Entertainment is all about networking, and, er – entertaining.  So, it should come as no surprise that you may be asked to plan events in which industry professionals and talent can mix and mingle.  If you’ve been handed such a task and have to come up with a party theme, here are some no-fail ideas sure to bring out the best from both sides of the industry.

Fashion Show. A fail-safe no-brainer, fashion shows are often held to showcase talent, allow for additional talent to attend, and to entice out the industry’s best.  Guests are drawn to the entertaining experience, an appealing performance, good company, and good food.  Remember to stock up on some yummy hors d’oeuvres and drinks and pick a venue that can allow for adequate seating. For a larger event, forget a time-consuming seating chart.  But, make sure to ask for reservations and keep track of the head count.

Cocktail Mixer. Similar to the fashion show presentation-wise, but with more of a focus on mixing and mingling rather than sitting and watching.  While including a show means that there is a specified break from networking, a “mixer” implies that this is the focus of the event.  Food and drinks are key to keeping guests present and engaging with others.  The ambiance should also include suitable background music or could even include a pianist or easy-listening hired performer, but the hired help shouldn’t take away from the conversation.

Pampering Event. People like to be pampered.  Proven fact – probably.  In this fast-paced world, a little rest and relaxation is always welcome.  So, why not give those always in the spotlight some needed R&R?  You can line up make up artists, hair dressers, massage therapists, nail technicians and others who are skilled at letting guests unwind and spruce up their looks.  Then, focus your efforts on food and the event’s ambiance, including calming music, portable fountains, and just the right lighting.  Debi Lilly, party planner and owner of A Perfect Event in Chicago also suggests including calming centerpieces at round tables set up for a quick snack and chat.  “You want relaxing and soothing and minimalistic centerpieces,” Lilly says. “It kind of transports you to a more relaxed and positive state.”  Candles scented with lavender and white flowers help set the mood.  You can offer tea sandwiches, cheese, fruit and veggie trays, bite-sized desserts and tea or lemonade to drink.

Comedy Show. Everyone likes a good laugh, right?  These events can also be very popular if you find the right person for the job, of course.  Make sure you look up any comic’s reviews ahead of time, and get references, if you can.  No ultra-raunchy jokes, of course.  Offer a great spread food-wise and consider including show-like snacks.  You can rent a popcorn maker and cotton candy machine and offer soft drinks.

Come Out for a Cause. If there is a great cause you’re passionate about, chances are others are, too.  Plan an event around this cause, asking for donations at the door – include a minimum, if you’d like – rather than selling tickets.  You can color-theme the event to fit, such as choosing pink décor and cupcake frosting on the dessert table for breast cancer awareness.  Consider offering free entry and special accommodations to survivors and/or their family members.  The gesture is sure to be appreciated

All things considered, no matter the type of event you choose, your focus should primarily be on the venue and menu.  Consider asking talent you’ve networked with to join in on the festivities – promotional models to greet guests, comics or musicians, depending on the theme – and create a guest list from existing industry contacts before broadcasting the details to a wider audience.  Stay organized and, when the big day comes, you’re sure to pull off a show-stopper!