Page 1


Perfect places

How to choose a venue and find expert planning

Going mobile

Conference planners use apps to communicate

Adding fun to fundraisers

Celebratory air helps nonprofits succeed

Sponsored by

You’re Invited What: Event Planning Guide Presented by: Columbia Regional Business Report

Details: for those planning an event in the Midlands! n publicatio go-to the is guide Our new Don’t miss: various aspects of event planning, as well as useful on articles This guide includes helpful to make your event uniquely Columbia! how Also, . checklists and directories In this issue: e-goers; tips on making your nonprofit conferenc with Using apps to communicate venue for your lifestyle occasion. a choose to how fundraiser a standout;

About our Sponsor

W Jacqueline Bouvier Lee, Director

hen it comes to an event, the new Richland School District Two Institute of Innovation, also known as R2I2 , will take your dream to reality ! A centrally located multiuse building on Fashion Drive, in the Village At Sandhill, this impressive 37,000-square-foot facility serves many purposes for Richland Two, but is also available for public events, from meetings to workshops to birthday parties and weddings. The conference center is on the second floor with five salons that can be converted into one large ballroom. The center can seat up to 700 for a formal dinner; and for a standing reception up to 1200 can be accommodated. Tables and chairs are included in your rental, and each room comes equipped with stateof the-art audiovisual equipment. Your culinary experience will be handcrafted by a skilled executive chef. Just minutes from Downtown Columbia , R2I2 offers you and your next event Endless Possibilities …

About the cover: Jacqueline Bouvier Lee, director, at the R2i2 Conference Center in Columbia. (Photo/Jeff Blake) Event Planning Guide 2017



MIDLANDS NEWSROOM Associate Publisher - Licia Jackson ljackson@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7546



Corporate Conventions & Retreats

14 Business Events &

Staff Writer - Travis Boland tboland@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7543

Nonprofit Fundraisers

Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Research Specialist - Patrice Mack pmack@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7544

MIDLANDS ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Senior Account Executive - Alan James ajames@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7540 Account Executive - Lucia Smith lsmith@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7547



Lifestyle & Sports


Lists & Directories

Sponsored by

Associate Editor, Special Projects - Steve McDaniel smcdaniel@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3123 Senior Graphic Designer - Jane James jjames@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3118 Assistant Graphic Designer - Jessica Stout jstout@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3113

8 | G  oing mobile: Event apps keep conference-goers in the know.

South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth President and Group Publisher - Grady Johnson gjohnson@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3103 Vice President of Sales - Steve Fields sfields@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3110 Creative Director - Ryan Wilcox rwilcox@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3117


Choosing the perfect place for 22 your special day? The Midlands has many options.

fundraisers more fun for the crowd can also make the events more successful.

CUSTOM MEDIA DIVISION Director of Business Development - Mark Wright mwright@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3143 Business Development Executive Elizabeth Hodges lhodges@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3105

NWS Company LLC A portfolio company of BridgeTower Media

Event Planning Guide 2017

Audience Development & IT Manager Kim McManus kmcmanus@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3116 Accounting Manager - Vickie Deadmon vdeadmon@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7541

16 | Making nonprofit


Events Director - Kathy Allen kallen@scbiznews.com • 864.720.1225

The entire contents of this newspaper are copyright by NWS Company LLC with all rights reserved. Any reproduction or use of the content within this publication without permission is prohibited. SCBIZ and South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

©2017 NWS Company LLC



is the southern hot spot

By: Licia Jackson

photo/Chuck Crumbo


olumbia, the Real Southern Hot Spot, is becoming a pretty cool place to have a special event. The capital city is drawing acclaim for its museums, its happening downtown, its library, its sports vibe. Columbia is a welcoming place. In fact, just recently Thrillist Travel chose Columbia as one of “8 Cities You Should Visit Before They’re Too Popular.” So, whether you live in the city that’s Famously Hot – or not – here are some things you should be sure to do – before their popularity heats up too much. You’ll want to start with Columbia’s Main Street, home to Mast General Store, the Nickelodeon Theatre and many restaurants, bars and shops housed in refurbished buildings. If you happen by on a Saturday morning during the multiblock Soda City Market, you may think you’ve already waited too long to visit. The crowds are big, but the outdoor market am-

biance makes it worth your attention. While you’re downtown, you’ll want to stop by the Vista, a former warehouse district now home to hotels, shops and restaurants, as well as North Main Street, with some imaginative reuses of vintage structures. And don’t forget nearby Five Points, an eclectic business district popular with students at the University of South Carolina. (Did we mention that Livability.com ranks Columbia as the No. 3 college town in the country?) As for awards, Columbia’s special places have been hauling them in. The Columbia Museum of Art, also on Main Street, won a National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2016. Then the Richland Library – whose branches are getting great renovations and new programs and equipment funded by a bond referendum – won its own National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2017. A perennial award-winner is Columbia’s top place to visit, the River-

banks Zoo and Garden. The zoo along the banks of the Lower Saluda River has been recognized as the state’s Most Outstanding Attraction by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and as the Travel Attraction of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Society, among other honors. Named Ballpark of the Year in 2016 – its first year open – is Spirit Communications Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies, who play in the Class A South Atlantic League as an affiliate of the New York Mets. The park is part of the Bull Street development, a reimagined use of the former state mental hospital’s grounds. A major part of Columbia is occupied by the growing University of South Carolina, which has made major efforts to integrate the campus with downtown. Walking on the historic Horseshoe or attending a Gamecocks football, basketball or baseball game are the quintessential Midlands things to do. Of course, Columbia is the capi-

tal city and home to the Statehouse, another fascinating place for a stroll and a tour if you’re interested. And if you like to visit historic homes, Historic Columbia has three that you can tour, including the boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson. Beyond downtown, Midlands offers many attractions: • West Columbia and Cayce, with the Riverwalk, quaint shops and restaurants and riverfront development. • Lake Murray for fishing, boating, picnicking and swimming or just a sunset walk across the dam. • Lexington, with a growing business district and the Icehouse Amphitheater as well as shady parks. • Irmo, home of the Okra Strut, Saluda Shoals Park and the Harbison shopping district. • Fort Jackson, celebrating 100 years of training young soldiers. For more information visit www.ExperienceColumbiaSC.com. Event Planning Guide 2017


corporate conventions & retreats

Sponsored by

8. Going mobile 9. How to choose a venue 10. Audiovisual checklist 6

Event Planning Guide 2017

12. Corporate event planning checklist 13. Emergency planning

Corporate Conventions & Retreats

Event Planning Guide 2017


Corporate Conventions & Retreats




t this year’s S.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel, participants weren’t given the standard conference booklet outlining the event program and pertinent details. Instead, all that was included in a new conference mobile app. The app – created by event app developer Attendify – included the conference schedule, speaker bios, hotel information and details on fellow conference-goers. Attendees also received alerts about upcoming sessions and other up-to-the-minute conference announcements. The move away from expensive printed programs is taking off. Duane Parrish, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, says he’s seeing it at other conferences he attends. And for the state tourism conference held in Spartanburg earlier this year, it made sense financially. In 2016, the department spent $7,300 on printing and postage. With the app in 2017, the printing cost dropped to less than $1,000 – mostly for a save-the-date card. For the 2018 conference in Hilton Head, Parrish said the event will go completely digital. In addition to the savings, the department is being more environmentally friendly plus it can update the


