Event management is a stressful business. That’s why we do it. Right?
Well actually in our case yes. (See – Zen and the art of entertainment planning, 3 and a bit ways to deal with the stress).
But one thing that we think is important when running and managing events is to go with the flow. Live events are just that “live”, or perhaps “alive” if you’ve organised them correctly. There are so many elements happening at different times and once they start, like a snowball rolling down a mountain, or a river flowing to the sea, they do not stop.
You plan, you check, you plan again, you double check, triple check (sometimes quadruple check), you brief everyone several times but still almost inevitably something will not go quite according to plan. So if you can accept that then you have taken a big step towards being a successful event manager. Whilst you will plan everything as meticulously as possible to reduce the chances of things not going to plan, how you deal with things when they don’t is just as important.
For weddings in particular it is important to remember this. They are by their nature emotionally charged events. So if you are planning and event managing your own wedding then you have the stress of the event itself plus all the emotions involved in getting married as well! It is then even more important for you to accept that if something goes “wrong” on the day/night you may need to shrug it off and just enjoy what is happening rather than worry about what isn’t. If you are running a wedding for somebody it is important to manage the expectations of the bride and groom to ensure they understand that sometimes plans can change slightly, sometimes for very good reasons on the day.
We had an example recently where we were running a large wedding with several different live bands and other entertainers coming on and off stage throughout the evening. One band totally ignored the instructions we gave them and started playing too soon resulting in the first dance being completely missed out from the evening! To some this would have been a tragedy but the bride and groom on the day were so happy with the way the event was going that they just shrugged it off. Everyone had a fantastic time, the event took on a life of its own and rather than a first dance on their own all their friends were round them as they danced together to the band. We were on the sound desk our fingers on the faders ready to turn the band off to get back to the plan but when we saw the crowd, felt the energy that came, we decided that to do anything but let it flow would have been wrong.
So in summary then our advice from event management experience is to be meticulous with your planning but relaxed in the implementation. Help the water to reach the sea but don’t try and stand in its way. The main thing is that everyone goes home happy and any problems that do occur go virtually or more often completely unnoticed.
The plan is just a plan. The event itself is what matters most. Go with the flow of your event.