Putting on a show-stopping parties, supper clubs and pop-ups worthy of Instagram envy, has made Christabel Beeson the go to events planner for brands including Nike, MTV, Kurt Geiger and Versace as well as every day Londoners. With everything from stunning venues, lively entertainment and delicious food on offer, Christabel’s events are always a memorable occasion, guaranteed. But just where does the inspiration for these sensational experiences come from? We caught up with her to find out what it takes to turn an event idea into a triumphant shindig.
What led you to setting up your workshops and masterclasses?
I love trying to encourage people’s creative streak – for instance, getting them to paint not just what they see – painting a pineapple purple and shading it in orange – it makes for a much more interesting image. The classes are an extension of this as I find peoples’ creations really interesting. I get real kicks out of that. From weird and wonderful macaroons to the most flamboyant, pimped up cocktails and bejewelled pineapples.
Where do you find inspiration for your ideas?
Ideas and inspiration pop up at the strangest times so its hard to say – there’s not really one source of ideas. Often it comes from things I see at random times, for example the inspiration for the ‘Edible Playground’ came when I saw a bit of Lego on someone’s plate and thought how great if that was edible and then it evolved from there…
How long does it take to plan each event?
It totally depends on the brief and how many people but we like to be as organised as possible. For some larger corporate events, we start planning 6 months in advance!
Best party you’ve ever held?
Ooooh thats difficult! I would say a big 40th in Queens Park, in the most magical private garden where we were whipping up cocktails from behind Betty (our trusty mobile cocktail bar) until the early hours.
Who would be on your dream supper guest list?
Angelina Jolie, Paul Bocuse, David Bowie, Jennifer Lawrence, Salvador Dali, and Wentworth Miller
Do you have particular season or occasion you enjoy planning events for most?
Summer without a doubt. I really look forward to getting our mobile cocktail bars, Ruby and Betty, all glammed up for Summer parties as I love hosting outdoor events with them! Summer’s also great for getting experimental with Summer produce in our food and cocktail menus – the range of fresh fruit and vegetables you can get your hands on is enormous.
What is your top tip for hosting a tremendous bash?
Firstly, make sure that you have: enough alcohol, a delicious, colourful menu, beautiful table decor, and good music. Above all, it’s important to be a relaxed host – choose food and drinks you can prep in advance and do some forward planning with your music playlist – it’ll make the evening so much more enjoyable for everyone!
You’ve also held unique and innovative pop-up experiences. Tell us how the challenges of hosting a pop-up differ from a one-off events.
One off events can be much bigger, logistically, to handle so there are the challenges of throwing a successful party on a grand scale. However, with a pop-up, the challenge is in managing everyone’s expectations. At pop ups, you get lots of individual bookings so you are trying to make sure everyone is happy without knowing beforehand exactly what everybody wants from the experience!
Is there anything you wish you’d known about planning events before you launched?
Organisation and time – these are the two essential things I have learnt that are KEY to a smooth-running event. You can never be too organised or too prepared.
Who would you most like to plan a party for and why?
Elton John – I’d love to plan his 70th Birthday party. I think there would be an amazing element of the ‘flamboyant’ and ‘different’ about it and I believe he’d be open to exciting, off-the-wall ideas!
How do you see your events and workshops evolving in the coming years to stay ahead of the curb?
It’s all about thinking of fresh, new ideas and then being open to change and on the look out for opportunities which can help those ideas evolve in exciting ways. For example, our latest idea is our ‘Mad Hatter’s Mar-Tea-Ni Masterclass’ where we are working with Black Cow Vodka (the world’s only pure milk vodka) and Tea Pigs Tea to create ‘milk and tea’ spiked cocktails – showing people how to make the perfect ‘brew.’
Which London supper clubs do you like going to?
Dub Plates Kitchen and Basement Galley are always great.
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Written by: Maxine Ali