TIPS ON CRAFTING AN APPLAUSE-WORTHY EVENT
Events are designed to communicate their own individual ‘Brand’ or in human-speak; Personality.
What we are talking about is that memory you want guests to depart with, that feeling after the curtain falls and applause is silenced.
The following learnings are easily applicable to events in general – Whether yours is a Wedding, Birthday Party, Private Event or Publicity Launch this simple analogy when applied thoughtfully will see that your event has a meaning and a purpose.
ONE. The invitation
The invitation is arguably one of the most important detail of organising any event.
The invitation is the first point of contact between host and guest. This is nothing new people – we’ve all heard it before. The invitation sets the tone of your event and prepares your guests for what’s to come.
What should your invitation include?
Language that is understandable. Formal or informal really does depend on the nature of your event. Simple and to the point. Keep copy to a minimum.
Warning: Make sure that you can back up your beautifully curated and master-piece of an invitation with an equally and well-constructed event OR you could leave your guests feeling about deflated as a blockbuster that promises to rock ones socks off and delivers anything but.
In summary. The invitation is not dissimilar to judging a book by its cover. We all do it and in truth - people worth their weight in salt will appreciated the level of effort and detail you went to.
TWO. Sense of arrival:
An Interior Designer once said to me which has remained deeply entrenched in all our events since that day. A flat sense of arrival can be the straw that breaks the camels back – even if you have injected a million hours in the lead up to said event – if the arrival is flat, you can guarantee your guests will be disappointed. Make them feel welcome, special. It doesn't need to be bold or brash but thoughtful. Whatever it is, you need to put the effort in and get creative. It can be as simple as a beautiful cocktail on arrival or a band in full swing or a cloak room with beautifully dressed staff that echoes your theme.
The first step is to put yourself in your guests shoes – Some familiar phrases might be:
“Oh yes, of course you can park my car for me, what a treat!”
“Well, they could have at least raked the leaves off their front porch.”
“This place is impossible to see. What about some lights down the driveway or up the staircase.”
“What is that beautiful smell?”
“Oh a glass of bubbles on arrival, just what I felt like after an hours drive in peak hour!”
“That is the most magnificent bunch of flowers I’ve ever seen”
“Where can I put my bag / coat?”
Whether you think it’s a bit la-di-da, unimportant, vacuous you can bet your last dollar that your guests will be extremely grateful and best arrive in good spirits even if they did spend an hour in peak hour to get there.
THREE. WOW factor
Another inspiring Event Director used to put this to me always. “Where’s the WOW?”
By this we don’t mean one requires the budget of an oil-tycoon. Quite the contrary. WOW(ness) can be as simple as a thoughtful and personalised take home gift / gesture; an Illustrator on-hand taking special requests; an ice sculpture; A 45 mins live performance by a well-known artist/act.
Very simply put. A WOW moment ensures a lasting impression. Other ideas might be a display of beautifully constructed flowers or an impressive instillation of art / sculpture lit up and creating the main focal point of the entire event. A mini orchestra or choir on arrival. A breathtaking venue with a view to match or a magical room reveal filled with decadent desserts or a bar equipped with a team of flair bartenders making signature cocktails upon request.
A sense of surprise, focal point, delight really adds the finishing touches to any event.
FOUR: THE END
You’ve put in a stellar performance all-night-long and played THE supreme host. Now is NOT the time to kick off your heels and bask in copious amounts of glory especially of the alcoholic variety.
Remember you still need to farewell your guests and ensure their departure is just as amazing as their arrival. This is also your opportunity to get first hand feedback on the success of your event. Guests are very vocal and have no problem in expressing their delight or disappointment. Now is the time you can gain some valuable insights.
So, consider the following:
How are your guests getting home?
Is there someone on hand to order taxis or show them to their car?
Have they collected all their belongings?
Did they grab their goodie bag / take-home gift on the way out?
Perhaps you want to set-up a gift wrapping station for flowers bunches of flowers used from the event?
An event is about taking your guests on a journey. The gift of transporting people for a couple of hours and allowing them to step out of their day-to-day lives is something we absolutely love and don’t take for granted and nor should you. Your guests regardless of the occasion have made an effort to attend your event. They’ve hired a babysitter, left work early, got their hair and makeup done or bought an entirely new outfit just for the occasion. It’s your duty to deliver and exceed expectations. It's not rocket-science.