Cena de gala

Gala dinner: 5 planning tips & exclusive venues in Barcelona


Organising a large gala dinner that exceeds attendees’ expectations and becomes a true experience for them is a challenging task, starting with the choice of the location, developing the theme (including decoration, entertainment and menu) and three other essential keys to success.

1. Set a schedule

Most gala dinners should start to being planned one year in advance. There are many areas to focus on and each one requires a considerable list of tasks. Having a document that establishes a general description of the main actions that must be done with a deadline for each of them is most useful.

Create the schedule on the first day of planning, which should be at least 12 months before the date, and make sure that all the stages are addressed on a monthly basis until the day of the gala dinner. As the meeting approaches, the actions should be considered in greater detail, -and addressed week by week.

2.Choosing a venue for the gala dinner

If you want to avoid the classic locations like the hall of a hotel with sufficient capacity for attendees, you first need to should let your imagination run wild: develop, strategic agreements with the best suppliers, spend hours considering options, make calls and send emails and visit each space.

At Empirance we love exploring the most unusual and unique places for a memorable gala dinner. We have classified some of the venues that we like the most and have surprised our clients the most, according to the profile of the hosting company.

Heritage buildings

The historical sites are often located placed in privileged locations that are, unparalleled settings for a gala dinner. They facilitate the design of appropriate themes for each event, having a narrative of their own that revolves around the history of the place.

There are many historic buildings in Barcelona that delight companies wanting to celebrate the most exclusive gala dinners. Some examples are the Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, the Llotja de Mar, the MNAC and much more. Some of the most innovative emblematic historical landmark ideas for a gala dinner are:

  • Palau Requesens: located in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, ​​this palace was the largest residential building in the city in medieval times and was, -owned by one of the most important families of the Catalan nobility, the Requesens. Its spaces are perfect for celebrating of all kinds of corporate events where light and colour take centre stage.
  • Drassanes Reials: a vestige of medieval maritime Barcelona, ​​the Drassanes (dockyards) constitute features a set of huge ships and fortified units where the largest vessels used to be built. Nowadays this building houses the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, -​​and hosts the most exquisite corporate events.
  • Museu Picasso: a sample of Catalan Gothic civil architecture, the first vestiges of the five palaces of Montcada Street that this famous museum occupies date back to the 13th-14th centuries. Its spaces are ideal for gala dinners and other corporate events where guests can enjoy the work of Picasso.

Academic and technological environments

Some universities in the region are located in the most splendid buildings that not only impress from the outside, -but offer the most exquisite interior design and optimum comfort for any event, however glamorous it may be. The of effort and excellence inherent to these places make it possible to weave the most inspiring themes for those attending a gala dinner. On the other hand, academic environments also offer an enticing value for money compared to other venues.

Academic venues, are usually conveniently located near transport links and provide accommodation in case events include a one-night stay.

Some of the spaces dedicated to education and research that are ideal for holding gala dinners in Barcelona are:

  • Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona: an eighteenth-century construction, this building is a wonderful option for gala dinners where a dedication to science and architecture is splendidly represented. Its spaces witnessed Albert Einstein’s explanation of the basics of relativity, -and house the historic Billeter astronomical clock that not only displays the time, but also indicates the position of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun with great precision until 2029.
  • Observatori Fabra: it is not the first time that we’ve referred to this space, ideal for corporate events that want to combine the magic of astronomy with any theme in particular. This modernist building was inaugurated at the beginning of the 20th century by King Alfonso XIII and is currently the fourth oldest astronomical observatory in the world still in operation.
  • Royal Academy of Medicine of Barcelona: this building is a must stop on any guided tour of the Raval district of Barcelona. It has a spectacular anatomical amphitheatre that was used to train surgeons like it’s portrayed in the television series, The Knick. Its spaces allow all kinds of corporate events, including gala dinners.

Sports teams

A sports venue is usually a great option for a gala dinner, not only for its easy access and parking, but also for its capacity and themes associated with sport. Organisers may even invite, an elite athlete to give a talk or plan a special tour to get to know the site in depth. Walking in the footsteps of a legendary athlete in a place where they achieved a historic feat can be especially inspiring.

