3 Tips for Smooth Event Planning
Updated: Feb 25
Sometimes when we think about weddings there can be so much significance and meaning behind the day, so much time and energy put into planning, so many details to decide that we simply forget weddings are simply events; and events should be well-planned and well-run. Events have guests. Guests have expectations for how events should go and standards for what makes an event a success or a flop.
With a little experience planning events, you begin to realize there are a few common mistakes that typically make events feel clunky and awkward. Likewise, there are best practices for event planning that help to ensure your event runs smoothly and your guests have a GREAT time.
1. Transitions Matter (Like, a lot)
Think through your transitions well in advance. Act them out if you have to. Most of the time, the instructions people give their guests to move from one part of the wedding to the next are a little tricky to get right. Good transitions give your guests a sense of confidence. It helps them avoid that awkward, "I don't know what to do with my hands," moment. Confidence for your guests provides confidence for you, your family and all your wedding party. Make sure each person with a part in facilitating the ceremony and reception knows their part well. Make sure you've helped them understand all that precedes and follows their part. Don't wing your transitions, plan them. You'll be glad you did.
2. With a Great Microphone Comes Great Responsibility
Don't ask just anyone to emcee, host or DJ. A bad emcee can make or break an event. I've been to a lot of weddings, and even if you've only been to one, it's about a 50/50 chance somebody was on the mic giving ambiguous instructions, sharing tons of unnecessary information and trying way too hard to be funny. Sometimes it's your dad, or your sister, or the groom's fraternity brother. Whoever it is, choose wisely. A microphone does weird things to people. It's like a drug when they get that thing in their hand. If they haven't played the part before, they're probably less competent than they think they are.
In fact, make them script it out beforehand. This might seem a little controlling but help them see why you're asking for this. Your attention to detail is for their confidence in front of that crowd of people. Obviously with toasts a level of spontaneity is good. But someone guiding the event and giving instructions to guests can totally plan in advance.
3. Don't Make it Too Long
This one comes with a little more bias. But, over the years attending and planning weddings, there's something that happens right around the four-hour mark of the wedding/reception. A typical ceremony will only go about 25-35 minutes. Sometimes even shorter. The reception is usually well underway by the hour mark. Dancing usually gets started between 90 minutes to two hours. After 30 minutes to an hour of dancing the bride and groom are getting tired and they're itching to go. But, if you had asked them at the start of their planning process how long they wanted to stay, they would have told me they were gonna dance the night away.
Weddings are amazing and fun. But they're also emotionally and physically draining. And that's not a bad thing. Don't feel bad keeping it to a reasonable timeline. Four to five hours or less will not leave your guests feeling like it wasn't worth the travel. One way to keep the party going is to make sure the family is up for some dancing even after the bride and groom depart. At our wedding, my parents, my friends, and my extended family danced and partied for another hour or two while I got to relax with my new husband and take a shower. I had ZERO FOMO. But, again, that's my bias. Maybe you long for the 5-hour marathon dance party. If that's you, you go girl!
The point is, don't overdo it. One truth I know about event planning, public speaking, and other forms of entertainment: always leave them wanting more.
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