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I read an article recently that said, “change the location, change the conversation,” and I think this perfectly reflects what a corporate retreat is all about. In this article, I’ve collated my top 5 locations where you can host your next unique corporate retreat, ensuring an experience that is both luxurious and inspiring. 

In this Post:
  1. What is a Corporate Retreat?
  2. Top 5 Luxury and Unique Locations for Corporate Retreats

What is a Corporate Retreat?

Corporate retreats are such worthwhile investments for a company, offering an opportunity for colleagues to forge meaningful connections with their peers, slow down and unplug from their day-to-day environment, and come away with renewed enthusiasm. Simply put, they are off-site gatherings of company employees, typically held at scenic or inspiring locations. These retreats are designed to bring people together to reward team members for their hard work, provide training and development, encourage team building, or work collectively on blue-sky thinking, developing objectives and setting goals. 

Team meeting during a company retreat at Boreland in Scotland.
Boreland, Scotland

Best Corporate Retreat Locations in the UK

When planning a corporate retreat, determining the retreat’s objectives is crucial before choosing a location. Fortunately, the UK offers diverse landscapes and venues that cater to any business objective. From the serene landscapes of Scotland to the charming Cotswolds and the vibrant heart of London, there’s a perfect spot for every team’s needs. 

It’s crucial to select a location that fits the purpose of the retreat and aligns with its goals, while also making sure it’s a place where guests can enjoy themselves, with opportunities to switch off and socialise with their peers. And that’s where we come in! Here are our team favourites for the best corporate retreat locations in the UK. 

Top 5 Luxury and Unique Locations for Corporate Retreats

BORELAND, SCOTLAND

In the depths of Perthshire, you will find Boreland – “think wilderness, spectacular views, epic WiFi, unforgettable activities and the freedom to let your team truly connect”. 

Less than 2 hours from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, Boreland offers a slightly more remote and off-grid experience than some of our other favourites, which is its charm. With accommodation up to 70 guests across various properties on the estate, sleeping between 8 to 18 guests, Boreland provides unique, individual styles, offering a relaxing space to unwind and rest outside of the retreat itinerary.

Boreland offers various spaces for meetings, events, dining and activities, catering to groups ranging from 2 to 200 guests. The smallest space is The Outpost, a cosy coworking space perfect for a private call or breakout meeting. The Cowshed, their most informal space, is ideal for groups to gather around the fire at the end of the day, sipping on a local dram and enjoying a delicious meal. The Barn is their largest space, accommodating up to 200 guests. Naturally, you can use this for larger events such as a gala dinner, but you can also run multiple activities or sessions within the same space for a smaller group.

Staying at Boreland gives guests access to Perthshire’s garden, with activities to suit those who wish to relax, and those who wish to burn off some steam. The team can facilitate quad biking, river rafting, Highland ‘safari’ drives, local whisky and chocolate tastings, Highland walking, wild swimming in Loch Tay, yoga and meditation. 

THYME, COTSWOLDS

“Entertaining has always been at the heart of Thyme” and this is what makes it such a lovely spot for a corporate retreat. With a quaint backdrop of greenery and landscaped gardens, there is arguably no better place for a team to get together and seek inspiration and motivation from their surroundings. 

Thyme in Cotswolds, a luxury corporate retreat location in the UK.

Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, Thyme is a 2-hour drive from London or a 20-minute drive from Charlbury and Swindon train stations, both offering direct trains to London Paddington. Described as a village within a village, Thyme focuses on sustainability, seasonal beauty, and a deep connection to the land, visible at every turn.

Thyme offers a charming collection of accommodations, meeting spaces, activities, and private dining options, making it a perfect choice for a corporate retreat.

Their botanically inspired accommodation includes 31 individually styled bedrooms, each with its own charm. Depending on your group’s size, dining options range from a table in their restaurant to more special experiences like a Chef’s Table in the Ox Barn or a private table hidden within the Olive Garden. Their dedicated event space, the Tithe Barn, suits groups from 16 to 60 guests, perfect for a beautiful dinner, celebrating the locally grown produce or team-building sessions. 

Activities include a range of delightful classes, including cookery, floristry and painting. Each cookery class starts in the kitchen garden, teaching participants “field-to-plate” techniques in either a 2 or 4-hour course. Floristry classes also start in the garden, celebrating the florals, foliage and herbs grown on-site, from their formal cutting garden and wild meadows. There are also more informal activities available, such as local walking and bicycle routes, as well as tennis, boules and badminton, for those who fancy a little competition! 

Outdoor swimming pool at Thyme in Cotswolds.

The Meadow Spa at Thyme is a haven for restoration and calm, offering a range of treatments such as facials and massages, as well as their signature ritual treatments at the Botanical Bothy. All treatments utilise their own Bertoli range of products, which aim to “harness the healing power of breath and scent to nourish the mind, body and planet”. 

CASTLE INDIA, CORNWALL

Another beauty, perfect for a smaller group, is Castle India. Set on the banks of the River Tamar in Cornwall, this venue is a little off the beaten track, where you “Enter through the gates and into a world of pure imagination!” 

Castle India is located just 1 mile outside of Saltash, accessible by a direct train from London Paddington in 3.5 hours. Torquay and Exeter airports are about an hour away, and for the ultimate jet-setter arrival, you can land a helicopter on the grounds.

Castle India's swimming pool, surrounded by lush greenery for a unique corporate retreat in the UK.

The main property is set within 9 acres of sub-tropical gardens and orchards, with a natural pool and ancient Indian pool house, making it a truly unique destination. It sleeps up to 18 people across 9 bedrooms, featuring interiors that are certainly not for the faint-hearted, celebrating the castle’s history and drawing inspiration from the tropical gardens, all captured through bold colours and bright House of Hackney wallpapers. 

Castle India offers a home-away-from-home experience, with its charm lying in the absence of formal meeting rooms or event spaces. However, there are many rooms within the house, such as the Library, Drawing Room and Music Room, which can be used for the retreat sessions and activities. There are some lovely low-key activities on site, such as croquet, swimming, sauna and table tennis, with other local options including foraging, cold water therapy, surfing and spa treatments. 

