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Category Archive: event management

You Know You’re an Event Planner When…

Coffee? Check. Clipboard? Check. More coffee? Check. An extra battery pack and your favorite black flats? Check. When it comes to being an event planner, these things are common, but there’s more to the job than coffee! These are the everyday signs that you’re definitely an event planner.

  1. When you wake up on event day and it’s sunny, you give a little cheer, regardless of whether your event is indoors or outdoors.
  2. Your wardrobe is basically all black.
  3. Your desk is drowning in past event swag.
  4. You dream in Excel.
  5. It’s impossible for you to attend an event as a guest and not make a million mental notes (or feel constant sympathy for the event organizer), and you have to resist the urge to lend a helping hand.
  6. You have notebooks in your car, by your bed, and at your desk.
  7. When you tell people your job title, you always cringe when they say, “That sounds fun!” Yes, it’s fun, they’re not wrong, but you’re not getting paid to party!
  8. Weekends? Holidays? What are those?
  9. A color-coded schedule gives you a thrill.
  10. Your friends and family gave up long ago on trying to surprise you with a spontaneous road trip.
  11. No one can multitask like you can.
  12. Growing up, you were always the party host.
  13. You have an emergency kit on hand at all times, and it contains everything from deodorant to nail polish remover to aspirin. Yes, it’s a random assortment, but every single item has saved the day at one point or another.
  14. The local coffee shop knows your name (and order) by heart.
  15. You’ve had a nightmare the night before an event.
  16. When you and your friends are going out for the night, everyone always looks to you for the plan and itinerary.
  17. You have a plan A, but that’s not all — you’re prepared all the way through plan Z.
  18. As a child, you always organized your toys.
  19. Once upon a time, when you were new to the industry, you wore your favorite heels to an event, but boy did you learn quickly. Now, you only wear shoes that can withstand at least 12 hours of constant walking (and let’s be honest, they’re black).
  20. You have about 50 to-do lists, and sometimes they end up all over the place.
  21. Your “vacation style” consists of detailed packing spreadsheets and a carefully planned itinerary.
  22. If someone tries to make plans with you, even if it’s months in advance, you have to check your calendar.
  23. You have a funny (and/or traumatizing) story about every venue within a 30-mile radius.
  24. It doesn’t matter what the mess is — you’re confident that you can fix it with duct tape.
  25. You’ve used past event swag as a last-minute gift.
  26. You feel naked without a clipboard and a headset.
  27. The week before an event, you check your weather app every five minutes.
  28. If anything goes wrong on vacation, everyone always looks to you for plan B.
  29. When your friends complain about their 9-5 work week, you resist the urge to point out how lucky they are to have a consistent schedule.
  30. You’ve developed a voice that sounds like you’re speaking into a megaphone, but you’re not; it’s your event voice.

Does this sound like you? If so, don’t stress about Orlando event management — we can help. Contact us today online or at 407-955-4949.

 

Planning Style Quiz: Parks and Recreation

Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, the show “Parks and Recreation” continues to gain loyal followers. However, the real question is — which character has your event planning style? Take the quiz and find out!

1. How did you get started in event management?

A) You’ve always been passionate about celebrating special events and bringing joy to those around you. Event planning was a natural choice!
B) You discovered your hidden talent after working a variety of odd jobs.
C) Ever since you were little, it’s been your dream to work as an event planner.
D) You can’t remember what initially drove you to the world of event management. Although your friends were initially surprised by your choice, it didn’t take long for them to see your talent.
E) You started as someone’s assistant. While you weren’t very interested at first, it became your passion, and you made it your career.

2. Centerpieces have been delivered, but they look nothing like what your client requested. What do you do?

A) You’re extremely optimistic and easily calm down your client. Your partner handles the problem while you handle the client.
B) No worries! Remind your client that their elegant event is perfectly memorable without the centerpieces; maybe they would have taken away from the other decorations.
C) After a very brief moment of panic and frustration, you pull out your homemade backup centerpieces, which are actually more perfect than the originals.
D) Although you calm your client and explain that you have everything under control, the little voice inside of you keeps whispering, “But who really needs centerpieces, anyway?”
E) You’re beyond resourceful and assure your client that you can save the day just by running to the store down the road — you can recreate those centerpieces for an even better price.

