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Event Ice Breakers

At any group event, we can pretty well guarantee there will be a mix of personalities. 

When it comes to getting extroverts AND introverts involved and sharing, we have a few ideas up our sleeves. Games are a great way to get groups talking, sharing commonalities, and getting to know each other better. 

The Plan Your Event Team has tried and tested several games, including Pictionary on the go, partner truth, hiking, cycling and golf. Our first four games are easy to play as an icebreaker, while travelling, at a function, or even just going out for a work dinner. Enjoy!

Bucket List Game

This is a great way to quickly get people to know each other.

Have each person share their top 2 bucket list goals and 1 they’ve achieved (if they have). Put a Hunter Valley spin on it by passing the ice bucket, along with a bottle for a top up, to who-ever is up next.  You can take turns at random, alphabetically (great for learning names) or go clockwise around the circle or table.

Variations: Larger groups stick with just one item.

More interaction? When someone says a bucket list item, all those who’ve done raise their hand (or glass). This is a great way to quickly find people with common interests.

Truth and two lies

Each player needs a piece of paper and something to write with. 

Each player secretly writes 3 things about themselves – 2 true facts and one a lie. When everyone is finished writing, players will read out their answers one at a time and the other guests will have to guess which things are true and which are not. This is not only a great ice breaker, it’s also a good way of showing up any preconceived ideas and setting them right. Players are in control of how much or little they share.

The revealing of the truth by the player in question can at times be very entertaining.

Variation: If you want to play for a winner, the winner is the person who guesses correctly the most times. 

Pictionary on the go

Great for building camaraderie and encouraging teamwork, as well as having a few laughs.

Split into teams, preferably two people per team, but you can make other configurations work if needed.

You can either write words onto individual slips of paper and place in a hat or container – or use a mobile phone with internet to find a random word generator. 

Download our word list including some funny words here. 

Each round will have one drawer from each team and the other person/people on the team are the guessers. The team to guess the correct word first from the picture being drawn BY THEIR TEAM is the winner of the round. Each round the roles will switch so that everyone has equal turns at being the drawer.

Rules: The drawer is not allowed to talk. The guesser should not be looking at other teams’ drawings. Drawing cannot contain words, numbers, or common symbols.

What you need: Paper & pen for each team, our word list (cut up) or mobile phone word generator.

Partner Truth

This game is great for work colleagues or teammates who have partners in attendance who are not ordinarily part of the group.

Pre-write questions relating to recent events in your team/workgroup, or group trivia. Each couple gets a piece of paper and a pen. Independently they must write what they think is the correct answer. 

Twist: The winners of this game aren’t necessarily the ones who get the answers right, but the couples that answer the same as each other. Answers should be shared at the end of each round before moving onto the next. This is a great way to bring the partners into the fold, and shows which partners talk shop outside of the team or work environment. 

Suggestions: Ensure you ask one question about each member of your team so that no one is left out. Take care not to ask sensitive questions that will cause embarrassment or distrust in the partners.

What you need: Paper & pen for each player

Chilling Out

If you’d like to have more chilled options with voluntary involvement, setting up lawn games, placing mind puzzles, chess, checkers, and cards on tables can give people opportunities to play some games together or mingle.

Other fantastic ways to get your team communicating and enjoying some shared experiences in our beautiful outdoor are:

Walks – why not try the track along McDonalds Road to Pokolbin Park 

Cycling – we love the Hermitage Road Cycle track, and if you don’t have bikes in your back pocket, there are several hire options in the vineyards. You can even arrange electric bikes if you’re anti up-hill effort.

Golf – There’s plenty of amazing golf courses in the Hunter Valley, but for the casual group who just wants some fun in relaxed surrounds with no pressure, we love Patterson Golf Course. Be ready for a stroll though, there’s no golf carts. Info – 80 Webbers Creek Road, Paterson, NSW 2421, patersongolfclub@bigpond.com, Ph. 02 4938 5828

Lawn games – Lawn games make every event better! Hire some from Vintage Lux Props, Ariarper, or select a venue that has their own like Emmas Cottage or Thistle Hill.

Whatever your event, make sure there are a variety of ways for everyone, regardless of their personality to connect and enjoy!