You can access a list of preferred suppliers and arrange full catering, offering everything from a hilltop picnic to firepit feasting and fine dining tasting menus, allowing you to craft a one-off culinary experience for your group.

42 ACRES, SOMERSET

42 Acres was founded by sibling duo Lara and Seth, who created the site as a home for personal, social and environmental change. At its core, 42 Acres “invites people to reconnect with nature, self and others through well-being and nature-based experiences, regenerative farming and abundant nature reserve”.  

The 173-acre estate is nestled in the Somerset countryside. Local train stations Gillingham and Frome offer direct trains to London Waterloo in approximately 1.5 hours, or it’s a 2.5-hour drive by car. Their eco-friendly accommodations sleep up to 41 people across 30 bedrooms, with additional bell tents available for adventurous guests. The interiors at 42 Acres reflect timeless simplicity and understated luxury, while outside, nature flourishes with a focus on agri-wilding. 

“A place to retreat, restore and reconnect”, the team here have created a ‘soil-to-gut’ menu, showcasing a way of eating that continues old traditions, whilst shaping the future. They have also curated an amazing range of activities that can form part of your retreat. Highlights include an edible safari of their walled garden, a guided beaver walk, paddleboarding, a medicinal mushroom experience, foraging, meditation, and even a silent woodland disco!

LONDON

We may be a little biased, as London is home to ByChenai HQ, but it is undoubtedly one of the best places to host a corporate retreat. Even for those who live in the capital, there are endless options for experiences and accommodations to suit all group sizes, offering guests a truly unique retreat. 

Some of our absolute favourite experiences in London include a private dinner in the White Tower at the Tower of London, followed by attending the Ceremony of the Keys — the oldest military enactment, whereby the main gates are locked. While there are long wait lists to attend, special access can be arranged for private events. Most people have heard of London Dry Gin, so a private tour and tasting at the Beefeater distillery or the ‘Ginstitute’ experience at Portobello Gin, where you make your own gin, are absolute musts. 

You can’t come to London and not experience afternoon tea. Our personal favourites include the Ritz for those who like classic/old school, Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley Hotel for those who appreciate fashion, or The Petersham, where blooms take pride of place.  

The capital is also home to some amazing hotels and venues which can become a home away from home for get-togethers, meetings, and all-important R&R. Each hotel and venue has a unique offering, meaning, there really is something for everyone! 

>> Our top 8 corporate event venues in London

Planning a Corporate Retreat or a Team Off-site Day? 

At ByChenai Experiences, we believe in the transformative power of corporate retreats. While we’ve shared some of our top picks, we have many more locations and retreat ideas that we’d be happy to explore for your next corporate off-site. With a bespoke approach to corporate and brand events, we tailor our venue search and itineraries to each event, ensuring a perfect fit for your unique needs and objectives.

Ready to start planning your corporate retreat or team off-site day? Get in touch with us today, and let’s find the perfect location to make your event unique and impactful.

UNIQUE CORPORATE RETREAT LOCATIONS IN THE UK

June 12, 2024

Corporate Event Planning Tips

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Stepping out of the usual office setting into a unique event space can transform a regular corporate gathering into an extraordinary experience. In London, the possibilities are endless—no need to settle for dull, uninspired spaces when you can choose venues brimming with character and style.

At ByChenai Experience, we understand the power of a great venue to disrupt the everyday office monotony and ignite creativity and connection among teams, and as event planners, we have a whole host of unique corporate event venues up our sleeves to offer a location that suits your needs. That’s why we’ve hand picked our current top 8 venues across the city. From intimate leadership meetings and vibrant client receptions to immersive experiences and large-scale conferences, our selection promises to match every corporate occasion with its perfect backdrop. Read on to explore the best that London has to offer for your next corporate event.

8 Unusual & Cool Venues In London For Corporate Events

1 WARWICK, Soho

Neo-Baroque Gem in the Heart of the City

Capacity: Meeting: 6-16 Reception: 80 Full Hire: 100

Location: Soho

Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Ideal For: Away Days, Intimate Dinners, Receptions, Meetings

Nestled within a neo-baroque mansion block, 1 Warwick presents a facade that’s unassuming at first glance. Yet, step inside and you’ll discover a world of thoughtfully designed interiors set across six floors. Managed by the renowned Maslow’s hospitality group (also behind Mortimer House), 1 Warwick offers an array of spaces, from cosy meeting rooms and chic lounges to dynamic event spaces, a studio, gym, and even a rooftop restaurant with a bar and terrace.

1 Warwick would be an ideal event space for a senior leadership away day with its beautifully designed meeting rooms, seating between 6 and 16 attendees. Their restaurants provide “room service” throughout the day, keeping things more informal and relaxed. The Library offers a welcome retreat from the lively streets of Soho, with a secret screen thoughtfully hidden behind artwork, alongside top-notch AV facilities. This space invites you to settle into its lounge-style furniture for relaxed presentations or breakout sessions.

For events that demand a grander scale, consider exclusively hiring Yasmin, the rooftop restaurant, bar, and terrace. It’s perfect for larger gatherings, accommodating up to 100 guests for a drinks reception, boasting panoramic city views, a Middle Eastern-inspired menu, and a contemporary cocktail and drinks offering, all within a stone’s throw from the city centre. 1 Warwick combines luxury with functionality, making it a great choice for your next corporate event in London.

100 BARRINGTON, Brixton

Modern Blank Canvas with Industrial Charm

Capacity: Reception: 190 | Dinner: 120

Location: Brixton

Nearest Tube: Brixton

Ideal For: Receptions, Dinners, Christmas Parties, Product Launches, Summer Soirees

100 Barrington, with its origins as a furniture factory, has been thoughtfully restored into the venue we know today, retaining its original brickwork, high ceilings, and exposed beams. Located in the heart of Brixton, an area buzzing with music and culture, 100 Barrington stands as a tranquil oasis away from the hustle and bustle. 

