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Category Archive: Orlando event planning

A Picture’s Worth a 1,000 Guests

As of August 2018, Instagram has 1 billion active users and is thought by 60% of influencers to be the best overall platform for engagement. So how can you use it to promote your event — both before and after it happens? Learn more with the tips below.

Share Your Story
With Instagram’s Story feature, you can offer your audience relevant, organic updates as they happen. You can post on your story at a much more frequent rate than is socially acceptable on your feed, making it easier to share “the little things” that create hype. Before you share something with your audience, always ask yourself: does this work best as a post or on my story?

Attendee Interaction
Your story is also a great place to prioritize audience interaction. You can ask open-ended questions, take a poll, add relevant music, let your followers ask questions, or ask them to rank something. Because of these interactions, followers feel invested in your event and will keep an eye on your story knowing that you’ll be asking for their input.

Sneak Peaks
As you begin to set up your venue, show your audience “exclusive sneak peeks” by sharing videos on your story or photos on your feed. Give guests an idea of what the final table setting might look like, brag on a table full of incredible raffle gifts, or share the name of the winning venue. While you don’t want to show everything that you have planned, showing small things creates suspense for your event.

#TBT
This is only relevant if this is not the first time this event is happening! Share photos and videos from previous years to generate excitement — and even nostalgia — for those who attended in the past. If you have followers who have never come and are on the fence about purchasing a ticket, these throwback posts are the perfect way to show them how much fun they could have if they come.

Contests
Leading up to the event, hold contests to give out free tickets. All you need to do is ask your followers to comment on a post and tag a few friends, and then out of the people who comment, you can draw a name for someone (or a few someones) to win a handful of tickets. When your followers tag their friends, their friends will check out your post and maybe tag their friends as well.

Screen of Pictures
The night of the event, consider projecting social media pictures and Tweets up on a big screen for everyone to see — but only project the pictures and posts that use your event hashtag. People will want to see their picture on the big screen, and this will encourage them to post using your hashtag.

Photo Booth
A photo booth is a great way to get your event online. You can hold a contest for the best photo when participants post their picture using your event hashtag, or you can reward attendees for tagging your account or using the location by offering them a small prize or freebie.

With these few strategies, it’s easy to use Instagram to promote Orlando event planning. Give us a call today to find out how we can partner with you to take your event to the next level!

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!

Keynote Speaker Selection

Let’s be honest — we’ve all attended events where the keynote speaker was disappointing, predictable, and to be frank, downright boring. An engaging speaker at your next conference can make all the difference! When you select someone to speak to your audience, you place your audience’s trust in you onto that speaker, and you don’t want to let them down.

Do They Tell A Story?
In today’s world of Instagram celebrities and big-name bloggers, everyone feels like they’re a storyteller, but that’s not always the case. Make sure you’ve chosen an experienced speaker who knows how to read a room! They should be engaging, charismatic, and flexible. Most importantly, they need to appeal to your audience, and they should know how to connect with them — from beginning to end.

Do They Add Unique Value?
While you may have found a great speaker — or even a speaker that you know personally — you have to ask yourself: do they bring something to this event that your attendees can’t find anywhere else? What about their knowledge or experience makes them unique? Why should your audience care to sacrifice their time and listen? If there aren’t easy answers to these questions, it might be time to resume your search.

Are They Authentic?
The best speakers have real-life examples of success and failure, and they know how to share those stories in authentic, genuine ways that speak to their audience. Evaluate their credibility. Is your speaker of choice determined to stand behind a podium and preach at the audience? Do they refuse to walk into the crowd and meet guests? Are they more concerned with their appearance than delivering superior content? And quite possibly most importantly: are they equipped to prove their expertise during a Q&A session? Every speaker can appear qualified with a well-practiced presentation, but it’s the unexpected Q&A questions that separate the good from the great.

Can They Draw A Crowd?
While you shouldn’t choose a speaker based on their celebrity title, it’s important to consider if your speaker is willing to help you attract attendees. Are they going to market alongside you? Will they tell their loyal followers to come and check out your event? Think about if they will be able to get other influencers involved.

Are They Going to Stick Around?
When a speaker sticks around to talk to the audience, they humanize themselves. Their keynote presentation may thrill attendees and shake the ground, but the best opportunity to connect and make a difference is during one-on-one conversations. Ask potential speakers if they are willing to stick around after their presentation.

