August, 19, 2015

How to Plan the Perfect Post-Trade Show Cocktail Reception

Post-Trade Show Cocktail Reception

With the sun shining and summer in full swing, it’s likely that your calendar is packed full of fun occasions. Conferences, industry events and even casual cocktail hours can present prime opportunities for networking. But there’s really no substitute for an event specifically geared toward meeting new people and sparking business connections. Whether you’re hosting a networking event for your own company or putting one together for a client, check out these quick tips to make the most of it.

Select a Theme

As with any event, think about the mood that you or your client would like to convey. Having a theme can help brand your entire event from invitations to decorations, food, and drink ideas. If you’re stuck, try a seasonal or holiday theme. Use this blog or Pinterest to your advantage for finding color schemes, lighting ideas or menu inspiration. Or use the décor to put a unique spin on the trade show’s branding.

Play with Appetizers

Present appetizers like grapes, nuts and cheeses

For appetizers, stick with foods that make great presentations and include plenty of healthy options as well as more indulgent foods for hungry guests. For example, crispy dried fruit chips are a more nutritious alternative to crackers. You can serve them with a variety of cheeses, red seedless grapes, dried apricots, and nuts.

Keep the food special, but don’t overdo it. For the mingling portion of the event, try removing the chairs from a large dining table to create an easily accessible buffet overloaded with colorful appetizers. You can use an elegant table runner in a bold pattern such as the Black Birmingham or our new Gold Halo. Then layer platters and cheese boards on top.

Make Prime Areas for Mingling

Encourage guest interaction
Instead of formal seating, try taller cocktail tables dressed up with cuffs or ties. If the venue allows it, create nooks and seating areas that make it easy for guests to mingle, have a drink and get to know each other.

If you have a speaker, consider where your guests will be seated to listen and adjust your serving and presentation accordingly.

Don’t Forget the Décor

For decorations, maintain a pattern or color scheme

While the cocktail hour may not be the focus of the event, it’s important to keep the décor cohesive to match branding and/or company values. Add a few pillows, linen on high-boy tables or napkins to stay with your theme and keep the meeting’s spirit alive even at the end of the evening.

Remember, the purpose of any networking event is for others to share their passions. When you create a stylish and relaxing environment, people are more at ease and will easily connect with each other.  And when that happens, it creates memorable two-way conversations that yield results!