3. You’re pitching a fundraiser idea to a new client. What’s your plan?

A) You know that your enthusiasm for the project will drive the presentation.
B) You like things that are flashy and glamorous, and you incorporate the latest technology into your presentation.
C) You thrive when speaking in front of people, and can’t wait to demonstrate why your plan is the best option. You are fully prepared to answer any and all questions they throw your way.
D) Your presentation is short and concise, and your confidence shines through.
E) You keep your presentation simple, logical, and down to Earth.

4. Your client asks for a caterer recommendation. What do you suggest?

A) A healthy, delicious banquet is never a bad choice.
B) Always up on the trends, you suggest following the latest foodie trends, which you guarantee will catch the eye of every blogger and celebrity in attendance.
C) You can’t help it — your instinct is to recommend breakfast food. You describe a lovely, sophisticated brunch.
D) You believe strongly in offering guests the highest quality of food, and you start by suggesting an exemplary butcher.
E) Every event should have a unique quality! You tell your client that they can make their event memorable through food, such as fondue or a themed, interactive display.

5. What do you like to do in your free time?

A) Anything active and athletic!
B) You’re all about your side hustle. You might have an Etsy, work at the local coffee house, or work as an Uber driver.
C) Honestly, you love your job, and it’s hard to stop working in your free time. But you always like to spend time with your close friends!
D) You love nature, and you’ll do anything that gets you outside. (You also enjoy puzzles.)
E) You love animals. On the weekends, you can often be found volunteering at the local animal shelter.

Mostly As: You’re Chris! You’re cheerful and optimistic, and you have a gift for bringing peace and calm to chaos.

Mostly Bs: You’re Tom! You love to keep up with trends in the event world, and you have a talent for planning luxurious, elegant affairs.

Mostly Cs: You’re Leslie! You’re deeply passionate about what you do and fiercely loyal to your team.

Mostly Ds: You’re Ron! You’re a private person and have high standards for your events. While many may mistake you as stern and stoic, you have a fun-loving side to you that comes out at your job.

Mostly Es: You’re April! You’re resourceful and have a dry sense of humor. When you work on a project that you’re passionate about, you’re unstoppable.

No matter which Parks and Recreation character you’re like, Orlando event management is easy when you work with the experts at Fun Planners. Contact us today to learn how we can make your next event one to remember!

Assigned Seating: The Benefits

Now that you’ve chosen your seating arrangement, it’s time to decide: should you have assigned seats? This, of course, depends on the type of event, but more often than not, you should take the extra time to create a seating chart.

The Science Behind It
Columbia University conducted a study on the behaviors of people at mixers. Their goal was to discover if a minimally structured social event is conducive to attendants broadening their social circle. However, results demonstrated thatguests did not mix as much as might be expected…they were much more likely to encounter their pre-mixer friends, even though they overwhelmingly stated before the event that their goal was to meet new people.”

Outside of Science: Strategy
Although science proves that assigned seating is preferable, benefits go beyond science! By assigning seats, you’re able to strategically plan where people will be sitting. You can connect people in the name of business, or you can make sure that someone coming alone is sitting at a kind, outgoing table. If there’s any sort of bad blood between guests, assigned seating is also an excellent way to prevent unnecessary drama; seat those guests on opposite sides of the room.

Prevent Social Anxiety
Many people worry that by assigning seats, guests will interpret an otherwise relaxed event as rigid and formal. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth — open seating is chaotic and frustrating for your guests. Consider the social anxiety you may cause guests when they walk in and discover they now have to worry about being removed from their group, finding a seat amongst familiar faces (even if their goal is to mingle), and sitting at a table outside of their age group.

No One is Trapped
A common misconception is that if you assign seats, guests will feel obligated to sit there all night long. However, once the formal portion of the evening is over, whether that’s dinner, an auction, or a presentation, your guests will move about the room.

“Is This Seat Taken?”
It’s an awkward experience to have guests wandering around, desperately hunting for an available seat. It’s awkward for the host; it’s awkward for your wandering guests; it’s awkward for your seated guests if they have to offer to split up their own party to satisfy another. This is horrible for you as the planner, as angry groups of people — who did not mean to linger for so long in the lobby — rush up to you and demand you assist them in the search for a seat.

