Our 3rd #VancityVirtualPotluck Was A Success! And We’re Sharing Our Secrets!
We discovered that we event planners all go through the same journey. The first stage is optimism, hope, and excitement. The second stage is stress, doubt, and amnesia on the reasons you thought it was a good idea in the first place. Then, the final stage which is the rush of the event, the excitement, and the crash after cleaning which can only be followed by a deep sleep.
Our 3rd Vancity Virtual Potluck followed that formula with our digital event happening at the same time as our live event. More than 70 foodies posted food photos at the same time on Instagram using the hashtag #VancityVirtualPotluck while we hosted a live potluck at Nourish Cafe. Wow! Do you know how to cook! Because food, cocktails, and people rubbing their bellies in delight were everywhere you looked.
Our host Josh from @itsjosheats brought his A-game with a 3-course meal while vendors like TXOTX Imports served Spanish and Okanagan ciders, Rootside Provisions made cocktails, and Wize Monkey served hot tea as a fresh palate cleanser. Whisk Matcha, Amai Vegan Treats and Elephant Garden Creamery had us dreaming of their desserts, and Blume had people talking with their chili turmeric popcorn.
We can absolutely look back and say our hard work was worth it and that the weeks of planning resulted in a successful event.
Even though we've planned more than 100 events between the two of us, each event teaches us something new. So like parents to children, we say, learn from our successes and mistakes to go forth and plan your own event masterpiece.
Gauge Interest and Bank on a Fraction of That
It's a good sign when you're telling people about your event and they seem excited, ask for tickets, and swear they're putting it into their calendar. They then hold back tears as they hold your hand and swear that wild horses couldn't keep them away.
Only a fraction of those people will be there. Life gets in the way, they're trying to be supportive, or it's because it's Vancouver but if 100 people promise to be at your event, you can count on about 10 to keep their word.
We're not saying this to be petty, it's life and we've done the same thing. However, it can be deceiving when you're planning and spending when you're counting on all the people who took an oath to be there when not all of them will. So be conservative and estimate your numbers knowing this.
Repeat Instructions and Have Them In Writing
We all process so much information every day. It's overwhelming and there's no way that your event partners, vendors, and guests are going to remember every detail of your emails or conversations. Repeat the most important details, confirm, and even print them out for anyone who needs them there. When organizers repeat important details at nauseum for events we've been a part of, we're not annoyed- we're grateful.
Keep Calm, Even in a Sh*t Storm
The single most important thing you can do to ensure your event is a success is to keep calm and look in control, even if sweat is soaking your suit. People need to feel like they're taken care of and that everything is going smoothly. This includes guests, vendors, partners, and sponsors. Stress makes you look amateur.
There is always ALWAYS a solution, even if it's at the eleventh hour so calmly look for a solution and don't waste any time arguing or taking your stress out on anyone.
Confirm the Paperwork
So although there are solutions for everything, some problems can mean a real sh*t storm. Make sure you're covered for any event insurance, liquor licenses, or permits ahead of time. You're not left with many options if you find yourself needing and lacking one of these.
Ask and Accept Help
It's simple and yet surprisingly hard. When planning an event there's a tendency to do everything yourself so that everyone can enjoy themselves and relax. The reality is that you probably do need the help and people want to help. Our sponsors for the event ShopandShout.com offered to show up early and help (how amazing are they?) and although we wanted to have everything taken care of ourselves, we needed the help.
It's better to have people looking for things to do before the event begins then be running around trying to get everything done while the clock ticks.
Don't Take On Any Roles the Day Of
If you're planning an event then you need to be circling constantly before and during the event. Don't task yourself with serving drinks at the bar or setting up something complicated because there are going to be a million questions and requests for help so you need to be available. Get an assistant the day of the event or ensure all major tasks are delegated.
Take Lots of Photos
This is one we seem to never learn from! Get photos of the setup, the dishes, the decor, the guests, the sponsors, and even yourselves! It's best to ask someone to do it for you since the event will go by faster then you thought and you're going to want photos to share, review, and possibly to promote your next event. If you know you and your team will have your hands full it's always best to hire a photographer.
Don't Forget to Say Thank You!
Again thank you to our amazing event sponsor ShopandShout.com, if you're an influencer who likes getting free stuff and sharing your favourite products on social then you're going to want to sign up for an account with them today.
Thank you to our host Josh, our vendors TXOTX Imports, Elephant Garden Creamery, Amai Vegan Treats, Wize Monkey, Blume, Wize Monkey, Whisk Matcha, Rootside Provisions for being there and for your swag bag contributions!