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Corporate event planner at Greenwich

When a company acquisition becomes a very warm welcome

The most successful acquisitions and mergers are based on smoothly integrating one company with another and creating a positive and cohesive culture. It’s about inspiring and exciting people, establishing a shared vision for the future and creating opportunities for growth and development.

So when a US-based digital advertising agency acquired a highly successful UK agency, its first-ever expansion into Europe, the company fully recognised the importance of welcoming the new team on board. The business is firmly underpinned by a people-centric culture. Whilst it has grown significantly since it was first established, the company still considers itself to be a family and wants everyone to thrive.

We were approached to provide end-to-end management services for a very special evening event. Naturally, we were delighted to be involved and the relatively short turnaround time was simply a detail to be dealt with – from initial enquiry to the event itself, we had just 44 days in which to secure all suppliers, organise the catering, design the theme and décor, and deliver a spectacular experience for 180 guests.

The Solution

The company has always held an annual ‘family dinner’ and this tradition would be the perfect way to celebrate the UK team joining the business. The event was to follow a day conference at a London hotel so we concentrated our venue search within a specific area that would allow for easy travel between venues.

The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich was perfect. Not only is it a stunning and iconic building in the most wonderful riverside setting, the building is steeped in 600 years of history and is of significant architectural importance. It is a building with an enormous wow factor, a venue that would instantly convey to the new UK team just how much they were valued.

Given the nature of the celebration, our client’s branding was central to the look and feel of the event. We worked with a colour palette of teal, white and gold. Teal reflected the company’s logo and linked neatly to a prominent painting within the venue, as well as having an obvious connection with water and maritime. Gold naturally evokes opulence and richness, complimenting the magnificent surroundings and white was incorporated to
add elegance and sophistication, whilst hinting at the white of ocean waves. Using these colours within our lighting scheme we were able to highlight features of the building interiors and create a breathtaking setting. And outside, ensuring guests immediately knew where they were headed, we bathed the domes of the building in teal for maximum impact.

Guests enjoyed a drinks reception held in the Queen Mary Undercroft, a stunning space with vaulted ceiling and colonnade. Sparkling, red and white wines were served, along with a delicious variety of canapés. In the background a string quartet performed, which added to the atmosphere while everyone mingled. Dinner announced, guests made their way to the Painted Hall. Approached via a staircase, we decorated the stairs with elegant cut-glass lanterns containing flickering LED pillar candles, creating a warm ambience and leading the guests into the hall. Often compared to the Sistine Chapel, no one could fail to be wowed by the sheer splendour of the baroque interior and painted ceiling.

The space had been prepared with long banqueting tables, beautifully set with white tablecloths, cut glass, gold table lamps, LED tapered candles, tealights in votives, gold cutlery and white napkins that featured our client’s logo. The tables were further adorned with gorgeous arrangements of seasonal flowers, including sweet pea, ranunculus, anemones, roses and tulips, in crystal bud vases.

We had worked closely with the venue’s caterers to prepare a sumptuous four-course menu with food that could be shared. A variety of main dishes ensured that all dietary requirements were covered, including Cornish cod, braised feather blade beef and roasted cauliflower. The way in which everything was served – on platters, sauces in jugs and large bowls of vegetable accompaniments – and placed centrally on the tables, encouraged guests to help serve each other and interact more widely. It was exactly the intimate and friendly family feel our client wanted.

After dinner, guests were invited to move into the upper hall where our DJ, who had provided background music during dinner, was ready to get everyone dancing. An open bar served wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks, along with a range of cocktails – drawing inspiration from our client’s American roots, we included the classic Old Fashioned, made with bourbon, a Texas Margarita and the company’s signature cocktail – a Grapefruit Rickey.

As well as delivering the event itself, we took care of travel logistics – from transfer by coach between the conference hotel, the hotel where everyone was staying overnight and the Old Royal Naval College, including a minibus that provided a shuttle service throughout the evening for any guests who wanted to retire early.