Share your event pics with us by tagging @planyoureventhunter, or to be featured in another blog, email your ideas and images to hello@planyoureventhunter.com.au

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Filter by Vendor Types
Activities & Workshops
Entertainment
Musicians
Food and Beverage
Health & Wellness
Promotional & Gifts
Services
Celebrants
Event Planners
Equipment Hire
Photographers & Videographers
Transport
Styling and Hire
Equipment Hire
Photobooth
Florists
Personal Accessories
Venue
Halls
Filter by Vendor Locations
Abermain
Belford
Bolwarra
Central Coast
Cessnock
Bellbird
Greater Newcastle
Laguna
Lake Macquarie
Redhead Beach
Lovedale
Maitland
Mid Hunter
Belford
Branxton
Kurri Kurri
Rothbury
Singleton
Millfield
Muswellbrook
Newcastle and Hunter Valley
Pokolbin
Red Head Beach
Redhead Beach
Scone
Singleton
Upper Hunter
Wingham
Filter by Vendor Features
Business Functions
Casual Dining
Corporate Events
Decorative and Staging
DIY Events
Exclusive Hire
Fairs Fetes Fundraisers Markets & Community Events
Family Friendly
Formal Dining
Fully Serviced Option
Great for Kids
Indoor Events
Kitchen Facilities
Onsite Accomodation
Onsite Parking
Outdoor Events
Parties
Pay Per Customer
Pet Friendly
Pilates
Platters, Picnics and Charcuterie
Public Events
Retreats
Spa Facilities
Sporting Events
Weddings
Wellness coach
Workshops
Yoga

Food to bring them together

As much as we love a good steak, or a 12 hour smoked brisket, there’s another cuisine deserving of time in the spotlight! 

If you’re looking for something fresh, flavour infused and delicious, take a look at Lebanese food.

So much more than those stereotypical Kebabs to cure a hangover, Lebanese food at it’s core, are meals made to bond over. Traditionally in Lebanese culture, food isn’t just sustenance, it’s a reason to get together – it’s a love language. And the Habibiz are the epitome of this great tradition. 

Some of the things we love about Lebanese food:

·      Bursting with flavour – goodbye bland!

·      Caters to dietry requirements – plenty of flavours on offer for vegetarians and intolerances

·      Fresh and healthy!

·      Felxible – lends itself to sharing platters, can easily be put into boxes for carnivals (street food) or can be served up as a veritable feast for formal functions.

·      Served with flair – Rita and her team take pride in looking after your guests like their own family!

Made with love

Like their grandparents, when the Habaibiz prepare food, it’s a labour of love. Everything they prepare is made using traditional recipes and the freshest produce. “It’s a family affair when we prepare for work. Everyone gets involved and has feedback as to how we can improve the taste.”  All the sauces, condiments and sides are made fresh by the crew and can completely change up the flavours on your plate.

Family Favourites

The Habibiz craft their menu according to your tastes, but if you’re looking for tried and tested, these are some fan favourites within the family:

Rita loves fresh, healthy Tabouli.

Shaun is more of a comfort food fan like Kafta and potato stew.

Joey loves it zingy with Lemon, garlic and coriander potatoes.

Patricia likes Mum’s traditional Taouk roll (mumz roll)

Khalil is a fan of lemon garlic wings

Billy is the most adventurous, opting for ‘Kibbeh Nayeh’ (raw meat)

Their Event Advice

Their best tip for your next event? Don’t stress about the food, enjoy your time together with family and friends while they make sure everyone is catered to!

 

The Habibiz regularly cater for private events including weddings, corporate events, conferences, birthday parties and more. The biggest event they’ve catered was over 600 people. With their mobile food truck, they can even offer pay per customer options for certain events.

 

Prices for private catering start from as little as just $20 per person.

Typical menu items include: Fresh fruits, chesses, crackers, dips, falafel, fried cauliflower, a wide variety of traditional meat skewers, breads, sauces, samboosik, spiced vegies, chargrilled corn and traditional deserts.

 

Get in touch with The Habibiz and check out their full Menu HERE

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Music Matters

There’s no denying it – music is a MUST to bring your event to life.

Music, whether it’s in background, or the main focus, is a big driver in creating the atmosphere for your event.

Background music can set a tone of relaxation, while upbeat rock can get people energized and ready to party, with more wistful songs fostering introspection or nostalgia.

Having live entertainment is a great way of keeping people in the moment and off their phones! Unlike a pre-queued playlist, there’s interaction and energy from a live performer. 

Most of our musicians are also naturals on the mic, which is a great help with introducing people, making announcements, and generally reading the crowd to keep your event on track.

Not sure where to start with planning live music for your event? We asked some of our musicians for their top tips on using music to enhance events of all types and we uncovered some great insights!

How do you put together the perfect playlist for an event with 9 through 90 year olds? 

