Event Consultation: Personalized Event Websites

Event Websites are a great idea, especially in the online world that we all live in. An Event Website, whether it be additional pages on your non-profit or company site or your own personal wedding site, provides a wealth of information for your guests to access without having to always contact the host.

Providing your guests information about the venue, their parking, the venue’s room rates or other hotels around the around for them to stay at if need be is always appreciated. Many times a discount has been created for your event that you can post for flights, hotels, restaurants, which all your guests will be sure to take advantage of.

Detailed information about the event – time, speakers, events, spaces – is also a great addition so that guests are aware of the events they are coming to – as well as the times they should be there.

Essential information about venue requirements like ID’s and weather is also great so that guests come prepared for your event.

It’s also a great idea to highlight speakers, vendors, sponsors through the website so that you can offer them potential interest and revenue from your attendees.

Lastly, RSVP a great tool to have linked to your site. Secured through a password protection, it is a way for the guests to respond to event and even purchase tickets if applicable.

By providing a wealth of information through the website, your attendees and guests are bound to constantly refer to your website as their source of information to others too. When the event is over, you also have a home for all the photo and video that people will want to share with each other on social media.

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Event Consultation: Event Day is Here!

After months of consultation and planning, after several discussions, a lot of collaboration, and fine tuning the details, your event day has arrived!

Day of Execution is the key to your successful event and guest experience. Did you and your consultant prepare everything to hand over to your planner? Your event planner must be a person who is cool under pressure and is able to execute the event day without any glitches becoming apparent to the host or the guests.

There are always problems on the day, the best event planners are able to solve the problems even before anyone knows anything is wrong.

The keys to this type of perfected execution are the detailed timeline, walk throughs of many potential scenarios, and always arriving armed with back-up plans for everything. “Contingencies” we like to call them at Blue Lotus Insights.

You want to be sure that you are their enjoying every part of your event and not wrapped up in the details if you were to hit a snag.

Remember that you have hired a consultant to plan the entire event, and a planner to work with your venue and your vendors to assist them to complete everything is a timely and orderly fashion on the event day itself. So don’t be stressed, this is what we are here for.

A detailed meeting about how the day will pan out, with attention paid to a meticulous made timeline – will always prove to be an excellent idea for all your vendors and family members.

It is important for those that are involved to see how the day will run. Event day is sreserved for hosting your guests and enjoying the details, let the planners take care of the rest and think on their feet to make your day successful!

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Event Consultation: Unanticipated Costs

When planning the biggest day of your life, a corporate event, or any special occasion for that matter – managing your budget and costs usually ranks the highest on everyone’s list of concern.

Blue Lotus Insights wants to give you a few unanticipated costs that you might not have accounted for but do exist, and creep up from time to time.

1. The one that ranks the top on our list – is tips to your vendors. As you experience your beautiful day unfolding and you see the vendors who have put their heart and soul into making this your perfect day, it’s always nice to reward them with a tip. Tips can be given at your discretion to those you would like – but be sure to include that as part of your budget. (A tip to a vendor could be anywhere from 10 to 20 % of that vendors contracted amount).

2. Another cost, that you should negotiate with your venue to include as part of your contract, is the cake cutting and champagne toast. Most venues will include these two as additional costs so be aware that you are not charged.

3. Also when signing your venues and vendor’s contracts be sure to note the taxes that are placed on top of the package you will have purchased; there is no getting around taxes.

4. When deciding on the beautiful invite to send your guests, always remember that a postage applies, so be sure to ask how much postage your invite might be. Postage can add up to a couple hundred dollars.

5. If the Venue is not a full service venue, be sure to find out exactly what is included. You might be surprised to learn that the venue may provide absolutely nothing but the physical space itself, and you will need everything from cutlery to water stations.

6. Lastly, be sure to understand exactly how the parking will work – is it per car, per person, etc? Some venues have strange rules around parking so be sure to ask. Parking always seems to come back to haunt client’s if it hasn’t been considered from the beginning, and included explicitly in the contract.

Although there are more, these are a few unanticipated costs should be accounted for you in your detailed budget — so that their are no surprises. Blue Lotus Insights would be happy to share more with you in a Consultation!

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Event Consultation: Demands of Vendors

When deciding to have a special event, corporate event, convention or even a wedding be very aware of vendors that over-request particular needs and have ‘above-and-beyond’ demands. There are a lot of Divas in the wedding industry, and often they forget they are actually working for you (and not the other way around).

