Discover A First Class Design Gallery

Image source: Contributed

Whether planning an intimate gathering or corporate function, special events are made even easier with a game-changing design gallery as Deb Caruso discovers.

I am partial to throwing a party but even I know when it’s time to call in the experts! I have used First Class Functions in the past for both corporate events and private celebrations and have always known them to add value (and reduce stress) to any occasion. After more than 25 years delivering more than 5,000 weddings and events, they truly are the special occasion specialists!

Since purchasing the business two years ago, Melinda and Paul Gannan have bought their own touches to the business, including opening a game-changing full-service Design Gallery where clients can fully immerse themselves in the planning process.

Melinda said the Gallery offered clients the chance to have an interactive experience where they can look, touch and feel the various options in linen, furniture, rugs, centrepieces and more.

“People are very visual or tactile, so it makes a big difference for them to be able to style different combinations of chairs, centrepieces, cutlery, dinnerware and linen,” she said.

“Making decisions is a big part of the event journey so we give our clients a glass of bubbles and let them play with all the options. We’ve noticed that the men, in particular, are now more engaged in the decision making and they love to move things around, make suggestions and get hands-on; it’s good, it makes it a much more interactive experience.”

For interstate or international clients, it’s not unusual for the team to Skype with the client who has often already made a shortlist of options online.

“We can set the tables for them in real time and they can request us to swap elements until they are happy with the choices,” Melinda said.

“Our clients feel more in control even though they have the guidance of our stylist to let them know what is happening trend-wise. In the end, we’ll take a photo of the final combination so they know what they’re getting.”

In addition to the design gallery, there are also two commercial kitchens; a commercial laundry that Melinda says enables them to keep prices competitive and have quality control over the condition of the linen; and a full-service florist offering everything from large potted plants to installations and bouquets or wedding and event flowers.

“Having our sister company, Bud Naked, right here onsite has been great,” she said. “We saw a niche in the market to do something that complemented what we did but also stood by itself and again to help brides and event organisers if they want to come to one place for all their needs.”

This one-stop shop also has the community in mind offering their commercial kitchen space to local food artisans who want to create their products for their market stall. First Class Functions also calls in different experts that will be perfectly matched with their client’s needs to make sure every event is bespoke, customised and guaranteed to exceed expectations.

“There are lots of moving parts so people can buy the whole package or we can bring in other external suppliers or work with other elements as needed,” Melinda said.

First Class Functions works closely with local resorts such as Sofitel and Peppers to add an extra element when they are competing for conferences and corporate events. The First Class Functions team were also called in to style the sets for the latest season of Masterchef Australia when the show filmed in Noosa recently.

Melinda says that while they offer guidance, they also recognize that this is the client’s ‘big day’ and it is always their role to deliver.

With personalised service, local knowledge and attention to detail, it’s no wonder First Class Functions was awarded the Brides Choice Wedding Planner of the Year for the Sunshine Coast last year. It’s enough to make you want to get married all over again!

Melinda shares her top tips for the latest in event trends:

Eat Local – Melinda said there has been a rising demand for locally-sourced ingredients. “Noosa is getting a well-deserved place on the map for amazing local produce. I love designing menus that showcase the producers here in our backyard so you can enjoy it at your own private venue – not just in restaurants.”

Casual Glamour – People are loving pared-down luxury where events are less showy but the budget is invested in the things that matter and have the biggest impact such as food, flowers, handmade dinnerware and bespoke linen.

Focus on Flowers – If event organisers should invest in one thing it should be flowers. They make such a big difference to the whole experience and with so many fresh and dried arrangements on offer, they can link the event to the natural environment that surrounds us.

What’s In and Out – Lighting is important but giant LOVE lights are out. Photobooths with cool personalised backdrops are growing in popularity; as is gold and black cutlery with matching linen. The day of the chair cover and sash is on its way out and we’re embracing natural textures and character chairs.

Want more?

First Class Functions & Bud Naked
Open 8.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri;
9am-12pm Sat and by appointment.
44 Rene St, Noosaville
Phone: 5474 0299

About the Author /

Deb has 25+ years' experience providing strategic communications and brand reputation advice to clients in the government, business and not-for-profit clients. She is passionate about Noosa and is an active member of her community, providing PR to Slow Food Noosa and other clients. Her passion lies in working with small businesses to help them succeed. She is planning to release the Tastes of Noosa cookbook with Matt Golinski in 2019.

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