Two of the most special sports venues in Barcelona for holding events are:

  • Camp Nou: the Futbol Club Barcelona stadium awakens passions around the world. That is why it is the preferred environment for companies who wish to infuse their gala dinners with the philosophy of this legendary club. Events can be held both in their interior spaces and on the field itself, with all kinds of audiovisual possibilities to, -make the experience last forever in the memory of attendees.
  • Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya: this space has the added value of being a unique setting associated with the elite competitions of Formula 1 and MotoGP, where organisers can to hold events with all kinds of options for making anthat will generate an impact on participants. Enjoy unparalleled spaces for a memorable gala dinner, from its luxurious interior spaces with privileged views to the extensive paddock, -in front of the track.

3. Choosing a theme for the gala dinner

Not every theme is suitable for a gala dinner, given the more demanding nature of this type of event. -In general, it is advisable to let a well-chosen venue speak for itself. The theme of a corporate event not only affects its structure, -but is also an effective way to convey an inspiring message to attendees and provide them with an enduring memory.

Some guidelines that we follow at Empirance Events when choosing the theme of an event such as a gala dinner are:

Objective of the gala dinner, message to be transmitted

A gala dinner is usually held to celebrate a successful year , a special holiday (Christmas, New Year …), the retirement of a founder, a charitable cause, etc. It is essential to be clear about what is expected to be achieved with the event and the underlying messages to be conveyed. This will give an idea of ​​which theme is most appropriate. Consequently, the theme should be easily incorporated into any chosen venue.

Profile of the attendees

A gala dinner where the profile of attendees includes investors or managers is not the same as one where the participants are mostly employees (with or without their families). We must consider their sociodemographic profile (such as their age, background, etc.) to detect what may be relevant to them and what things they might enjoy.

If information on previous events is available, such as surveys or written comments from attendees, it can be used to determine what worked and what did not.

The venue of the gala dinner

The venue of the event should be consistent with its theme and vice versa. Maybe a football stadium is not the most appropriate for a historical theme, just an old palace may not have much to do with a football theme. While it is true that one of greatest successes of an event may be surprising guests by transforming a famous space in an unexpected way, it is also true that most places lend themselves to a particular topic or feeling. Taking, advantage of this factor is the usually the best way to leave a positive impression and to maximise a budget.

The importance of the entrance to the event

The potential of the venue entrance plays an important role in the choice of the theme. Although guests spend the minimum time in this part registering and entering the location, the entrance is the first thing that generates an impression on the tone of the space. We must dedicate special care to this aspect, even if it is a simple inviting drape and a red carpet, -or a large floral installation and a catwalk. The entrance should begin to immerse us in the world we aim to create with the theme of the gala dinner.

Some of the most selective themes for a gala dinner can revolve around the performance of a famous musician or an acrobatic dance company, a sport or a specific athlete, a historical event, a film, a festivity, a different culture, etc.

4. Choose a dedicated team

In general, a gala dinner needs dedication and skill, especially if it involves raising funds that through tedious and complex activities like ticket sales or merchandising. Ideally, there should be a team member assigned to each main area of ​​the event, and even smaller groups, -consisting of staff or volunteers from the company that oversee the most important parts of the event, such as ticket sales, sponsorships, programmes, entertainment and decorations.

However, companies generally can -not afford to keep a dedicated team working full time to organise the event, -or do not have the knowledge and experience to succeed, so they prefer to hire an event planning company to organise the gala dinner. This way they can avoid extra costs and errors to meet, the objectives and achieve excellence.

5. Plan each minute

Of course, the major bulk of work occurs during the planning stages of the dinner, but most stress occurs on the night of the dinner itself. To make sure that the event unfolds without any surprises, it is essential to create a schedule for the night. This will ensure that the staff responsible for catering and, entertainment, the attendees and each and every participant understands the programme. Greater information means more people are aware of how things should happen and can therefore help solve any issue that may arise.

© Empirance 2024

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