When people think of the perfect event planner, Jennifer Lopez from “The Wedding Planner” usually comes to mind. Her tool belt was full of Evian water, Advil and Q-tips.
My tool belt is a bit bigger. It comes in the form of a large plastic bin, and it’s filled with scissors, duct tape, extension cords, Band-Aids, post-its, iPhone chargers and the like.
As much as we plan, prepare and think ahead, there’s always something that is forgotten—something that inevitably needs to be adjusted, so quick decisions are necessary. Luckily, the Jackson Spalding Events team is here to save the day with a checklist of the six things you’re likely to forget at an event and how to make sure you are prepared.
6. Useful swag items.
How many pens and koozies have you received at an event? Promotional items are everywhere, and they also are repeated everywhere. Next time you are planning an event, work with a promotional company to brainstorm some new, useful ideas for giveaways. These items don’t have to be expensive—you don’t have to buy everyone an iPhone—but they can be meaningful to your audience.
5. Custom check-in process.
Start your event off on the right foot with a custom check-in. Have a satellite desk to greet people, make them feel welcome, and give them proper instructions for the event. If you have volunteers working the table, make sure they are fully briefed on what is expected of them. After all, first impressions really do make a difference.
4. Multiple weather plans.
Nothing can seemingly ruin an event like heavy rain or extreme heat. While we cannot predict the weather (most days), we can prepare for multiple scenarios. Working with your venue to establish a solid back-up plan is key to a great event. Don’t just say, “Ok, this is where we will go if it rains.” Instead, have some umbrellas on hand. Or custom, $.50 ponchos for your guests. Make your audience feel as though the new plan IS Plan A, not Plan B or C.
3. The icky stuff.
Just last week, an event planner almost forgot restrooms. And trashcans. The details, however minute and “glamour-less,” are just as important as the attendee gift and delicious food. These logistics can truly make a great event fall flat. Pay special attention to these details and logistics if the event is outdoors.
2. Good signage.
Can’t find the parking? Left turn or right? This door or the place next door? These questions are things you don’t want your guests to have to ask. Signage is easily overlooked by even the best in the business. And, oftentimes, even if you remember signage, it is rarely enough. At Jackson Spalding, we have a rule: a kindergartener has to be able to find our event. That’s how easy instructions and signage have to be. We create extras of all our signs, and we often use the extras. When in doubt, over-communicate with your signs!
1. “When the staff is happy, everyone is happy.”
The most common mistake I have found is thinking that an event is entirely about the people attending. You can’t forget the people working the event! They are your lifeline to success at an event, and a happy staff will make the guests feel like VIPs. Also, think about your volunteers who have given up their time to be part of the event. Treat them like royalty, and, in turn, your guests will be well cared for. Designating a volunteer or staff coordinator is a great way to keep all of your hard workers top-of-mind.
Finally, don’t forget that an event isn’t over when the last person leaves. Follow up, follow through, and thank everyone involved.
Do you have an events need? The Jackson Spalding Events team would love to learn more. Email us at [email protected].