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Our worst nightmare has returned again – Loadshedding. It strikes fear into the heart of event planners and party hosts everywhere! But, you can make it work to your advantage and show your guests how clever you can be. Our team has come up with some ‘bright’ 😉 and innovative ways to host an event without electricity. So there’s no need to panic when the lights go out.

Cold and Unplugged Catering Ideas

Poke bowls are the perfect dish to serve when catering without electricity. They are a vibrant and healthy alternative to a hot cooked meal; they are also perfect for vegetarian and vegans.

One of favorite poke bowl recipes is this Spicy Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Poke Bowl by Jessica Gavin. This irresistible poke bowl recipe is a breeze to make especially when you are out of power the only preparation that needs to be made is steaming the rice. This recipe guarantees that guests will be running back for more.

(Click the pin to view the full recipe)

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An outdoor barbeque is the perfect catering ideas when the lights are out. Enjoy fresh foods from the fire under the night sky (on indoors if you absolutely must). We’ve been daydreaming about a good New Orleans-style Southern barbeque for weeks! Think Cajun spiced shrimp, saucy ribs, a seafood jambalaya, sweet iced-ice (with a dash of bourbon) and pecan pie to finish. You can pre-cook dishes like gumbo and jambalaya and just pre-heat before service. You can hire our 4 Burner Gas BBQ here.

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Light up your space the old fashion way

There are so many ways to light up your space without having to flip a light switch. What did folks do before the lightbulb was invented in 1879? There is something raw and magical about dinning under candlelight. Candle light can make large spaces feel intimate.

Thank candlelight, gas lamps, solar jars, fairy lights, fairy lights in jars. Make sure you browse through our selection of candle holders here: https://shop.xlevents.co.za/candle-holders/

Entertaining Without Electricity

Unplugged musicians

Last but not least, what about the music!? You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of talented acoustic/unplugged local music options like …

hip and oh-so-cool ACOUSTIC ELEMENT

the I-dare-you-to-try-and-keep-your-feet-still ABAVUKI

the beautiful African sounds of ZAMANANI BROTHERS CULTURAL GROUP

or the fabulous DIXIE SWINGERS BAND (perfect for your Southern Barbeque)

These are just a few quick ideas on how to beat the loadshedding schedule but we’re sure that if you put your mind to it, you could come up with a whole lot more!

If you’re looking for any kind of rental for your off-the-grid event, remember to contact our team on info@xlevents.co.za and we’ll happily source what you need!

Kimpston Hotels and Restaurants have recently released their much anticipated annual food and drink trend forecast. The brand, which owns over 65+ hotels across the world (including the USA, England, Thailand, the Cayman Islands, Spain, Japan and Taiwan), also runs 39 unique restaurants within its various properties – offering a world of interesting dining experiences.

“This forecast has been able to pinpoint past favourites like last year’s Aperol Frosé and predict the next big thing in flavours and ingredients like black garlic, s’chug [hot sauce] and nutritional yeast for 2020,” aid Scott Gingerich, Kimpton’s SVP of restaurants & bars.

Here are a few things you should be adding to your event menus in 2020 according to their report:

FERMENTED FOODS that promote gut-health will continue to be firm favourites. Think tempeh (fermented soybeans), pickled vegetables, Chinese pu-er tea and kimchi.

VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN options are a must-have as more people shift to meat-free diets or simply choose to observe meat-free days. One of South Africa’s favourite family steak restaurants has recently launched its Beyond Burger, a 100% plant-based burger patty developed in the US. Gluten-free and dairy-free options should already be available on your menu.

– The most influential cuisine in 2020?  According to 40% of chefs surveyed for the report, expect to see LEVANTINE-INSPIRED CUISINE (Israeli, Turkish and Lebanese) make prominent appearances.

– Learn to embrace SOUR FLAVOURS as chefs experiment with ingredients such as rhubarb, tamarind and infused-vinegars.

– Chefs will be taking the traditional Peruvian CEVICHE to new heights with unexpected ingredients like spicy tomato granita to pickled carrot to whipped avocado.

