What No One Ever Tells You About Planning a Private Event

November 1, 2016

Tips from Florida’s Busiest Private Events Manager, Sherry Craig.

City Fish Market’s Event Coordinator Sherry Craig, is no stranger to creating the perfect event. At City Fish Market, Boca’s fine dining staple, she’s planned events ranging from large concerts to small weddings. For Sherry, it’s the details that make or break a private event. Here’s a Q & A with Boca’s resident event expert.

How far in advance should people start planning their event?

It really depends on the season. If it’s in season, they need around three months because the books fill up. In an off season, you don’t need as much notice, and while I always try to accommodate last minute needs, the odds are much better that your date will be available if you begin earlier. If your event is in October through May you should plan at least three months out.

What tips do you have for first time event hosts?

Gather information from various venues. Talk with friends and family members and see what they would recommend.

What tips do you have for selecting the perfect event space?

I think everyone has different needs- some people like outdoorsy, some people like bright lights. Visiting the location you’re interested in is key. You really can’t tell certain things about a space until you experience it yourself.

What tips do you have for sticking to a budget?

You’ll definitely get a bigger bang for your buck with daytime parties instead of evening events. Especially with many people in our community being retired, an afternoon party to celebrate a birthday or anniversary is just as convenient but will cost much less. You can also pick an off season for your event to further cut costs. Think outside the box- why not host a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres instead of a full sit-down dinner? We always work with people on creating exceptional events for guests while staying within their budgets. Also, July and August are months that are ideal for smaller budgets.

How do you create the perfect atmosphere?

There’s really not one perfect vibe. Different events call for different atmospheres. City Fish Market’s vibe is all about openness, airiness, cleanliness, in a bright, architecturally beautiful space with views of water. Every private room here overlooks water.

What are the differences in planning a Power Lunch vs. a Social Soiree?

It’s all about communicating your vision to the event manager. For example, do you want it to be quick, efficient, or do you want it to be leisurely and focused on social relaxation? The pace of an event makes a huge difference and it’s important to decide and communicate what pace aligns with your vision.

How important is it that hosts visit the potential event space?

A picture can show you one thing but walking into a space and experience it is completely different. I don’t think there’s a single photo that really does City Fish Market justice.

What’s the biggest mistake people make in event planning?

Many people come to us without an idea on budget. At least having an idea of what you’re able to spend becomes really important in shaping the framework of your event. We can always accommodate different price points, but to narrow down things like decorations and entertainment, budget really helps steer the conversation.

How should hosts choose Décor and Entertainment?

It’s important to envision your event and make stylistic choices that fit the vision. Fortunately we have connections with every experience coordinator you’d ever want to work with.

What’s the Golden Rule of Event Planning?

Explain to the people you’re working with your goals for the event. The more information you give them, the easier it is for them to help you. It becomes a shared vision.