Groups of People
If you have invited a group of people to your event, no matter if it’s a business group or a family, it will be uncomfortable to watch them rush around and try to save a group of seats together — and it will be worse to watch their frustration if they can’t find those seats. This is especially true if you have planned an event where children are invited because it’s crucial that they are able to sit with their parents.

Although it takes extra time and effort create a seating chart, it will be worth it! Assigned seating is just another way to save yourself day-of event headaches and stress. To learn more about how we can help you amidst planning Florida corporate events, contact us here or at 407-955-4949.

Select a Seating Style

How much do the seating arrangements for your next event matter? The answer is a lot more than you think. A successful event is led by a successful seating arrangement. It means that your guests have a clear view of the speaker; that they’re comfortable; that communication is streamlined and simple, both between your speaker and between attendees. Take a look at popular seating arrangements to see what will work for you:

Theatre Style
Pros: This common style, where chairs are organized in consecutive straight rows, works well for large events of over 150-200 people. Space is optimized, so you will likely be able to fit more guests than expected, and every seat is frontward facing to guarantee an easy view of the stage.

Cons: The audience is closed in, making it difficult for people to enter and exit rows. If you’re planning an event where you hope to incorporate audience interaction, this arrangement is not ideal, as it hinders communication amongst attendees. It will also be nearly impossible to serve any food or beverage.

Classroom Style
Pros: In this style, chairs and trestle tables are aligned in straight rows. Each table has about 1-3 participants, and you can group tables together. All of the seats are facing to the front of the room, meaning everyone gets a good view of the entertainment, and it’s easy to take notes or set up laptops. It’s also much simpler to both serve and consume any food or beverage!

Cons: Depending on how many attendees you’re expecting, this style could also close in your audience, making it difficult for people to enter or exit rows without causing a disruption. The tables will reduce your seating capacity, and the audience cannot comfortably interact with each other.

Banquet Style
Pros: This round, dinner table style of seating is ideal for events where you’re encouraging audience interaction and participation! All audience members are fully facing each other. This is a great option for dinners, awards, weddings, or more informal events.

Cons: Not everyone will be directly facing the front of the room. Where do you hope to direct the majority of your audience’s attention? Will there be a speaker or entertainment that they won’t be able to see as well, or will the speaker only command a small portion of the evening, with the rest left to small group discussion? Consider these things before choosing this style.

Cabaret Style
Pros: Similar to banquet style, cabaret-style has an open end at each roundtable. The audience is seated in an arc facing inwards, and no one’s back is to the front of the room. Presentations or various forms of entertainment are more easily absorbed and enjoyed. Food and beverage are easily consumed.

Cons: Consider the total number of attendees you’re expecting. This style is an inefficient use of floor space, as well as table space, since you’re not maximizing the number of chairs that could fit at each table.

Are you struggling to choose a seating arrangement for your next event? Maybe you’re debating which colors to use, meeting with potential venues to narrow down your choices, or just learning how to better manage your Orlando event planning stress. We can help! Give us a call at 407-955-4949.

 

The Element of Surprise

Imagine that you’re attending a fancy event. Sharply dressed waiters circulate in perfect sync, serving cocktails and canapes while a jazz quartet harmonizes in the background. Are you surprised?

Now, imagine that you’re attending an event and the host suddenly announces that the musical portion of the evening is about to begin — what musical portion? You can’t remember hearing about this. Suddenly, a marching band parades into the room, and their presence signifies something even bigger: all attendees are getting tickets to sit courtside at the next Magic game. Are you surprised now?

As an event planner, it’s important to master the element of surprise! Whether these moments are big, small, or in between, keeping guests on their toes makes your event exciting and memorable.

Build Up
You don’t have to wait until the event begins to start surprising guests! The week leading up to your event, generate suspense. Send out daily emails with hints about guest speakers or entertainment, and offer limited time discount codes on your or an affiliate’s merchandise. Depending on your event, you could even provide clues about a scavenger hunt that will start the moment they walk in, and you can give even more clues about the prize or how to find their teammates.

Ice Breakers
Your attendees are most likely assuming they’ll walk in, find their table, and take a seat. But you can create icebreakers that interrupt the normal flow of events! Your options are unlimited. You could design a tunnel walkway lined with balloons, build a wall where each guest grabs an envelope filled with a secret icebreaker question, or even set up a table where each guest is asked to choose silly, temporary tattoos for their wrists.

