Pro-Planning Tips for Event Planning Newbies: As Told by The Experts!

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(Image by Shutter stock)

The first wedding that I’d ever worked, my nerves were running high. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I forget something and sabotage the entire wedding? There’s an overwhelming amount of things to keep up with. Luckily, I have a very experienced boss whose shared her wisdom of planning with me. She’s given me the opportunity to experience and problem solve for myself, as well. Many weddings later, I can confidently tell you that I still don’t have all of the answers to planning.

Advice from my boss and experience has taught me that sometimes things don’t always go as planned – this is the beauty of event planning, though. Things are chaotic at times, but you should build a team that can combine forces to problem solve. For those new to the planning industry, or just curious about planning in general, I can offer you three key pieces of advice:

1. Expect the unexpected                                                                                                                 

No matter how many weddings you’ve planned, no two are the same. Anything could happen. There’s always a chance that something could go wrong. Once, our team forgot the fuel for tiki torches and had to run to the store and buy some for the send off. Though it was stressful, we figured it out in time. Important variables to consider:

Timing: My boss always stresses the importance of having “buffer time” throughout the entire process of coordinating an event.

Budget: In the case that you confuse a vendors price, or have to run and get lighter fluid for tiki torches, it ‘s important to keep an “emergency stash of cash,” as my boss calls it.

Weather: You never know what you’re going to get living in Austin, Texas. If it’s going to rain, consider having a tent, or have extra umbrellas on-hand for guests walking from one point to the next.

2. Communication is key

Communicating with team members, the wedding party, their guests, and the vendors is the most crucial part to planning – not just during the event, but throughout the entire planning process. Everyone needs to be on the same page for the event to run smoothly. Successful communication starts with a complete and precise production timeline, including; roles, responsibilities, contact sheets, design layouts, etc.  If everyone is on the same page, and has reviewed the timeline ahead of time, it’ll be much easier to adapt and handle certain situations that may arise. For a quick & easy timeline template, check out office timeline .

3.  Be patient and forge meaningful connections    

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 I’m sure we’re all familiar with the saying “patience is a virtue,” and to survive & thrive in the event industry attainment of this virtue is crucial. Wedding season is a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. As planners, we must develop the innate ability to handle whatever is thrown at us in the midst of chaos – this is our job, after all. There will be times when a bride, bridal party and families get overwhelmed with the many details. As planners, it’s our job to alleviate them of this stress by taking care of all the details, and remaining patient if and when clients get overwhelmed. Killing people with kindness always work. Everyone is distracted and time starved – these things are to be expected. Being aware of these factors and remaining patient is of the upmost importance. Events can be stressful, but having fun with your team, the wedding party and other vendors make the planning process a lot easier.

The Discovery of Paris

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photo by Jasmine Hills 

My name is Paris. How’d I get this name, you ask? Great question.

No, I was not born in the capital of France, and even though we share the same birthday, I am not named after the hotel heiress Paris Hilton, either. As you can imagine, this is a commonly asked question.

After not being able to provide an explanation to this question for about 18 years, I finally decided to inquire about the meaning of my name. My mother was flattered by my curiosity and great interest in her reasoning for giving me this “unique” name. Her response was just as compelling as I had hoped.

My mother, Destini (yes, that’s spelled with an I), essentially named me when she was eleven years old, almost as if it were her destiny (pun intended) to have a child named Paris. She wrote a story about a young lady named Paris who was an adventurer, believer, dreamer, and above all else, a lover. My mother formed such a special connection to this character that she decided to name her first born child in its honor.

Needless to say, I was no longer bothered when asked about my name, considering how much meaning went into it. My mother had taught me from a very young age that to give things meaning is to give them value and purpose. Therefore, learning about the meaning of my name provided me with a newfound sense of value, purpose, and direction to my life that I so desperately needed at the time.

I’d changed my major for the fourth and final time to Public Relations. I started saving up money that I had earned from babysitting to go on short trips around the U.S. to places that I’d never seen. I began searching for internships that would stimulate my inner restlessness, and allow for a broad range of networking opportunities. Eventually, I channeled my never-ending curiosity into traveling, my many ideas into writing, and need for constant stimulation and variety into Event Planning.

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AWE Events holiday party – courtesy of Anna Owens 

I strive to live a life of never-ending learning, variety, connecting and communicating with the world. Today, if you were to look at any of my social media handles, it would read: PR student, Event Planner and Nanny. My dreams and ambitions match up quite nicely, all thanks to my mother.

I currently work in the event industry, and have acted as the CEO’s right hand for a little over a year. I’ve also worked as a part-time nanny throughout the entirety of my college career, and have acted as children’s third parent for roughly four years.

Yes, this is my fifth and final year of college. I’m sure many can relate to the struggle of having to balance working, a full course load, and a personal life, right? My young adult life has certainly been somewhat of a balancing act. C’est La Vie. I could not be happier with my current place in life. I remind myself everyday that “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” These are wise words to live by, and to take into consideration when choosing a major or career path.

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(photo by Google images)

There’s just something about sharing love and connecting with others on a daily basis that keeps the blood running through my veins and heart pumping. Connecting and communicating with various types of individuals through various types of platforms is crucial to surviving in this industry, which is why I love Event Planning and am a Communications Major.

Ideally, I’d love to own an event agency in Austin, Texas – coordinating mostly destination weddings. If you’ve ever experienced Austin traffic, which I’m sure many of you have, you would agree that Austin is the city to be in! Also, who doesn’t love experiencing the world while working?

In my opinion, the world needs more love and positive communication. As a Public Relations student, Event Planner, and Nanny, it is my job to spread this love through the act of communicating. With that being said, I will be covering many aspects of Event Planning throughout my blog, including: history, clientele, design, and networking.