This venue serves as a versatile blank canvas, comprising three distinct spaces that cater to a variety of event formats. The large warehouse space is perfect for formal dining or food stations, as well as dancing the night away. Outside, there is a wonderful courtyard, partially covered and filled with plants and festoon lights, perfect for a breezy outdoor gathering. Connecting the warehouse and the courtyard, the venue boasts a magnificent bar nestled within an old railway arch. This space features an impressive 24-foot ceiling and a stunning statement chandelier. The bar area is not only perfect for hosting drinks receptions but also offers a unique, intimate setting for dining beneath the chandelier’s glow. 100 Barrington merges industrial charm with modern functionality, making it a unique venue choice for corporate events.

EXHIBITION LONDON, Shepherd’s Bush

Historic Venue with a Contemporary Flair

Capacity:  Reception: 2,250 | Dinner: 1,120

Location: Shepherd’s Bush

Nearest Tube: Wood Lane / White City

Ideal For: Large Scale Events, Brand Experiences, Conferences, Launches, Gala & Awards Dinners, Large Scale Receptions

Exhibition London, originally a historic Victorian railway engine house, has been reimagined for contemporary culture, offering one of the largest event spaces in the city. The 1,200 square meters of multi-purpose space is set across two floors, combining a heritage look and feel with contemporary design and cutting-edge functionality.

The dramatic design of the space features high ceilings, exposed roof trusses, original windows, and the original train crane structure. These elements, combined with modern materials and fixtures, infuse personality and character into the vast space in a considered way.

From a corporate events perspective, Exhibition London is a truly versatile venue, providing a broad scope for various event types and design possibilities. While the spaces are large, clever set designs can create more intimate areas for different elements of the event, enabling you to craft something very special and unique.

The team behind Exhibition London has also prioritised practicalities, which are often overlooked yet crucial. The venue boasts bespoke kitchens, cloakrooms accommodating 3,000 people, production access and parking, a production office, dressing rooms, a box office (perfect for registrations or end-of-event gifting), and high-end technical facilities. This attention to detail ensures that your event runs smoothly and impresses your guests.

FRAMELESS, Marble Arch

Immersive Experience Combining Art, Technology & Creativity 

Capacity: Full Hire Reception: 450 | Blank Canvas Reception: 130 | Full Hire Dinner: 250 | Blank Canvas Dinner: 80

Location: Marble Arch

Nearest Tube: Marble Arch

Ideal For: Immersive Experiences, Product Launches, Brand Events, Private Dinners, Receptions, Fashion Shows

When we say Frameless is perfect for an immersive experience, we mean it! Frameless comprises four multi-sensory gallery spaces, showcasing 42 masterpieces from 29 of the world’s most iconic artists – think Monet, Van Gogh, Klimt, Cezanne, Kandinsky and more. These artworks are reimagined with hypnotic visuals and set to thought-provoking musical scores, creating an unusual and engaging atmosphere. 

For larger events, you can hire all four gallery spaces. However, for up to 120 standing guests or 80 seated guests, their Blank Canvas space is ideal. As the name suggests, this space allows you to create your own environment for a truly unique setting. As London’s foremost immersive venue, Frameless offers state-of-the-art technical facilities to help you create a bespoke event design. This would be perfect for product launches or brand events, as you can display your own video campaigns, content, branding, and sponsor materials, creating a never-seen-before backdrop for your event. 

Frameless combines art, technology, and creativity, making it an exceptional choice for corporate events that aim to leave a lasting impression.

MALL GALLERIES, St James

Versatile Venue with Artistic Flair

Capacity: Reception: 350 | Dinner: 150

Location: St James

Nearest Tube: Charing Cross

Ideal For: Receptions, Product Launches, Fashion Shows, Exhibitions

The Mall Galleries comprise three unique spaces, each offering varied sizes, layouts, aesthetics, designs, and features, making them ideal for hosting a wide range of events. They curate an inspiring programme of exhibitions throughout the year, with artworks providing an interesting and varied backdrop to events, sparking exciting conversations and engagement.

Set within a historic building on the prestigious Mall, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, The Mall Galleries offer a blank canvas venue space. This allows ultimate flexibility to design your event’s look and feel. You could curate a private exhibition as part of a product launch or completely transform the entire space into a speakeasy or sensory woodland. 

Hiring the Mall Galleries for an event also supports the charitable objectives of the Federation of British Artists, empowering artists through not-for-profit programmes and events, which is a lovely mission and a nice way for a company or brand to incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their event. 

THE ORANGERY, KENSINGTON PALACE

Royal Retreat for Exclusive Corporate Events

Capacity: Reception: 300 | Dinner: 200 | Reception & Dinner: 120

Location: Kensington

Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington

Ideal For: Receptions, Dinners, Christmas Parties, Summer Soirees

The Orangery, nestled within the beautifully manicured gardens of Kensington Palace, has recently reopened for private event hire after being closed for restoration since 2017. This truly exclusive space hosts a limited number of events each year, set amongst the grounds of a royal residence. You can also opt to include private tours of further spaces, such as the State Apartments which adds an extra layer of something special for guests to enjoy. 

The renovation includes restored south-facing windows and pristine white walls, creating a light-filled space to add your personal touch, whether with floral arrangements or corporate branding. The new extension to The Orangery provides additional space, making it suitable for a variety of event types.

Despite its proximity to Kensington High Street and its grounds’ popularity amongst visitors, The Orangery offers seclusion, privacy, and exclusivity. We feel the Orangery is perfect for receptions and dinners, especially in the summer, when guests can enjoy the private terrace and grounds before and after dinner. 

Hosting an event at Kensington Palace supports the work of Historic Royal Palaces, a charity which gives the palaces a future, for everyone; through research, preservation and restoration. Their portfolio also includes Hampton Court Palace and Banqueting House, which are firm favourites of the ByChenai team.

THE LOOKOUT AT 8 BISHOPSGATE, The City

Sky-High Blank Canvas with Panoramic City Views

Capacity: Reception: 280 | Dinner: 130 | Reception & Dinner: 80

Location: City of London

Nearest Tube: Bank / Liverpool Street

Ideal For: Receptions, Dinners, Conferences, Brand Events

The Lookout offers an unparalleled event experience with the city of London at its feet. Located on the 50th floor of the 8 Bishopsgate building, the Lookout boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that provide stunning views of the city skyline, impressive both day and night.