Rewards for Volunteers
People don’t usually think they’ll get anything for participating onstage as a volunteer. For the most part, guests expect to go on stage, get embarrassed, and then quickly exit. But this is a great opportunity to delight attendees (and encourage participation)! You can offer volunteers rewards that range from wine tastings to manicures to massages to free t-shirts to gift cards.

Sneak it on the Schedule
Don’t disclose the full schedule. In fact, it’s best to put something on the schedule that’s not real, and then you can impress attendees with thrilling, unforeseen plans.

Unanticipated Entertainment
Rather than only scheduling entertainment to perform at common times, surprise your guests with entertainment at unexpected moments. Hire fire breathers to entertain guests waiting for the valet to bring their cars around, or hire a magician to dazzle as they wait in lines.

No matter what you need to surprise and amaze at your next event, the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners are here to help! Contact us today online or at 407-955-4949.

Event Planning On The Go

How many times have you tried packing for an out-of-town event and realized that you can’t fit everything you need in one suitcase? Or even worse, how many times have you started unpacking your suitcase only to find out that your clothes feel strangely sticky — and then you discover your shampoo exploded over everything? It’s always fun to travel for events, but packing for them can be a pain. If you’re an event planner on-the-go, it’s important to pack strategically for your next trip!

Always Start With a Packing List: It can seem like an extra step to write out everything you plan to bring — and to pack it with you — but this is the best thing you can do! Not only will this help you to minimize your list, but it will ensure that all your belongings come home with you.

Strategic Shoe Selection: We’re all guilty of overpacking, especially when it comes to shoes. Since these are one of the bulkiest things you can pack, it’s important to be smart! Limit yourself: a travel pair and a business pair are likely all you’ll need.

Hard Suitcase: Seeing as how you’ll need to look professional on this trip, consider investing in a hard suitcase — don’t just use your old duffel. This will help keep your clothes crisp and folded!

Tissue Paper: Many experienced travelers swear by rolling their clothes with sheets of tissue paper or placing tissue paper in between folded shirts, which reduces friction and reduces wrinkles as a result.

Roll What You Can: For the clothes that you aren’t worried about wearing professionally, roll them up so that you can save space.

Dryer Sheets: To prevent your clothes from absorbing the smell of your suitcase, pack a dryer sheet! This way you can smell fresh and clean at your event and not like you just came off of a plane.

Ziploc Your Toiletries: You won’t regret packing shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other toiletries in their own separate bag! Make sure it’s a bag that can be leaked in or even exploded in, such as a Ziploc bag, and make sure it won’t let any soap get on your nice clothes. If you’re still concerned, you can use plastic wrap to wrap the top of these bottles for an extra layer of protection.

Separate Dirty Clothes: You can make your life easier when you return home from your trip by packing a separate bag to store dirty clothes! This way, you don’t take up an entire compartment in your bag or suitcase, and you can simply dump the entire bag into the washing machine.

The Little Things: You never think about needing little things like chapstick, nail clippers, or a band-aid, but you should always keep one of each in your bag! You don’t want to be stuck working an all-night event with chapped lips, a heel that’s rubbed raw from your shoe, or a nail that could catch on and fray your new suit.

Sometimes, working in Orlando event planning means that you have to spend a lot of time on the road, but that doesn’t mean that packing has to be a challenge. From packing to stress management to fundraising, we can help you prepare for your next event. Give us a call at 407-955-4949!

Need-to-Know Catering Terms

You’re not a chef, and you know that — it’s why you’ve hired a caterer to handle the food at your next event. However, because you’re not a chef, there are some catering terms that you might not understand, which could inhibit your ability to properly coordinate food and beverage. Take a minute to get to know the lingo!

A la Minute: Rather than ordering food that’s pre-assembled or pre-cooked, this food is prepared to order. It will come out fresh rather than stored in hot boxes! Some hotels offer this option for smaller VIP groups.

Dueling Menus: This is just a fancy way of saying that you’re serving multiple entrees. It’s a mixed-entree option! Rather than serving one 8 oz. steak, your guests could have 4 oz. of steak and 4 oz. of fish (AKA, surf and turf.) If your theme requires a more “exotic” menu, a dueling menu is a great option to introduce your guests to an item they’re unfamiliar with, or maybe would like to swap.

