Parties and events are finely balanced things – one wrong step and they go from being the ‘best ever’ to being remembered for all the wrong reasons. But whether you’re planning Dad’s 50th, the company Christmas party, or a big fat Greek wedding, there are a few simple venue ideas to ensure your function is a total hit.
Everyone loves a good party, regardless of the reason behind it. From a milestone birthday, wedding, engagement or anniversary, to an end-of-year office wind-up, team-building event or baby shower, you can find cause for celebration all year round.
As the organiser, regardless of the occasion or the size of the party, you’ll want your guests to enjoy themselves and remember the event for all the right reasons – and the key to that is in the planning. But where does one begin? Where shall your party be held? What needs to be booked? Before you know it, you’ve been struck down with PPS: pre-party stress!
The important things are to get the fundamentals right, not get too caught up
in the minutiae and, above all, make organising the party as much fun as the party itself.
Thankfully, here at Scoop, we like to think we know a thing or two about throwing a fabulous soiree. Here are some tried-and-tested ideas for venues that will impress your guests, plus some suggestions for extravagant extras to really blow their socks off!
For smaller functions or those of a more mature nature, a ‘moving menu’ provides dinner or lunch with a fun twist. Start by picking one of your favourite ‘strips’ in Perth – Albany Highway in Victoria Park, Beaufort Street in Mt Lawley, or St Georges Terrace in Perth, for example. The trick is to settle on a location where you know there are three great restaurants within walking distance of each other – you’ll be visiting a different venue for each course of your meal. Of course, bookings are encouraged, but are dependent on having a good idea of how long you will be at each venue, making research important and the results more successful when nobody is in a hurry.
Perth Festival Pleasure Garden (photography Jarrad Seng).
There’s nothing better than a function under the stars on a balmy evening. Perth is home to a number of venues that offer alfresco or rooftop areas, many of which can be hired for functions and offer in-house catering. Alternatively, for larger events such as wedding receptions or corporate functions, yacht and sailing clubs make fantastic options. Most offer great food-and-beverage packages for functions, and have a range of facilities to suit your requirements. Plus, they’re all located by the Swan or Canning rivers, so you can expect lovely views.
For smaller groups or more intimate occasions, a favourite bar or restaurant is ideal, and most are surprisingly affordable. Many will section part of the venue off for your get-together and the advantage is that you have instant atmosphere. Everything is already there – from food and drinks, to music and staff – and you’ll have greater flexibility with bar arrangements, such as cutting off at a certain time and returning to a cash bar.
Transform your own dining room into one of the world’s finest restaurants by hiring a personal chef for the evening. Perfect for intimate celebrations such as birthdays or anniversaries, you can go as simple or elaborate as you like, depending on the services offered by your selected catering company. Dust off your finest china for a French provincial feast, complete with shabby-chic setting, dim lighting, fresh blooms on the table, and Edith Piaf’s throaty ballads resounding in the background. Or, keep the theme modern-industrial with a degustation menu, served on slate tiles or in jars, or anything else that’s clean and novel. Decorate the room with recycled number plates, exposed light bulbs, or anything that looks like it came from an old warehouse or garage. The sky is the limit. Just be sure to discuss your ideas with your caterer to confirm they have the capabilities to suit your requests – and don’t forget to book waitstaff!
Photography Heather Zubek.
You don’t need to drive three hours south to enjoy a day sampling award-winning wines and ales. Within a half-hour’s drive of the city, there are myriad vineyards and breweries that welcome tour groups and special events. Hire a bus and plot your journey, stopping for lunch at one of the many destinations that offer restaurant dining. And don’t forget the breweries dotted around Fremantle, for something a little cooler. Wine and beer tours are a great idea for hens’ and bucks’ days, not to mention corporate team-building events. TIP Ensure there’s plenty of water and food along the way,
to offset the alcohol.
Girls, don your vintage white ruffle gloves, your pastel floral-print frock, your tea hat and tiny bag… There’s nothing more civilised than high tea. Perfect for baby showers, a birthday celebration or even a hens’ day, if you want to skip the horrific hangover – it’s a lovely way to celebrate a special occasion. The rising popularity of this British-born afternoon tradition means there are plenty of venues throughout Perth that have hopped on the tea-trolley. Many of the hotels in the CBD also offer a glass of bubbles with their high-tea menus, if you absolutely must indulge in something alcoholic.
Perth’s overseas playground, Rottnest is a must for warm-weather events. Just a short trip by boat, it has the facilities to cater for just about any type of event or function you can imagine. Weddings, corporate occasions, team-building days, birthdays… the lot. The island has something for young and old, a range of venues and accommodation, tourist attractions, spectacular beaches, and more. Alternatively, there are many charter boats that can host your event, many of which will drop anchor in one of the crystal-clear lagoons of Rottnest while you party and swim the day away.
Leave the city behind and head north or south for a personal or business event your guests will certainly adore. Small or large, there are plenty of options in country Western Australia, with a wide range of resorts and hotels boasting magnificent function facilities and dedicated coordinators to assist. There’s any number of beautiful spots to choose from, it just depends how long you want to travel for!
There’s no question everyone loves a river or ocean view, and we are lucky enough here in Perth to have an abundance of venues that exploit our aquatic options. Team-building facilitators are always fond of hitting the beach, as are brides and grooms, and there’s nothing quite like a corporate Christmas party by the Swan River. Keep in mind, the river doesn’t stop in the city – there are beautiful spots all the way through to the Swan Valley. From boutique hotels and restaurants to riverside wineries, you’ll find a plethora of venues to match your individual function requirements.
Food trucks at Bathers Beach Sunset Markets.
If you really want to blow your guests away (along with your budget, possibly) and earn your title of ‘best party organiser ever’, there are always added extras that will guarantee the ‘wow’ factor. There are no rules to how subtle or extravagant you can go – your imagination is the only limitation!
A hot ticket at all types of functions, the addition of a photobooth (and props) has never been anything but good fun. It may sit empty for the first hour or so, but once those drinks kick in, inhibitions fly out the window and some massive laughs can be had in that very small space. The photos may be cringeworthy the following day, but at least you’ll have evidence of everything!
After years of envying our eastern states and international counterparts, Perth can finally enjoy the food truck craze. For larger events and functions, why not invite a few of your fave ‘meals on wheels’ providers, and put an alternative spin on catering. They’re great for themed occasions, such as Mexican or Brazilian, for example, and are right up there on the coolness scale.
Hire a handful of beanbags, deckchairs or even lounges, along with an outdoor cinema for your next summer event. You can show movies (on private premises only, due to copyright act) or make up personal messages and productions for birthdays, weddings, or corporate events. Many hire companies even include a popcorn machine! Team this with a couple of slushy dispensers and catering, and you’ll have one happy audience.
That’s right: real pyrotechnics, not sparklers and boat flares. Nothing blows a crowd away more than unexpected explosions of colour in the sky. Weddings, corporate events, launches and closing parties all go off with a bang when the rockets erupt. Definitely something to incite the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from your guests.
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