The venue features a large, L-shaped main event space that can be thoughtfully divided to create separate reception and dining areas. Adjacent to this main space are executive suites with moveable walls, offering ultimate flexibility. These suites can either extend the main space or be used independently as breakout spaces, green rooms, or production offices, allowing you to tailor the layout to perfectly suit your event. It serves equally as a blank canvas, ready for you to decorate or brand as needed, and a simplistic space with the London skyline as your stunning backdrop.

One unique feature of The Lookout is the Think Tank, a state-of-the-art auditorium, located within the same building. It’s perfect for conferences, seminars, performances, and awards, with a theatre-style capacity of 200 people. The seating is fully retractable, allowing for creative use of the space for other activities, such as yoga or wellness sessions, making it an incredibly versatile venue for any corporate event.

UNIT X, HANOVER SQUARE

Modern Space in Central London with Endless Possibilities

Capacity: Reception: 400 | Dinner: 120

Location: Mayfair

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus

Ideal For: Receptions, Dinners, Еxhibitions, Product Launches, Brand Events

Unit X at Hanover Square is a super modern space, unassuming from the outside yet a tardis once inside, set across two floors and boasting an impressive 600 square metres of space for such a central location. The venue is well-equipped for a range of events, featuring state-of-the-art lighting, sound and video facilities, with ample branding opportunities. 

With its industrial-style interior, the space also acts as a gallery, with a rotating collection of artworks that change every five weeks, offering guests a more immersive experience. This allows you to design an event that holistically links the menu, beverages, tablescape, and artwork.

We feel Unit X at Hanover Square would be a perfect spot for a client dinner, offering a modest exterior but providing a super special, intimate setting within. The variety and flexibility of the space mean you can seamlessly transition guests from reception to dinner and post-dinner drinks without repeating the space, keeping guests engaged and making a memorable event! 

Let’s find your perfect corporate event space in London

London’s diverse and dynamic venue landscape ensures that your next corporate event can be anything but ordinary. Whether you’re aiming for an intimate gathering, a grand gala, or an immersive brand experience, the right venue can make all the difference.

At ByChenai Experiences, we specialise in curating unforgettable corporate events that leave a lasting impact. Our expertise in venue selection and event planning ensures that every detail is meticulously managed, allowing you to focus on your goals and enjoy the process.

Get in touch with us today, and let’s craft an experience that will inspire, impress, and be talked about for months to come.

BEST CORPORATE EVENT VENUES IN LONDON:

June 12, 2024

Corporate Event Planning Tips

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Gone are the days when corporate away days meant a day in a stuffy hotel conference room, endless presentations, flip charts, and a buffet lunch – not the most exciting prospect! Nowadays, companies are stepping up their game, investing more to create away days that deliver the best results for both the business and their employees. 

In this post, we explore what a corporate away day is, why they are important, and key considerations for planning a successful away day. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of how to create an effective and memorable day for your workforce.

In this Post:
  1. What is a Corporate Away Day?
  2. Why Are Corporate Away Days Important?
  3. Key Considerations When Planning Team Away Days

What is a Corporate Away Day?

An away day is just that — a day to get away from the office and the day-to-day task list. It is an opportunity to think and talk about work, but not actually do the work; more a time to generate new ideas and open the floor to wider discussions. 

When working in the same place and following the same daily routines, unconscious habits can form which guide the way you and your team think and operate. An away day is the perfect opportunity to challenge those habits and shake things up, reigniting a new-found enthusiasm that benefits both the company and its employees. 

Family team away day in the UK, where attendees are enjoying a luxury outdoor picnic.

Why Are Corporate Away Days Important?

Corporate away days are more than just a break from the office; they are a strategic tool for enhancing team performance and achieving business goals. Here are some key reasons why they are important:

6 Benefits of Team Away Days

  1. Improves communication and collaboration: Away days create an ideal environment for employees to connect, fostering stronger relationships and teamwork.
  2. Boosts employee motivation: A fresh setting and engaging activities can reinvigorate employees, leading to increased enthusiasm and productivity.
  3. Improves retention: Employees who feel valued and engaged are more likely to stay with the company.
  4. Enhances leadership skills: Away days often include activities that help employees cultivate new skills and leadership qualities.
  5. Fosters creativity and “blue sky thinking” : Stepping out of the usual environment sparks creative thinking and innovative ideas.
  6. Boosts employee wellbeing: Focusing on relaxation and fun can significantly improve employee morale and well-being, both physically and mentally.
Attendees are enjoying clay pigeon shooting at their company's away day in Scotland.

Key Considerations When Planning Team Away Days

Organising a successful business away day requires careful planning and setting clear objectives. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind: 

Set Clear Objectives: Yes, they need to be unique and fun, but you need to define what you want to achieve. Are you focusing on team building, developing relationships, or generating new ideas? Establishing clear goals will help shape the agenda and ensure the day is productive, 

Avoid Overloading the Agenda: While it’s tempting to fill the day with activities, cramming too much can be counterproductive. Keep the schedule balanced with ample time for creative thinking, relaxation, and informal discussions.

Provide Necessary Tools: Make sure everyone has the tools they need to participate fully. This includes materials for brainstorming sessions, comfortable seating, and any other resources required for planned activities, as well as resting. 

Create a Relaxing Environment: Remember, it’s an away day—an opportunity to step away from the usual work environment. Choose a setting that encourages relaxation and openness, making it easier for attendees to engage and contribute. Be mindful of the diverse needs of your team, especially if some activity content could be challenging or triggering, as you don’t want to put anyone in a situation they find uncomfortable. 

>> Unique Corporate Retreat Locations In The UK

Post-Event Follow-Up: Don’t forget, the away day doesn’t finish when the attendees go home! You need to show them that their contributions are valued and being implemented in the business moving forward, so be clear on what’s going to happen next. Openly discuss the takeaways from the day, what went well, what didn’t go so well, and how as a company you are going to address these things and make improvements they can tangibly feel or experience. This will further boost the benefits of hosting the away day as it shows you value their time, effort and contribution. 

