Top tips for hosting modern, eco-friendly parties, receptions and more…
Planning an event can be an exciting prospect – you choose a venue, pick the most tempting food and drink combinations and arrange the logistics.
But on the day, have you ever stopped to wonder where those trays of pastries will go now everyone has left the room for the meeting? Or who will turn off the air conditioning as you leave for the day?
A lot of people don’t consider this.
It’s a consideration like these which we often leave behind when we exit our familiar environments.
BS 8901 is a framework which was developed specifically for the events industry after the London 2012 Olympics.
It’s a standard by which the industry is held to operate in a more sustainable manner.
As a result, BMA House has gained a Silver Tourism Award in our efforts to reduce the amount of energy used during events and become one of the most sustainable venues London has to offer.
However, there is still a long way to go from the venue, organiser and guest’s side to lessen the impact of events on the environment.
Here are my top tips for creating a sustainable yet simultaneously stylish party, reception or dinner, to go some way to readdressing the balance:
As you gaze out at the London night sky you can be overwhelmed by the lights which litter the skyline; bright white, twinkly blue and stable red which cling to buildings.
Solar panelling has now been adopted by many households and offices as a way of cutting down on the wasteful energy this produces by harbouring a natural resource, sunlight.
There are now some really innovative and interesting solar panelled lights emerging on the market that work perfectly for evening receptions, parties and dinners that utilise any outdoor space.
For example, Homebase has some great solar panelled fairy lights which turn on automatically at dusk and off at dawn, using a handy mini solar panel to collect the sunlight.
They can omit a very strong light and detect light changes, saving you the hassle of remembering to turn them off and on.
A great choice for anyone trying to host more sustainable events!
Pinterest is great for inspiring party ideas and has thousands of eco-friendly pins.
Avoiding single-use or disposable decorations is a must. Anything that was created solely to be part of the background at an event for a few hours, only to be chucked away after, is a red flag in our books!
There are tonnes of really great ideas for reusing things; everything from using crates as trays or jam jars for glasses filled with crushed ice and a variety of fruits.
Consider how the food is sourced for the event.
If your venue has in house caterers, ask your planner for information on the caterer’s sustainability credentials.
Or if you are sourcing your own food, look for locally sourced produce. Our central London location means for us, that’s often at the Bloomsbury Farmers Market. Aim to minimise food miles as much as possible.
Trust us – your guests will taste the difference!
Also, consider the number of guests who have confirmed they will attend versus the number who will show up on the day.
Factors including the weather, how regularly the event runs and if it is ticketed all contribute to how inclined guests will be to show up.
I would consider these at the point of planning and account for dropouts accordingly.
GET GUESTS INVOLVED
Make sure your guests know you’re trying to make your event as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. We’ve been working towards becoming a sustainable London venue to hire for years, which means most people who visit are already well aware of what to expect.
Introduce the premise in the delegate packs, monitor how much energy was saved during your event and feedback to delegates after the event.
We’d also recommend encouraging them to download eco apps.
Build a narrative and take guests on the journey.
REUSE IS BETTER THAN RECYCLING
If any theming is leftover from an event, try to reuse it where you can for future events or give to guests. If this isn’t possible, ensure it is recycled in the appropriate way. At venues, you can ask for their recycling policy.
And remember, better than reusing is not buying anything new at all! Consider what you already have available and how it can be repurposed.
You can read more about BS 8901 events industry framework here: www.actionsustainability.com/news/198/BS-8901-Make-your-event-sustainable/
SUSTAINABLE VENUES LONDON
Written by Maxine Reynolds
Contact us on 020 7874 7020 or email [email protected]
BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP