Controlled Chaos

150 150 Next Level Event Design

We recently moved from our house of 9 years into a 100+ year old home. The experience was not without its challenges spanning 6 months from our first visit. When I was relating our experience to friends, one said, “This story is so chaotic, but that’s really what your specialty is as an Event Planner, right?” I thought about my friend’s comment and came to the conclusion that amidst the perceived chaos in the world of events, there is definitely a methodical way in which projects are executed in our industry. Perhaps from the perspective of outside this profession, managing a tight timeline and a multitude of variables sounds like it would be overwhelming or chaotic. To a solid event planner though, there is strong structure in place. It’s not unreined chaos.

I think of this regularly during event set ups. We generally have a very limited amount of time to create a completely different environment through Décor, AV, Music, etc. People are often moving in multiple directions but yet there is a system from load-in to load-out. Every part of the event team from Venue Management to Vendors knows our plan beforehand.

Many moons ago when I was trained as a banquet server, I learned the importance of adhering to systems. I think back to the people who beat this into my brain so long ago. A team of women who I could best describe as “Service Ninjas.” I was in my teens at the time and they were probably the age I am currently – 29 and don’t ask again ;). Most of them had bouffant hairdos and deepened voices (a la Benson and Hedges). I’m pretty certain they still do.

One of the first lessons was how to properly set a ballroom as a team. Set whatever you’re designated to set (flatware, napkins, plates, etc.) starting in the furthest corner of the room, gradually weaving your way back to the kitchen door. After I saw this seasoned team steadily and systematically work a room, I realized the importance of respecting this rule.

Years later when I became a Banquet Manager of a multiple ballroom facility, I realized how helpful this rule is. Despite the set-up frenzy, you could tell instantly which room was behind, who needed help, and where they were in the process. The structure provides the view to properly assess and manage what could become chaos and instead allows the planner to transform it into the steady hum of efficiency.

Needless to say, our movers had no bouffant sporting Service Ninjas! And as good as I am at events, I had no training in packing boxes, moving and unpacking. So, here’s a shout-out to the bouffant training of days gone by and an inside tip that there’s room for event planner styled systems in the residential moving industry. For now, I’m just glad to have the chaos of moving behind me, the structure of events around me and to be newly at home in a great new place.