Striking the Perfect Balance for Your Corporate Away Day

So you know you want to organise a business away day, but are worried about how to strike the perfect balance to meet your objectives. You want the team to have fun and be productive, but you equally want to see results to be able to justify the expense. That’s where ByChenai Experiences come in! 

We specialise in creating bespoke itineraries for business away days, taking the time to understand the company and you, the organiser, before diving deep into your objectives. This gives us the tools we need to build tailored itineraries that align perfectly with your goals. 

Make sure to read our article on unique corporate retreat locations in the UK for inspiration, as there are so many wonderful places to hold an away day or retreat to break away from the stuffy conference room stereotype and into settings that foster creativity and engagement.

Ready to plan a team away day that not only meets your objectives but also leaves a lasting positive impression on your employees? Get in touch with ByChenai Experiences today and let’s make it happen!

Rethinking Corporate Away Days: The Modern Approach To Boosting Team Morale & Performance

June 12, 2024

Corporate Event Planning Tips

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People often think planning an event is easy and glamorous – just a matter of choosing food, deciding on activities, booking entertainment and working out a colour scheme. But once you dive in, you quickly realise how time-consuming and complicated it can be. Planning corporate events involves more than just booking a venue and selecting a menu. It’s about creating an impactful experience that aligns with your business goals and resonates with your audience. For busy marketing teams, HR departments, and executives, the complexity and effort required can be overwhelming.

Another common misconception is that working with a corporate event planner is a costly expense; however, there are so many benefits of partnering with a professional event planner, regardless of the event size, many of which you probably haven’t considered. 

I’ve put together this guide to explore the intricacies of corporate event planning, the essential role of corporate event planners, and why you should work with one. 

In this Post
  1. What is Corporate Event Planning?
  2. 8 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Corporate Event Planner
  3. Role of a Corporate Event Planner

What is Corporate Event Planning?

At its core, corporate event planning involves the conceptualisation, coordination, and execution of business events on behalf of a company or brand. These events can range from award dinners, press trips, and product launches to team-building retreats and corporate away days. The goal is to create engaging experiences that align with the company’s objectives, whether that’s fostering team spirit, generating leads, or showcasing new products.

Successful corporate event planning is more than just logistics. It’s about coming up with creative concepts and crafting a narrative that tells the story of your brand. This includes designing experiences that meet and exceed expectations, ensuring your event has that ‘wow’ factor. Every detail, from the venue and decor to the lighting and entertainment, should be planned intentionally to ensure the event stands out and resonates with your audience, providing shareable experiences to increase your brand’s reach and drive tangible results. 

Corporate gala dinner at a luxury London hotel featuring round tables and elegant decor, planned by ByChenai Events.

8 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Corporate Event Planner

1. Save You Time

Planning an event of any kind, whether it be a gala dinner, product launch or away day, takes a huge amount of time, which takes your attention away from the other responsibilities of your working role. When you decide to engage with us as your planner; we will undertake an initial strategy meeting to understand your ideas, the audience, objectives and goals, budget, cultural requirements and so forth, providing us with the tools to create your event. Our insight and guidance will make the decision-making process much more structured and streamlined. We keep you involved only when absolutely necessary because your time is money, so we ensure everything is concise. 

2. Experience & Expertise

While every event is unique and requires a bespoke approach, planning a corporate event requires a seamless process and trusted methods to deliver an experience that exceeds expectations. It involves tapping into a varied skill set and fast-tracking the planning process to meet tight deadlines. Knowing who to call, understanding supplier costs, and streamlining decisions are all critical for success. At ByChenai Events, we’re adept at handling these challenges. Our well-oiled machine of experienced professionals fast-tracks the planning process on your behalf, leveraging our expertise and connections. We know who can deliver to deadline and have ballpark costs for many suppliers, saving you from the hassle of cold calling and ensuring a smooth, efficient process.

3. Budget Management

We have already mentioned that there is a misconception that working with a corporate planner is expensive. Yes, our services will be an extra line item in the budget, but that does not mean an extra expense! By working with an experienced corporate planner, you’ll gain huge added value of access to our network and expertise. We know where to find quality for the best possible price, using our trusted industry relationships. You’ll be able to utilise our experience to understand what needs investment and where you can make savings, demonstrating the return on investment for each budget element. 

There is no point in robbing Peter to pay Paul if a major element is then compromised. Suppliers often compete for their own piece of the pie, whereas a planner will look at the event as a whole and objectively make the right call to not compromise on any one aspect for the sake of another. 

We know that last-minute expenses can arise – ideas and plans can change. A planner will have a contingency plan in place and be able to manage the budget to mitigate overspend.

4. Location & Venue Sourcing

You’ve been tasked with planning an event but with no steer on where to hold it, where on earth do you start and how do you narrow the options down? We have a little (well actually, ever-growing) black book of venues – we know the best spots for every type of event, many of which aren’t available on the open market! Working with us as your corporate planner saves you scouring the length and breadth of the country, as we provide you with a shortlist of perfect options to consider, ticking all the boxes for your requirements. 

We know that some venues can be quite strict on regulations, and with good reason, as these are often palaces and historic buildings, so we know when these are appropriate suggestions and other venues where you can have more flex to do things outside of the norm. 

Selecting a location and venue is not just as easy as knowing if it accommodates the right number of guests – there is so much more to understand. We know all the peripheral questions to ask and details to check. What would the guest journey be, what transportation would be required, what’s the access like, are there weight loading restrictions, what’s the power access like, are there noise limitations and so forth. These are things that would not spring to mind for someone who doesn’t have the experience of planning events, so leave it to us to help with!

>> Our top 8 corporate event venues in London

Live band on stage for a corporate event in London, organised by ByChenai Events.

5. Fresh Perspective & Creative Designs

Event planning can be daunting – where do you start with creating an event that is exciting, engaging, and entirely unique? We bring fresh eyes to the project, new ideas and valuable outside perspectives to take your event to the next level. Perhaps you have a little seedling of an idea or design concept, but no idea how to pull it off. We keep up to date with emerging trends and innovative concepts, constantly seeking inspiration through fashion, interiors, art, landscape and architecture, bringing original creativity to the table. Trusting us as your corporate event planner transforms your seedling idea into vibrant design concepts, bringing your event to life! 

