How to organise a gorgeous gala dinner
Your go-to guide for planning a great gala event
In today’s fast-paced world, more and more businesses are using AV technology and current trends to stage memorable live events and gala dinners. And a glittering gala event is a fantastic way to bring people together for an important cause, social issue, or workplace anniversary or launch.
Organising the perfect gala dinner takes a considerable amount of time and effort, but luckily, you can work with specialist event staging companies and audio-visual specialists. Bringing technical event producers on board allows you to take the guesswork out of ensuring your gala dinner makes an impact and achieves your objectives.
Not everyone is an event manager and many find themselves in the thick of it even though its not their field of expertise. Here’s an insider’s guide to organising a gala event that’s sure to impress your guests.
Identify your event’s purpose
All gala dinners have one thing in common–they bring people together for a particular purpose. Knowing what you aim to achieve with your event will help you plan accordingly. The first step of the planning process should be setting a goal for what you want to achieve with your gala.
Is this a thank you to clients, a fundraiser for a charitable cause, or the launch of a product that’s been years in the making? Set the goal for your event from the outset and remember it at each point when making a decision. Remember that a gala is different from a regular party; it’s choreographed, styled, and it should be remembered for all the right reasons.
How long does organising a gala event take?
Organising a gala event is not easy, it involves large guest lists, bringing in sponsors or supporters, organising donations, and you need to get the right mix of venue, catering, and entertainment. While some of the largest events might be years in the making, you should probably be planning your gala 6-12 months in advance. Especially if you are selling tickets.
You should come up with a clear schedule for things like sending out ‘save the date’ invitations, launching the event, and planning milestones. This will help keep the planning team on track throughout the preparations.
Choosing the right venue
Your venue will be a big part of shaping your gala, and choosing an iconic location could be a big part of getting your guests to say ‘yes’ to your event. Choosing the right venue involves answering a lot of ‘Goldilocks’ questions, including:
- Is it appropriate for your audience?
- Is it big enough or too big?
- Does it suit your event and theme?
- Is the kitchen suitable?
In some cases, you may get the use of a venue donated to support your cause. This can be great, but you still need to make sure it ticks all the boxes. Being offered a free venue is very tempting, but don’t sacrifice the rest of your event to make it work there.
Do you need a theme?
It isn’t easy to create a unique atmosphere for your guests and give them an experience they have not had before. Classic themes like ‘under the sea’ or ‘masquerade’ can be great when they’re done well. Or you can choose a theme based on your venue.
Then comes the decorations, draping, ceiling features, entrance staging, signage, flowers, no flowers, centrepiece, table linen and even down to the chairs, tables and forks used. It’s a lot, right? But everything should be styled to match the atmosphere you’re trying to create. You can always bring in an event manager or stylist to guide you through, and you can always depend on their skill at negotiating on your behalf with other suppliers.
Make the most of your budget
Organising a gala event can be very expensive, but the key to throwing a great event is using your budget effectively and prioritising the most important things.
If you try to spread your budget too thin, all you are doing is diluting the effect you wanted to create. Sometimes it’s best to sacrifice a décor element or piece of entertainment so guests can actually see the screens or hear the speech from your CEO.
Get a great venue appropriate to your theme and purpose, find the best value high impact entertainment, work with your AV staging company to balance the right amount of technology and then make the space have impact, but don’t detract from the purpose of the night.
Make it spectacular
There are hundreds of ways to make an impression, and AV technology, showcraft, multimedia, room styling and stage sets can help you deliver a spectacular event that people will remember for years to come.
Here are examples of gala events which Microhire helped to make truly special for our clients:
- For DEECD Training Awards, we incorporated wide-screen projections to promote key messages throughout the gala.
- Australian Human Resources Institute uses dynamic lighting sets and ‘live’ multimedia billboards for their A Night on Broadway themed gala dinner.
Gala dinners are used to recognise, reward and celebrate, so make sure you engage your audience and command attention. AV technology and digital tools help engage, inform, connect, and enrich the audience experience.
Get help from the experts
At Microhire, we can handle all your production and entertainment requirements, and even help you with diagramming, check-in, and venue sourcing. Whether you’re planning a small conference or large scale gala dinner, we have the technology and expertise to give your event the ‘wow’ factor.
For over 25 years, we’ve fostered a culture of innovation that’s present in everything we do from our customer service to the inspiring results we achieve for our customers’ events.