Dry Hire: If you rent a venue that offers nothing outside of the space itself, that would be called a “dry hire.” Make sure that your caterer can provide waiters for the evening; the venue will not have any labor available.

Ganging Menus: When two or more groups in-house receive the same menu, this is referred to as “ganging menus.” This can be great news because it means that chefs get quantity discounts when purchasing larger amounts of specific items, and there’s less labor required to have everyone preparing the same menu. Since the kitchen will be saving money, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to save money as well! Feel free to ask the venue’s caterer if they’ll already be serving a menu that you can serve as well.

Intermezzo: Meaning “between movements,” this is a palate cleanser that’s served just before the main course. Some popular palate cleansers include bread, sorbet, apple slices, or a sparkling wine like Prosecco.

Market Price: More often than not, you’ll see this listed next to seasonal items, such as strawberries or raspberries, or on imported items, like caviar. Indicated by supply and demand, this price will likely fluctuate, as opposed to AQ or “as quoted” prices.

Snake Service: Also referred to as “Ballet Service,” this serving style is as beautifully coordinated as a ballet. Waiters line up with plated food then walk together — like a snake — to the table, circling it, and laying the food down in front of guests simultaneously. Everything is in sync.

Silencer: This is a sneaky, brilliant way to prevent annoying clatter from dishes, cups, and flatware; a simple padding under the tablecloth will muffle extraneous noise.

Whisper Call: Rather than yelling “Ladies and gentleman! Take your seats,” at your guests, the Maître De will indicate that dinner is beginning by walking amongst guests and asking them to relocate to their seat.

If you’re looking for catering services for your next event, make sure you give us a call at 407-955-4949! And if you’re interested in more Orlando event planning tips on choosing a venue or a caterer — or if you just enjoy event planning personality quizzes — then keep an eye on our blog.

The AV Glossary

The jargon and fine details of the AV industry can be overwhelming, especially as you’re planning your next event and realize — you don’t know what anything means! Don’t struggle through your AV quote without grabbing this handy cheat sheet!

The Gear
Rigging Points: These are specific spots in the ceiling where things can be safely hung.

Rig Plot: This diagram shows where the rigging points are located. Ask your venue for this if it was not provided!

Truss: This is the framework of the structure. Motors are connected to the rigging points and the truss, as are the lighting, projectors, and speakers.

Motors: Attached to the rigging point and truss, the motor allows the truss to be brought down so you can attach any equipment.

The Microphones
Handheld: These are great for speeches, Q&A sessions, or presentations. Opt for a handheld mic when your entertainment is stationary and won’t get tangled in a cord!

Wireless: Wireless mics are popular with public speakers, interviewers, and stage performances. You’ll also see these referred to as lav mics, lavalier, or lapel mics.

DPA — Headset: Choose these when you prioritize superior voice reproduction, comfort, and easy setup over concealment.

Combo Kit: Your AV company might allow you to utilize both handheld and wireless mics!

The Lighting
Gobo: A pattern you can insert into a light to project that pattern through the light. These can be used to add texture effects on walls and scenery, or projected through haze as an aerial effect.

Spot Fixtures: These hard-edged lighting fixtures are versatile and flexible. They can project color, spinning lights, or gobos, and are great for spotlighting people or objects while leaving the rest of the stage in darkness.

LED: LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than other bulbs. They can transform a space by color washing walls or decorative elements with multi-colored light, and since they don’t require any warm-up time, they can be quickly turned on and off for different effects.

Beam: While these moving lights may look like lasers, they are actually just very tight beams of light! You often see this kind of light at big concerts.

The Projectors
Rear Projection: While this is a great option because there are no rigging costs — since the projector is on the ground — you need to make sure you’ll have enough space for the equipment and projectors behind the screen.

Front Projection: Placed in front of the audience, these take up floor space unless you choose to have it rigged (although it will cost you to do so). Consider if any people or objects will obstruct the projector at any time.

It’s vital that you sit down with your AV company and ask them to walk you through the contract, explaining each piece and answering all your questions. For more information on Orlando event management, give us a call at 407-955-4949.

