5 Easy Steps to Planning a Social

Feb 29, 2016
Cheers

Socials are one of Manitoba’s most cherished traditions. It may seem simple to book a venue, sell tickets and buy some liquor, but in fact it can become more complicated than you think, especially if you have a tight window to plan the event.

We’re here to help.

After polling some ‘social’ experts and researching the regulatory requirements for holding a licensed event, we’ve pulled together this five-step guide to making your social a guaranteed success. Whether you’re planning a friend’s wedding social, organizing a team celebration or putting together an event to raise money for charity, our easy guide has made this Prairie institution a whole lot easier to pull off!

Step 1 — Choose a Date and Venue

The first step is deciding on a date and location for the big event. According to Lisa Hansen, spokesperson for the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba (LGA), the province has an extensive catalogue of potential social venues across the province, available for review at mylga.ca. This website will play a key part in planning your social, as all licensed events require a permit from the LGA and the entire process can be completed online (forms may also be completed at any Manitoba Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store).

If you choose a unique venue that is not listed, the online application includes a section where you can submit your location for approval. “We are open to considering other venues, but keep in mind the LGA requires you to apply at least 14 days in advance of your event to ensure we can approve your location,” says Hansen.

If your venue is already an approved licensed establishment, you don’t necessarily need to apply for a social permit. In that case, your event may fall under the venue’s liquor licence. Discuss your requirements with your venue before filling out a social occasion permit application.

Step 2 — Get the Paperwork in Order

If you applied online at mylga.ca for your social occasion permit, the LGA will send you an email advising when your application is approved. If an application was completed in a store, you will receive a call from the Liquor Mart indicated on the form, typically the outlet at which you plan to buy alcohol for the event. For additional information on the permit, please check out the FAQ page, email onlinepermits@LGAmanitoba.ca or call 204-474-5666 (toll-free 1-888-898-6522).

Step 3 — Raffle Readiness

What would a social be without a raffle? If you’re applying for an individual social permit, there is no additional cost for the raffle, it is included as part of the original application, which costs $50. If your social falls under an approved venue’s liquor licence, you must complete a separate social raffle application, which can also be found here. There is no charge to apply for a social occasion raffle. Keep in mind that raffle prizes cannot exceed $500, unless it is donated then the value is considered to be zero.

Step 4 — Top Liquor Picks 

Once you have applied for the permit, it’s time to visit the Liquor Mart where you plan to buy the liquor. Kyle Peacock, Store Manager at Sage Creek Liquor Mart, says staff are on hand to guide you through the process.

“The customer ultimately knows the crowd better than us, but we have a very good guide we can offer that is based on generic consumption at these events,” he explains. “We go off the capacity of the hall, how many attendees that are of age, past records of how many units are ordered versus returned — and then we’ll suggest a specific amount of liquor based on this grid format.”

The guidelines vary each year depending on new products and trends in the marketplace, and the order should always include any unique products expected to be popular with the crowd.

Peacock suggests applicants visit the store at least 10 business days prior to the event to ensure the store can get all required products on hand.

Step 5 — The Big Night

All paperwork must be present at the event, including the permit and all receipts for liquor purchases.

Now that the plans are in place, all you have to do is enjoy the great event you’ve pulled off!