A Family Summer Ball with Samantha Salisbury

In this week’s episode of Desert Island Events, Narmeen speaks with event manager/director and founder of the Get Ahead in Events Facebook group and Event Careers Club. Alongside this, Samantha also teaches an MA in Creative Events Management! Samantha has been in the industry for over 20 years, starting off her career in Events working at the old Wembley stadium. Samantha’s Facebook group –  Get Ahead in Events was founded in February 2020, and consists of over 700 members involving a group for event professionals in any stage of their career to meet weekly (virtually), connect and network with each other.

Samantha’s describes her dream event as a ‘big Summer Ball’ – a summer event that celebrates her wedding anniversary and that of her parents!’ A picture-perfect event anticipated to be held post-2020!

Samantha describes her summer celebration as a suited and booted event, event with a formal vibe (she’s picturing black tie with a pop of colour!), held amid a summer’s evening with ‘adult-only’ entertainment and live music! Samantha’s dream venue would be a huge marquee in her back garden, hosted by a local marquee company based in the heart of Cambridge. Samantha describes the marquee as plain white, embellished with fairy lights across the length of the roof. With the weather permitting – Samantha would love for the marquee to be completely open, letting in the last of the natural evening light and warm air into the marquee. There would be a spectacular, floral backdrop behind the band with a hot pink, bright green and vibrant orange theme!

Samantha envisions a vibrant and colourful, Mardi Gras theme for the event with beautifully decorated tables placed around her garden venue. The tables would be decorated by florists which would comprise of high table displays so as guests walk in they are greeted by the immaculately decorated tables with palm leaves, tropical plants, (i.e. orchids and gerbera’s), and small gifts – imitating a mini wedding! Guests would be invited via a brightly-coloured, e-invite which would give an insight into the dress code and what to expect on the big day. The event would begin – as all of our favourite events do – with a drinks reception, outside of the marquee with entertainers, including a steel band, playing calypso music to add to the lively atmosphere. The event would hold around 100 of Samantha’s close friends and family who would be served raindbow-coloured cocktails on trays to begin their nigh of fun!

The dress code for the event would be black tie for the gents – with a pop of colour – to match the Mardi Gras theme, as well as colourful suits and dresses for the ladies. In terms of entertainment, Samantha describes a professional, but comedic, MC host to entertain the crowd alongside different bands playing throughout the night! Guests would be left dancing throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning, cocktail glass in hand!

Now onto our favourite part – catering! There would be canapes on arrival so guests can stand and chat amongst themselves as the event unfolds. These would include easy-to-eat, light starters such as bruschetta with tomato chutney and mini smoked salmon bagels. Yum!

Samantha pictures big sharing plates and boards on the tables as the main course for guests to pick and choose from as they please. The main caterer for the event would be Middle Eastern-inspired street food by The Wandering Yak. This would consist of a host of spiced flatbreads, decadent houmous, light curries and saffron-coloured rice alongside a range of Caribbean dishes! Alongside their meals, guests would be welcomed to an array of red, white and rosé wines! To finish off, a huge dessert table would be waiting for guests to pick from and would feature a whole host of baked goods! Samantha’s picturing brightly coloured cupcakes, cake pops, tiramisu’s, trifles and more all from local bakeries in Cambridge! Drinks for the evening would consist of brightly coloured (of course!) cocktails and mocktails garnished with umbrellas and the classic cherry on a stick! A few of the local bars and drinks companies that Samantha would love to have host the event include ‘NOVI’ based in Cambridge and her local pub – only two doors down, how convenient!

So that was Samantha’s ideal summer ball event in a nutshell – the type of event we’d love to attend in a COVID-free world!

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Episode 13