Post-Event Survey Questions

The leftover food is put away, the tables are wiped down, and the chairs are stacked; the event has come to an end. However, one of the most important parts of an event happens afterward — it’s time to get feedback from the attendees. Based on the type of event you planned, choose 5-10 relevant questions from the lists below, and you’re sure to get your guests coming back year after year!

Open-Ended Questions

  1. What did you like most about the event?
  2. What did you like least about the event?
  3. What were your favorite sessions?
  4. How did you hear about this event?
  5. How will this conference improve your skills and work?
  6. Do you have any topic or speaker suggestions for future events?
  7. Do you have any additional suggestions or comments to help us improve our future events?
  8. If you would like to provide a quote for promotional use, please include here with your title and occupation. (Name/company optional.)

Yes Or No Questions

  1. Was this the first time you attended one of our events?
  2. Was the staff polite and helpful?
  3. Was the speaker engaging?
  4. Did the conference meet your expectations?
  5. Did you feel prepared coming into this event?
  6. Was there enough time for discussion? (if applicable)
  7. Did you have enough time to get in between sessions? (if applicable)
  8. Did you have an opportunity to ask questions during the event? (if applicable)

Likert Questions

  1. Please rate the following: the date, the catering, the speakers, the location, and the vendors.
  2. How would you rate the value of this event/conference?
  3. How would you rate our communication leading up to this event?
  4. How would you rate the on-site arrival and registration process?
  5. Based on your experience, how likely are you to attend future events?
  6. How likely are you to recommend our events to a friend/colleague?
  7. How would you rate the quality of the keynote speaker? (if applicable)
  8. How would you rate the length of sessions versus the length of break sessions? (if applicable)
  9. In your opinion, did the event meet its objective?
  10. Overall, how would you rate the event?

It’s important to keep your survey short and sweet! This helps guarantee responses. Once you’ve discovered how to make your event even better next year, contact the Orlando event planning experts at Fun Planners to find out how we can help.

Prioritizing Security and Safety

When it comes to event planning, things like catering, venue location, and entertainment tend to take precedence over security. But safety is just as crucial to the attendee experience as anything else! By investing in quality security, your events and staff can be prepared for everything.

Document Everything
Everything needs to be properly documented in order to keep your insurance premium in check and keep your staff informed. This is especially true in the event of a medical emergency. Just remember, if something happens and you wonder, “Should I write this down?” — the answer is yes. It’s better to be safe than sorry!  

Enlist a Medical Team
Prepare for medical emergencies by hiring an approachable, knowledgeable medical team. It’s vital that you have professionals available on-site who can handle everything from providing a band-aid to administering CPR.

Lock Down Event WiFi
Your WiFi should always be password protected and only shared on a need-to-know basis. Make sure a venue’s network is secured by WPA and equipped with AP-isolation; this blocks other users from accessing devices logged into the network.

Create an Emergency Response Plan
Find out your venue’s procedures for active shooter situations and mass evacuations, and mark evacuation routes clearly on the day of the event. Map the closest route to the hospital. Decide what your security team will do with any unidentified bags or boxes, ensure the venue is equipped to handle all traffic, and know how to lock down the facility — just in case. It’s also crucial to establish a chain of command so that every staff member knows exactly what their role entails.

In addition, your emergency response should detail a crisis communications plan. While we can never be sure what the next crisis will look like, you can plan how you would communicate with attendees, employees, and the general public. Put together a crisis communications team and identify your communication channels ahead of time.

Get a Screening Strategy
It’s important to develop a screening strategy for both attendees and employees. Make sure to equally utilize technology and your security team! Metal detectors and magnetometers are great tools, but if they aren’t an option, don’t turn your nose up at a solid bag check.

Hire a credible security firm that’s supplemented with off-duty policemen, who are licensed to carry a firearm at events, and then meet together before the event kicks off. Communicate your layout and any areas of concern, and provide two-way radios and a detailed site map that shows emergency exits, bathrooms, stages, and concession stands. Many police departments post off-hours opportunities on their internal websites, so that’s a great place to start.

At Fun Planners, we believe that investing in high-quality security greatly benefits you, your staff, your attendees, and your event. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any Orlando event planning questions! For more information on how we can help you and your next event, give us a call at 407-955-4949.