INGREDIENTS THAT TOPPED CHEFS’ LISTS

Top Ingredients for 2020

On the drinks side, the trend of guests choosing LOW-ALCOHOL, LIGHT SPRITZERS will continue but bartenders will be experimenting with local flavours and fresh ingredients. Try this rosé and agave lemonade spritzer or this traditional Aperol spritzer (and pretend you’re on the Italian Riviera).

View the entire trend board below and read Kimpton’s press release here.

Kimpton Culinary Trends

When you’ve had all the singers, dancers, comedians and motivational speakers you can handle, here are some event entertainment ideas that will surprise and delight your guests.

1. Silent Disco

If your guest list is made up of people of various ages, it can be hard to choose a genre of music that everyone will enjoy. Now you don’t have to! Silent Disco allows users to choose a channel of music to listen to through their headsets. Add some extra excitement by having three DJs perform at the same time. Guests can switch from hearing one DJ to the next at the flick of a button.

An extra bonus is that guests who want to get down and boogie can set the volume as loud as they are comfortable with, while your other guests get on with mingling in the silence (but we do suggest some vibey but low volume) background music.

 

Silent Disco

2. Synchronised Swimmers

It’s hot and sunny outside and you’re hosting an event around a pool or body of water. Synchronised swimmers are the perfect way to bring your event space alive. Think of it as a dance and gymnastics performance … in water. Make sure your swimmers are wearing bling costumes to add some high-end glam.

Find South Africa’s Synchronised Swimming Clubs here.

Synchronised Swimming

3. Projection-Mapping

Travel through time, space, colour, shape and sound. Bring your wildest dreams to life on the biggest canvas you can imagine.

3. Human Tables

So you’re planning a cocktail party and your event space is too small to accommodate a band. Combine your food service with your entertainment! We’ve seen event planners use human tables for canapes, drinks service or delicate desserts … you can quite literally allow your imagination run wild.

Human Tables

5. Pole Theatre

Gone are the days when pole dance was confined to seedy strip clubs. This artistic discipline is on its way to becoming an Olympic sport. The extreme strength and grace required to perform many of these gravity-defying routines is quite a sight to behold. Don’t believe us? Watch for yourself!

Now that we’ve given you 5 spectacular ideas for some out-of-the-box entertainment options for your events, be sure to tag us in your event pictures (@xleventscapetown) if you use any of them!


Need some help with your event entertainment? The XL Events team are standing by to assist – with years of experience in planning and managing entertainment and AV requirements. Chat to us on info@xlevents.co.za or 021 556 8687.

Many of us have attended an expo at some point in our lives, either for work or as a visitor. Whether you go all out or keep it simple, what you do want to do, is make sure your stand attracts potential customers! You want your brand to be instantly recognisable, and your stand to be engaging.

 

We’ve put together a few tips to help you stand out in a crowded exhibition space!

1. Maximise the Space

 

 

Coil Candy @ Vaper Expo Show 2018 – NEC, Birmingham
Coil Candy @ Vaper Expo Show 2018 – NEC, Birmingham

Booth sizes can be restrictive and are often chosen based on budget. Always confirm dimensions well in advance so you know exactly what you have to work with, and you can start planning.

Make sure there are no physical obstructions or barriers when entering and exiting and encourage flow through your stand.

 

2. Think about reaching for the stars

 

 

 

Although many exhibition stands have a maximum head height, some larger venues have an extremely high floor-to-ceiling. It’s worthwhile to check if there’s a maximum stand height! If there isn’t, the ceiling is quite literally the limit! Bring in high signage, suspended props or incorporate interesting lighting so you catch the attendee’s eye from the moment they enter the exhibition and attract them to your stand.

 

3. Lay off the heavy text

 

 

 

Less is more here! There is a lot going on at exhibitions, and no one is going to stop to read lengthy text.

Use a slogan that people will remember after the event, rather than listing product information that few people will pay attention to.

Short, punchy, and memorable is what you want here!