As you dive into Orlando corporate event planning for your next conference, don’t choose your keynote speaker without checking this list! Take the necessary time to review their qualifications. And if you need help with your event’s catering, audio equipment, or more, make sure to contact us at Fun Planners.

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.

Get to the Subject

For months, you’ve completely thrown yourself into planning an elaborate, time-consuming event. You’ve spent hours negotiating prices, invested days into researching the perfect catering company, and got put on hold more times than you care to count. Now that you’ve put so much time into planning your Florida corporate event, make sure that your email marketing campaign is up to snuff. Get inspired with some of our favorite email campaigns!

charity: water: Progress Emails
Most of the time, we donate to charities without a real knowledge of where exactly our money goes, and we’re never given specifics. However, once someone donates to a charity: water project, they’re put on a list where they receive automated emails about the journey their money has taken, how it’s being used, and the impact it’s made. They’re given a progress update, a project timeline, and updated pictures. This is great to keep in mind, particularly when you’re working with a nonprofit! If attendees made donations at the event, consider keeping them up-to-date on where their money goes.

Cook Smarts: Easy CTA
Cook Smarts makes the CTA of each email easy to find! In the upper right-hand corner, subscribers can always find a “Forward to a Friend” button. As you publicize your event, make it easy for potential guests to tell their friends about it!

HireVue: Unsubscribe, It’s Okay — Seriously
It’s smart to purge your subscription list of people who don’t open your emails — low open rates can affect email deliverability. Take a look at how HireVue opened the door for subscribers to go away.

“You haven’t been opening our emails in the last few months, and the last thing we want is to come across clingy. If you still want to stay connected, then just press ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ below, and we promise we won’t let you. Otherwise, we’ll take you off our business list in three days. No hard feelings.”

This is simple, humorous, and guilt-free messaging! If you have a list of subscribers interested in future events who don’t open their emails, consider approaching them this way.

Loft: Happy Inbox, Happy Life
Ann Taylor Loft acknowledged the cluttered, overwhelming feeling of the common inbox, suggesting to all of their subscribers they should embrace the “Happy Inbox, Happy Life” approach to email. This is a customer-focused email that asks recipients to update their email preferences because they’re going to be sending content they won’t want to miss. As your event gets closer, send out an email asking attendees to update their email preferences! They won’t want to miss out on any important updates.

Florida corporate events can greatly benefit from a solid email campaign. If you’re looking to strengthen your team or put on an amazing business event, make sure to reach out to us online or at 407-955-4949.

Tips to Choose a Caterer

Delectable dishes, outstanding service, and an awesome cancellation plan are only a few components of an ideal caterer. But there’s more than that when it comes to choosing the perfect company! Take a look at what you should know before signing the dotted line.

Event Experience and Specialities: Different companies are built to serve different markets. Some caterers specialize in large events, while others are “boutique” and designed to only handle small parties. Make sure you’ve chosen a caterer who can work with your event’s size.

Menu Flexibility: If you will be serving a group with a particular dietary need, such as a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance — or even if the majority of your guests are vegan or vegetarian — make sure the caterer is equipped to meet those needs while still serving delicious food. It’s also important to verify that they have menu options that fit into the theme of your event.

Compare and Contrast: Talk to the caterer about your event’s specific needs, and compare proposals from multiple companies before selecting one.

Ask For References: Online reviews are not always reliable, so ask the caterer to provide references, reviews, and testimonials. Feel free to contact previous clients to ask them about their experience.

Verify License: Check with your local health department to verify your caterer’s license. Ask to confirm that the company has no bad records, violations, or complaints.

Taste Test: It’s not a hassle to ask for a taste test! Attend at least three testings with separate caterers, and make sure that you can taste what you ask for, not a generic sampling — and be prepared to pay for the testing is necessary.

Venue Familiarity: While this isn’t make-or-break, there are benefits to working with a caterer who is familiar with your venue; they know the rules and the available equipment and space. If you’re leaning toward a caterer who hasn’t worked at the venue before, ask them to come for a walk-through. 

Review the Contract: Every detail should be included in the contract, even small no-brainers, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about what will be provided. Consider having an attorney look it over before you sign.

More Than Food: While a caterer is obviously supplying food and beverage, it’s important to remember that they’re supplying service as well. Inquire as to the number of servers, their experience, and the number of staff in supervisory roles.

If you’re looking for a caterer for your next event, make sure you check out services here at Fun Planners. For more Orlando event planning tips and information on how we can make your next event great, call us at 407-955-4949.