Event Planning Guide 2017

conference planners turn to easy-to-use event apps

schedule and speaker information in real time, he added. One of the biggest benefits of the app was the ability to constantly communicate with conference attendees. Conference organizers could send reminders about a discount in the retail store or about the silent auction that raises money for scholarships. Plus, event attendees received a notification to fill out the post-conference survey. A 2014 study by CrowdCompass and the Event Marketing Institute predicted 86 percent of event and meeting planners would have an app by 2016. The survey also predicted 56 percent of event attendees would be interacting with event apps. Those predictions seem to be playing out in the event planning industry. The cost of an app can start at a few hundred dollars and climb into the thousands depending on the features and functionality. While the upfront costs might seem like a lot to spend, the printing savings can be significant. The S.C. United Methodist Annual Conference also went mobile for its 2017 conference in Greenville. Because delegates attending the conference span a wide age range – with some into their 70s and 80s – the conference used both the app and a printed program, explained Dan O’Mara, communications co-

By: Holly Fisher

ordinator. The idea came from the host team in Greenville, which took the lead on developing the app and finding a vendor. Then the conference communications staff finalized the app and made sure it lined up with the overall communication policies. O’Mara said the app allowed conference attendees to easily access the schedule, information on the speakers, conference documents, live stream of sessions as well as information on dining and sightseeing in Greenville. “All documents the delegates needed were accessible from their mobile devices, which allowed users to avoid having to carry around inchthick binders of paperwork,” O’Mara said. “We live-streamed the proceedings, which kept delegates – and those who didn’t attend the conference – in touch with the hum and flow of the conference even when they weren’t present in the meeting hall.” The app also incorporated a Twitter feed so conference delegates could find needed content and participate in timely discussions, O’Mara said. The app was so useful, O’Mara said, the team is already working to convert the app into one for yearround use as well as for future meetings of the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Tips on apps Thinking about using a mobile app for your next conference or large event? Keep these tips in mind: • Start early so you have plenty of time to test the app not only with staff, but with actual users. • Promote the app well in advance so people can download it and create an account prior to the event. • Collect feedback on the app and look for ways to improve it year after year. • Find a reputable app vendor that has experience with mobile apps – especially conference apps. Be sure to ask for references and download some of their other apps to try out. • Build in social media functionality that encourages conference attendees to share photos and more on their social networks. • Use the app to feature sponsors and other key supporters as an added sponsor benefit.

Corporate Conventions & Retreats

choosing a venue for a

corporate event

By: Holly Fisher

keep the bottom line in mind


or corporate events, one of the biggest considerations in choosing a venue is budget. Companies are very concerned about how much money they are spending both in terms of the dollar cost and the impression it gives others. They don’t want to seem as if they are overspending, especially when providing things like food and alcohol, event organizers say. That’s where looking for a venue that provides features and amenities in one package is beneficial – whether that’s food, furniture or fun. Often, event planners and corporate staff find it advisable to look for the simple option and find a place that provides everything needed, with varying charges for add-ons. Depending on the event, it might be best to use a venue with audio/visual capabilities or, in the case of a business expo, a venue that can assist in

providing booths and tables. Most venues either offer catering in house – usually the case with hotels – or have a list of preferred or exclusive caterers. The benefit to using those preferred providers is that they are familiar with the space and what will or won’t work, planners say. Also important is the calendar. Look at what else is going on in Columbia during your event, including USC football games. That could impact venue cost and availability. Picking a less busy weekend could be more beneficial and economical, or it may be fun for the guests to experience a major Midlands event like the Greek Festival or S.C. State Fair. Don’t miss the details It’s easy to get caught up in selecting a venue because of its charm and amenities. But carefully reviewing any

contracts and being mindful of those little details will both keep the budget in check and make the event a success. Use schedule timelines to map out everything and make sure the venue has a copy. It may be obvious, but event specialists remind planners to read the venue contracts closely. If you have a question or concern, make sure to address it ahead of time. Make it fun For corporate events like conventions and training programs, the focus is all business. But that doesn’t mean event planners can’t add some casual and fun elements to the program. A reception outdoors or in a room with a lot of windows breaks up the monotony of a windowless space and gives attendees a breath of fresh air. Groups coming from out of

town may want to be in the heart of downtown Columbia so conference attendees or employees can walk to nearby restaurants, museums and attractions. Adding that element of entertainment makes the event much more memorable. Here are a few other things to think about: Parking and transportation: Be sure to communicate the parking situation to guests ahead of time. Weather: If your conference is scheduled during the Famously Hot summer, choose a venue with shade for an outdoor event. Add misters or fans as needed. Proximity to other entertainment options: If you’re hosting a cocktail hour reception, think about selecting a spot near restaurants where attendees can go afterward for dinner.

Event Planning Guide 2017


Corporate Conventions & Retreats

no room for

surprises in A/V presentations


here’s nothing worse than putting months into preparing for an audio/visual presentation, only to have a technical malfunction while on stage, said Jeff Nickles, president of Production Design Associates. “More often than not, the audiovisual details of an event get overlooked in the planning process,” Nickles said. “Lighting, staging, sound and video projection can make or break an event, especially when trying to engage a large crowd.” Nickles said that in order to make sure there are no unexpected surprises, always rehearse the presentation in the exact location’s space and with the exact equipment that will be used on presentation day. Nickles, who has worked on events for more than 35 years, said you

should never leave anything to chance: Always test equipment, microphones and computers and always put new batteries into every device before a big presentation. “You have to prepare for anything that can go wrong in the show,” he said. Unforeseen problems can come from the trend of making presentations using tablets and iPads that employ wireless Internet connections. “You must make sure you have the proper Wi-Fi strength, “Nickles said. “Always test bandwidth and Wi-Fi signals. Maybe the Wi-Fi worked great during your test in an empty room, but now with all the attendees in the lobby or breakout rooms using their wireless devices, the area’s Wi-Fi bandwidth has been eaten up. Check the bandwidth on your devices and have the option to be hardwired to the Internet.”

Creative light displays can enhance an event. (Photo/Production Design Associates) Wow the crowd A common concern with large corporate presentations is how to engage the crowd, especially with early-morning presentations. There are many ways to spice up presentations with moving lights, video, logo projections and set pieces. “What gets people’s attention are colors and movement – use moving lights and scenic elements in innovative ways,” Nickles said. That’s also a good way to mix in company branding throughout the room, like blue uplighting around the

room if the company’s logo color is blue, for example, or having their logo rotating and moving around the room. These important details, and a seamless A/V presentation with no technical glitches, will achieve the goal of every presentation. “Having people rave about it on social media and around the water cooler the next morning is the aim,” Nickles said. “To have a presentation where people are wondering how you are going to top it next year – that’s what you want to hear.”