6. Cross T’s & Dot I’s

An event planner should be meticulous in their methods. Throughout the planning process, there is a lot of going back and forth between venues, suppliers, guests, and hosts, from the initial enquiry through to contracts, execution, and post-event wrap-up. We handle these details for you, which is time-consuming yet crucial. Our agile events team acts on your behalf, quickly gathering information, creating designs and proposals in a cohesive and detail-oriented manner, while keeping you up to date through efficient and regular communication. 

Behind every faultless event is a clear planning timeline. This ensures you know what decisions need to be made and when, keeping you on track to get the best out of your event. The all-important live event schedule, which takes time to bring together, gives you confidence that we have crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s for the event to exceed expectations.

7. Risk Planning & Legal Stuff

We always have plans A, B and C in place, but if something goes wrong (unlikely, but you never know!), chances are we’ve dealt with it before. We go into firefighter mode if needed and know all the tricks to resolve any issues efficiently and discreetly, without you or your guests needing to know or worry! 

Risk management is one thing, but legalities can arise at any point – whether that be in the planning stages with contracts or post-event. We read through contracts on your behalf to ensure their terms are reasonable and align with the experience we are curating, raising any points that require your attention.

8. Be Your Support

Lastly, and on a more personal level, we act as an extension of your team. We aspire to be a trusted colleague, offering as much or as little support as needed. We listen, always give sound and objective advice, and are always honest. We’re here to help you deliver an exceptional event, without taking the glory! 

Role of a Corporate Event Planner

The role of a corporate event planner is multifaceted, requiring a blend of creativity, organisational prowess, and strategic thinking. As your trusted partner, we take on the responsibility of transforming your company’s vision into a tangible, memorable experience.

We’re here to manage every aspect of an event from start to finish, including but not limited to: 

  • Creative Concept & Design: Developing a unique theme or concept that aligns with the brand’s goals and vision.
  • Budget Management: Ensuring the event stays within the allocated budget while delivering maximum impact.
  • Supplier Management: Sourcing and liaising with the best suppliers in the industry, including caterers, florists, audio-visual technicians, and entertainment providers. This ensures that every element of the event is of the highest quality.
  • Execution: Overseeing the event on the day, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and any issues are quickly resolved. This allows the hosting company to focus on their guests and the event’s objectives without worrying about the details.
  • Engagement & Experience: Creating engaging content and interactive experiences that resonate with attendees. This can include everything from live demonstrations and entertainment to social media integration and influencer collaborations.

Turn Business Goals into Unique Brand Experiences with Expert Corporate Planners By Your Side

Ultimately, our main goal as corporate event planners is to provide your guests with a memorable experience — something they’ll be talking about for months to come! We also strive to make every event valuable for you, the business and your clients. You are putting on this event with a business objective, and we will help you reach that objective far more effectively than if it were self-managed.  

Planning an event is not easy, with so many moving parts and intricacies. That’s why having a planner involved at every step is invaluable and worth every penny! Whether you’re planning a small team-building retreat, a corporate away day to boost team morale or a large-scale product launch, the benefits of working with a professional event planner are undeniable. So, if you’re in the process of planning an event to achieve your business goals, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today to start planning your next corporate event with a big ‘wow’ factor. 

Maximising Your Corporate Event Success: The Role & Benefits of Hiring A Planner

June 12, 2024

Corporate Event Planning Tips

Bride and Groom , Kirtlington Park

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Wedding planning need not be an insurmountable task , full of stressful moments and endless task lists. If you have now joined the ‘I’m getting married ‘ club, congratulations! I’ve put together 10 very useful tips to help you get started with planning your wedding, practical steps you can take e to ensure a smooth planning journey

1. TAKE TIME TO ENJOY YOUR ENGAGEMENT

It’s easy to rush into making ALL the plans but I highly recommend taking a pause to call your friends and family, share the good news as many times as you wish and just truly enjoy the moment and well wishes.

2. Discuss your priorities and ‘must haves’.

This is really important before you commit any time or resources to planning. As couple, have a conversation about what kind of wedding you want to have, you might be surprised that each of you has certain things that are deal breakers that require a compromise to be met. It’s in these conversations that you get a picture of the kind of experience the wedding will be.

Kirtlington Park Venue
Kirtlington Park wedding venue

3. GET INSPIRED!

Once you have an idea of the kind of wedding you want to have, take some time to really get inspired. Now is the time to immerse yourself in wedding world! Dive into wedding blogs and directories , start a Pinterest mood board to help you catalogue the things you like. This will also be very useful for your wedding planner , stylist and florist for example, later down the line when you are explaining your vision.

4. MONEY TALKS 

Set a budget. I cannot stress this enough. Be clear form the beginning how much you have available to spend on the wedding including family contributions. Create a simple spreadsheet or tracker that will help you stay on top of spending throughout the planning process. Your budget should reflect your priorities. If food, drink and entertainment are paramount, your budget should reflect this. Always have a contingency built in for unexpected costs and last minute changes.

Kew Gardens Wedding venue
Kew Gardens Wedding Venue photography by Gyan Gurung

5. GET ORGANISED AND GET HELP

If the thought of planning a small birthday party makes you nervous, I highly recommend seeking out a few family members and friends who you know are reliable to help you with your wedding planning. If you have the budget to do so, consider working with a wedding planner.

6. RESEARCH INSURANCE

If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we must plan for the unexpected. I highly recommend, actually insist on you finding a wedding insurer that can give you peace of mind in the event of any mishaps or issues on the day or leading up to it.

7. START WITH THE BIG STUFF

when you’ve done the above and are ready to start committing to your wedding plan, start with the big stuff, the high ticket purchases. In this case, your wedding venue or location. It is often the biggest cost , closely followed by food and beverage. The venue also sets the tone for your celebration so do spend time researching and evaluating a space that will be ideal for the style of wedding you want to have.

8. ENJOY THE PLANNING

Wedding planning should not be a stressful slog you have to get through to have a wonderful day. Enjoy key moments such as the food tastings, bridal appointments, choosing your décor. Invite friends and family you know who will make the experience of each of these moments even better – you are well within your rights to not invite that aunty who always has something (negative ) to say. You want positive vibes only during this time.

