Plan and make sure that you are all set up before the guests start arriving. Ask each supplier how much time they will need to be ready and make sure they are allowed the time and access they each require. Some of the set ups are sequential and may involve several suppliers. For example, heavy equipment and stage need to be set up before the tables are laid out and decorated. Ascertain how much time each area requires and make sure you have enough time on your hands.
Whether you are holding your event at a venue or on a charter ship, the first thing that creates an impression on your guests is the arrival area. How efficiently guests are looked after on their arrival sets the tone for the rest of your event. you want your guests to feel that they have arrived at a special occasion. Make sure that the approach to the arrival area is cleaned and spruced up. Remove or cover all debris and ungainly objects in sight. Pay attention to the approach to the entrance points to decide which doors your guests, suppliers, and staff will be using to enter the facility. You have to make sure that the access to your event is convenient and is clearly indicated. If you have made arrangements to transfer your guests to the venue, then how they travel to the site also sets the tone for your event. Opt for the prettier route, where possible.
Also see if the entrance is covered from the drop-off point onwards, or else you may need to arrange for a canopy cover or umbrellas in the event rain is forecast. Also make sure that there are enough hands available to assist the guests as they arrive. If it is winter time, then make sure that the walkways are clear of snow or sludge. Arrange with the facility or designate someone to shovel and salt the walkways. If the marble or tile floor of the approach becomes slippery when wet, you may need to lay out carpets for people to walk on. Find out if the venue has reliable insurance coverage for any possible injuries.
Special activities -like searchlights, fireworks, lighting displays, snow bursts, greeting band etc.- can be used to great effect to kindle energy and bonhomie at the moment of arrival. If you are planning any special activities to greet your guests on arrival, then you need to plan well ahead to make the necessary arrangements and to get any permissions that may be warranted. Also visit your location to make sure that it is suitable for the activity or display you have in mind. Once they see the location, your suppliers can also make recommendations based on their past experiences.
Make sure you have staff standing to direct guests to the cloak room. The closer the cloak room is to the entrance the better. For bigger events, keep movement flows in mind in order to avoid congestion. Check the capacity as well as the handling speed of the cloak room in relation to the size of the crowd you are expecting. Does it have enough racks and hangers? Makes sure you do not use wire hangers for expensive fur coats. If needed, depute more staff to ensure efficiency and speed. Depending on the nature of your event and expected weather, also keep in mind the capacity to handle items like umbrellas and boots. If the guests are arriving direct from work, think of a secure area where they can leave their briefcases.
In many events the guests may need to register and have their names checked off the guest list. If your event involves fund-raising or an auction, then credit cards of those interested in bidding may need to be registered. Make sure that the check-in table is staffed by professional people who are well familiar with the event. Registration tables may also be used to hand out program and seating plan. Make sure that the tables used for this purpose are placed in a convenient area and are skirted and draped to look presentable.
Make sure there is a ramp on the main entrance to render it accessible on wheelchair.
Check out if the facility provides the door attendants. If not, you can hire paid off-duty policemen at reasonable cost. This will leave your staff volunteers free to mix and mingle with the guests.
Find out how the facility staff, doormen, and ushers will be dressed. You may want them to be dressed in keeping with the occasion. If it is a corporate event or a themed event, you want them to be clad in themed shirts for the evening. If it is a wedding or a formal affair, you may want them to wear proper doorman uniform. In any case, they should be identifiable either through their dress or because of the badges they are wearing.
If there are other events taking place on the facility, make sure that the privacy of your event is guarded by properly placed and visible signs.
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