Remember when you were young(er), and you’d drive down to a meeting place for your spring break? Remember how time had no meaning? Nothing was planned, there was no schedule to meet, and except for having fun, nothing was on your mind.
Remember all that? Well, now you can just forget it.
Because…well, that was then. Now that you’re all grown up, and event planning is a significant part of your job, you can’t just go with the flow. Your events must have timelines, and you must stick to them.
“event timeline?” you might ask. “no problem, I’ve triple-checked that the venue is booked, the vendors will be there, everyone’s rsvp’d…”
So, you’ve assembled all the right ingredients, but what about the recipe for the day itself? Just as haphazardly flinging flour, eggs, and sugar into the oven probably won’t result in delicious brownies, leaving vendors and guests to their own devices is only a recipe for disaster.
Fortunately, creating a compelling event timeline is quite simple. Just ask yourself these 5 questions (preferably not while driving to the event…)
1) How much time do vendors need to set up? Avoid parking lot gridlock and raw chicken “delights” by giving each vendor the time they need to unload, set up, and get ready to welcome guests.
2) How many guests will be there? As we know from every family outing in history, more people = much more time. Be sure to account for the extra time needed for everyone to move to new areas, find their seats, and stop showing my baby pics to the waiters, mom!
3) What’s the best rhythm for the event? Aim for a good balance of activities and downtime that won’t leave your audience either gasping for breath or trying to successfully finish level 146 on “bubbles” app.
4) what’s the plan for dealing with latecomers? You’ll always have guests coming late and leaving early, so include periods when they can quickly join or depart without having to clamber over others or tell the whole room about Timmy’s runny nose.
5) What should guests be told? Only what’s necessary (like if they have a strict eating schedule). That way, they’ll enjoy all the pleasant surprises – and never realize if something doesn’t go 100% to plan!