9. BE MINDFUL OF  YOUR WELLBEING

Now is not the time to try some crazy fad diet or embark on a ‘shredding for the wedding’ regime. I recommend allocating specific time or a day of the week to your wedding planning so it doesn’t take over the rest of your lives and remains something you look forward to doing as a couple. With everything else that is happening in the world around us, be particularly mindful of not allowing the run up to your wedding become a stressor.

10.BE PRESENT AND ENJOY YOUR DAY!

Once you finally get to the big day, it is amazing how quickly time passes. Often my couples remark on how swift the day goes after the ceremony. I always encourage them to be wholly present in each part of the day, having help ensures you’re not worrying about the detail when you should be enjoying your big day with loved ones. I also advise to schedule time for just the two of you during the day so you can both take a step back and take it all in.

10 Tips to help you start wedding planning

February 16, 2021

Wedding Planning Advice

Bride and Groom, microwedding

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Yes, you read that right. Despite the unclear directives, ever changing guidelines, reduction in numbers, postponements, cancellations. You can still be excited about planning your wedding and you should be . I want to start by acknowledging how tough these past months have been for you.

I have felt this too with my clients, I have lost weddings through cancellation which has been devastating on both sides. However I have continued to lead with optimism, despite having days when it feels like this is never ending and  we won’t see large gatherings again.

No matter where you are on your wedding planning journey from newly engaged to organised planning pro who has perhaps already dealt with a postponement, I hope the following tips will help you get excited again. My advice is honest and  practical,  so you can hopefully navigate the next few months with little stress and more joy. I’m proud to say that this piece also features on the brilliant wedding blog Love MY Dress.

Joy is so integral to what I do and the love of joyful celebration is the reason why I  chose to specialise  in wedding planning.

1. Get Inspired

Immersing yourself in all things weddings via magazines, blogs and social channels is a wonderful way to ignite or reignite excitement for your day. Bridal shows are still taking place virtually, the creativity of our industry has not been stifled by this pandemic so take advantage of all of these resources. It’s wonderful that one of outcomes of the global discussion on diversity is that more if us can see ourselves in the wedding media, long may that continue!

2. Start Planning a Budget

Have a conversation with your partner and really hone in on what your priorities are , be it guest numbers (would you consider a smaller affair if you were unable to have 100+) , entertainment, decor or food & drink.

Jot down a small list of five things that you absolutely must have which will also inevitably lead you to some things or traditions that you can leave out. Having your priorities set and a budget that reflects those priorities will ensure you can achieve the rip roaring dance party  or guarantee every last detail is beautifully personalised , with stunning décor if that’s what you want.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help & Support

With all that’s going on in the world ( and there is A LOT) it really is ok to share the joy of wedding planning with your closest circle, get them involved!

Don’t feel like wedding planning is a trivial exercise against the backdrop of all the world’s challenges. Good friends and family would  love the opportunity to support you in this way or get professional planning support if you’d prefer to outsource the wedmin altogether!

4. Don’t Hesitate To Reach Out To Wedding Suppliers Right Now

We’re still here! Whether you’re making plans for the end of the year or 2022, our industry is full of the very best suppliers to suit your style and budget AND they’d love to hear from you.

It’s also prudent to check their availability particularly if you have your eye on a specific photographer for example, with the many changes and postponements to next year and beyond- they are getting booked up quite quickly!

In all conversations around services, be clear on the supplier’s policies on postponements and cancellations. In the UK , there are currently few wedding insurance policies available ( and none that cover Covid related issues) so it is important to read that small print.

5. Stay Present

Enjoy the moment right now, don’t make decisions based on what you THINK might happen in three months time. I can’t stress this enough. My job to is to always have a plan B but second guessing government policy and the goings on of international political relations are outside my sphere of influence and I’m guessing yours too.

If you’re already on your planning journey unless your day is imminent, my advice would be to hold tight before making major shifts and date changes. If you’ve just started your planning, please don’t let the worry of “what if” stop you from enjoying what should be one of the exciting moments before your big day.

If you’d like to chat more about your wedding and how I could help, get in touch and I will organise a virtual coffee date!

PLANNING A WEDDING DURING A PANDEMIC

January 18, 2021

Wedding Planning Advice

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Now that you have more of an understanding of what professional wedding planners do and how they can help you, it’s key to get an understanding of how much they cost so you can factor this into your wedding planning.

PRICING STRUCTURES

It’s important to preface this piece by saying that wedding planners costs are reflective of more than just the time (an average 200-300 hours) it takes to plan a wedding. They are reflective of our experience, the logistics we need to manage, ability to identify opportunities to maximise our client’s budgets, they cover our business costs, the team we will have in place to support on the day, our ability to save you money and the many benefits you receive from tapping into our trusted networks.

We are experts at planning weddings in dry hire spaces as well as purpose built structures, marquees at home for example, as well as transforming spaces to meet the expectations you have for your big day. Planners in the Luxury wedding space particularly, don’t crowd their calendars , you are normally part of a small group of clients who we take on annually to ensure you get the attention your celebration deserves.

Costs of Full Wedding Planning Support

Generally speaking, pricing is dependent upon the level of support and services you require. Most UK wedding planners charge a Percentage of your total budget .

  • The industry average is between 10 -15% of your total budget and normally there will be minimum fees that apply.
  • Minimum fees for reputable wedding planners in the UK can range from £5000 – £10000*
  • For high end, big budget weddings (6 figures and above) a fixed fee will often be offered to clients.
  • ByChenai Events offers a very comprehensive full wedding planning service and for weddings of 100+ guests we charge 12% of the budget and we are happy to agree fixed fees for very large budgets . The same fixed fee approach is applied for multi day or weekend weddings where more than one event needs to be planned . Events such as welcome parties, rehearsal dinners and recovery brunches.
  • For smaller and less complex weddings, the minimum fee would be applied over a percentage here at ByChenai Events.

Costs of Micro Weddings

Ever changing regulations during this pandemic has seen weddings of just 15 or 30 guests allowed – this is classed as a micro wedding. Couples are still engaging planners to support them with these types of weddings. We are here to help source venues appropriate for smaller numbers, help you transform the space and source the best suppliers permitted within the guidelines. Most wedding planners have a fixed fee approach to this as well.

