My event organising only goes so far as school formals and after-parties, but everyone has to start somewhere, correct? It’s like Barack Obama running for class president in High School, you have to start off small and make your way to the top.
My latest project was the School of Communication 2017 Winter Formal. The one night where us students get the opportunity to get out of our athleisure wear and slip into floor-length gowns and act classy. I myself am still only learning when it comes to events-planning and management, but I thought I would share the tips and tricks I learned during this opportunity.
You can’t do it all by yourself
Get yourself a dedicated team. Ask your course director/lecturer to send an email calling for a formal committee. Once you’ve found yourself your army, you can start on your mission. This time around I created a Facebook closed group – perfect for sharing ideas, opinions and updates on what is happening.
Take inspo from all angles
Inspiration is hiding in every corner, you just have to think what would be appropriate to your event and your budget. I wasn’t going to order a mechanical bull for a school formal, but a photo-booth would capture the perfect shot of all your party guests – and they get a free keepsake!
Bloggers, Pinterest and previous events you have attended can all feed you ideas of what type of entertainment you can have. Keeping in mind my budget, we opted for goody bags (filled with sweet treats), ‘Selfie Face-mats’, a photo-booth and a candy floss machine.
I had originally seen the Face-mats at a 21st birthday I attended, and with the whole ‘selfie’ phenomenon currently happening, the guests had the best craic trying on the different faces. This was a sure way to keep my guests busy and energised whilst they waited for their food in the dining room.
My laptop was my best friend for the guts of a month, as I was constantly updating my database filled with names of people that have paid, people promising to pay and entertainment companies I have handed money to. Keep these all in separate lists!
The key to running a successful event is definitely organisation. I found satisfaction out of always having the answer to questions before they were asked. Make a list of everything you need to know from your venue, from your entertainment companies and from your committee and have the answers written out in a Word document.
Invest in a whiteboard in Tesco for £5 (fulfil your secondary school guilty pleasure of scribbling on a whiteboard) and have everything you need to do in the days preceding the event written down. The satisfaction I got from wiping the marker off the board was unprecedented. Yes, I am also the person who gets excited when mopping a dirty floor.
Promoting still applies to University events!
It’s a School formal, surely everyone wants to go enjoy a night with their university mates, right?
Right up until 2 days before the event, I was still encouraging other students to come to the formal. You have to create the buzz around your event. If you’re not excited about it, what gives anyone else the right to be excited?
The School of Communication hasn’t held a formal in quite a few years due to lack of interest and no one willing to take control of the event. So to tackle this and help make this an annual thing, you needed to share the fun with as many people as possible to make them want to go next year – AKA make EVERY moment a photo opportunity, so that social media knows how good of a night it was.
Of course at the event you need a Snapchat filter. A filter is a given at any event nowadays, but you would be surprised how easy it is to create and how much of a reaction it gets from the crowd. I found it was these simple details that tied the whole event together and shaped the amazing atmosphere the formal had.
So you’re at the event, you have spent time and money making yourself feel glamorous. Do not waste all of your hard work being stressed! Everything has obviously turned out fine since you have made it to that point. Take some of the prosecco they are offering you (because every event needs a prosecco reception) and enjoy your night!
Shannon Quinn is a 2nd year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/shannon-quinn-556236132 and on Twitter @SQbabes.