30 technical questions to answer before you meet with your audiovisual partner General Event Information 1. Do you have a detailed RFP?___________________ 2. What is the event date and time?________________ 3. When is the load in date and time?_______________ 4 Where do you plan to hold the event?_____________

16. Does the venue permit an outside company to rig from the ceiling?________________

5. Is there more than one event location?____________


6. How many people are expected?________________

17. How would you like to use lighting to enhance the event?__________________

Event Details 7. What kind of ambiance would you like to create at the event?__________________ 8. Does your event have a theme or color scheme?_____ 9. Have you created a show flow or agenda?_________ 10. Do you have a room diagram?__________________ 11. Do you need a stage? If so, what size?____________ 12. What is your budget?_________________________



15. Are you familiar with the power available at the venue? Can you provide a venue contact to discuss power specifics?_________________________________ ________________________________________

24. How will the speaker address the audience? __ Wired mic stand __ Head table mic stand __ Upright podium __ Tabletop podium 25. Will you require background music?______________

18. Do you have a logo for projection onto walls, floors or building façades?____________

26. Do you already have video content you would like to use, or do you need assistance with video production?________________________________

19. Do you need a stage wash for your speaker?_______

27. Do you require IMAG (Image Magnification)?________

20. Can you hang lighting from the ceiling or does it need to be ground supported? __________

28. What media source is used, and do you have a backup? (PC/DVD/MAC)_________

21. Are you planning entertainment that will require lighting? If so, is there a rider available with entertainers’ specific needs?___________________

29. Would you like to use a projection screen for the event? If so, would you like front or rear projection? ________________________________________


30. Would you like to use video screens? If so, would you like them supported from the ground or suspended? ________________________________________

13. What are your power distribution needs?__________

22. How many people will be speaking? _____________ What is the speaking order?____________________

14. Do you have a band that needs to tie into a power distribution?_________________

23. What kinds of microphones will be needed? __ Wired HH/Quantity

Event Planning Guide 2017

__ Wireless HH/Quantity __ Wireless LAV/Quantity __ Wireless Headset/Quantity

Provided by Production Design Associaties, www.pdastage.com

Corporate Conventions & Retreats

Event Planning Guide 2017


Corporate Conventions & Retreats

corporate event

planning checklist BEFORE THE EVENT o  Determine event goals and objectives. This is especially important with client events and sales meetings, as it will help you keep on track. o  Identify possible dates for the meeting. Thinking ahead and checking with others on possible conflicts can limit the inconvenience for all parties. o  Prepare a preliminary agenda and guest list to help set the criteria for the venue. o  Prepare a preliminary budget. Unless you manage your corporate event closely, the budget can grow unexpectedly. o  Send meeting requirements to selected sites with requests for written proposals.

Hot tip: Communication is a huge key to your event’s success. Strive for clear communication with attendees, sponsors, vendors and the venue representative. o  Conduct site visits as required. This is important when you’re using the facility for the first time. o  Negotiate hotel rates and blocks. If you use hotel meeting rooms for the event, you could get a significant discount on sleeping rooms. o  Determine preliminary food and beverage requirements and negotiate menus and prices. o Add any deadlines and other requirements to the timetable.

Hot tip: Plant the seeds of social media early by promoting a hashtag before the event to generate buzz.


o  Form committees as required. Organizations that have regular events should consider forming standing committees that meet regularly. o Develop a promotional strategy. o  Do some public relations for the event. Calendar notices, press releases and interviews may all be appropriate. o For nonprofit or charity events, line up sponsors. o  If you are charging admission to the event, establish


Event Planning Guide 2017

registration fee structures and policies, and be sure to include clear cancellation policies. o  Invite and confirm key speakers. This includes people within your organization. o  Obtain audiovisual needs from speakers and presenters, and order all necessary equipment. o Review, update and confirm final event budget. o  Identify and communicate on-site responsibility areas for committees and volunteers. Set up training for volunteers and educate them about your expectations. o Select and order speaker gifts and awards. o Order special decorations for the event. o  Prepare and order signs. This is another opportunity to build your brand. o Arrange for travel and housing of all staff and VIPs.

THE DAY OF THE EVENT o  Have a staff and volunteer meeting to review responsibilities, procedures and overlap areas such as registration. o  Confirm and monitor pickup of all rental equipment and supplies.

Hot tip: Use your leverage to get the best out of your vendors. Explain that the event’s audience is invaluable to their business. “Here is what I am bringing you.”

IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARD o  Pack and inventory all material. Many of your collateral materials are reusable — and they’re a big investment. o  Do financial reconciliation. Gather the invoices and make sure you have been billed correctly and that you pay in a timely fashion. Watch expense reports for other costs. o Write and mail thank-you letters. o  Collect and organize data for final meeting reports. Get evaluations from staff, volunteers and consultants to determine what went right and what needs improving.

Hot tip: Address any problems that need to be handled after the event is over. Take notes for future events if there are things that need to be done differently.

Corporate Conventions & Retreats

corporate event

emergency kit & tips KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER: Lauren Fox of Fox

Events was planning an outdoor event and the client did not want to pay for a tent – despite her recommendation. Inclement weather arrived just hours before the event and no tents were available in town. Fox had to call a company in Savannah. “You really do need to look at the weather 48 hours in advance,” she said. Another suggestion: Clip nametags to a big ribbon at outdoor events. PREPARE FOR SERIOUS EMERGENCIES: Nicole Garrigan, independent event planner, has encountered

her share of emergency situations. The best outcomes come with being prepared, she says. She has a preconvention meeting with venue staff and pertinent vendors. She establishes a protocol for life-and-death situations: call 9-1-1 first and then call her. For other emergencies, call her first. She recommends having someone on the security team trained in basic first aid and CPR. Anytime you have a large group of people together, anything can happen. But, Garrigan said, if you have emergency plans in place, it won’t be as bad as it could be. CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK: When a transportation vendor didn’t send its normal follow-up confirma-

tion, Maryann Hoyt of The Event Cooperative reached out on the day of the event and discovered no driver was scheduled for her event. So she used her connections and found a replacement. “Relationships in this industry can go a long, long way,” she said.

