“Our greatest asset is the guests. Treat each guest as if they are the only one!”
More than anything else, the success of your event depends on getting the right people to attend. If you get your target audience wrong or fail to have them turn up for your event, then all efforts invested in putting it together will come to naught. Hence, be clear about who your targeted audience are. In some cases, when you are looking for numbers, your invitation may be transferable that can be passed on to another person. However, efforts should be made to have as many as possible of the original invitees attend the event. If you have limited number of spots and need to prioritize your guests, keep a list B handy to replace any dropouts. Be mindful of the guest mix you want at your event. Think how you want guests to interact at your event and then draw up the invitee list based on your objectives from the event.
Before you start looking for a venue for your event, you must know how many people will be there and what happenings your event will include. Think about the age demographics of your guests and also whether they will be coming as couples or as singles. If the corporate sponsors are purchasing a number of tables then who is likely to be at their tables – staff, family, customers, or friends? If teenagers are also attending, then do bear in mind the age requirement for consuming alcohol and the host’s responsibility to verify the age when in doubt. Make sure that the guest lists are ready at least a couple of months before the event, allowing you time to obtain correct addresses and to get to them the invitations well before time.
Invite people suitably in advance to find a place on their calendars. If your event is scheduled to take place in a busy season, then it is advisable to send a save-the-date message that communicates the date and time of the event, at least to the guests you consider important for the event, well in advance. Use this message to create a ring of anticipation around your event. Also indicate by when the guests can expect to receive the final invitation with precise details such as the location or the dress code or the programme for the event. If appropriate, have staff follow up with the guests for RSVPs. Check with the printers in advance to allow sufficient time for printing invitations, place cards, menus etc. If possible, get the envelopes printed first so that you can get them ready with addresses while waiting for the invitations to be printed. If possible, send hand-written envelopes as people like their names in handwriting.
If you are looking for media coverage of your event, think how you will assimilate them into the proceedings. For example, are you looking to treat them as invited guests or do you intend to hold a separate press event? Also find out what their requirements are for an effective coverage -for example; space for media vehicle, separate media room, connections for media feed etc.- and make arrangements to meet those needs. Prepare and provide them with press kits. If live coverage is involved, then you need to ensure specific happenings at the designated times. Make their experience pleasurable to build good working relations with media that can be useful in future.
If your guests will comprise a sizeable number of children, you have to keep that in mind while selecting your venue. Many hotels and venues can offer you highly engaging supervised activities such as games, acrobats, clowns, puppet shows etc. Beware that some activities may require parents’ written permission. Don’t arrange any activity for which you don’t have sufficient staff at hand to supervise. The party can be split into separate themes for adults and children. Make sure that your menu contains components that are palatable to young tastes. At most venues, machines for candyfloss, popcorns, waffles, pretzels etc. are easily available. Enquire and use them, they can add colour and interest for minimal cost.
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