Most of our musicians stress the importance of knowing a bit about your intended guests to play the right setlist. I gather details on the type of event, the age group of attendees and the vibe they’re looking for. Then I design a set list to suit the event” (Sami Cooke) 

“Having a broad repertoire is essential, so songs from the 50’s to today are needed to keep the crowd happy. The fact is a good song is a good song, no matter what era it’s from! I find that my repertoire does the trick for every event, probably because I’ve drawn songs from all my past musical experiences including Aussie rock covers bands, sophisticated wedding bands, music therapy and more.” (Chris London)

 

“It’s like a fact-finding mission. I have a broad repertoire and love all music. I believe there is a song for every life occasion and every guest. A good performer will be able to paint the perfect musical backdrop – like a tapestry to suit every guest.” (Sara Sings)

 

So it’s unanimous – like every other aspect of pulling off a great event, your music needs to be planned around your guests, and that planning is an important earmark of a great entertainer! Don’t restrict yourself to songs that are in right NOW, as all of our musicians have agreed, great music can come from any time and any genre, so someone who is well versed in a wide range of music will do the best job of providing great beats for your event.

What are some tried and tested ways of getting your guests up and dancing? 

“I try to focus on having as much fun as possible myself and usually that energy infects the guests! Playing a good mix of popular songs is critical too, as well as reading the crowd. I try to learn a few names and build a personal connection so that some friendly banter can evolve over the course of the evening.” (Chris London)

Kody suggests “A catchy, popular song with a good beat usually does the trick” while Sara uses a more staged approach “People like to ease into a dance move – so I start with some happy grooves to get the table-tappers going, and then creep up the tempo in the next 2-3 tunes.”  

Sami Cooke encourages people during the introduction of the song to join in and dance.

So all in all, we think the right music, an energetic entertainer and great communication with your guests is key to getting your guest strutting their best stuff on the dance floor.

The Perfect Performance Space?

You don’t need a stage or anywhere fancy for a performer to enhance your event. Even chilled outdoor events like campfires, fetes, markets and private events can all benefit from a few tunes, in fact, they’re our favourite way to enjoy live music. As Sara so aptly puts it, Nothing beats the great outdoors – a nice breeze, rustling leaves, sunlight.. Musicians nowadays are blessed with mics and speakers that allow us to perform just about anywhere!” Sami agrees, “I love outdoor events; I actually prefer them. The atmosphere is always more relaxed.” Kody’s perfect situation?  Sitting around a campfire singing with his guitar. So if you’re after a chilled vibe for your event, all of our vocalists love performing outdoors.

 

If you are planning a musician for an outdoor event, the things you should consider are: 

·      Do they need power or have they got battery amps etc and how long will the batteries last? 
·      Is there a back-up spot in case of rain? 
·      Ensure they have access to plenty of water and if it’s in summer, consider some shade (even if it’s a big umbrella) and somewhere they can go to cool off for short periods if the heat is severe.

Banned Song List

Funnily enough none of our artists were in favour of banning any songs! They all believe that the music is about you and your guests. Some do admit though, that they’ve played gigs where certain songs have been banned. This is our shortlist for songs that might need to take a back seat. Blister on the Sun, My Sharona, Love Shack, Horses, and Khe San.

 

Most importantly, your event is about you and your guests, so if a song has meaning or a history to your group – go for it. 

Corporate Events Tips

Consider the industry and the age group of the guests.  A good musician will pull from different influences, flows and playlists for a group of late 20s Tradies for instance, than you would for an annual meeting of the local CWA. There is music to suit everyone, so knowing who’s likely to be in your audience and planning is key. (Sara Sings)

 

In the case of fundraisers, music can speak to the guests’ hearts, relax them, excite them, engage them in the cause that they are gathering to support. So again, research to understand the theme of the fundraiser or awareness event and try and select music that resonates with your theme.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of a song to move someone to donate to a great cause. I have sung to raise critical funds for regional branches of the Cancer Council, and for Domestic Violence Support groups. It’s those events that I can see the power of music, and I feel privileged to provide it. I also love corporate events, so my music can enhance a beautifully orchestrated event.” (Sara Sings).

 

So, much like private events and parties, corporate events also take similar planning to ensure the right fit for your guests.

How much does it cost to have live music? 

Well it may be cheaper than what you thought! Thankfully our artists are motivated more out of a passion for music than they are by getting rich. Surprisingly, you could hire a live musician from as little as $300 for 3 hours, depending on the day, time, the event type and how busy they are at the time. 

You might want to consider getting prices and locking them in sooner than later though, because between pub gigs and touring, some of our singers are in high demand. 

A Little bit About Our Artists

Click to visit their listing and contact them directly

Sara Sings

Vocals – Melody but loves to throw in a harmony if you take the lead! A little bit of ukulele when the mood strikes

Favourite song right now: ‘Stay’ by Sara Bareilles – slays with effortless elegance

Favourite Genre: Soul

Favourite gigs: Fundraisers for a good cause

Recent highlights: ‘Sounds Against Silence’ Fundraiser, ‘Streets Alive’ Festival, My daughter’s primary school fete.

