150 150 Next Level Event Design

As summer is concluding, I’ve been thinking about how fun and crazy this industry is. I wanted to share some event planning stories that make me laugh and I hope you enjoy them too!

More than once in my life I’ve been responsible to manage a rogue Speaker or Entertainer on stage.  When this happens, I consider regularly that I want to bring back the Vaudevillian Hook.  Just the thought of the expressions from the audience makes me chuckle.

Once a client was looking for a Mime to entertain at their Event.  They created a posting on Craigslist and got several responses.  There was one that seemed to fit their needs so she asked to schedule an in-person meeting.  His reply was that since he is a Mime he doesn’t speak so he didn’t see the point of meeting.   Wouldn’t that have made an interesting eavesdropping experience!

Not long ago, I received a text from a colleague saying that their Snake Charmer bailed and they need a replacement within 3 hours.  Of course emailing anyone who isn’t in the industry would probably scoff at an email subject title “urgent – need snake charmer immediately”.

We recently received an Audio Visual quote from a Hotel and it was a lot less than expected.  When we reviewed it in detail, we noticed there many vital elements that were missing.  The Salesperson’s response was “we would never send you a complete estimate since the price would be too high and you wouldn’t want to work with us!”

Fresh out of college, I was being trained by the Hotel’s Event Coordinator.  We were working on a ballroom diagram and not all of the 60” round tables would fit into the plan.  She reached into her drawer, got a fresh diagram and explained that when this happened, instead of using the template, she would draw a circle the size of a nickel (instead of the size of a quarter).   Her philosophy was that it was her responsibility to create the floorplan, but it was someone else’s responsibility to make it work.  Oh, I wonder where she’s working now?

During a multi-day conference we couldn’t find one of our client’s Assistants.  A short while later someone  noticed a pair of shoes peeking out of a stall in the Restroom complete with snoring rhythms.  A great discussion ensued as to who it was but I’ve got my suspicions!

One baby grand piano on wheels, two simultaneous events needing the piano, a back hallway that joins the two Ballrooms and an inexperienced Banquet Manager.  The facility event coordinator worked with both event schedules so that the piano could be moved after the first performance and be in place for the second performance.  It was all going to work out, until the schedule was postponed in the earlier event.  The manager didn’t check with the client and moved the piano before it was used….aaagh!

From these experiences, I’ve learned to communicate with every person about every detail.  I’m certain many a new vendor thought I should be committed at one point or another but I’ve learned from years of experienced as well as horror stories.  This includes even the tiniest details:

I’ve learned to communicate with the caterer about when they’re planning to brew coffee to help prevent a power surge, especially in older buildings.

I’ve learned to communicate with Bartenders when they need to stop blending drinks to prevent drowning out a speaker or the entertainment.

Oh how I love this business!