Events are designed to communicate their own individual ‘Brand’ or in human-speak; Personality.
Essentially we are talking about an emotion that the host wants above all his/her guests to walk away feeling after the curtain falls and the final applause is but a faint noise in the distance.
The following learnings are easily applicable to events in general – Whether yours is a Wedding, Birthday Party, Private Event or Publicity Launch this simple analogy when applied thoughtfully will see that your event has a meaning and a purpose. Let’s face it, unless your the opening of an envelope kinda gal, without substance what’s the point?
ONE. The invitation
The invitation is arguably the most important detail of organising any event.
The invitation is the first point of contact between host and guest. This is nothing new people – we’ve all heard it before. The invitation sets the tone of your event and prepares your guests for what’s to come.
What should your invitation include?
Language that is understandable does get you brownie points. Formal or informal really does depend on the nature of your event and your guests. Speaking on the same level and avoiding condescending terminology is a bonus. Ask yourself; Do you know them intimately or are they complete strangers? Something polite and not too formal / stiff or informal is a nice medium if you are unsure.
Next up you need to communicate the intimate details such as the date, time, address, dress code and branding (if fundamental to the overall vibe of your event that is). Again, all these seemingly trivial details hint at the kind of event that you have planned for your guests.
It’s a fine line between OTT and just right. Don’t worry you’ll be a master in no time.
Warning: Make sure that you can back up your beautifully curated and master-piece of an invitation with an equally and well-constructed event OR you could leave your guests feeling about deflated as a blockbuster that promises to rock ones socks off and delivers anything but.
In summary. Think of the invitation as the front cover of your events book. The event is like the pages that proceed it. Oh and please don’t tell us you don’t judge a book by its cover. We all know that’s pure nonsense.2
TWO. Sense of arrival:
An Interior Designer once said to me which has remained deeply entrenched in all our events that we plan at WHITE RABBIT is thus; A flat sense of arrival can be the straw that breaks the camels back – even if you’ve put in a million hours to prepare a dinner that would make even a michelin star chef weep – sorry to say it but the sense of arrival is something you simply can’t bluff your way or disregard. There are no short cuts here – this detail needs to be planned with microscopic-like precision.
The first step is to put yourself in your guests shoes – from the second they set on the road to your event to the arrival and their trip to the venue. Having difficulty still? Imagine when your friends invite you over for dinner. Some familiar phrases might be:
- “Oh yes, of course you can park my car for me, what a treat!”
- “Well, they could have at least raked the leaves off their front porch.”
- “This place is impossible to see. What about some lights down the driveway.”
- “What is that beautiful smell?”
- “Oh a glass of bubbles on arrival, just what I felt like after an hours drive in peak hour!”
- “That is the most magnificent bunch of flowers I’ve ever seen”
- “Where can I put my bag / coat?”
Whether you think it’s a bit la-di-da, unimportant, vacuous behaviour or not, you can bet your last dollar that your guests will and don’t be fooled judge you on the level of detail you go into right from their arrival.
Make them feel welcome. It’s not hard. After all, what is it they say about first impressions….
THREE. WOW factor
Another inspiring Event Director used to put this to me always. “Where’s the WOW moment?”
By this we don’t mean one requires the budget of an oil-tycoon. Quite the contrary. WOW(ness) can be as simple as a thoughtful and personalised take home gift / gesture; an Illustrator on-hand taking special requests; a fireworks display; A 45 mins live performance by a well-known artist/act.
Very simply put. A WOW moment is a though designed by the host that is crafted to impress or leave a lasting impression. Other ideas might be a display of beautifully constructed flowers or an impressive instillation of art / sculpture lit up and creating the main focal point of the entire event. An orchestra or choir on arrival. A breathtaking venue with a view to match or a magical room reveal filled with decadent desserts or a bar equipped with a team of flair bartenders making signature cocktails upon request.
A sense of surprise, focal point, delight and an unexpectedness really adds the finishing touches to any event.
FOUR: THE END
You’ve put in a stellar performance all-night-long and played a supreme host. Be proud BUT now is NOT the time to kick off your heels and bask in copious amounts of glory especially of the alcoholic varietele.
Remember you still need to farewell your guests and ensure their departure is just as amazing as their arrival. This is also your opportunity to get first hand feedback on the success of your event. Guests are very vocal and have no problem in expressing their delight or disappointment. Now is the time you can gain some valuable insights.
So, consider the following:
- How are your guests getting home?
- Is there someone on hand to order taxis or show them to their car?
- Have they collected all their belongings?
- Did they grab their goodie bag / take-home gift on the way out?
- Perhaps you want to set-up a gift wrapping station for flowers bunches of flowers used from the event?
Above all. An event is about taking your guests on a journey. The gift of transporting people for a couple of hours and allowing them to step out of their day-to-day lives is something we absolutely love and don’t take for granted and nor should you. Always remember. Your guests regardless of the occasion have made an effort to attend your event. They’ve hired a babysitter, left work early, got their hair and makeup done or bought an entirely new outfit just for the occasion. It’s your duty to deliver and exceed expectations. It’s really very simple.
Some of our top event moments::
Claire & Oliver’s “First Dance”
Event Co:: WHITE RABBIT PROJECTS
Photography: Dan O’Day Photography
The spiel:: In keeping with the ‘Festival’ vibe of Claire and Oliver’s wedding. This image captured was true to form. Unbeknownst to guests who were happily polishing off their dessert under the 30m long kings table the team at WRP quickly whisked Claire and Oliver back of house. Just like that, the curtain revealed an entirely new room which had Claire and Oliver standing front and centre in front of The Jezebels who proceeded to blast out an incredible First Dance track “Look of Love”. Topped off with amazing lights, a stellar camera genius, confetti drop and voila!
More images of this spectacular wedding can be found on our website here.
Dior Autumn/Winter 2012
Event Co:: Bureau Betak
The spiel:: Raf Simons first collection as the new Creative Director of Dior did something no one had to date accomplished. Set in a mansion covered in wall-to-wall fresh cut flowers. It was a dream come true.
The runway comprised of five rooms and five floral stories: one of white orchids, red roses, blue delphiniums, yellow goldenrod and the “Christian Dior room”- a mix of pink roses and garden flowers. For all you event producers out there – the bump-in took two full days and two full nights. Florists from Eric Chauvin arrived by the masses to embed floral foam lined walls with over a million stems.
Video link :: here.
The Silver Party 2016
Event Co:: Rizer
Invitation Design:: Hawk Creative
The spiel:: When your invited to an event set in Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin private home here in Sydney, Australia you would expect the invitation to be nothing less than extraordinary. Enter Heather Hawkins and brainchild behind Hawk Creative. Nothing less than impressive is this here pop-up invitation which reminds us of our favourite book our parents read us as a child. One can only imagine to produce just one took an army to conceptualise, design and indeed produce. Clever cats like this are few and far between and congrats to the team who pulled this baby off. No doubt the event was a huge success and had guests entertained from ear to ear.
Video link :: here
[All images via:: Hawk Creative Instagram]