When you’re at the venue, needs will come up that you don’t expect. Pack this emergency kit to avoid wasting time on a trip to the store: ““

Snacks for staff, volunteers








Marker pens


Safety pins


Wet wipes


Paper towels


Adhesive bandage


Sunscreen (for outdoor events)

business events & nonprofit fundraisers

16. How to make your fundraiser stand out 18. Do me a favor


Event Planning Guide 2017

19. When what you wear means business

Sponsored by

Business Events & Nonprofit Fundraisers

Event Planning Guide 2017


Business Events & Nonprofit Fundraisers




By: Holly Fisher

festivity leads to long-term success photo/Mary Grant


big challenge for any nonprofit organization is competing against the hundreds of other nonprofits when it comes to sponsors, donors and ticket sales for fundraisers. Every cause is worthy, but people can only attend so many galas and golf tournaments and bid on only so many auction packages. So, what are nonprofits to do when it comes to making their event stand out in the crowded fundraiser


Event Planning Guide 2017

space? Thinking of new ways to involve donors, volunteers and staff energizes everyone, says Cherise Arrendale, strategic initiatives and communications manager for Central Carolina Community Foundation. Each May the foundation hosts Midlands Gives!, a 24-hour online giving event. After the first year, they added a physical event. “The staff needed a visible place to be for the communi-

ty,” Arrendale explained. “It’s a place for the public to see what we are doing, and they could ask questions.” Each year, the event visits a different high-profile location in the community. In 2016, it was Spirit Communications Park. This year, it was the State Museum. It’s an all-day event, so special activities — artists’ performances, a picnic, a basketball competition — were added to amp up the celebration.

“The focus is on coming together,” Arrendale said. Sponsors got their employees involved and nonprofit staff members gathered to celebrate. Everyone was invited to join in the fun. The staff at Central Carolina Community Foundation is already planning next year’s event. Evaluating the successes and problems after the event is important, and then detailed planning is key. That way, if something unexpected comes up, you can adjust.

Business Events & Nonprofit Fundraisers Consistent theme Branding your event early and maintaining a consistent theme keeps things lively, says Catherine Ramsey, senior director, communications and marketing, for the American Heart Association in the Midlands. “We have a campaign, Healthy for Good, for the next couple of years,” Ramsey said. The big celebration is the Heart Walk, which is marking its 20th year. Other events through the year include the black-tie Heart Ball and the Go Red for Women luncheon. The Heart Ball will be new and different this year, with a new venue and new month (January instead of February). The theme will be “An Enchanted Evening.” “We want to be the source of information for cardiovascular health throughout the year,” Ramsey said. “We are a consistent voice in people’s ears. If they are engaged throughout the year, when an event comes, people are excited about it.” Donors like to see what their dollars are doing, and they enjoy celebrating the successes of what the nonprofit can do, she said. Plan for a festive time Nonprofit professionals recommend focusing on the organization’s mission while providing an event that is fresh and fun. “Your guests have to have a good time,” says Beverly Hutchison, director of development and marketing for the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center in Charleston. “It has to be a good experience.” That means providing good food and beverages and, if an auction is involved, a speedy checkout system at the

end of the night. “If they have to stand in line for 15 or 30 minutes, that’s what they will remember,” Hutchison said. Jacqueline Bouvier Lee has been planning events and fundraisers for 30 years. As the executive director of the R2i2 Conference Center in Columbia, she said incorporating surprises is the best way to keep people coming back year after year. A festive theme – masquerade parties or New Orleans décor – as well as celebrity visits and signed memorabilia can be big draws, Lee said. She also stresses the importance of planning early and managing all the little details that make a good event great. Incorporate a mission moment For any nonprofit fundraiser, it’s critical to share the mission so attendees better understand the organization’s work and its overall impact in the community. At their annual dinner auction, Hutchison said they usually pause for a “mission moment” to tell a story of a child helped by the Child Advocacy Center. “We tell people what it costs to help a child and a family and ask them to sponsor a child,” she said. “Everybody can leave having contributed something. Not everyone will buy the $5,000 trip to Mexico, but many can write a check for $200.” Telling that story in a visual way also works well. One year, Hutchison said, the event décor was simply 800 balloons. Using fictitious names and ages, each balloon represented a child the center had helped that year. “It was a such a ‘wow’ factor,” she said.

Tips for planning a successful fundraiser: • Know your community. Understand what causes people in your area are likely to support and the types of events they like to attend. • Determine your goal. Are you raising money for one specific project or are you simply trying to build awareness of your cause and mission? • Set up committees and subcommittees of volunteers to help with sponsorship, marketing or décor. For especially large events, it may be prudent to hire a professional event planner to manage the logistics. • Use volunteers, but make sure you have a large pool of them in case someone gets sick or is unable to help during the event. • Always look for new sponsors. Don’t go to the same donors or sponsors for every event. When approaching sponsors for a donation, ask how you can help in return. • Start the planning process early. As soon as the event is over, have a debriefing meeting and determine what worked well and what changes should be made for the next year. For large events, such as galas, start planning at least 10 months in advance. Source: Jacqueline Bouvier Lee, director, R2i2 Conference Center Event Planning Guide 2017


Business Events & Nonprofit Fundraisers

do me a


By: Jenny Peterson

promotional giveaways are important for company branding


ou find them at networking events, fairs, conventions, grand openings and any occasion that involves a booth: Free corporate logo-marked giveaways and products. This method of advertising is still one of the most affordable ways to get a company’s brand out to the public, according to a 2016 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions study of over 100,000 consumers nationwide. Giveaways have evolved well past the ubiquitous company pen. Shiny trinkets, USB flash drives, umbrellas, desk calendars, hats, tote


Event Planning Guide 2017

bags and more are emblazoned with a company’s logo in the hope that the freebie can influence consumers to use the company’s services. According to the nationwide survey, promotional products have strong ownership and longevity among the public, especially products that are useful to consumers. Fifty percent of U.S. customers own promotional writing instruments, the survey states. Forty-one percent use desk accessories. As for longevity, calendars last the longest at 12 months, and 76 percent of consumers who own calendars

say they display them prominently in their homes or offices. The most influential product, according to the survey, is a USB flash drive. “A corporate giveaway  at an annual meeting is the ideal time for a company to elevate its brand reputation,” said Allison Sparrow, creative content manager with AM Conservation Group, Inc. “Our kits include energy and water efficient products that can be easily implemented in a workplace or household.” Kimberly Fite, corporate office manager at ISHPI in Mount Pleasant, said she goes above and beyond

ordering promotional giveaways to purchase items with a “wow factor.” “I keep two things in mind when determining my promotional items: first, making good judgments when pricing out items and second, picking items that tie in with the company’s image.” She said she purchases giveaways that tie in to ISHPI’s IT industry with items such as dual port USB car chargers, dual port USB hubs and hard-covered Post-it notebooks. “I will spend a little more on an item that I know the recipient will have a use for,” Fire said.


