Brian Steiper, Atlanta Fish Market’s Private Dining Manager, is no stranger to event planning. Everyday he hosts parties large and small- from corporate lunches for some of the largest companies that call Atlanta home to intimate dinner parties where guests feel like they’re at home. We sat down with Brian to learn more about the art of planning the perfect event.
How far in advance should people start planning their event?
Usually it’s best to start as soon as you’ve picked the date. The availability of the venue is one of the key components to the whole process. When it comes to large family or business functions, it is very important to plan as early as possible, and I suggest anywhere from 6 months to a year is ideal because finding large space venues last minute could potentially be your biggest issue that arises.
What tips do you have for first time event hosts?
Ask a million questions! It’s our job to be here and make sure everything you envision can come to light! Whether you are curious about lighting and decor or you have a clear vision of the party’s flow of service and staff, make sure you ask. I really prefer when a guest is thorough so I can make sure we’re on the same page, even if their requests seem challenging! Expectations are higher in the Private Events department of a restaurant, and they should be. By asking the questions, we can make sure you know what is about to happen step by step so there is never any worry or woe.
What tips do you have for selecting the perfect event space?
Find the perfect event space by finding the space that speaks to you. When you see a space, ideas and thoughts should immediately rush to your head. I think this is the truest indicator that you have found what you are looking for. Just like an artist finding their muse, the space should be your blank canvas that you can paint with your own ideas.
What tips do you have for sticking to a budget?
Come to the table knowing what your restrictions are. Mock up a per-person cost that you can be happy with. As an event coordinator, I would prefer a client knows what they can spend because we can always work with that budget and ensure you are comfortable and can enjoy your event.
How important is it that hosts visit the potential event space?
It is crucial to visit a venue before the event. You should know the layout and every detail we provide such as the tables, chairs linens etc. This will make you better prepared for when you plan on decorating or how you’d like the floor layout to be. You can look at photos of a space all day, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person.
How do you create the perfect atmosphere?
That is the best part of my job! It is our job to awe you as a client. Attention to detail is key. Lighting and floral arrangements are two simple items that can completely transform any venue with minimal cost. Having pristine linens on the tables is another easy trick. Utensils and plates set at the perfect positions. Even the smallest detail helps to create a perfect atmosphere because by paying attention to the every little thing, will make a client/guest know that this room and this event has been created for them.
What’s the biggest mistake people make in event planning?
Not utilizing what the venue can provide. Be sure to ask what a venue includes such as specialty linen, floral arrangements and decor. Work smart not hard when it comes to planning your events. If the venue can put the flowers you were going to buy on the table for you with the tealight candles you were already planning on, why not have them do that? It’s cost effective and it helps us set the perfect atmosphere before you even arrive. Let us take the stress out of some of the little things.
How should hosts choose Décor and Entertainment?
If you are not sure, ask us! We work day in and day out with people in the entertainment and event design business. We know what works for us and what people enjoy. I’m always happy to connect clients with people I trust- ranging from musicians to magicians. That’s one of the great perks of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, everyone in the city has at some point worked with us.
What’s the Golden Rule of Event Planning?
Let your event venue work for you to create the most astonishing evening that your guests will want to talk about, not only the next day, but until you do it all over again.
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