Hosting an event might look simple if you’re watching from the sidelines, but get in the trenches and you’ll see how many fires you need to put out and all the turmoil that goes on below decks while on the surface everything looks perfectly calm. It takes some time to master these skills, and here are a few tricks that will help you hit the mark every time.
Hire a coordinated team
If you are hosting an event at one location, and you bring in a catering team that hasn’t worked there before, and chefs who entered that kitchen for the first time and are getting ingredients from the location staff they’ve never met, and you have a photographer and videographer who keep getting in each other’s way… It’s not going to be pretty. Luckily, if you find a good venue, you can probably find a team for catering and serving that already works at the venue and knows their way around. Photographers and videographers come in a package so they know who’s catching what moment and how to stay out of each other’s shots. Bands come equipped with a playlist to put on between sets and their own sound guy who knows how to make them and the space sound good. A team like that will, instead of tripping over each other, pick up after one another and create a smooth experience.
Good food will fix it all
No matter how the event goes, if the food is good, everyone will leave happy. And you want your food to center around some sort of theme in order to work. Whether it’s French cuisine, Japanese or Mediterranean, something should unite the flavors and the dishes. Secondly, we need to talk drinks. If you can afford an open bar – go for it. It encourages people to mingle more and be overall relaxed. If you think getting alcohol from the store is pricey – you’re not wrong, but you can order spirits like gin online and have it delivered to the event to shave off some of that cost. If people aren’t actually getting drinks, propose a toast to get them started.
Plan your itinerary
Whether you’re planning a corporate event or a wedding, you want to make sure you have an itinerary, even if it’s not displayed to the guests. You want the program to always be happening, but you don’t want to overwhelm your guests. Remember that if nothing is happening on stage, that’s not “empty time”, that’s mingle time, and it’s something people need. If you have plated courses, plan the event around the timing of the dishes, but if you’re sporting a buffet, you have a bit more freedom.
If you don’t have the time – go simple
Someone calls you last-minute to create an event? Don’t try to cram in everything that you would if you had months to prepare. Nobody is going to care about the centerpieces you wasted an entire day to put together if some of the more basic things aren’t functioning. Go simple, make sure everything is there and works, and then spend a little bit of time decorating.
Have a right-hand man
Accept that planning an event isn’t a one-man job. Even if you did everything leading up to the event, when it comes, you’ll need someone to take care of the miscellaneous things like resolving a parked car blocking someone in and the microphone not working. You need to be the one watching over everything and making sure it’s going according to plan, and your assistant is the one who fixes the things you spot.
In the end, you don’t have influence over how people are going to act and feel, but if you create a good atmosphere and provide people with ample tools and room to get together and share the experience, everyone will have a good time.