what you wear means business tips to stay cool and correct By: Licia Jackson


hen you’re dressing for an event in Columbia, there are two things to consider: what’s proper for the work or social occasion, and what fits the weather. One consideration may certainly affect the other, because so much of the year, it’s Famously Hot in Columbia. Lightweight fabrics should be ready in your closet all year, because it’s not unusual to have an 80-degree day in February or November. The last thing you want is to arrive dripping with perspiration at an important company event. So, stay with us here for some ideas that will help keep you cool and collected. Remember that dressing for warm temperatures does not mean dressing more casually or wearing a skimpy outfit. You still need to look professional at business events. Here are some tips for work and business meetings. Women • Think layers. You can wear a sleeveless blouse or dress, but add a jacket or dressy cardigan. The top layer can come in handy if the air conditioning is turned down,

as it often is when men are wearing suits. Neutral colors in lighter fabrics are a good choice for skirts, slacks and jackets. Add a blouse in an accent color. You can change the look by changing the blouse and accessories. White, tan, taupe, pale gray or navy are good color selections for warm weather business attire. Dresses should be lightweight fabric but conservatively cut for business meetings. Make sure the fabric is wrinkle-resistant. If you have questions about what to wear, follow the lead of female supervisors in your company. Keep a goes-with-anything jacket, a string of faux pearls or beads and a scarf in your office or car. With these, you can dress up any outfit if need be. Wear heels in a neutral color, or dressy sandals – but no flip-flops. If your toes are going to show, make sure your nails are manicured.

an event at an unfamiliar company, err on the side of dressing up (a dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie). To keep cool, choose a suit in a tropical-weight fabric, neutral in color. To brighten up neutrals, add a silk tie in a bold color. But don’t go too splashy. Look for a linen blend suit. Pure linen can be cool, but it wrinkles easily. For a business casual event, it’s good to wear a jacket, though it can be a blazer and need not be part of a suit. If you get there and find most guests aren’t wearing jackets, you can always remove yours. Wear dress shoes and – sorry, this is important – socks.

dress head to toe in bright colors. • If you’re not sure a garment is appropriate, it’s probably good to wear something else. And one more thing: Like most Southern climates, Columbia’s weather can change at any moment. Be prepared for a sudden shower, stiff breeze or drop in temperature. Sources: Forbes.com, Macon Magazine, Boston.com, Businessinsider.com

Here are some DON’TS for warm weather business occasions: • For men: No short-sleeve dress shirts – and never wear them with a tie. • For women: No plunging Men necklines, spaghetti straps or • Fit your dress to the culture of strapless tops. your company. If you’re attending • Don’t wear loud prints or •

Event Planning Guide 2017


lifestyle & sports

Photo / Jeff Blake

22. How to choose a venue 23. Preparing for the pour 24. How to make your event uniquely Columbia 20

Event Planning Guide 2017

25. How to host the perfect tailgate

Sponsored by

Lifestyle & Sports

Event Planning Guide 2017


Lifestyle & Sports

venue how to choose a By: Susan Levi Wallach

Photo /Jeff Blake


f you’re looking for a place to hold an event — whether it be wedding, tailgate party, conference or team-building retreat, or holiday celebration — look at the Midlands. Columbia and surrounding areas have seen a surge in the number and types of event facilities, from trendy new restaurants with rental space to the batting cages at Spirit Communications Park to more intimate spaces such as Grapes and Gallery, Chayz Lounge, and Blue Moon Ballroom. For a traditional feel, there are the well-established nature spaces at Saluda Shoals Park, the indoor and outdoor spaces at the University of South Carolina, the R2i2 Conference Center at Sandhill, Buck Ridge Plantation, and 701 Whaley. In other words, as long as your dream venue isn’t oceanside, you can probably find it here. According to Jacqueline Bouvier Lee, executive director of Richland Two’s R2i2 Conference Center at Village of Sandhill, the first step is finding places that best accommodate your event’s size and budget. “Will this perfect place you love


Event Planning Guide 2017

be able to hold all the people that you want to have?” Lee says. “What type of event is it — a formal event, a themed event, a platinum event? What’s your budget versus rental fees?” And how hands-on do you want to be? A full-service venue such as a hotel can see to everything from guest rooms to tablecloths; at blank-canvas spaces, whoever plans the event puts all the pieces together and needs to set the budget accordingly. Some spaces, such as the ballroom at the USC Alumni Center or the Nature Center at Saluda Shoals Park, have a distinct ambiance. “We have a lot of fundraisers, meetings, and weddings,” says Roxanne Price, the Alumni Center sales manager. “Our space is formal space. If a bride, say, wants something rustic and outdoorsy, we’re not going to fit her vision. With the popularity of Pinterest, customers will come in with a Pinterest look and you have to go into what goes into making that look and will fit within budget.” Equally important, says Dorothy Team, facility rental manager for Blue Moon Ballroom and director of

catering sales for Blue Marlin restaurant, are the details people tend to overlook, such as whether the site has enough parking or the budget has to include valet service. And, of course, in South Carolina, adequate air conditioning can be a make-or-break item. Though a 74-degree room might be all right for a meeting, Team says, a party needs more cool. “If the venue has a manager who understands anything, that AC is going to be set at 65 degrees before anyone gets there,” says Team. “The system has to be able to chill down and maintain without being compromised more than three degrees. People at a party who are dancing and excited and drinking and going in and out are going to be warmer than normal.” Lighting and electrical support are especially important for social events. “You want both commercial and atmospheric lighting,” Team says, “because when all the vendors come in they need to see to set up. After they finish, you turn off commercial lighting and set up atmo-

spheric lighting. Does atmospheric lighting have to be brought in? Can the electrical system support a DJ with a light show? Will it be able to carry a seven-piece band? When you’re putting on a real party, you want 220-volt, 50-amp service.” Then remember to check handicap accessibility and restroom accessibility, to allow time beyond the event for setup and breakdown, to see whether you need a permit to serve alcohol (see “Preparing for the Pour”), to verify liability insurance and compliance with fire codes. “A fire marshal can show up at any time and shut down a reception if the facility isn’t coded for your activity,” says Team. With the right decor, many venues can become the setting for just about any event their capacity allows, which is why Team also suggests looking with both a practical and a creative eye. “The only difference between a corporate reception and a wedding reception is the big white cake and the big white gown,” she says. “A meatball is a meatball wherever you serve it.”