Chris London aka Chris English

Vocalist, plays guitar & keyboard

Favourite song right now: Exhausting Lover – Ben Folds

Favourite gigs: Foo Fighters everytime they come to Australia!

Recent highlights: Any wedding I play is always a blast

Sami Cooke

Vocalist, plays guitar, keyboard, ukulele and saxophone

Favourite song right now: Vienna by Billy Joel

Genres: On my playlist currently is a mixture of Old School Classics, Rock, RNB, Indie, and Country. 

Favourite gigs: Weddings, parties, and pub gigs

Recent highlights: Performing for the Tour D’Horse fundraiser

Kody aka David Moore

Vocalist, plays guitar, piano and drums

Fave song right now: The Goo Goo Dolls called “Run All Night”. 

Favourite gigs: Pubs and parties – good mood gigs

Favourite Genre: Rock

Recent highlights: Melbourne radio interview on his latest album, “Days Like Today”

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There are so many exciting options to consider when you’ve decided to hold an event here in the Hunter Valley.  Probably one of the biggest and first decisions you need to make is WHERE?  Finding a location that has the facilities you need, is the right size for your group, feels like the right atmosphere AND is in budget can seem daunting.  That’s why we’ve put together some food for thought (and some links) to help you find that all important perfect space!  If you’re holding a multi-day event, the accommodation question also comes into the equation.

Luckily, plenty of venues in the Hunter Valley are spacious and diverse enough to cater for business style events, celebration, and relaxation, so let us help you find the right one.

If you’re looking for a location to have up to 30-50 people together for a private function without accommodation, there are some great options that can offer exclusive use of conference rooms, pavilions, and other large areas.  So, for workshops, training days, hosting a yoga class, or other small private functions, check out The Maitland Street Collective, Qirkz in the Hunter, or a council hall can be an affordable option depending on what you’d like to host.  Pokolbin, Branxton, and Bellbird Hall are all spacious and well maintained.

Some great suggestions of venues with onsite accommodation in addition to the conference room facilities are, Thistle Hill Guest House, Nu Leaf Retreat and Estate Tuscany.  All three are fantastic choices with places to learn, and plenty of breakout and relaxation spaces.

If you don’t need the conference room, but you’re looking to host a retreat or team building type of event with plenty of space and a beautiful outlook, Wine Country Retreat joins the list of lovely Hunter Valley properties with accommodation, a tranquil feel, and great group spaces.  It also has a sauna and pool area…hello relaxation!

If privacy, seclusion, nature and a totally unique experience are calling to your small group – we have two favourites! Tucker’s Lane Boutique Accommodation features five shipping container cabins each with their own outdoor spa.  Little Valley Farm in Laguna is a hidden gem!  Choose from the drovers cabin with it’s own indulgent sauna, or The ‘Red Rattler’ our rustic 1950s train carriage.  If your group is all about relaxation or celebration, these are both amazing options.

While we’ve thrown a few contenders into the ring, we suggest you think through these important points:

The question of DIY or full service is another big one.  So think about whether you’d like a DIY property where you can take charge of the kitchen and cater up a storm, or if you’d like the luxury of having all the catering done for you without having to lift a finger.  We’ve included icons on our vendor listings, so if the flexibility of DIY is important to you, make sure you click the DIY icon and see all the venues and vendors that offer it.

If full service is more your style, we have an icon for that too.

Whatever style you’re looking for, we hope you find a place that feels like home (or maybe better) for your event!

You can send questions directly to any Plan Your Event business directly from their listing.

Be sure to share photos of your fantastic event and tag our LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram #planyoureventhunter

If your Mum loves eating, cooking and discovering new places and gourmet delights, then this four night, five day Hunter Valley exclusive extravaganza is for her!

Hosted by local vigneron/gourmet foodie Joanne Bowskill and Award Winning Hunter Valley chef Matt Dillow

Winemakers and foodies will introduce you to behind-the-scenes gourmet food and wine experiences. Disgorge methode traditional sparkling, get hands on and cook like a pro with local chefs, and join local winemakers and food producers for truly unique Hunter Valley Experiences.

We’ve booked the amazing unbookable experiences, wineries, restaurants, and bespoke cooking classes.

Tour includes four nights’ accommodation at the beautiful Thistle Hill, a French Provincial Guesthouse and working vineyard, in the heart of Pokolbin.  All meals, drinks with lunch and dinner, wine, beer, cheese, spirit and chocolate tastings, cooking classes, helicopter flight (optional) and much more are included.

Book before Mother’s Day and you’ll receive 10% off any 2024 tour of your choice!

Check out the many inclusions and cost here or call Jo on (02) 6574 7217