Use a font that is clear and big enough to be seen from a distance. Try to place your text on the top half of your exhibit stand so that it is not blocked by people in your display area.

 

4. Light it up!

 

 

 

Lighting plays a very important role in the design of exhibition stands and is often not given enough attention when planning.

Lights enhance the aesthetic of your stand, create ambience and set the mood when used correctly. For example, a company that’s showcasing home furnishings might want to look at using soft lighting in warm tones to create a comfy and inviting atmosphere.

Use additional lighting and don’t rely on what’s supplied by the venue. Spotlights, up lights and coloured lights are a great way to highlight new products or special sections in your stand.

 

5. Get graphic

 

 

 

Images, videos, and graphics are a quick and effective medium to communicate a complex message or idea instead of loads of text.

Make sure your graphics can be seen from a distance and aren’t hidden or blocked by anything. Videos can be really useful in adding to the mood of your stand.

 

 

6. Consider different materials

 

 

 

Using the right materials can reinforce your image and create a stand design that will attract your target market.

Are you in the tech industry? Perhaps you want a contemporary design and feel- brushed aluminium panels or chrome detailing could be a good choice.

Smooth, plastic mouldings are also a great way to create a modern, clean feel. A good option for those in the pharmaceutical or medical industry.

8. Include Tech

 

 

 

Including tech in your stand can do a great deal in making your stand memorable.

Product demos are a huge part of trade shows, as they allow you to get your product right in front of your target market. Take the opportunity to showcase a live prototype e.g. an automation firm could showcase their products by creating a robotic barman who could serve refreshments to attendees.

9. Create an immersive experience

 

immersive exhibition stand design example

 

 

Check out this incredible stand for Bombay Sapphire gin.  Once visitors were inside the train they experienced different dishes, a projection of moving images, music, lighting and even fragrance to represent different botanical locations. A brilliant example of an immersive stand experience!

10. Exhibition stand freebies

 

 

 

On-stand giveaways are tried and tested trick to pull in visitors but rather than just handing out freebies. A cool idea is to incorporate gifts into the actual design of your stand. No one needs another pen, try something unique, that matches your brand!

You can also try interactive giveaways like free massages or manicures and design a special area for these to take place.

 

There are some truly incredible examples online that you can use to create a really memorable, interactive and fun exhibition stands. Gone are the days of manning the stand handing out lanyards, business cards and pens. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse potential customers into your brand experience, so they choose you and not your competitors!

The Spring/Summer season is without a doubt the busiest time of the year for wedding planners. Given that the weather is likely to play along, flowers are in bloom and and the vibe is generally just well, light and breezy.

However, there is definitely something to be said for gorgeous autumn and winter weddings. Especially in South Africa, where for the most part, we only have to fight with the cold in the evenings. We’re really lucky in that we get some really beautiful winter days, and because it’s South Africa, we’re not short of incredible views, gorgeous venues and beautiful flora.

If you’re planning a winter wedding, take a look at how you can make your day an event to be remembered!

 

LUXURIOUS JEWEL TONES

You’re going to have a relatively neutral palette to work, with nature in hibernation for the most part. Burgundies, golds and navies are going to pop against a white or neutral palette, and against the wedding gown – so it is a fabulous opportunity to create a luxe winter wedding.

TEXTURE

Think Elsa! Channel your inner snow queen and make use of embellishments like embroidery, brocade and beading! Fabrics can be satins, metallics, velvets and fur (faux of course – in case you missed that memo!). 

GO MINIMAL

If all these embellishment and fur is a little too extra for you, keep it light and simple with an ivory palette and winter wonderland feel. Splashes greenery and light touches of soft colour ought to do the trick. A winter wedding by candlelight sounds dreamy!

COZY FAVOURS

There are so many lovely winter wedding ideas to keep your guests feeling cozy throughout the celebrations! Embroider a lovely message into a cozy blanket, give out cookie and milk favours, or send home so hot chocolate mix.

 

Winter weddings can be minimal or luxe, but always cozy, inviting and festive. Happy planning!