Well, thanks for listening to to me rant about myself. Hopefully, this blog will inspire the manifestation of each and every one of your dreams and aspirations. I look forward to sharing my visions and thoughts with you all in hopes of bringing my own dreams of event planning to fruition, via this blog, Planning by Paris. I will include personalized and local images in my posts. I also hope to connect with you all through Youtube videos and other forms of relevant media.

Keep ATX Corporate Events Weird

Whether you want to build better relationships between management and staff, celebrate an accomplishment or simply want to let loose and have a good time outside of the office – entertainment is a crucial component of any event!

Luckily for your corporation, Austin, Texas is home to endless talent and entertainment—from Aerial Performers, to Panic Rooms—there’s no reason to have a bland company gathering!

Liven up the next company soiree, by taking advantage of what this city has to offer! Capitalize on any of these entertainment options, and expose your company to the hip-happenings that make Austin, well, Austin!

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  1. Aerial Performers                                                                                                                       Keep Austin Weird, Keep Corporate Events Weird! Introduce your company to some of the unique talent that they may otherwise miss out on by being in the office and working for you. It’s the least you could do, Boss! Alleviate your employees of the monotony of spreadsheets and deadlines, such as hiring a Hula Hoop and Aerial Dancer like Corean Gonzales. Corean has received excellent reviews from corporations nationwide, as being a “Fantastic Performer” and “Hit of the Party”. Give your company the opportunity to learn about flexibility inside and outside of the office, by booking with this gifted aerialist!  ROB
  2. Rock Star Speakers
    If your team is in need of a little motivation, hiring a guest speaker is an exceptional idea! Not just any speaker, of course. Hire a speaker like Robb Overholt, who has a comedic approach to motivational speaking and gifted guitar picking, which provides for life altering experiences. Talented guest speakers are guaranteed to inspire, educate, and engage. Go ahead; unleash your company’s inner rock-star! ABS
  3. Austin River Boat
    Want to treat your employees to a Mediterranean Cruise, but lack the funds? Well, rumor has it that living in Austin is sometimes like being on vacation! What better incentive is there to move your next event to the great lakes of Austin and take your company on an adventure in their own city? Book with  Lone Star Riverboat  Choose from three different boat selections, and enjoy the narrated sightseeing of Austin, Texas!Jester-King-Brewery_170547
  4. Brewery Tours
    Booze: what many would argue to be the single most important component to any social event! Though your employees’ enjoyment is imperative, so too is their safety. This is where Austin Brewery Tours comes in to  take care of everything, including transportation, facility tours, and tastings. Join them for a visit to the Farmhouse Brewery at Jester King, or Belgian Beer tour at Adelbert’s!  teepees
  5. Tepee Rentals
    Routine and predictably from the work place shouldn’t extend to social gatherings. So, why not surprise your employees by ditching the plain white tents, used every year at the annual parties in exchange for tepees? Pretty radical idea, huh? Mingling in a progressive and aesthetically pleasing environment makes for free-flowing conversations that could potentially birth new and innovative ideas for your company. Coined as being ‘unique, intimate, and versatile,’ Indie House Tepee Rental’s are definite conversation-starters, which can be perfect for your company’s next launch party, or savvy-chic gathering. Austin-Party-Band-Cedar-St.-800x600
  6. Austin Party Band                                                                                                                     When has live music ever been a bad idea? Probably in the history of never. Dubbed as the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas, is the place to track musicians for your event. Austin Party Band, aka APB, is a prime example of the energy you want at your company’s next event! APB is a hybrid group of six musicians, who have performed with Grammy award-winning musicians like, Jason Mraz, and at various music festivals around the world. Keep your company’s endorphin’s up by booking with this group of multifaceted musicians. PANIC
  7. Austin Panic Room                                                                                                                  Nothing says teamwork like being trapped in a room with nine other colleagues and having to escape in under an hour. The Austin Panic Room  is a growing trend for corporations, for only $20 per person. If leadership and team building is what your company is looking for, then the panic room is a terrific fit! Escape the blizzard! Break out of prison! Hurry, reserve your company a room online. BLOG PIZZA
  8. BOLA-PIZZA                                                                                                                                                    It’s a universally understood fact that food has the power to unite any group of people together, especially PIZZA! Who doesn’t love a good pizza? Well, if you didn’t before, you will after having it prepared right in front of your very eyes by some of Austin’s most innovative-pizza-geniuses. Let’s be honest, complaints at a party are highly unlikely when there’s dinner AND a show. Forget about delivery – that’s far too mainstream for your company! Book with Bola Pizza Catering instead – they bring their oven to you!elvis
  9. Impersonators                                                                                                                             Ah, the classic Elvis impersonator! Oh, and let’s not forget about Marilyn Monroe. If you’re looking to revive some classic talent, then hiring a local Impersonator is a splendid idea!  Impersonators are a refreshing option that can lift a company’s spirits entirely. Choose from politics, sports, music, or comedy to find the best fit for your company’s next event. Employees won’t be able to help falling in love with them!ifly
  10. iFLY                                                                                                                                                    Are energy levels in the office low? If so, indoor skydiving is a definite way to boost adrenaline levels in employees. iFLY of Austin, Texas is quoted by Dana Clark of Dell to be the “Best. Team. Builder. Ever”. So grab your team, and choose from one of the customizable packages that include everything from catering to transportation.  Your company should leave with a newfound confidence, creativity, and sense of camaraderie!

 

This is my first written article on Corporate Events – published during my internship with AWE Events!

Hope you’ve enjoyed.

-Paris Lynch