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Networking and Nuptials: How marketing helped me plan my wedding

July 2, 2012

Last month, I took a big step – on Memorial Day weekend, my longtime boyfriend (five years running!) dropped to one knee and popped the question. I was thrilled, excited and outright stunned, but luckily managed to choke out the word ‘yes.’ After the proposal bliss settled, though, I was struck by a nightmarish thought – how am I going to plan a wedding?

Luckily, I’m a marketer, and event planning goes with the suite of skills required of my craft. And so, tasked with planning what will likely be the biggest event of my life, I figured I could apply a tip or two from my professional background. Turns out, a tip or two turned into ten – any way you slice it, event planning is easy if you keep a few things in mind:

  1. Ask questions. Ask yourself strategic questions to set the scene: Who will be there? What will people experience? What do I want guests to think the next day?
  2. Identify your goal. Every event is driven by one motivation – what do you want to accomplish? Everything you do should relate back to that single purpose.
  3. Create a timeline. There’s no way to keep track of all the minor, yet vital, details without a comprehensive timeline, delineating every single task by the day, week and month.
  4. Make a rain plan. Prep for the worst, and get equipped with a Plan B. What if it rains? What if the festivities run late? What if twice as many people show up?
  5. Build a run-of-show. Taking an ‘itinerary’ to a whole new level, the structured run-of-show lists times, contacts, maps, scripts (if needed) and an overall schematic outlining the event’s flow.
  6. Experience it yourself. Climb in the audience’s shoes and mentally walk through the event – doing so could reveal possible hiccups you didn’t think you had.
  7. Compile an emergency kit. You never know when you’ll need duct tape, or extra pens, markers or extension cords. Pack it all – after all, a ‘nonessential’ could quickly turn essential.
  8. Cover all the bases. Will you need security? Or electric outlets? Or insurance? Consider ALL your needs (not just the ones at the surface) and make sure they’re met well in advance.
  9. Think outside the venue. Sure, once people get to the event, it should be a piece of cake, if you’ve planned it to perfection. But will GPS go the wrong way? Is parking easily accessible? Consider the issues within a few miles’ radius of the venue.
  10. Communicate. While you’re in the throes of event planning, it’s hard to realize that the guests are not. Keep them updated and engaged through save-the-dates, invitations, newsletters and bulletins. Get them as excited as you are!

From networking to nuptials, event planning is a mighty, yet manageable, beast. Even still, there’s so much more to learn, so I want to hear from you. What are your event planning tips?

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