Unique Party Experts – An Apollo Events Interview

Apollo Events Consultants are known for their incredibly innovative and creative events, specialising in marquees and extravagant theming.

Pearl and Pear chatted to Tim, the Managing Director on how it all began.

What was the ‘tipping point’ for your business when you knew you were onto something…?

The first thing we did whilst setting up back in 2002 was place advertisement in the yellow pages! A week later we got a call asking us to pitch for an event at Alexandra Palace. The brief was to produce an innovative and exciting large scale product launch for one of the world’s leading manufacturers & distributors of domestic appliances. I’m happy to say the event was a huge success – not bad for a company that was only a few months old!

Tim, Apollo Events are considered one of the best in the industry – how would you sum up your career in a nutshell?

Depends how big the nutshell is! Exciting, varied, creative and fortunate. Working with hugely talented and wonderful people and I know it sounds cheesy, but we really do make dreams come true!

What do you love about events?

The opportunity to be constantly creative and to never have one day the same. Each event is unique and challenging and there is nothing more rewarding than to see all the hard work come together. Also, seeing the client totally blown away by what we have created for them is always amazing. Taking a vision on paper and turning it into a reality!

We know it’ll be hard to choose but do you have a favourite event?

Wow, all the events we create have a story but I think the one that was the most challenging in terms of creativity was an artist themed party. The idea of producing miniature famous works of art for table centres and building a giant ink bottle spilling its ink on the bright red carpet was inspired even if I do say so myself!

What’s the most extravagant event moment you’ve had?

That I can talk about? Possibly organising Jules Holland to play at a friend’s wedding anniversary as a surprise for his wife. She literally knew nothing about it right up to when I introduced “Jules Holland and his Big Band”. Throughout the day I was asked why we needed such a big stage – you’d be amazed what stories we had to make up. I have to say Jules was enormous fun to work with and couldn’t have been more accommodating including spending time with the client afterwards.

What would you say are the essential ingredients for a great event?

Honesty, simplicity and a wow factor should be taken as the norm. We tend to find that clients have a really good idea of what they want, but have no idea what it takes to get there.

“We never promise anything we can’t deliver but rather deliver more than we promise.”

There is so much time put in behind the scenes with research, budgeting, meeting suppliers, site visits and so it goes on. Look into the key ingredients, venue, catering, entertainment. Once that’s locked down one can build on the rest. Our job is choosing the right suppliers to always execute and deliver on every event no matter what the size, budget or location. Always be realistic from the start.

What do you see as the main trends in events over the next couple of years?

We do know that the pantone colour for 2018 is Ultra Violet. This has been a huge baring on choice of flower colours. We seem to be going back in time now, cutting back. Vintage is still very popular for weddings as is rustic, very earthy especially in the country. Lots of green and white, wooden tables, woodland, lots of foliage. Stripped back, natural light, keeping things simple. Green white and silver grey. When it comes to themed parties, which we love, blockbuster films will always continue to take centre stage. Our job is to make sure they are authentic and real and guests are transported to a different world for a few hours.

If you had to give tips to anyone trying to get into the industry what would they be?

Go and work for as many sectors of the industry first. Caterers, marquee companies, venues, themers, florists. This way you’ll get a better understanding of how to be realistic with clients. I spent many years as a DJ, putting up marquees, laying dancefloors, working with caterers and florists, it gives you all the tools you need.

Events are a weird and wonderful industry and all those that work within it often have the moments where they realise just how mad it is. What is your moment?

It has to be when we were asked to organise the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carter in 2015 at Runnymede on the site it originally happened (a flood plain outside Windsor!)

The initial brief started out as an event for 500 and the Queen would cut a ribbon and open a plaque. It turned into an extravagant party for 4500 invited guests including the Queen, Prince Philip as well as Prince William and many more royals.

The police presence was huge with over 750 plain clothed police in the audience. We had a two hour window to get the guests in their seats. In addition to this, we had to build a sound stage for the London Philharmonic Orchestra who played throughout the day at different intervals, we then fed the 4500 guests at various food stalls and it all ended with a fly past by the red arrows. Quite a day taking 18 months in the planning from our offices in Surrey.

As a result, we now feel invincible and can pretty much take on any kind of event. There are very few party planners out there who can say they’ve done an event of this nature, organise a Royal Wedding and be voted in the top ten wedding planners of 2017 by Country Life, all of which we are incredibly proud of! We can’t wait for the challenges left in 2018 and those in 2019.

Explore more of Apollo Event Consultants through their Pearl & Pear profile.

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