Venue update

Please note our daytime bookings are open from June 2024. We remain open for evening and weekend event bookings. Please contact us to find out more about our availability.

Our guide to planning your next party

May 2023

Organising a night of fine dining for a large group of people can feel like a daunting task. The menus, the drinks, the entertainment, the logistics… There’s so much to consider, where do you even begin?

The events team here at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace has a wealth of experience in hosting spectacular banquets at our historic London venue and we wanted to share with you our failsafe guide to planning a big event. Follow our advice and you’ll be able to organise a stress-free party your guests will remember for years to come.

First things first. Before you start getting into any of the interesting bits, you need to decide on your budget. There’s no point brainstorming theme ideas and cocktail recipes until you know exactly how much you’ve got to spend, otherwise you could end up setting your heart on something that simply isn’t possible. Once you’ve come up with your number, we’d advise you to siphon off around 10 per cent for last-minute flourishes. Splashing out on a live band might be the upgrade that takes your event to the next level, but this might not become apparent until quite far into the process. The last thing you want is to have spent all of your money before it comes to the finishing touches.

Time and date are the next thing you need to consider. It might be you have a fixed, immovable date, but if you don’t, consider whether or not there are any key players on your invite list you might want to confer with before you firm up. It’s also worth putting in some research to see if there are any big, nationwide or local events which might impact attendance at your dinner, or that may affect public transport on any of your optioned nights.

If you’re toying with a couple of different dates, it’s worth starting your venue search while you’re in discussions. London banquet venues can get booked up months – sometimes years – in advance, so don’t waste any time and get some show rounds scheduled in.

It’s likely that your venue will insist you use their in-house catering team, so keep in mind you’re probably choosing your caterers at the same time as your space. Be prepared to ask all of your menu and drinks questions during the tours of your short-listed venues. It’s also worth asking the venue co-ordinator which dishes they would recommend to wow your guests, as they will know what has proved most popular with previous clients – and which ingredients and recipes are trending at other events.

Deciding on the menu and drinks at your party is one of the most important, and exciting, parts of organising a large private dining event. You will, no doubt, be presented with a range of menus promising exquisite dishes, delicious cocktails and fabulous wines. But as well as thinking about how wonderful everything will taste on the night, consider asking about the seasonality and sustainability of the ingredients the kitchen uses. It’s possible your guests will be asking these questions, so make sure you have the answers and that they align with your views.

When you’re speaking to a potential venue, find out which member, or members, of their team you’ll be working with. You’ll be relying on their expertise to help you realise your vision, so it’s worth ensuring there’s the potential for a good, working relationship. During these initial conversations, it’s also worth asking them upfront what challenges other planners have come up against and, just as importantly, whether or not there are any other costs you might need to consider. You may well have organised dozens of events in your career, but there will be quirks and considerations specific to every venue that only their staff understand.

Whatever type of party you’re hosting, it’s worth considering having a theme. It might be that you go all out with decorations, entertainment, food and costumes, but this isn’t the only tactic. A more subtle approach, which just gently weaves the different elements of your event together, will still be appreciated by your guests and help give you some structure when making your creative decisions. Our advice is to choose a venue which doesn’t need too much dressing to give it that wow factor. Period features, impressive views, high ceilings, sweeping staircases… if your space has any of these elements, you can cut your decorations budget right back and let the venue speak for itself.

Your next event at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace

Clients who hold events here at our historic London venue tell us that the flexibility of our stunning spaces, the quality of our catering and our enviable location in the heart of Westminster are just some of the reasons they book their private dining parties with us. With 10 unique spaces to choose from, each of which has its own story to tell, we have the perfect fit for every occasion.

If you’re looking to host an evening of fabulous food and drinks, have a look at our new, responsibly-sourced, seasonal menus. To discuss your dates and ideas, call our events team on 020 7969 5224 or email them via