Details Matter

The devil is in the details. That’s what my co-worker used to say, every time we embarked on a major conference or fundraising event. I agree, 100 percent. Taking time to get to know the unknown leads to a much more pleasant experience, overall. Understanding the big picture is important to defining things like theme, venue, budget and guest count. It also helps in the prioritization of a client’s wants and needs – especially when money is tight. But once the “shell” of an event has been built, it’s time to fill it in with all of the social intricacies and environmental factors that are essential to a truly comprehensive event plan – one that will satisfy the wishes of all stakeholders.

Case in point: A friend and her now-husband decided to host a meat-free wedding reception. A few of their guests were shocked at this decision – worried they’d have to hit a drive-thru on the way home. But the couple’s biggest wish was for their wedding guests to really get to know them; to bring them to one of their favorite places, dance to their favorite music and dine on their favorite dishes. With the help of a talented event planner who wasn’t afraid to ask a lot of questions, they hired an amazing all-vegetarian caterer, and bulked up on both variety and portions to alleviate guests’ concerns about leaving hungry. They also placed appetizer platters and candy throughout the event space, and purchased extra wine and beer. In the end, guests left full, happy and thankful for a unique opportunity to get to know the happy couple.

Digging deep and identifying all of the little things that can make or break an event can be both tricky and time-consuming. But it’s an essential part of the planning process if you want to do it right… and we do. Happy clients lead to future clients and a job well done!

Check back for more tips, or email jessica@stellarjproductions.com to schedule a free consultation.

Karaoke Wedding

Weddings continue to evolve, with a growing number of entertainment options and novel, off-beat approaches to traditional event practices. I recently managed a wedding that demonstrated this very type of diversion; ladies and gentlemen, I successfully planned an awesome karaoke wedding reception!

I wasn’t a fan of the idea when it was initially brought up; in fact, I spoke strongly against it. But the more I considered the “wants” and “needs” of my bride and groom, and the more I understood their families, and the foundation for their relationship, I got it. In fact, I became a huge proponent. A wedding reception without karaoke would have missed their target, altogether!

If you’ve ever considered making karaoke part of your big day, or have friends or family who are in this boat, I say, “Go for it!” Here are some things to consider.

  • Find a good DJ; one that has legit karaoke experience and can bring all the proper equipment (a playlist binder, song request forms with pens/pencils, a screen that is easy to read from afar and some sexy lighting). Evaluate them out before you book, to ensure they can successfully manage a karaoke party.
  • Set a timeframe based on anticipated involvement; don’t schedule a 3-hour session if you can only count on a handful of people taking the stage. Plan according to perceived interest.
  • Plan to sing at least one song to kick everything off.
  • Set some ground rules, like “no foul language” (if kids are present) or nix an artist altogether (if it’s one you can’t stand).
  • Ask the DJ to do a few sing-along tunes that all audience members can relate to, to get people warmed up and to encourage them to start thinking about their own sing-along tune.
  • Plant a few group dance songs, like “Shout” or “Cupid Shuffle.” This is another way to make your guests part of the action.
  • Let your guests know – in advance – that there will be a karaoke component, so they have time to prepare. You can do this in person, via email and on your event website. But definitely do it. Because surprise karaoke can be extremely awkward.
  • Ask the DJ to start hyping up the karaoke session at least an hour in advance – again, so people have time to prepare.
  • Develop a contingency plan, should the karaoke session lose steam or turn ugly (people say and sing some crazy things when they are drunk). Remember, this memory will live forever with you AND with them. If it’s not what you envisioned and you are uncomfortable with what’s happening, be ready to switch gears and revert to something more controllable, like a pre-set playlist.
  • Finally, think about bringing in a videographer to capture all the fun memories (and to provide excellent blackmail footage, for many years to come…).

Good luck! Check back for more tips, or email jessica@stellarjproductions.com to schedule a free consultation.