Lifestyle & Sports

preparing for the pour


hen it comes to serving alcoholic beverages, Jesse Bullard, vice president of Southern Way Catering in Columbia, breaks event venues into two categories: those that have on-premise licensing for beer, wine, and liquor and those that do not. “The ones that do, of course, can basically serve or sell alcohol by the package, drink, or bottle,” he said. “The cost of serving alcohol at venues where they have an on-premise license (from the Department of Revenue) tends to be higher because there are expenses involved in getting the permit. A lot of venues do not have a permanent license, in which case the bartending company has to apply for temporary permit.” Bullard said that ticketed events, including fundraisers, require a permit if alcohol is on the menu. In other words, if you are going to have a cash bar or charge admission for your event but offer complementary refreshments, plan to apply for a permit from the Department of Revenue at least 15 days before your event. There is an application to fill out and SLED runs a background check. Unless it has a permit, said Bullard, “a bartending company cannot just sell alcohol, though a lot of them do. The way to get around that is for the host to provide the alcohol for the bar. Then the bartending company is only selling the service, not the alcohol.” The Department of Revenue also has regulations for wine, beer, and micro-distillery tastings. Another set of rules affects charitable fundraisers — see the section on Public Charities at sos.sc.gov for further information. In general, however, anyone soliciting donations through a fundraising event or a similar activity must file either the Application for Registration Exemption or the Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization with the Office of the Secretary of State—see The Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act,  http://www.scstatehouse.gov/ code/t33c056.php. Event Planning Guide 2017


Lifestyle & Sports


uniquelyColumbia to make your event

Tip #1 Use Southern flowers – hydrangea, gardenia, magnolia – to decorate

Tip #2 Serve barbecue from a hometown restaurant

Tip #3

Tip #4

Give guests a small bag of Adluh grits or cornmeal as a favor

Have a musical performance by gospel singers

Tip #5 Have the guests of honor arrive (or leave) in a horse-drawn carriage or vintage pickup truck

Photo /Jeff Blake


Event Planning Guide 2017

6. Have USC’s Cocky mascot make an appearance 7. Serve local craft beer or spirits 8. Decorate with the S.C. palmetto and moon 9. Use a ‘Famously Hot’ theme 10. Hold the event at a historic home or plantation


to host the perfect


By: Licia Jackson


ailgating before football games is a tradition combining the need for sustenance with the pure joy of being outside on a beautiful fall day. Who wouldn’t want to party under such circumstances? If your event involves more than your immediate family, you’ll want to do some planning to make the day go smoothly – and to take some of the work out of it for you. But you can’t forget those traditions, or someone will be disappointed. For example: the food. At University of South Carolina, “you can’t have a tailgate without

chicken fingers,” says Lynn Bradley, assistant executive director of alumni engagement at the USC Alumni Center. She plans tailgates for homecoming and bowl games. Other favorites are barbecue sliders, fried green tomatoes with toppings and Tex-Mex dips, as well as popcorn, boiled peanuts and cookies on the side. USC tailgates include a visit from mascot Cocky and the cheerleaders, with beach music for atmosphere. The decorations are also important, Bradley says. “Everything garnet and black, from staff attire to linens. Lots of balloons and feathers.” The football tailgates are held

outside under tents, but the Alumni Center also hosts pregame events for Gamecock basketball games at nearby Colonial Life Arena. USC fans who tailgate at Gamecock Park will have a new service available for the last three games of the season. The Tailgate Group, owned by Colton Benford, offers packages of varying sizes that make your tailgate day much easier. The Tailgate Group, through an agreement with USC, can provide everything from tent, table and chairs to TV setups, Benford says. “We make it turnkey. You don’t have to take the time to set everything up – you want

to enjoy the day.” As an example, for $325, you get a 10-by-10 tent, 6-foot table with linens, six large chairs and a cooler with ice. If you like, Benford’s service will arrange for food to be delivered by approved caterers for an extra charge. Other add-ons cost more, such as tailgate trailers, TVs, upper decks and restrooms. The setup will be ready when you arrive, and the Tailgate Group will take it down and clean up after the game. The company operates in seven Southern states and can be found at tailgategroup.com (click on locations to find Columbia.)

Event Planning Guide 2017


lists & directories


27. Event Planners

29. Full-Service Caterers

27. Exhibition & Convention Centers

30. Hotels with Meeting Facilities

28. Alternative Outdoor Venues

30. Calendar of Events

Event Planning Guide 2017

Lists & Directories

Event Planners

Ranked by No. of Planners in the Columbia Area Company

Phone / Website Email

Top Official(s) / Year Founded

Event Planners / Total Employees / Day-of Coordination?

MPA Strategies 2805 Millwood Ave. Columbia, SC 29205

803-665-3676 www.mpastrategies.org ahunter@mpastrategies.com

6 7 Y

Event management, event promotion, online and traditional media

The Clare Morris Agency 2519 Devine St. Columbia, SC 29205

803-413-6808 www.claremorrisagency.com clare@claremorrisagency.com

Ashley Hunter, Brooke Rowan 2011 Clare F. Morris, Clare Folio Morris, Meredith C. Cully 2006

5 5 Y

Corporate event planning, trade shows, receptions/ happy hours, press conferences, ribbon cutting events, business meetings, roundtable moderating

803-348-8861 www.flockandrally.com info@flockandrally.com

Debi Schadel, Tracie Broom 2010

5 5 Y

Brand launches, grand openings, signature events, galas, conferences, festivals, dinners, parties, ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings & fundraisers

803-467-9822 www.murphyweddings.com murphyweddings@aol.com

Melanie Murphy 2005

3 4 Y

Weddings, corporate events

Flock & Rally: Integrated Communications for a Brave New South 701 Whaley St., Loft 202 Columbia, SC 29201 By Invitation Only Event Planning & Design 701 Whaley St. Studio 104 Columbia, SC 29201 Carolina Event Consultants 140 Amicks Ferry Road, Suite 334 Chapin, SC 29036 Nehemiah Communications 101 Rice Bent Way, Suite 6 Columbia, SC 29229 The Phillips Market Center, SCDA 117 Ballard Court West Columbia, SC 29172 Lux Strategic Communications 141-F Pelham Drive Columbia, SC 29209 Dupre Catering & Events 316 Senate St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-238-7438 http://www.carolinaeventconsultants.com cec@carolinaeventconsultants.com 803-865-5665 www.nehemiahcommunications.com info@nehemiahcommunications.com 803-737-4630 www.phillipsmarketcenter.com bcox@scda.sc.gov 803-331-4794 www.luxandassociates.com mlux@luxandassociates.com 803-748-4144 www.duprecatering.com info@duprecatering.com

Melanie Lux 1994

2 1 Y 2 3 Y 2 8 Y 1 4 Y

Michelle Percival , Robert Percival, L. Dupre Percival 1989

0 25 N

Nancye D. Bailey 2006 Kenneth Breivik 2002 Brooke E. Cox, Jessica Orso 2011


Corporate Events Nonprofit events Meetings, conferences, office party, trade expos, product sale/training, board meetings, private parties, weddings, receptions Event planning and promotion for political, nonprofit and business clients Catering, wedding, corporate events, off-site catering

Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are printed. For a full list of participating companies, visit http://www.scbiznews.com/buy-business-lists. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to lists@scbiznews.com.

Researched by Business Report staff

Exhibition and Conference Centers Ranked by Maximum Capacity Company Spirit Communications Park 1640 Freed St. Columbia, SC 29201

Phone / Website

Top Local Official(s) / Year Founded

Capacity / Meeting Rooms

Meeting/ Event Space (sq. ft.)

