In 2017, we had the pleasure of working with Southern Bank on a hospitality event for clients, colleagues, and friends. What better way to show your appreciation than with a big, southern barbecue – complete with great food, craft beer, and live bluegrass music?!


The Barbecue & Entertainment

The barbecue was held in the parking lot of Southern Bank’s new Raleigh office on a Thursday in September from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Award-winning cookers Ed Coleman and Bo Walker from Ragsdale Ligget PLLC were on-site since the night before slow-cooking a whole hog for the pickin’ and there was live music from, now retired, The Grass Cats bluegrass band.

Where Raleighwood Comes In

From a past client referral, Southern Bank came to us with the idea of hosting a family-style barbecue for a few hundred of their closest friends. They wanted professional support with the event planning and production to ensure things went off without a hitch. Their team needed to be able to focus on their valued guests – not the event logistics.

Beginning several months in advance of the event, we started by gathering up guest list contacts and designing invitations – both print and digital versions. The folks from Southern Bank continued to cultivate their list of invitees and established regular touch-points for their executive team to ensure attendance was as strong as possible. And boy, was it a big list in the end!

Our team worked to make sure we had all the information needed to get the invitations into the right hands, mailboxes, and inboxes – including tracking down updated email and mailing addresses. In the end, about 600 individual contacts were invited to the shindig and the RSVPs started pouring in. Our team kept track of the attendance and also fielded questions about the event from guests. Of course, following up with guests with targeted attendance-based status emails leading up to the event was a crucial element in the communications plan.

By keeping a close eye on attendance throughout the planning process, we knew this was going to be big! We needed to assemble all the moving pieces to ensure every guest enjoyed the party: places to gather and network, community tables for enjoying dinner, and of course, shelter to take cover if rain threatened.

The Raleighwood team worked with multiple vendors including Holland Rent-All and Grand Rental Station to source food and beverage, signage, chairs, tables, tablecloths, security, power, and one very big tent. We stayed in communication with vendors leading up to the main event day, producing a detailed run-of-show program and site map that included arrive and tear down times on the day of the event. How did we know who needed to be where and when? We got a feel for all of these elements via multiple walkthroughs of the site with both clients and vendors.

Here for the Party

For many guests, this event marked their first visit to Southern Bank’s Raleigh office, as the Southern team is dedicated to being out in the marketplace serving their business clients on-site each day. We designed and worked with the crew at AlphaGraphics of Downtown Raleigh to print directional signs so attendees would easily see from Highway 70/Glenwood Avenue where to turn and look for parking.

Table signs that matched the style of the invitations were also designed and printed to thank guests for coming and reinforce the Southern Bank brand throughout repeated visuals on event day. On the way to the barbecue, we picked up gorgeous seasonal favorites for table decor: mums from Campbell Road Nursery!

PS: They made great takeaway gifts for attendees. (We’re proudly “Team No Waste” here!)

Another key vendor we worked with to make this event a delicious success was Raleigh’s Backyard Bistro. Chef Joe Lumbrazo and team provided plentiful sides, beverages, and disposables – as well as bartenders and catering staff. We worked with them closely on the headcount and budget for food and beverage as it continued to climb as we approached event day.

Much to our delight, guests were eager to “smile for the camera”! Kim Kirchstein provided fantastic on-site photography and we even enlisted the support of off-duty Raleigh Police Department officers to ensure everyone’s safety and help with traffic control during the busy rush hour.

Leading up to the barbecue, our team held weekly calls with our client and vendors and multiple in-person meetings to make sure everything flowed smoothly.

Two members of the Raleighwood team were on-site the day of the barbecue to help with set up, break down, and everything in-between.

Pictures from Photographer Kimberly Kirchstein

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Need help with your next event? Call us at 919-229-9725 or send us an email at