Last week, our intern Laura is in Anaheim, was working with a separate group on VidCon 2013, an online video convention. She wanted to share her thoughts on what she’s learned from Calluna, and what she experiences with this very different type of event. She has noticed that all events – from weddings to conferences – have a few things in common!
Over the past two months, I’ve been working with Calluna on weddings for approximately 120 guests. Meanwhile, I’ve been helping to coordinate a convention for 12,000 attendees. VidCon is an annual online video conference for creators, industry professionals, and fans and it brings everyone together in Anaheim for a whole weekend of performances, panels, concerts, and more. Yet, surprisingly, though a very different event from those I’ve worked on with Calluna, there is a lot in common with the event coordination in general.
First and foremost, look after your guests! Heather and Jolene do such an excellent job with the small details that make a big difference for the comfort of the guests. Communicate clearly ahead of time so they know what to expect — when they will be outdoors, indoors, standing, waiting, eating, or dancing. Keep them out of the sun and look out for rain. Keep them warm/cool, and hydrated. Some of my favorite details at Calluna weddings have been the water stations or personalized water bottles, pashminas, fans, and umbrellas that are thoughtfully included in the plan for the event.
Next, when planning the event, consider how it will flow. How many moving pieces are there? Will you be shuttling guests from one location to another? (I loved the pedi cabs used at Kelsie & Xurus’s wedding a few weeks ago). Are there separate sections, or pieces? I’ve learned there is a balance between making sure guests don’t feel rushed, but also avoiding having a tedious lull in the middle of your event. At a wedding, you need to consider the process of moving through the arrival, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception dinner, dancing, etc. On the other hand, my work with conference includes plans to move attendees through registration, mainstage performances, breakouts and panels, lunch and dinner breaks, evening concerts, and more.
Finally, remember that people want to have a good time. As an event planner or host, you are tuned into every little detail and aspect of the coordination leading up to your event. But remember, guests are experiencing everything for the first time! They want to enjoy themselves and be surprised. Focus on the execution of all your plans, but remember that you can’t control everything. Enjoy the ride, and everyone will enjoy how the event turns out.