Indoor / Classroom / Theater Capacity

A multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue which seats about 9,000 for sporting events and up to 15,000 for concerts; the venue has 16 luxury suites and a 7,000 square-foot club lounge to host any event South Carolina's only downtown convention center in the heart of Columbia's Vista district

803-726-4487 www.columbiafireflies.com

John Katz 2016

15,000 18


400 -


Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center 1101 Lincoln St. Columbia, SC 29201 S.C. State Fairgrounds 1200 Rosewood Drive Columbia, SC 29201

803-545-0001 www.columbiaconventioncenter.com

Bill Ellen, Sarah Britt, Mack Stone 2004

8,500 15


0 1,200 2,072

803-799-3387 www.scstatefair.org

Gary Goodman 1869

2,160 9



Buildings and rooms range from 3,700 to 40,000 square feet

South Carolina State Museum 301 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-898-4901 www.scmuseum.org

William Calloway 1988

1,325 12


125 160 200

Housed in an 1894 historic textile mill; appropriate for meetings or weddings; comprised of 12 meeting rooms with spaces small enough for corporate lunches and large enough for weddings

Williams-Brice Stadium 1125 George Rogers Blvd. Columbia, SC 29208 Columbia Museum of Art 1515 Main St. Columbia, SC 29201 The Medallion Conference Center 7309 Garners Ferry Road Columbia, SC 29209

803-777-3387 www.gamecocksonline.com

Ray Tanner 1996

1,100 15


Seating space overlooking Columbia and the stadium field

803-799-2810 www.columbiamuseum.org

Christina Carson 1950

1,000 3


0 500 500 250 150

Flexible event space for meetings, receptions, and concerts; art galleries

803-256-1222 www.medallionconferencecenter.com

Bianca Virk 2008

1,000 7



Full-service conference and banquet facility with event planning, food service and group hotel rooms

USC Alumni Center 900 Senate St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-777-4111 www.mycarolina.org

Jack Claypoole 2015

900 12



R2I2 Conference Center 763 Fashion Drive Columbia, SC 29229

803-738-8481 www.richland2.org

Jacquie Lee 2016

700 10


50 -

Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are printed. For a full list of participating companies, visit http://www.scbiznews.com/buy-business-lists. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to lists@scbiznews.com.

The USC Alumni Center hosts events ranging from small training sessions and cocktail parties to large conferences and breathtaking weddings; All events get the Garnet Carpet Treatment: an unparalleled level of hospitality to assist with every detail! The beautiful and spacious R2i2 Conference Center is the perfect location to host your conference, trade show, or wedding Researched by Business Report staff

Event Planning Guide 2017


Lists & Directories

Alternative / Outdoor Event Venues Ranked by Maximum Capacity


Phone / Webiste Email

Top Local Official(s) / Year Founded

Spirit Communications Park 1640 Freed St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-726-4487 www.columbiafireflies.com info@columbiafireflies.com

John Katz 2016


Riverbanks Zoo & Garden 500 Wildlife Parkway Columbia, SC 29210

803-602-0900 planyourevent.riverbanks.org planyourevent@riverbanks.org



S.C. State Fairgrounds 1200 Rosewood Drive Columbia, SC 29201 EdVenture Children's Museum 211 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-799-3387 www.scstatefair.org geninfo@scstatefair.org 803-779-3100 www.edventure.org info@edventure.org

Gary Goodman 1869


Buildings and rooms range from 3,700 to 40,000 square feet

Karen Coltrane 2003


Largest children's museum in the South

South Carolina State Museum 301 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-898-4901 www.scmuseum.org facilityrental@scmuseum.org

William Calloway 1988


Housed in an 1894 historic textile mill; appropriate for meetings or weddings; comprised of 12 meeting rooms with spaces small enough for corporate lunches and large enough for weddings

Williams-Brice Stadium 1125 George Rogers Blvd. Columbia, SC 29208 Columbia Museum of Art 1515 Main St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-777-3387 www.gamecocksonline.com mparker@mailbox.sc.edu 803-799-2810 www.columbiamuseum.org info@columbiamuseum.org

Ray Tanner 1996


Seating space overlooking Columbia and the stadium field

Christina Carson 1950


Flexible event space for meetings, receptions, and concerts; art galleries

F2T Productions 1005 Airport Blvd. Columbia, SC 29205

803-553-2726 www.farmtotableeventco.com info@farmtotableevent.com


Farm to Table Event and Catering Company produces some of the most memorable events in town, connecting farms and local products with unique experiences around the table; we offer full service catering and events production

Gracen D. Bialobreski 2010

Maximum Capacity Description

Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are printed. For a full list of participating companies, visit http://www.scbiznews.com/buy-business-lists. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to lists@scbiznews.com.


In-house Catering? Outside Caterers Allowed? Tents Allowed?

Event Planning Guide 2017

A multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue which seats about 9,000 for sporting events and up to 15,000 for concerts; the venue has 16 luxury suites and a 7,000 square-foot club lounge to host any event From meetings and company picnics to holiday parties and exclusive park buy-outs, Riverbanks has a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces to suit the most usual of needs


Researched by Business Report staff

Lists & Directories

Full-Service Caterers Ranked by No. of People at Largest Event in 2015 Company

Phone / Webiste Email

Top Local Official(s) / Year Founded

Largest Event 2015 / Employees / Avg. Meal Catering Services

Southern Way Catering 100 E. Exchange Place Columbia, SC 29209

803-783-1061 www.thesouthernway.com sales@thesouthernway.com

Aimee Wicker 1981

12,000 40 $49

Weddings, rehearsal dinners, bridal luncheons, corporate events and off-site catering events

Carolina Catering - USC Dining Services 915 Gregg St., Spigner House Columbia, SC 29208

803-777-7919 www.usccarolinacatering.com catering@mailbox.sc.edu

Elaine Brophy 1998

3,500 35 $26

Full service menu available: catering on and off premises; Top of Carolina: 360 ' rotating restaurant showcasing the sites of the South Carolina capitol, featuring Friday BBQ lunch and Sunday brunch

Little Pigs Barbecue 4927 Alpine Road Columbia, SC 29223

803-318-6682 www.littlepigs.biz champ@littlepigs.biz

Champ McGee 1962

1,500 25 $11

Sit-down dinners, buffets and finger food receptions

Maurice's Piggie Park 1600 Charleston Highway West Columbia, SC 29169

803-791-5887 www.piggiepark.com mail@piggiepark.com

Chris M. Bennett 1953

1,500 150 $12

Cater parties, business luncheons, church events, weddings, rehearsal dinners; small or large, casual or elegant

Seawell's Food Caterers Inc. 1125 Rosewood Drive Columbia, SC 29201

803-771-7385 www.seawellscateringsc.com seawellscatering@gmail.com

Carroll O. Seawell Jr. 1946

1,200 35 $20

Full service on site with china/glassware; all types of menus available from formal plated dinners, buffet meals and stations with heavy hors d'oeuvres; off site catering available as well

Blue Marlin 1200 Lincoln St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-799-3838 www.bluemarlincolumbia.com contact@bluemarlincolumbia.com

