Top tips for planning your next function

The season of work functions is fast approaching, and organising these events can often be a hassle. A successful work function, wedding, or any other large event doesn't just happen. It takes careful planning, set goals, and a team working together. Whether it's an intimate gathering or a massive get-together, the success of any event is in the details. Alice Cameron from Christchurch's iconic Riccarton Park, shares her top tips for ensuring your next event is a success.


Alice Cameron
Events Co-ordinator

    One of the most important, yet most overlooked, steps in planning an event is locking down a concrete goal. Alice says that before any further steps are taken, you must ask, "What exactly do I want to achieve with this event?" These questions will help establish an objective, and everything done afterwards can be checked against this primary question.

    A date has to be set very early on to give the event planning a manageable time frame. From this starting point, invitations can be sent and enough notice can be given to ensure all guests are able to make the event. This is also important when you are checking the availability of speakers and entertainers.

    Depending on the size of the event, having a team help run the event can be crucial.

    Alice also suggests that for bigger events, partners and sponsors are very useful. For example our big race meeting, New Zealand Cup Week at Riccarton Park in November, gains a lot of support from having sponsors, who can assist with running the event and help raise the profile across the city.

    Setting a budget will really dictate how you plan, she says.Once a budget has been agreed upon, other crucial steps in an 'event checklist' can begin to be ticked off, allowing attention to move towards selecting a venue, organising catering, event promotion and booking speakers and entertainers.

    Alice says that this methodical process will enable organisers to easily document their expenses.

    "The most important thing is to check your costs off against your budget, that way you should have a breaking point.

    "If it's a ticket sale event, and for example, numbers are low, there's a point where you've got to make a call about whether to go ahead. You need get cut-off point established. A lot of people miss that."

    Having a very clear idea of who are you going to invite, or what an ideal guest looks like is very important. Alice says it is necessary to know your audience, so that it can be related back to your original objective.

    "If this is what we want to achieve in our event, then who are the best people to invite?" "This will also help determine how you are going promote your event and get it out to your audience. "As there is a range of advertising channels (direct mail, suppliers, contacts, social media), knowing who you want to invite will indicate the best way to get the invites out there."

    Being familiar with the venue will help establish boundaries, such as accessibility, size of the event, licensing and parking. Alice believes Riccarton Park is an ideal venue for a variety of different functions. "We are not just one venue. We can provide a variety of venues, we've got six to select from depending on the size and the style.

    "There are some unique venues, such as the Show Gate, that's an older style venue that has superb character, through to the Tea House, an historical building built in 1903 and has been fully restored – it is a jewel here" The park life surroundings are also useful for creating a weather contingency plan, as many outdoor events can be moved indoors, in the event of poor conditions. "The versatility of Riccarton Park means there is a lot to choose from, and our ability to cater for 40 guests through to 450 gives additional scope event planners."

    After the event, debriefing with your team is a great way to discuss what worked well in the event planning process, and what didn't.

    "Debriefing is really important, particularly if you are thinking of holding another event further down the track. This should also be tied back to the whole point of having the event, and seeing if you fulfilled your primary objective," says Alice

For more information about booking your next event at Riccarton Park, contact us or contact Alice direct:

Phone: +64 3 360041 Email: