4 Essential Event Planning Tips

4 Essential Event Planning Tips

Whether you’re looking to host your corporate launch party or throw the Bar/Bat Mitzvah party of your child's wildest dreams... your event isn’t just going to come together all by itself! We’ve compiled a list of our 4 top event planning tips (plus our own insider tips) to help make sure your event is a complete success!

1. Plan Ahead

The success of your event is determined long before the event day arrives. To put on a successful event, you need to plan it out well in advance. If you’re holding a large event with a lot of attendees, you’ll want to start brainstorming months beforehand. Depending on what kind of event you’re putting on, you’ll most importantly want to book your venue ahead of time to give you enough breathing room to put everything else together.

HELEN MILLS INSIDER TIP: We are busiest in the spring and fall months - grab your ideal dates as early as possible or consider switching to either an afternoon event (for more availability) or a summertime event (for more affordability)!

2. Organization

You’re going to need a way to let everyone know about your event - or else you might be the only one enjoying your own party! A great way to invite guests, keep track of RSVPs, and provide your guests with all the necessary information and updates about the event is registering it with an online event management tool. This allows you to keep everything nicely organized online and easily share your information via email and social media.

HELEN MILLS INSIDER TIP: Make sure you set a clear RSVP date for your guests. We recommend 2 weeks before your event since final headcounts are typically due 1 week before the event - this gives you an extra week of wiggle room to hunt down anyone who is being lazy about RSVPing!

3. Food, Drink, and Supplies

When you book your venue, make sure there’s someone accessible who can help you plan out your event in the months leading up. You’ll want a reliable contact making sure all food, drinks, and supplies are taken care of. Some events will provide catering packages and some will require you to coordinate out your own food and drink situation. You’ll also want to know what’s included with your booking in terms of supplies like tablecloths, plates, silverware, balloons, and other decorations. Make sure you take all of these things into consideration from the very beginning since they can quickly add up to a surprising additional cost!

HELEN MILLS INSIDER TIP: We have a supportive venue team that you can reach out to anytime during your planning process with questions! If you choose to utilize our in-house services, we even include all our food/beverage menus & pricing in the initial contract so there are no surprises later. Oh, and did we mention that our in-house AV specs and furniture are included too?

4. Entertainment

It might just be co-worker karaoke (believe me, that’s very entertaining), but odds are you’ll want to have some kind of entertainment at your event. Whether it’s a guest speaker, musician, or private film screening, there’s going to be a fair amount of preparation required. If you’re having a speaker come in, you’ll need to coordinate details such as if there’s a stage or where they’ll be speaking from, the microphone, sound system, and lighting. Even if you are just having a little office karaoke party, you’ll still need to ensure your venue has the appropriate accommodations or at least has the option to add them later.

HELEN MILLS INSIDER TIP: Is the entertainment a main focus of your event? Consider renting our intimate theater, located right downstairs from our main event space, for an easy transition from cocktails to showtime.

 

Don’t underestimate it - there’s a lot that goes into putting on an event! Who’s invited, how they’re being invited, if you’re having food and drinks, where you’re having the event in the first place… the list goes on! Make sure you’re as prepared as possible by having a strong reliable connection with someone who works at the venue you’re booking (like us!), and doing so plenty of time in advance to be ready for whatever hiccups you may or may not encounter.

Cheers to planning your next great event and many more! - The Helen Mills Team

Planning an Event? Contact Us to learn more about events at HELEN MILLS, or check out more recent events here.

Welcome Jessica!

We are excited to welcome Jessica Stucke to our HELEN MILLS team! As our new Event Sales & Operations Coordinator, she will be helping in all aspects of our events from beginning to end.  Jessica has an extensive events background that has included working within the winery, restaurant, and floral industries in California. She is looking forward to contributing to the lively events scene in New York City! 

Here's a quick interview with Jessica:

o  Hometown? San Mateo, California.

o   Favorite place in the neighborhood? Shake Shack (But it’s still 2nd place to In-N-Out, sorry!)

o   What is at the top of your personal bucket list? To find and take a fabulous selfie with the new Netflix ‘Queer Eye’ cast.

o   What do you love most about events / planning events? I love being surprised by each event’s creativity and purpose – it’s always uplifting to see people come together for a shared passion or cause.

o   Favorite swag item? I can never have enough Tote Bags!

o   Favorite event décor? String lights or as I like to professionally call them behind the scenes: “fairy twinkle lights”.

o   Favorite cocktail? I’ll gladly sip anything with gin and mint/cucumber – bartender’s choice!
 

Jessica Stucke

Jessica Stucke

Cha Cha's Bat Mitzvah

Friends, let us tell you about this bat mitzvah. Our venue is known for hosting great parties, and this celebration was no exception. From the pops of hot pink to the Chanel logos, Cha Cha and her team of vendors worked tirelessly to transform our event space into a chic and glamorous night club fit for a diva.

Scroll down for more photos captured by the fabulous Jennifer Weisbord.

Cha Cha's Bat Mitzvah Ceremony

The evening kicked off with an intimate ceremony in our theater. Hot pink uplighting and twinkle lights gave guests a taste of the glamour to come in the reception.

Event Decorations
Hot Pink Lighting
Catering

Certé kept hungry guests happy and fed all night long.

Event Entertainment

EK Productions kept the energy alive all night with dancing, singing, and plenty of fist pumping.

Dancing

Thank you for letting us be a part of your special day, Cha Cha!

Event Planning by Deena Parnass Kleinman
Photography by Jennifer Weisbord
Catering by Certé
Entertainment by EK Productions

Planning an Event? Contact Us to learn more about events at HELEN MILLS, or check out more recent events here.

Winter Round-Up

Welcome to 2018! After a hectic holiday season, we’ve stepped into the New Year energized for a full schedule of festivities. Below, we recap three fun events hosted in our event space and theater.

BrownGirlsLove POWER Day

Christina S. Brown Love Brown Sugar

In early January, Christina S. Brown, founder of LoveBrownSugar, cultivated a day filled with inspiring speakers, workshops, panels, makeovers, and more. Their event, produced alongside Toyota, focused on providing resources for millennial women's success in today's world. You can read more about the day over on their blog, as well as peruse photos from the event. Below are a few of our favorites!

All photos used with permission from LoveBrownSugar. Find them on    Facebook    or their    website   .

All photos used with permission from LoveBrownSugar. Find them on Facebook or their website.


United Airlines Olympic Campaign Kick-Off

United Airlines Olympic Campaign Kick-off decorations

In anticipation for the 2018 Winter Olympics, United transformed our event space into a wintry ski lodge that left us awestruck. From the larger-than-life depictions of Team USA athletes and United employees, to the amazing 3D photo backdrop created by Wasabi3D, the evening was a non-stop celebration. United unveiled their commercial campaign, themed "Superheros", to an excited crowd of influencers, press, and internal team members.

The amazing team of vendors responsible for this incredible evening include Momentum Worldwide, C2 Imaging, DCI, Wasabi3D, and Pinch Food Design.

United Airlines Olympic Campaign kick-off collage
All photos used with permission from United Airlines

All photos used with permission from United Airlines

Vote Run Lead

Vote Run Lead event guests

Vote Run Lead, the brilliant organization that empowers and trains women to run for public office, hosted their post-Women's March event with us on January 20th. Following the march, a group of over 200 women and men met in our event space for an afternoon filled with panels, networking, and dancing!

All photos used with permission from VoteRunLead. Check out    their website    to learn more.

All photos used with permission from VoteRunLead. Check out their website to learn more.

HELEN MILLS Picks: Fall Cocktails

With the weather in NYC slowly cooling off, we're daydreaming about all things fall; changing leaves, plaid shirts, college football, the excitement of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and so much more.

PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes) aren't the only fall drinks to look forward to either! This week, the HELEN MILLS team brings you recommendations for cocktails to not only create at home, but to feature at your events. Rename them to fit the theme of your party or reception, and offer guests an unexpected treat.

Emily's Pick

Photo courtesy of  Liquor.com

Photo courtesy of Liquor.com

From Emily: I don't know if you can label White Russians as a strictly "fall" cocktail, since I tend to drink them year-round, but there is something about the mixture of Kahlua and heavy cream that makes me want to cozy up by a fire.

White Russians are made by mixing vodka, Kahlua, and heavy cream. Serve in a lowball glass over ice and enjoy!

Helen's Pick

Photo courtesy of  PunchDrink.com

Photo courtesy of PunchDrink.com

From Helen: Harking back to my Kentucky roots, I suggest a Mint Julep. It is really good with homegrown mint that you can grow on your window sill.

Make your julep in a signature julep cup (pictured above) by combining muddled mint, simple syrup, crushed ice,  and your favorite Kentucky Bourbon. Stir well and enjoy in the city or country, any time of year.

Melissa's Pick

Photo courtesy of  Town and Country

Photo courtesy of Town and Country

From Melissa: Apple cider is one of my favorite beverages during the fall season... so crisp and refreshing! Apple cider and champagne makes the best combination for a seasonal twist on the mimosa!

To make an Apple Cider Mimosa, fill your glass 1/4 full with fresh apple cider, then top off with a crisp champagne for a drink that tastes like that perfect autumn morning. Rim the glass with brown sugar and garnish with an apple slice.

Diana's Pick

Photo courtesy of  Epicurious

Photo courtesy of Epicurious

From Diana: I like a hot toddy for the fall and winter months. It's warm, strong, and wakes you up. A touch of cinnamon makes it fall-friendly.

To make a Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy, you first need Apple Bourbon! Make this by combining Bourbon, 4 cored, sliced apples, and 4 cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. Cover and chill for 3 days, and then strain. Stir honey and water together until the honey dissolves. Add your Apple Bourbon and divide between Toddy glasses. Add lemon, stir with a cinnamon stick, and serve.

Mark's Pick

Photo courtesy of  The Spruce

Photo courtesy of The Spruce

From Mark: If I drank, I'd try the Pumpkin Fever Cocktail. Sounds yummy and seasonal.

To make a Pumpkin Fever cocktail, combine 2 parts Bols Pumpkin Smash, 1 part spiced rum, and 1/4 part cream in a martini shaker filled with ice. Strain into a sugar-rimmed, chilled martini glass. Sprinkle with freshly-ground cinnamon and enjoy!

Brittany's Pick

Photo courtesy of  Kitchen Treaty

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Treaty

From Brittany: I like to ease into fall with this ginger pear white sangria, which puts an autumnal twist on a summer favorite. It's a blend of both seasons; light, bright, and spiced. The perfect cure for those end-of-summer blues!

To make Ginger Pear White Sangria, add pears and ginger to a large pitcher. Pour in wine, rum, and brandy, seal tightly and refrigerate. Rim your glasses with a mixture of sugar and ginger. Strain the sangria and add pear and lemon slices. Add a few slices of pears to each glass, then fill halfway with your sangria mixture. Fill the rest of the way with ginger beer and serve.

 

VenueConnect 2017

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What is VenueConnect?

VenueConnect is an annual conference put on by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). It hosts professionals from a variety of public assembly venues including arenas, convention centers, stadiums, universities, and more. Its goal is to inspire industry leaders, provide targeted education, and bring attendees together to create lifelong relationships.

Tell us about the scholarship you received.

I was honored to be chosen as a recipient of the Joseph A. Floreano Scholarship for Industry Women in Convention Centers. The scholarship allowed me to attend the conference, where I joined other amazing young professionals also selected for scholarships. IAVM's commitment to helping grow industry leaders is very inspiring.

What was your favorite part of the event?

Being surrounded by 2,000+ like-minded attendees, all of whom were excited to dive into different aspects of event venues. It was truly inspiring to meet folks not only from around the country, but from other countries, as well. We shared best practices, tips, and horror stories from our time in events.

Oh, I can't forget to mention how stunning Music City Center is. It was truly one of the most beautiful, inspiring facilities I've ever visited.

What's the best lesson you learned?

You can never rest on your laurels. There are hundreds of event facilities around the world searching for the next big thing, whether that be in catering, audio/visual tech, or customer service. You should always strive to better not only your business, but yourself.

Who was the most inspiring speaker?

I attended a panel titled, "Women in Leadership", which included three amazing women in the industry: Jeanie Buss, CEO & Governor of the LA Lakers; Donna Julia, Sr. VP of Arena & Events Operations, and General Manager of the North Carolina Hornets; Kim Stone, Executive VP of the Miami Heat, and GM of American Airlines Arena. They discussed the status of women in positions of leadership, their advice to others pursuing positions in these large venues, and anecdotes from their professional lives.

What did you like most about Nashville?

Nashville is nicknamed the Music City for a reason! Everywhere we went in both the convention center and downtown had live bands performing their favorite country tunes; some bars even had a different band on each floor! I'm the first to admit that country isn't my favorite genre of music; however, it was impossible to not get swept up when a classic Garth Brooks jam would start.

Who were you most excited to see?

Eight of my former coworkers from Georgia attended the conference, so it served as a mini-reunion. Outside of sessions, I spent all of my time with them. It really ingrained how small this industry is, and how every relationship you form matters. Through them, I met new connections and gained confidence to introduce myself to strangers.

What was a fun surprise you encountered?

The keynote speaker was Charles Esten, an actor a lot of people know right now for his role as Deacon on the CMT show "Nashville." I know Charles as Chip from his days performing on Whose Line is it Anyways?" I ran into him on the trade show floor and got to tell him that I grew up laughing from his improv skills on TV. He was incredibly gracious and never stopped smiling, despite having spent the past hour greeting other fans. He grabbed my phone and snapped a quick selfie (he's a professional selfie taker at this point in his career) which is the photo at the start of this post. It was a fun encounter.

Host Your Holiday Party With Us!

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HELEN MILLS Event Space and Theater wants to make your holiday party a memorable one!

HELEN MILLS 2017 Holiday Party Package includes:

8 Hour Venue Rental: 3-hour set up, 4-hour event, 1-hour breakdown/load out
Catering + Beverage Packages
Complimentary Furniture
In-House A/V
Venue Event Staff
Venue Cleaning
Event Security

Curious how your party will look? Our photo gallery is full of inspiration!

Please contact us at info@helenmills.com or 212.243.6200 to book your holiday party!

Solar Eclipse 2017

Happy Monday, everyone!

As you may have heard, today we experienced the first solar eclipse in the USA in over 8 years. The HELEN MILLS team celebrated with a trip to the roof, where we made friends with other building tenants, gazed over the New York City skyline, and watched in awe as the moon cast a shadow across our sun.

 

We made pinhole projectors out of recycled boxes, as suggested by  NASA .  All we needed was a cardboard box, aluminum foil, tape, and a needle to prick a hole.

We made pinhole projectors out of recycled boxes, as suggested by NASA.  All we needed was a cardboard box, aluminum foil, tape, and a needle to prick a hole.

If you were wondering, Kashi makes the best eclipse viewer boxes.

If you were wondering, Kashi makes the best eclipse viewer boxes.

We made friends with so many other tenants in our building! They shared their eclipse glasses with us, and in turn we showed them how to use our homemade viewer boxes. 

We made friends with so many other tenants in our building! They shared their eclipse glasses with us, and in turn we showed them how to use our homemade viewer boxes. 

Can you spot the eclipse shadow?

Can you spot the eclipse shadow?

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We've already marked our calendars for the next eclipse in 2024!