Destination: Melbourne

Aussie event inspiration from one of the world’s friendliest cities

Life down under is known for being an experience unlike anywhere else in the world. Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city, is no exception.

An emerging hub of medical innovation, Melbourne is known for its livability for people of all interests. Sports fans keep up their reputation as Australia’s biggest zealots, hipster artists cluster in the country’s best coffee shops, international communities mingle with one another—all with the friendliness that sees Melbourne consistently land on lists of the world’s friendliest cities.

It’s a splendid meeting destination with a vibe worth replicating. But if you can’t be there in person, we’ve got a few ideas on how to capture the spirit of Melbourne at your next gathering, with inspiration from the Melbourne Marriott Hotel.

Decorations Fit for the Melbourne Cup

Melbourne is home to many sports fans: Depending on the season, football, cricket, tennis and rugby games populate sports venues and televisions screens across the city. Come Nov. 5, many are also cluing in to the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most prestigious horse racing event. Started in 1861, the Melbourne Cup is hosted at Flemington Racecourse just outside the city.

To replicate the grandeur of the event, throw a posh luncheon decorated simply but elegantly, with a clean design and a classic, neutral color scheme. Include horse accents and flowers together for centerpieces, though remember to keep it simple and not overwhelming.

For added ambience, encourage guests to wear derby attire fit for the Melbourne Cup. For women, that means pastel dresses and fancy hats, while men should wear suits with festive accents, including seersucker ties or bow ties and a pop of pastel color.

Shower It in Flowers

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne are among the prettiest sights—and biggest attractions—in the city. The 38-hectare plot of land (roughly 93.9 acres) is home to more than 8,500 plants from around the world.

To incorporate the natural beauty of the gardens in your event, use Australian flowers as centerpieces or décor throughout your meeting. The golden wattle, for example, is the national flower of the country, while golden everlasting daisies, the pink common heath and mulla mulla flowers are native to Victoria, the state Melbourne is located in.

Serve Australian Favorites

Vegemite, barramundi, and hamburgers topped with beetroot rank high among the country’s national cuisines. But for attendees who might be less adventurous in their food choices, you can lean on Australia’s booming meat industry. Consider creating a beef dish that showcases some local spices and herbs.

However, if you do want to give guests a taste of the flavors specific to Australia, offer appetizers or bite-sized samplings of some of the country’s beloved dishes.

Wine and Dine Guests

Just outside the busy city life of Melbourne is wine country. Dominated by chardonnay, shiraz and pinot noir grape varieties, locals and tourists alike flock to the varying wine regions to taste test what each winery has to offer.

But if you can’t take guests on a wine tour, bring it to them instead. Host a tasting featuring selections from the Melbourne region, including a range of both white and red wines perfect for every type of wine drinker.

Although events in Melbourne might be far from home, should you find yourself in the city, consider booking time at the Melbourne Marriott Hotel, which hosts a variety of meeting spaces fit for any event.