Cost of Wedding Day Management /On the Day Coordination

This service is for those of you who have organised most of your wedding but would like someone to handover to , a professional who can manage suppliers, oversee the set up and ensure timings are adhered to on the day, amongst other things.

  • Reputable Wedding day coordinators charge a fixed fee. That can start at £950 , this starting figure is normally for those who specify a limited number of hours.
  • For a full day of support with more hours cover, you can expect to pay in the region of £1200 – £1500, again should your wedding have large guests numbers and added complexity, this must be taken into account as the fees will increase. This is the case at ByChenai Events.

OTHER SERVICES

Event Design & Decor only services really vary and this is because size , scale and scope of work has to be determined before even a tentative quote can be provided. That is a key point to bear in mind when approaching a wedding planner or event designer. It is useful to get in touch when you have a venue/location in place at the very least and the venue should ideally have a strong in-house team who we as designers can collaborate with.

Extra Costs

Often there little to no hidden costs in the fees however, you must always ask the planner you are engaging if they charge travel and accommodation separately for example. It’s not uncommon for planners to require accommodation if the wedding is happening over a few days or is in another part of the country.

If you would like to talk about this in more detail and you think hiring a wedding planner would suit your plans, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’d love to have a virtual coffee with you!

*researched in UK wedding market in 2020 , all information is a guide, specific prices are provided by planners based on their skills and experience.

How much does a wedding planner cost?

January 10, 2021

Wedding Planning Advice

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A New Year brings with it New enquiries! The most commonly asked question from prospective clients is mainly about what I actually do. Here are 12 key ways a wedding planner can help you. This piece has been widely shared and can be seen on Rock My Wedding blog too!

WEDDING PLANNERS WILL SAVE YOU TIME

The perception of a wedding planner being an extravagance reserved for fictional characters in Rom Coms is fading away as couples realise the value that we bring.Wedding Planning is a huge time investment, between 200-300 hours in fact and it can be stressful if project planning and management is not your forte. Wedding planners effectively give you back your time so you can focus on the more enjoyable elements of the wedding planning journey.

A WEDDING PLANNER WILL CREATE YOUR WEDDING PLAN

Wedding planners are excellent project managers and will create a planning timeline specific to your wedding so you know what is happening when. Often they will schedule your appointments where necessary so all you have to do is show up to the tastings or the fittings (the fun stuff) whilst we take care of the boring ‘wedmin’.

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN CREATE AND MANAGE YOUR BUDGET

Professional wedding planners will agree that creating a realistic budget (and sticking to it) is one of the most important parts of ensuring a smooth planning journey. The benefit of having a planner is that we understand the market, we know what it costs to translate your vision into a wedding day reality and we can guide and advise you accurately throughout.

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

Yes, you read that right. We often guide couples to make decisions that align with their priorities and offer suggestions on how best to allocate resources. I always have a conversation about wedding favours for example, couples like to spend money on these gestures that are often left on the table or thrown away at the end of the wedding. I always highlight where this money could be better spent – like food and drink, an area that will always add to the guest experience.

Rustic Wedding Planning ByChenai Events

Rustic Wedding Planning ByChenai Events

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN HELP YOU FIND YOUR VENUE

Often clients come to a wedding planner with an idea of when they want to get married, the size of their wedding but no venue booked. Wedding planners are adept location scouts who can work with your ideas to show you the best locations taking your vision, any cultural considerations and budget into account.

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN DO ALL THE RESEARCH

A planner can be your fixer. We draw from our extensive networks and also put in hours of research to find the right caterers, bands, DJs, florists, cake makers, lighting designers, production specialists to fit your style and budget. You may not know that we also take the time to review supplier contracts to ensure their terms are reasonable and aligned with the experience we are trying to give your family and friends.

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN HELP WITH PERSONAL STYLING

I pride myself on having a great eye for styling. I truly enjoy accompanying my brides and grooms to search for their wedding day looks. With a network that includes bridal designers and great independent boutiques, I enjoy being able to recommend the right designer, tailor or boutique to suit my client’s style and budget.

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUESTLIST

Guestlist management is all part of a full planning service that is offered by professional wedding planners. It’s also one of the most time-consuming parts of wedding admin. To ensure you don’t have to respond to countless emails answering questions about parking, hotels and directions (even if you have clearly put the information on your wedding website ), wedding planners will take this stress from your plate.

A WEDDING PLANNER WILL INSPIRE YOU

Wedding planners aside from being experts in executing events can also be a great source of inspiration for the design of your wedding. If your priority for your wedding is the look and feel, hiring a planner who is also a great stylist or designer guarantees that you have someone who can inspire you beyond the pins on your Pinterest mood board.

Tablescape Planning ByChenai Events

A WEDDING PLANNER CAN GET THE PARTY STARTED

Wedding planners bring great value in creating a wedding day timeline that will ensure a great flow for guests. Quiet periods and lulls in the day are not conducive to an epic party. The guest experience is a paramount consideration when I’m planning a wedding. I always encourage my clients to have a few surprising and delightful touches to keep guests entertained, even if it’s just walking them to a different location to do drinks, or adding a wedding illustrator or unexpected entertainment act; little points of interest that guests will keep talking about for years to come when reminiscing about your big day.

A WEDDING PLANNER WILL RUN THE SHOW

On the wedding day itself when your focus should be on you and the day ahead (rightly so) wedding planners are quietly bringing the months of planning together, like a symphony conductor. Managing the suppliers, the setup, keeping the flow of the day going to time, we handle last-minute emergencies, whilst soothing nerves and ensuring you enjoy your day.

A WEDDING PLANNER WILL BE YOUR SUPPORT

Ultimately you hire us to advocate for you in all things we do. We will listen, always give sound and objective advice and we never get bored of talking about your wedding!

If you’d like to hear more about working with a wedding planner, please get in touch . I would love to schedule a virtual coffee date and hear more about your wedding plans!

What does a Wedding Planner Do?

January 4, 2021

Wedding Planning Advice

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