Steven Duggan knows how to throw a party! In fact celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Adele, Simon Cowell and Leona Lewis are among the long list of enviable names and have dubbed him ‘the artist of the event world’. Here Steven lets us into his glamorous world and reveals just what we can do at home to make our next dinner party spectacular!
I generally wake up with a million things on my mind that need to be done at the office! I like to take my time getting ready and deciding what to wear, especially if I have an important meeting. I take breakfast and a large cup of strong coffee and get my dog (Billy) ready to go!
The first thing I do when I get in is reply to all of my emails and begin our daily meeting. We update the client list and campaign breakdown on the wall and set targets for the day. I think it is important to motivate the team first thing in the morning to make sure we achieve something that day and feel good about it. There is no point working to work so we always begin on a positive. The events business can be very tough especially when you are pitching such a large spend in the middle of a recession! We treat each situation very seriously as the clients’ money is essentially in our hands so a point of contact in the morning to reassure them of progress is always appreciated.
I deal with everyone from previous clients, potential clients contacting by phone and email, suppliers, our PR agency, CV’s and other contacts in the industry with similar interests. If I have an event to design, I am either preparing a proposal with drawings and fine details to do with the event, putting together a quotation or forming new company documents. Designing our events takes a lot of time and thought, mainly because we feel so passionate about all of the features and layouts being drafted. Some of our events are large scale so for this I would be using some architectural techniques including a space plans and people flow charts. The budget of the event does not change the way we do things even if it is a small dining experience, every client receives the same treatment.
I think people assume that I am a social butterfly at night! I do the exact opposite. I’m not a huge fan of networking but try to keep connected where possible. Focusing on up and coming events and working through things in the office is usually enough for 1 day! I like to do bits around the house, take Billy for a walk, meet friends or just switch off completely.
Steven’s top tips for pulling off a fabulous event at home
1. Create a functional, elegant setting in each room being used.
2. Candlelight is key in replace of bright ceiling lights and very high wattage lamps.
3. Canapés, light bowl food or finger food is always a nice touch as guests arrive and later in the evening to soak up the alcohol!
4. When decorating, i always recommend floral design. This makes the house more attractive, radiates a nice scent and adds drama.
5. The table centrepieces must be the focal point of the entire event as it is all about the food and table talk. I like the idea of personalising each place name or plate to make it more fun.
6. Include games and an interesting custom menu design to lighten the mood and space out the evening.
7. Provide an act; Nothing too long-winded or risky as it must suit the evening and all guests present.
8. If you’re feeling creative; hang or place some interesting artistic features such as paper lanterns, large props, ribbon or festoon lighting.