It’s important to voice the needs of your event to your vendors from the start (or have an idea on what you want) rather than vendors imposing upon you their detailed and particular ways. Often if that happens, they will demand a certain timing, or a detail that would otherwise change the experience of your event. These are red-flags and should be heeded as such.

Your Event Planner should come prepared with you to outline what you are looking for from the Vendor first, and then understand the Vendor’s needs to make that happen next. As the host of the event you have the right to state your parameters and choose only those vendors that are able and willing to work within the parameters. You are allowed to be firm, as chances are – they are not the only vendor that can do high quality work and you can find someone more amenable if they are being problematic.

Of course, the best vendors listen first anyway — so that afterwards they might express things you would not have otherwise thought of. If a vendor makes a suggestion that you are ok with and is to your liking – then by all means change the plan to accommodate. Don’t be so rigid with what you want that you set yourself up for problems the Vendor is warning you about.

On the unlikely chance that a vendor, at your first meeting, states parameters they will only work in – don’t be shy to state your vision and opinions as well. See how they react to what it is you want. They should be flexible and understanding and they should above all listen to you.

Blue Lotus Insights will always be on your side while conveying to the vendors how you would like the event to look, run and feel. Because over demanding vendors (and guests for that matter) can place undue stress on the host and event – we just want to ensure your event is produced how you have envisioned it.

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Event Planning: Celebrity Talent

Talent of any kind should always be taken care of with the utmost respect, and when it comes to Celebrities there are additional steps that need to be taken to ensure their experience is also comfortable for them.

At Blue Lotus Insights, through Neha Shah’s continued work with the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, AMEC, and events at the Sundance Film festival have great insight on how to take care of the needs of your talent (whether they be CEO’s, actors, dancers, musicians or VIP’s).

We understand the delicate balance of ensuring their needs are met, because they bring publicity and notoriety to your Film Festival or Corporate event. Talent is also essential to lock in other attendees and honored guests that you would like to have at your event.

It is always a great gesture to provide talent with VIP gift bags with gift items that are exclusively created / personalized — with donations provided by vendors and companies that would further give your organization more publicity. Celebrity Talent is a great way to make your event rise above and beyond the ordinary. (See “Awards Ceremonies & Celebrities” article for more information).

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Event Coordination: Table Sizes and Number of Chairs

When deciding the type of seating you would like to have for your guests it is essential to know about your table sizes and the number of chairs these tables can accommodate.

Many venues have various types of tables that they can offer for your event as well as different number of chairs per table. (If you are at a venue that allows you to bring in rentals then you are able to arrange in squares, rectangle and large to small circles. Please see Hotels vs Venue Articles)

Generally full service hotels will carry rounds of 24, 36, 48, 60 or 66 and 72 inches; if your event size is large then Blue Lotus Insights advises you to maximize your 72 inch tables so that more of your family and close friends can sit closer to the dance floor (or where all the entertainment will be happening).

If you are having a smaller event then we recommend to maximize the space with the appropriate size tables that your venue will allow to accommodate. We’ve compiled below this list that you will find useful as a general guide to the number of chairs to the table size (in order to help you decide your table arrangements and seating):

Table Sizes and Number of chairs

*Please also see additional articles on Table Arrangements and Seating

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Event Design: Event Space Diagrams

Event space diagrams are a great way to organize your space on paper so that on event day you, your vendors and your guests have a model to follow.

Most venues will provide empty diagrams with dimensions that you can arrange with your event planner to best suit the event you will be having. Once you have decided on a detailed layout – it is always a great idea to walk through the space with your event planner and venue manager so that everyone on the team knows exactly where everything will be placed and how you have envisioned it.

Changes of course can be made depending on increase or decrease in guest count – but be sure to account for this when creating your table arrangements. If your event is more of Gala when there is not a need for too many table arrangements, then you and your planner want to be aware of the flow of the event.

This means you need to be aware of where guests will enter, where bottle necks might occur, where the most congestion might happen. You also have to be sure to have enough space for the amount of people attending so that guests don’t feel crammed, and you don’t create situations that would make a Fire Marshall frown. Nothing feels less organized then a crowd of people walking in every direction and bumping into one another. This can happen very quickly.

Event space diagrams should include everything you want in that space, from the large tables, stage and dance floor to the small cocktail tables, water stations and buffets.

It’s always great to look at other events of your size and their diagrams so that you can get ideas on how to set-up the space in an unique manner. As the venue if you can drop by an event they have scheduled to see how it is done. Or hire an event company that has worked in that particular space before.

Blue Lotus Insights knows the importance of designing the event space on paper so to make the building upon the foundation a smoother process, but we are also experienced with a large number of venues in Southern California and beyond.

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Event Coordination: Organization of Table Arrangements

An overwhelming part of planning an event could be the table arrangements for your Gala, Charity Dinner, Fundraiser or Wedding. Table arrangements are crucial to making the event feel more formal and definitely more organized. A lot of preparation and coordination should be considered when deciding to do table arrangements. Blue Lotus Insights has created this series of articles to make the process painless and smooth. Please also reference Seating Cards, Table Arrangements and Tables and Number of Chairs articles for more.

When beginning to do your table arrangements its important to have your RSVP’s organized properly into an Excel or Numbers document by name the events the guest is attending, their meal preference or any dietary restrictions and lastly if they have a guest that won’t be needing a separate seating card.

It’s also a great idea to then create another sheet on your Excel or Number documents where you can make your table groupings. Blue Lotus Insights recommends designing them with your table number or name as the heading of each box of 12 seats. Of course a table can have less seats but it’s great to start with at least 10 to 12 seats.

As you begin to drop names into each box with the table number you can then also place any particular needs or restrictions. Make sure you cross reference your table arrangements with your RSVP list to make sure you have accounted for all your guests.

We hope this makes the process a lot more easier. Blue Lotus Insights can create a custom table arrangement process for your specific event to make the process more smooth. More articles on this part of the planning process are to come.

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Event Coordination: Table Seating and Arrangements

When planning your event be it a Gala, Charity Dinner, Fundraiser or Wedding, table arrangements with specified seating is always a great idea.

Table seatings are best created once a final diagram of the venue is created. (Please refer to Event Space Diagrams Article) To stay ahead of the game, if you are aware that a set number of guests are a definitive ‘yes’ then it’s a great idea to begin your table arrangements with those guests and soon follow with the RSVP’s that begin to come in.

Even grouping your guests in general groups will help lighten the stress that table arrangements may cause. Use your diagram to guide you so that you know where to place your guests appropriately throughout the venue. Once all the RSVP’s have arrived and all the groupings have been made, it’s time to finalize the exact arrangement so that you can make your seating cards. (Reference Seating Cards Article)

When planning to do table arrangements for large parties it is always advisable to work in a group so that you have optimized the best table arrangements. (Reference Table Sizes and Number of Chairs Articles)

Of course if your event is selling tables then be sure to set aside the best seats in the house for those VIP paying guests — so that they are taken care of. Other guests can then be arranged by your criteria throughout the space you have created too.

To make the process easier also it’s great to use Microsoft’s Excel or Apple’s Numbers to create final seating lists so that you can visually see who has yet to be placed and what tables have open seating. (Reference Organization of Table Arrangements in Exel or Numbers Article)

Lastly, it’s a great idea always to have an extra open table on the off chance that you have additional guests arrive or additional tickets are sold.

If the table remains empty then let your vendors use the table for their meals. Once the table arrangements are complete, we at Blue Lotus Insights promise the hardest part of the seating process will be behind you!

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Event Planning: Conventions

Many industries and non-profits around the world host conventions to reveal new ideas, technologies or simply to promote or advance their goals as an organization and non-profit. Blue Lotus Insights extensive experience and knowledge in hosting conventions that will allow your organization to make a large convention more manageable.

When deciding to host a convention, it’s essential to outsource the production team to a reliable, proven events company that can provide you with the support the convention will need. Hosting a convention has layers upon layers of moving elements. Everything from the location down to guest transportation, hospitality areas and rooms at the hotels must be considered.

A great tool to cover all the areas is to divide the team you have available into departments where their strong-suits best apply – and allow your events company to head the entire team. Conventions will also require the strong support form an army of volunteers in order to carry out the physical work – so that the client/organization oversee instead of getting bogged down with the minutia.

Conventions over multiple days should also set-up appropriate discounts with airlines, hotels and restaurants for the guests to partake in. Conventions bring in a lot of money, and therefore the discounts should be deeper in all areas — though this isn’t always the case.

Most importantly, for any convention – it is essential to create a strong and entertaining agenda of events throughout the convention. This can be accomplished through a speaker series, fun panels, networking opportunities, nightly events, social media and more. Social Media is essential to utilize not just for guest networking – but also as a record of the event itself for future promotions.

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