Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Event Planning 101



Here is a picture of an old shed camouflaged nicely in an overgrown pine tree patch down in the woods at Bethel Beach, and speaking of old and overgrown I'd like to talk about me and my role as an event planner at my paying job.

Did I mention yet that I am not an event planner? Oh. I meant to. That's where the camouflage aspect of the picture above comes into play, because just like that house, Chesapeake Bay Woman blends right in to the workforce as she pretends to be an event planner when she really isn't.

No matter, because I'm going to teach you everything I know about event planning. It's important to share best practices in any aspect of one's job, and so it is my pleasure to share with you The Chesapeake Bay Woman's Guide to Event Coordination and Project Management.


First, let's take a test to see how much you already know. Ready? Begin.

1. Your employer wants to throw a great big event for employees and their families, an appreciation day of sorts, involving a budget; the coordination of multiple outside vendors; and careful monitoring of the 40,562 tasks and details required to launch the event. The best person to tackle this job is:

a) Someone with an attention to detail who has a strong project management background.

b) Someone with an attention to dawdling who can't remember any details, whatsoever, about anything.

2. Selecting a date is critical to event planning. What's the best way to make your choice?

a) In January, select September 12, and then forget about the actual date (but not the month) until August comes rolling around.
b) Schedule the date for exactly four days after you return from being away from the office for a week and a half so you can attend to the nightmares details at the very last minute.

3. If your event will be outside, selecting a rain date is a fundamental step in the whole event planning process. This way you have what is known as a back up plan. It's always good to have not only a plan, but a back up plan. When do you start thinking about buying a plane ticket to South America this rain date?

a) Four days before the event, when you realize it's been raining for two weeks and today there are flood warnings and in four ridiculously short days children are supposed to be moon bouncing and rock-wall climbing and don't forget there will be a model aircraft show and not only will the model aircraft not fly but nobody will be there to watch due to gale force winds and horizontal rain.
b) Four days before the actual event, when someone casually asks if there is a rain date and you feel your heart make contact with your tonsils because all contracts have been signed and all vendors paid. There is no rain date.

4. Communication is extremely important when planning an event or running a large project. What are some examples of strong, professional statements you should make--with great conviction and without cracking a smile--to ensure the success of your major nightmare event?

a) "We need to confirm that Bubbles the Clown is bringing her own extension cords for the popcorn machine."
b) "Hey, Co-Worker, has Bubbles indicated what time she plans to arrive on Saturday?"
c) (To a potential volunteer for the event) "Yes, it's true that some people have a very serious fear of clowns. In light of that, I won't sign you up to assist Bubbles the Clown with her snow cone machine. How are your balloon-twisting skills?"

Congratulations! You are now fully prepared to execute your worst nightmare a highly successful, pain-free Major Event.

Featuring Bubbles the Clown.

Two continuing education credits will be awarded for this tutorial, and your certificate of completion will be mailed next week.

13 comments:

Grandma J said...

Oh my head is hurting....really, really bad. If Bubbles doesn't bring the extension cord, I have an extra. Better yet let her serve microwave popcorn, or call out for pizza.

Good luck...don't forget the pictures.

Pueblo girl said...

Good to see all those little details wrapped up and taken care of, and everything under control. Sounds like you forgot to schedule relaxation therapy for the project manager, though.

Ann Marie said...

oh boy... a clown.. NOT.. Yikes... hiding under bed until I am sure there will be NO PICTURES of Bubbles.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

The best thing about HR consulting is that you don't get asked to plan the stupid work parties. GAH! I don't know why they think HR digs party planning. I always found that no matter how hard I tried, someone always ended up pissed off.

Besides me, I mean.

Clowns: Why? Discuss.

Living on the Spit said...

Do you want me to come and take you hostage?

BTW...you are an amazing event planner.

Angel Mama said...

I am with Ann Marie, I'm not coming out until I'm promised no clown pics. Clowns should be against the law!! (Just my opinion, I am petrified of them.)

I don't envy you this event planning job. I can barely plan a kids birthday party at the bowling alley!! I wish you all the luck and Ibuprofen...

Daryl said...

OY ...

Okay ... call Bubbles to learn if she has a cord or not, then send someone to K-Mart or WalMart or one of the other Marts to get a cord just in case.

Its too late to do anything else .. but .. you can always have your mother call and say you were kidnapped ...

big hair envy said...

I rather enjoy event planning. Clowns? Not so much. Did you ever read "It" by Stephen King?

Caution Flag said...

Don't you have an overwhelmed subordinate you can reward with this task? Sorry, that's just the kindness in my heart speaking. I wouldn't really do anything of the sort.

Mental P Mama said...

Well I, for one, have actual proof that you are an amazing event planner. And what's a little rain and wind? hmmm? If anyone dares to complain, just look 'em square in the eye and call them a sissy.

Trillium said...

Just discovered your blog trying to find a photo of muscadine grapes. I love it! Quirky beautiful.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Meg- Excellent discussion topic! I'm going to discuss the part about people's fear of clowns.

My great-grandfather in his last years in a nursing home was visited by a clown (I wrote about this a long time ago), and he was so afraid of the clown, who was only trying to cheer people up, that he used the only defense he had: a box of kleenex. He threw each tissue at her one by one until in the end all he had was the cardboard box, which he also hurled in her direction.

You can't imagine my surprise when a Very Upper Management Type at my work confessed that he, too, had a fear of clowns.

I'm OK with clowns, because I play one on the internet. Mimes, however, are another story. Don't get me started.

Thank God we do not have mimes in Mathews County.

Trillium-Welcome and thank you, quirky beautiful is a wonderful description, heavy on the quirky though. Sorry my muscadine photo was of a dead vine...it was gorgeous in its day, very thick and lush.

Happy Wednesday to all; hope your Thursday is a good one.

foolery said...

"You want me to plan an event? You weren't at my wedding, were you? Here is the number of my maid of honor; call her and ask her if I should plan your event."