Rachel Hawkins 1994

1,000 80 $38

Blue Marlin Signature Catering, the off-site division that offers Blue Marlin’s low country cuisine and exceptional service for special events, meetings and more

F2T Catering Co. 1005 Airport Blvd. Columbia, SC 29205

803-553-2726 www.farmtotableeventco.com info@farmtotableevent.com

Gracen Tilton 2011

1,000 20 $45

Turn-key event design and production with full catering capabilities, so all you have to do is show up; our expert chefs create signature farm-driven menus for all occasions

Applause Catering Inc. 5166 Sunset Blvd., Suite G Lexington, SC 29072

803-351-1235 www.applausecatering.net applausecatering@gmail.com

Richenda Batson 1992

800 6 $25

Wedding catering, food stations, hors doeurves, appetizers, full event planning, vendor referral, decor, bar services,buffet dinners, seated served dinners

Dupre Catering & Events 316 Senate St. Columbia, SC 29201

803-748-4144 www.duprecatering.com info@duprecatering.com

Michelle Percival , Robert Percival, L. Dupre Percival 1989

450 25 $25

Receptions, dinners, luncheons and breakfasts for personal, business and political events; at clients' site or at Senate's End

Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are printed. For a full list of participating companies, visit http://www.scbiznews.com/buy-business-lists. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to lists@scbiznews.com.

Researched by Business Report staff

Event Planning Guide 2017


Lists & Directories

Hotels with Meeting Facilities Properties in the Columbia Area, Ranked by Square Footage of Event Space

Company Columbia Marriott 1200 Hampton St. Columbia, SC 29201 DoubleTree by Hilton 2100 Bush River Road Columbia, SC 29210 Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbia 200 Stoneridge Drive Columbia, SC 29210 Courtyard by Marriott Downtown at USC 630 Assembly St. Columbia, SC 29201 Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia - Airport 110 McSwain Drive West Columbia, SC 29169 Wingate by Wyndham Columbia/ Lexington 108 Saluda Pointe Court Lexington, SC 29072 Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbia 230 Greystone Blvd. Columbia, SC 29210 Residence Inn Columbia NW Harbison 944 Lake Murray Blvd. Irmo, SC 29063

Phone / Website

General Manager / Year Founded

803-771-7000 www.columbiamarriott.com

Daver Hacisabanoglu 1983

Event Capacity Event SF / Meeting Rooms Reception Banquet Theater Classroom Sales Director 27,000 17





Nancy Wagner

803-731-0300 Norine Morris www.columbiasouthcarolina.doubletree.com 1983

22,400 16





Erin Barbaro

Matthew Lew 803-252-8700 www.columbiagreystone.embassysuites.com 1988

18,000 15





803-799-7800 www.downtowncolumbiaschotels.com

Holly Penny 2007

5,000 2





Audra Wood, Shriya Patel

803-391-4000 www.hicolumbiaairport.com

Marcus Munse 2010 Jana Medlin, Jeanette Lowicz 2008

5,000 8





Ashley Jordan

2,300 3





Leanna Lee, Megan Brasington

803-957-5000 www.lexingtonwingate.com 803-239-4663 www.columbiasc.homewoodsuites.com

Becca Slaton 2004

2,000 3





Becca Slaton

803-749-7575 www.columbiaresidenceinn.com

Andy Brings 2013

740 1





Kelly Ringley

Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are printed. For a full list of participating companies, visit http://www.scbiznews.com/buy-business-lists. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to lists@scbiznews.com.

Calendar of Events


s any event planner will tell you, if you want to make your event a success, you need to be aware of other events going on at the same time. You may need to avoid traffic or crowds at a nearby event, or you may want to piggyback on fun happenings. In any case, Columbia is a busy place much of the year. The rhythms here are different from other places. We have SEC football, for one thing. And we’re South Carolina’s capital city, with state government always at center stage. With all this in mind, here is a calendar of some events and happenings throughout the year. Where known, the dates for 2018 are given. JANUARY


The S.C. General Assembly begins its session on the second Tuesday in January. Especially during the first few weeks of the session, there are dinners and luncheons and receptions all over town.

USC’s baseball season is in full swing with home games at Founders Park. Check it out at www.gamecocksonline.com

University of South Carolina basketball season is underway at the Colonial Life Arena. Check the schedule at www.gamecocksonline.com

FEBRUARY Black History Parade and Festival: www.fundsinc1.org World Beer Festival Feb. 17, 2018: www.allaboutbeer.com

MARCH Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic March 23-25, 2018: dnr.sc.gov/psc St. Pat’s in Five Points


Event Planning Guide 2017

Joy Bryant

APRIL Artista Vista: www.vistacolumbia.com Indie Grits Festival: www.indiegrits.com HipHop Family Day: wwwlovepeacehiphop.com The Columbia Fireflies, Class A South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets, start their season at Spirit Communications Park. The season extends into early September.

MAY Black Expo www.Blackexposouth.com Governor’s Cup www.carolinamarathon.org

Graduation ceremonies for the many schools and colleges at the University of South Carolina will keep Columbia busy for the first half of May. Check the calendar at www.sc.edu

JUNE Columbia Style Week www.columbiafashionweek.com Southern Guitar Festival www.southernguitarfest.com High school graduations begin the last week of May and continue through the first week of June. Many are held back to back at Colonial Life Arena. Check www.coloniallifearenacom for a schedule in the spring.

JULY Lexington County Peach Festival July 4 www.lexingtoncountypeachfestival.com

Researched by Business Report staff

Are you ready for some football? The USC Gamecocks take the field at Williams Brice Stadium, with the season continuing through November. Hosts and hostesses in the know always check the home game schedule before planning a fall event: www.gamecocksonline.com

OCTOBER Boo at the Zoo: www.riverbanks.org Oktoberfest Columbia: www.oktoberfestcolumbia.com SC State Fair Lasts 12 days www.scstatefair.org

NOVEMBER Vista Lights: www.vistacolumbia.com Holiday Lights on the River: www.icrc.net/holiday-lights Riverbanks Zoo Lights Before Christmas: www.riverbanks.org



Main Street Latin Festival www.mainstreetlatinfestivalsc.com

Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade www.carolinacarillon.com

Brew at the Zoo: www.riverbanks.org

Junior League of Columbia Holiday Market www.jlcolumbia.org

Move-in day for students at University of South Carolina has to be experienced to be believed. It happens around the third week of August, with students and their parents filling restaurants, hotels and stores. Check the calendar at www.sc.edu

SEPTEMBER Columbia Greek Festival www.columbiagreekfestival.com

Famously Hot New Year www.famouslyhotnewyear.com This list is just a sampling of the more popular events in the Midlands. Also happening are frequent races and walks that fill the streets downtown on a Saturday. For a detailed calendar, visit ExperienceColumbiaSC.com and lakemurraycountry.com.

Profile for SC BIZ News

2017 Columbia Event Planning Guide  

2017 Columbia Event Planning Guide  

Profile for scbiz