San Remo Ballroom has stood on Carlton’s Nicholson Street since 1967. There’s a reason it’s stood the test of time, and that it’s still one of Melbourne’s most popular function venues, hosting everything from corporate celebrations to nights reliving the golden days of the Carlton Football club.
Today we chat to Cinzia Daskarolis of the San Remo Ballroom events team, who takes us behind the scenes of this Melbourne icon.
As far as venues go, there are few better suited to for a gala dinner celebrating the Carlton Football Club’s glory days than San Remo Ballroom. Firstly, it’s a Carlton mainstay. Secondly, the venue is incredibly adept at hosting that sort of event: elegant, large-scale and fun-loving.
Event Planning Manager Cinzia (herself a football fan, and was first place in the San Remo Ballroom office footy tipping competition when we spoke) describes the night as a joy, full of laughs, stories, good food, and plenty of footy-related reminiscing.
Guests enjoyed a night dining amongst Carlton’s stars of the ‘80s and ‘90s, including Wayne Johnston, Stephen Kernahan, Anthony Koutoufides, and coach David Parkin. All took a turn onstage sharing a few of their best stories from their time at Carlton, from heroics during a game, to riling up the boys when facing an opposing team on a hot streak. It was a night of nostalgia, daring on-field exploits, and plenty of laughter.
Behind the scenes however, the team wasn’t focused on the witty banter on-stage. Number one priority for the San Remo team on the night of an event is ensuring each guest is having a good time, that the running order goes to plan, and that (most importantly) drinks are continuous.
That each portion of the night flowed smoothly and without a hitch, and that the auction (of Carlton memorabilia, naturally) was a resounding success is all sign of a well-oiled machine of a venue’s team. And the way to ensure that’s the case? Planning, knowing your event inside and out, and methodically ticking all the boxes.
The San Remo Ballroom had a short lead time in the run up to the Champions of Carlton dinner. Prostar Entertainment was at the helm of the event, so it was up to Cinzia and her team to liaise Prostar director Adrian Aiello and his team, making sure everything planned would be executed.
Guiding them with timing and ensuring the logistics of each portion flowed – from the auction to the LED lighting that changes the colours of the ballroom draping, to the interviews and the couches the ex-players would sit on while on-stage.
So. What would be the top pieces of advice from someone with that amount of event expertise?
According to Cinzia, it’s in large part giving yourself enough time to plan and execute your event to the standard you want, especially if your event has multiple elements to pull together. And of course, choosing professional and experienced people to work with on your event. Making sure you have enough time to focus on the event itself is a godsend when it comes down to the crunch.
The other piece of vital advice: have an amazing MC. Having someone who can get the crowd going, who is fun, and who’s confident enough to take ownership of what’s taking place onstage – that can make or break an event.
And as for the number one pitfall that could be avoided: organising without key dates and deadlines in mind. Know your event inside out, and work towards achievable deadlines – no matter the lead time for the event.
As for the upcoming end of year event season, San Remo Ballroom will see its historic Art Deco surrounds transformed from ‘Gatsby’ to James Bond, to a lavish carnival vibe – and likely back to your slick corporate celebration theming.
San Remo Ballroom is one of our top picks this end of year event season – ideal for corporate events, university balls, and client events.