Planning a Corporate Event

planning a corporate event


While planning a corporate event may seem challenging at first glance, you can break it down and make it easier for you and your team by using these great corporate event planning tips.John: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Maureen Woodman, a wedding and event planner for on and off-site catered events at The Essex Room in Essex, Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about planning a corporate event. Welcome, Maureen.

Maureen: Hi John, thanks for having me today.

Types of Corporate Events That Need Catering or a Function Hall

John: Sure. Maureen, what are some typical corporate events that might need catering or a function hall?

Maureen: You might do a retirement party for someone that’s worked at the company a long time or an employee award recognition, where your helps just made all their sales goals and they need a party. It might be showcasing a new product where you’re coming in and you’re selling insurance or you’re having a party for fidelity, where they’re trying to bring people in to learn how to do their retirement. You could also have a seminar or training for your workplace. We just did a big barcode for the town of Essex in our room where everybody came and got all up to speed on their tips training.

Planning a Corporate Event Step by Step

John: Interesting. What some of the steps that are involved in planning a corporate event?

Maureen: [When] planning a corporate event, again, like any event, the first thing I think is budget. You need a team leader. You need to make sure that the honorees are going to feel really special. You want to make sure that the food needs [of everyone involved] are being met. You want to make sure that the room is going to be good if there’s a lot of speeches being made. The person that you’re working with — it’s not like doing a private party where somebody is so involved. It’s usually like you’re working with the boss’ secretary and she has to make sure that everything gets done so that her boss is happy with her.

John: Is she the team leader in that case and she’s kind of organizing all of the details and coordinating with you as the person at the venue?

Maureen: Yes, it’s different that way, because when you’re doing a private party, usually the person you’re working with is the person paying the bill. But when you’re doing a corporate party, you’re working with a worker of the person that’s paying the bill, so he or she always has to be the mediator and go back to them and get permission, and make sure that the budget is on track.

How Planning a Corporate Event Is Different From Planning a Wedding or Another Function

John: Are there additional requirements for a corporate event that might be a little bit different than say, a wedding or some other function like that?

Maureen: I think it has to be served fairly quickly. I think a lot of people don’t want to get out of their time to go to a company party anymore, so I think you should have quick service. You want to make sure that they keep the speeches kind of [shorter]. You want to make sure that the food is quick to eat. A lot of times, we don’t do any stations on parties that are corporate, because people just want to get out of there fairly quickly. You want to make sure you have good audiovisual or AV equipment, and the microphone doesn’t go [out] right in the middle of the guy’s speech and then no one can hear him.

John: Backup equipment maybe is a good idea. People tend to have screens where they’re showing say, like PowerPoint presentation or something like that, especially if they’re giving a seminar, right?

Maureen: Yes, I think they all seem to streamline something about the company in the background, or they have something up there, kind of like a rah-rah session.

Serving Food at a Corporate Event

John: What type of food is usually served at a corporate event?

Maureen: Usually, on corporate, it would be a sit-down but would most likely would be in the chicken. Sometimes, we’ll do the baked stuff, but I think they’re usually chicken. Most likely they go with the clam chowder as opposed to salad, and then, a lot of times, we’d do family style dessert on the table, because that’s when they give out the awards or they do the speaking at the end, so the people have something in front of them all the time and the girls will probably do coffee service a opposed to a coffee station, because they don’t want to get up and move. It’s completely different than some of the other parties where we want movement. These parties seem to stay still and they are done in like three hours.

John: They want that focus or that attention to be on whoever’s giving a speech or whoever’s speaking in the seminar. They don’t want to have people getting up to get coffee in the middle of their talk and things like that.

Maureen: Exactly. One of the parties we’ll have coming up this year will be the Beverly Hospital Volunteer Party. We do it every year. It’s definitely an older group of women. They do all the volunteer work for Beverly at Lahey Hospital and they run the gift shop, they’re the ones that carry you out on a wheelchair. It’s just a really fun day. They always have a great guest speaker – somebody usually like a broadcaster from Channel 5 will come and it’s a nice day for them because they’re just volunteers and they’ve been working at Beverly Hospital for 24 years and having a great time.

John: It’s nice to be recognized in that way and to have a special day that’s dedicated just to them.

Maureen: Yes, and they all get flowers when they come in, and they’re just really happy. And then we did a couple seminars for Credential, which is a local company. They’re in Beverly and they were selling some insurance for people and just trying to tell people what their insurance needs were. They might do like kind of a nice dinner trying to bring the people in. It’s kind of a sales meeting as well as a seminar, if you’re trying to learn something.

John: Okay. All right, that’s really great information, Maureen. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Maureen: Thank you, John, thanks for having me.

John: For more information, you can visit the Essex Room website at or call 978-768-7335.