When planning a themed party, one of the hardest challenges can be to think of something that will include everyone – in particular when the age group ranges from 16 – 83!
For Holly Squires, her dream for her 18th birthday was to throw an amazing party that embraced the style and elegance of adulthood, along with her passion for the performing arts – with a good dose of mischief and cheekiness to remember!
So the idea for a 007 party was born.
Everyone’s favourite British Secret Service agent is renowned for his sophisticated style, glamorous women and daring exploits. Therefore the venue needed to have a sense of class and adventure. That’s when Turk’s flagship party boat the New Southern Belle became involved.
I love fashion, film and photography, so I wanted to find a different kind of venue. I didn’t want a club and most decent venues require a minimum of 120 people meaning the rooms can be too large and lack atmosphere. We were catering for 80 people.
My Dad and I love boats so I wanted to explore the idea – even though it was to be held 30th November!
After looking at Turk’s website I booked to view the Yarmouth Belle as it was such a pretty boat. But when we arrived I spotted the New Southern Belle and fell in love! It had a majestic elegance that I could immediately associate with a Bond movie!
Once inside, I knew I had found what I was looking for. It is deceptively spacious and has its own quintessential style with the beautifully polished wood, spiral staircases and plush booths. What I also liked was that we would be able to personalise the boat as we wanted.
I love to be creative and my plan was to draw together different elements of Bond films. Despite it being November, the interior of the boat lent itself perfectly to creating a tropical theme. Through Turk’s, I liaised with decorations specialist Eleni from Pick of the Bunch.
She created a stunning display of flowers that ran throughout the upper and lower decks and along the spiral staircases. The effect was beautiful. The interior boat poles were wrapped with ribbon, huge playing cards were placed around, there were candles and palm leaves – she had perfectly captured an Asian tropical influence with classic Bond themed touches and just enough sparkle to WOW!
Meet & greet with Daniel Craig lookalike!
Well, you only turn 18 once. And I admit to having a passionate crush on Daniel Craig! Temptation got the better of me and as I figured Daniel himself may be slightly busy… I researched for a Daniel Craig lookalike! I just thought it would be amazing fun – if you can’t be crazy at 18, when can you?
So I hired Steve Wright who was the Daniel Craig stunt double in Quantum of Solace to come along. Yes, I had my very own dashing secret service agent to greet and entertain everyone as they arrived on board. My imagination did stretch to him arriving in a speedboat and leaping on-board- but I had to continue dreaming about that one!
I wanted the first part of the evening to be atmospheric with music so a piano medley of all the Bond themes played as everyone stepped on board, greeted by Daniel (!) with the Turks team on hand to offer the first welcome drink.
Most James Bond movie plots thicken around money. And I had to make the most of my Daniel Craig moment! So, on the lower deck of the boat we created Casino Royale by adding a roulette table and croupier – all organised by Turk’s. It was a huge hit, many people actually spent more time there than on the dance floor!
Gorgeous Foods & Dancing
Everyone was dressed in Bond classic glamour – the guys in Tuxedos and the girls in elegant evening dresses so I wanted food that would be easy to eat whilst socialising.
Turks selected caterer Gorgeous Foods provided a wonderful array of hot and cold canapes.
After the food had been served, the DJ did a superb job of filling the dance floor with all the popular disco tunes. Later on there were platters of wraps and sandwiches for when everyone had danced up an appetite.
What I loved about the boat was that everyone had the space to do what they wanted to do. Despite being November, the outside deck was packed all night! There were fantastic views of places I so familiar with and it was amazing to see them lit up at night from the river.
The dance floor was full, Casino Royale was buzzing with banter and laughter and people just enjoyed being at the bar or sitting and having a chat in one of the booths.
Later in the evening we had speeches and everyone gathered on the upper floor. There were a couple of surprises in store when two singers organised by a family friend appeared and serenaded me to Bring Me Home. And I received a birthday card from Judi Dench – I had met her at a photo shoot where I assisted Will who runs Pixel8Pictures. It can’t get more James Bond than M!
What I loved the most about my birthday boat party!
Where do I start? The whole night was more than anything I could have ever wanted. To have everyone there, my family and friends and see them all having such a good time was simply amazing.
The boat was so special – really unique as a party venue as the boat is all yours – you are not sharing your space.
The Turk’s team care about you as a person and getting things right – any whacky idea I presented them with they just helped to make a reality. Throughout the night they looked after everything, we didn’t have to think about a thing.
At the beginning my idea for a 007 party was just a small acorn and along the way it grew and grew! That said, for everything that we envisioned, planned and for how we transformed the boat into a floating medley of Bond movies, it was incredibly good value.
Most of all – it was tremendous fun, I will remember it forever. For a party venue with a difference, I highly recommend you to try it.
With Thanks to Pixel8Pictures
Holly & Turks extend an enormous thank you to William at Pixel8Pictures who took the photos on the night and has given Turks permission to use.