We’re writing this particular article just as the country’s gearing up for another Royal Wedding. But there are some basic principles that apply to any wedding. And, for that matter, to any event that involves getting a lot of people together. In the same place, at the same time. And being entertained. And fed.
But whether you’re entertaining royalty or local businesspeople, the secret of success will always be the same. Good planning – and good communication.
First priority – find the venue. It has to be available. It helps if it’s affordable. Is it in the right place (bearing in mind who you’re inviting)? Can it cater to your guests? Does it have a bar (assuming you want one, of course)? What’s the parking like? Does it have wifi (if it’s a business event – or even if it isn’t)? And how good is the technology? No good arriving with a fabulous presentation only to find there’s no way of showing it.
‘Ooh, I’m not sure. I’d ask Fred – he’s our technical bloke – but he’s off with his lumbago again…’
Then there’s the menu. What sort of food is available? How good is it? Do they cater for special dietary requirements? And do they actually understand the words ‘vegetarian’, ‘vegan’ and ‘gluten-free’?
‘Yes, I know that chips are vegan. The trouble is that the beef fat you cooked them in, isn’t…’
Once that’s sorted out, you need to invite the guests. So it’s useful to have their contact details. Preferably in, for example, a spreadsheet or a database of some kind. Which will also allow you to keep track of who’s responded, who hasn’t, and who is a fundamentalist vegan with an allergy to lentils. Oh, and parakeet feathers…
…and everything else
Closer to the day, who are organising what? If it’s a wedding then the bride and her family will be thinking about what she’s wearing. The groom will probably need reminding – repeatedly – that ‘yes, you’re supposed to wear a morning suit so it might be a good idea to sort one out before the wedding day.’
If it’s an event, and you need speakers, you should probably ensure they are firmly booked for the right date, in the right place, at the right time, a year or more in advance. Unless that is, you’re planning a lecture on ‘Norwegian forest timber and its use in wooden pallets’ as the keynote speech. (There are probably less interesting topics, but it’s hard to think of one.)
And then there are the bits that are so easy to forget. Have you sent out reminders? (Not everyone is as organised as you are. Or at least, as organised as you want to be.) Do people need maps? Is the postcode OK for satnavs, or will it send everyone to the wrong side of an 8-lane motorway? Is there a dress code? Do you need a seating plan? Flowers? Raffle prizes? Awards? The list goes on…
So – need a little help with communication?
Any way you look at it, organising an event involves a massive amount of communication – on top of all the planning and progress-chasing. And that’s where we can help. After all, it’s our business. Though we can also help with organising that invitee database. Finding venues. Chasing down the speakers who never answer the phone. And sorting out the menu. And flowers. And technology…