Outdoor event management for the University of Kent

As one of the leading PR agencies in Kent, our specialist event management skills are often in demand.  This week found us with an outdoor event management project to look after when we worked with the University of Kent to help them put on their spectacular graduation celebrations for the 2015 congregation.

The brief for the event was to find a location and put on an event that would encourage as many of the graduates and their families to attend as possible.  In previous years the celebrations have been held back at the University Campus after the graduation service in Rochester Cathedral and many students haven’t attended, choosing instead to stay in the City to celebrate with their loved ones.

Rise visited the Cathedral and as soon as we saw the lovely moat area with the stunning Rochester Castle in the background we knew this was where the event had to be held!

The University loved the idea and so began many weeks of negotiation and discussion with a various agencies and organisations to make it happen!  There’s a lot more to outdoor event management than with many indoor events so lists were prepared and tasks undertaken.  The first major hurdle was finding a marquee large enough to cater for over 400 people (800 throughout the whole day as there were two graduations celebrations held at 12.00 and 3.30 pm).  The graduations were also taking place the week of the Kent County Show so marquees were rather hard to come by!  But, the incredibly efficient Four Jays came up trumps and even added an extra 20 metres of marquee when the event proved more popular than first thought. It was also good to see great collaboration between companies as due to the short supply of marquees in Kent, Four Jays commissioned Best In Tents to undertake this project.

Once the tent was booked all the pretty and practical things had to be arranged – Rise sourced and organised the following elements as part of our outdoor event management:

  • security
  • ramp access
  • ables, chairs, poseur tables, table clothes
  • flooring and swags
  • interior and exterior decoration:
    • stunning floral centrepieces
    • small floral displays for inside and out
    • large floral displays outside
    • hire of trees and plants for inside the marquee
    • bunting inside the marquee and along the border of the site
    • large flags
  • generator and refrigeration van for the caterers
  • toilets

We also booked an event photographer.  We have worked with Matt James Photography at previous events in Kent and he has always shown great flair and skill, has a great eye and is very engaging with guests and a genuine pleasure to work with – and this event was no exception.  Some of his pictures are shown below alongside some of our own ‘before’ pictures. He has uploaded the rest showing the wonderful graduates and their families to his online portfolio.

We have something of a reputation when is comes to our event flowers and our clients and their guests always admire them.  When it came to deciding on the flower decorations and flower arrangements for the marquee we knew we had to think big – this was a huge space after all!  As always, we did some research, tried out some ideas and finally settled on beautiful, 46cm tall cylindrical vases bursting with colourful gladioli – the whole flower arrangement measured over a metre tall!

The University of Kent catering team prepared a selection of canapés that were served to guests with a chilled glass of fizz.

When it comes to outdoor event management we can plan, plan and plan some more as we do for all our events, but the one thing we can’t control is the weather – despite forecasts of thundery showers we were blessed with sunshine throughout the afternoon!

If you would like us to organisation your next event please do get in touch.

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Rochester 7th July 2015-170Graduation selfiefamily graduation picture