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 to schedule a free consultation.

A Smarter Site Visit

It’s easier than ever to shop for event venues online. But when you’ve narrowed your search and you’re ready to head out to a site visit, be prepared. Here’s a list of must-dos to help keep you on track, on theme and on budget.

Surf Calendar. Understanding when the sun rises and sets will help you you plan things like start time and stop time, and to capitalize on those beautiful So-Cal sunsets!

Weather App. Load one to your mobile device so you know what to expect, and how to stay comfortable. If it’s going to be cold, order space heaters. If it’s going to be hot, create cool zones in shady areas or by adding tents and fans. If your event is scheduled to take place in rainy season and your event is outdoors, factor in the cost of a large tent.

Calculator. The words “plus-plus” are used frequently by salespeople, and it’s important to understand how they’ll impact your total spend. Plus-Plus = the cost of food/drinks PLUS tax, PLUS gratuity. Be mindful of these fees and any F/B (food and beverage) requirements, and factor them into your budget to avoid surprises on event day.

Editable Floor Plans. Find them online or in your venue packet when you arrive, and physically write in where everything should be located (head table, guest tables, tables, DJ, gift table, etc.). This will give you an idea of what is and isn’t feasible, what furniture should be ordered, and how traffic will flow to and from busy areas like the buffet, bar and restrooms.

Your list of venue questions… Which, at the very least, should contain the following:

  • Will I have a dedicated event manager for the duration of the event?
  • Is the event space 100% private, or are parts of it public? How will venue guests differentiate between the two?
  • Can I control the lighting? If not, can I hire my own specialist or must I work through your preferred provider?
  • What A/V options do you offer, and how much do they cost? Can I bring in our own specialist?
  • What’s the parking situation? Do we have the option of pre-booking or paying?
  • What’s open late, on-site or nearby, for people who want to keep the party going?
  • Where can people overnight, and do any special rates apply for large groups?
  • Is there a place to store items, like décor or desserts, in advance?
  • How early can I get in for set-up? Do I have to tear-down that evening or can I come back the following day?
  • What’s the corkage fee if we choose to bring our own wine, or per-person fee if we bring our own desserts?

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