicious food, enjoyable entertainment and so on – the challenge is to always innovate and come up with something fresh and new that distinguishes one year to the next, says Niki Steenkamp, head of corporate events and functions at The Event Planners. With this in mind, we polled several event planners to find out some of their favourite recommendations that are fresh, on trend and tonnes of fun. But first…

director and event strategist at STRONG PR, Marketing and Events, says, “Let’s not forget the purpose behind year-end functions: to express gratitude to your employees for a year of hard work, dedication, and resilience. The goal is to create an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impression and strengthens the bonds within your team. Our philosophy revolves around putting people at the forefront, steering clear of mundane company presentations, and wholeheartedly embracing the spirit of fun and appreciation.”

A FEW GUIDELINES TO CHOOSING A THEME As per Niki’s point about needing to differentiate one year to the next, she recommends you consider doing something radically different each time; “If last year was a formal sit-down dinner, then why not shake things up and plan an adventure filled destination event this year?” Another tip is, “Keep in mind that a year-end function should not only celebrate the year passed but set the tone for the year to come.” This can be a useful exercise in narrowing down your options. Ultimately, though, the key is to keep in mind your objective for the event. Herkie du Preez,

ON-TREND IDEAS With these general tips in mind – to keep things fresh, set the tone for the year ahead, and ensure your guests (and therefore their preferences) are put first – here are some of the fun-filled ideas shared with us.

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AN AWARDS CEREMONY Along the lines of expressing gratitude, Herkie suggests a lively awards ceremony. “We suggest implementing an internal voting system, allowing your team members to cast their votes for categories like ‘Mr and Ms Congeniality,’ ‘MVP (Most Valuable Procrastinator),’ ‘The Coffee

Addict,’ ‘The Energizer Bunny Award,’ ‘Morning Sunshine Award,’ and more. The aim is to keep the atmosphere light-hearted and thoroughly enjoyable,” he says. You could also include a recap of the workforce’s year, “showcasing the highs and lows, significant achievements, and the emotional times your workforce has experienced throughout the year. We want every attendee to reminisce, and if we can elicit laughter or even a tear or two, we consider it a true success. These moments are the ones that will be etched in their memories for years to come.”

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FOODIE FUN Foodie festivities are another popular angle to explore for some end-of-year fun. Niki suggests food trucks for a variety of foods and flavours (and a great pairing for a carnival day with a live band and games), while Herkie suggests an “‘around the world buffet’ that embarks on a gastronomic adventure with food stations representing various countries and regions.” Esrida Pretorius, owner of the Laughing Chefs, also endorses culinary themes, proposing a Mexican fiesta, stylish Parisian fare (complete

20 • MEETINGS l SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2023 www.theplannerguru.co.za


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