I've been having a great time recently going through some photos from past events that I can share with you.
One that was SO fun to plan was the opening of the Dairy Art Centre in 2013. Named for the fact it was in an old dairy, it had been totally renovated and turned into an incredible space to showcase contemporary artists. You can read a bit about it in this press article here, it operated as an exhibition space and venue for hire for 5 years is now being redeveloped.
This is a photo I took on my first site visit. As you can see...it was still a building site! But we could see that it was going to look incredible when finished and full of amazing artwork.
And here's a photo once all finished.
We took the dairy theme and really went to town and it really made for so many moments where guests laughed or exclaimed in joy at the little touches we came up with. The first was to theme all the food and drink around milk, so we immediately went ICE CREAM AND WHITE RUSSIANS
The opening party was in April, and we prayed and prayed for good weather as the forecourt of the venue was huge and meant we could have a really cool outdoor space for the bar and food service. There was alot of room so we set about thinking of how to use it to create a really great vibe themed around the dairy theme.
Cue some googling and we managed to find a guy who had an old milk float and we asked him if we could borrow it and turn it into a bar. We then sourced old milk bottles (like the kind you used to get in schools) and asked the caterer to create cocktails to go in them. The guy who owned the float turned up on the day dressed like a dashing milkman and whilst he wasn't meant to stick around, we immediately paid him extra to stay as he completed the picture so perfectly.
Then I went on a hunt for an ice cream van, but one that was a bit more stylish than your average Mr Whippy van that drives down the road in summertime sending kids into a spin. I discovered the amazing Nina Parker who, as well as being an incredible chef and maker of ice cream also owned the most stunning vintage Citroen that she'd lovingly converted into an ice cream truck. I booked her instantly.
I mean how cool. She writes for Tatler and travels the world making incredible food. She has also since released several cookbooks and you can read all about her story here.
Love this illustration of her done by Melissa Greenwood.
The interior went from being a building site to a slick, clean space where we set up the DJ.
The forecourt was where the action was though (partly to protect the interior!) and on the day we woke to clear blue skies and sunshine so it could not have been better.
I remember the night itself, there was such a buzz and we ended up with a queue around the block of people trying to get in. I can't remember if I ever got to eat any ice cream, but I heard from everyone it was delicious!
If you have a quirky venue, you can have so much fun playing with the theme. Get creative and think of ways to make your event stand out, I think I'll do a post soon pulling together a few ways to do this with some tips and ideas. This was a great night and the perfect launch event, I was really proud to be involved.