Event Planners Make the World Go Round

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Though the industry of event planning is on the rise, many still feel that the field is unimportant, or unneeded. Many people now are planning their own weddings, but truly do not understand what all it takes to plan a successful day. Many choose to dive deep into their own plans, and then realize when it is too late how useful an event planner really is.

Adina Filculscu and Ramona Cantaragiu Filculescu are only two individuals out of many who value the importance of the event planning industry. Referring to it as the creative industry, they believe that this industrious field is on the horizon for booming career paths in the future, and stimulate economic growth. To prove their point, the authors conducted a case study on an event planning company in Romania, highlighting exactly how important and useful an event planner can be.

One quote from the study stood out to me the most, stating: “‘Event design’ is not a pretentious phrase; it stands for the harmonious result of the meticulous thinking of the designer who sought to incorporate the client’s needs into a unitary vision.” It is an incredibly unique talent that an event planner possesses, as he or she takes minimal information or ideas from their clients, and takes off in a direction that no one expects, creating a truly unique and seamless vision that is irreplaceable. The good event planners create an event that is praised by their clients, but the great event planner creates an event that is unimaginably perfect for their client, capturing every wish or dream that they didn’t even know they had.

I was lucky enough to have the honor of coordinating my boss’s wedding this past January, and it was not until then did I realize how much work went into being an event planner, as well as what a great asset it could be at an event.

The day of the wedding for Sherman and Mary Beth was truly a fantastic spectacle. I mean fantastic spectacle in two ways: one, the wedding turned out to be a personal success for myself, and enabled me to prove that I was capable of showing my talents as a future event planner. Two, there were major bumps in the road that I had to quickly smooth over, as they almost ruined what was supposed to be the best day of Mary Beth’s life.

The main problems, or bumps in the road came in the form of miscommunication from the vendor. The vendor had misunderstood the schedule that I had secured with her, setting the entire wedding back at least 30 minutes. Now to most, that may not seem like a big deal. However, for a wedding, this was huge. Not only did I not have a schedule to go off of, I was forced to essentially “wing it” and make an entire new schedule up on the spot. I was in a million places at once: ordering the bridesmaids downstairs to take pictures in time for the ceremony, pinning tutu’s on flower girls, giving directions to the DJ, directing the guests to the chapel, and ensuring that Sherman, the groom, stayed put in his tiny room so that he did not see his beautiful bride before it was her time to shine. (You know that’s bad luck!)

I felt like a chicken with its head cut off running back and forth across the venue. However, I surprised myself, as well as my clients, as I navigated through each crisis thrown my way. I was able to let Mary Beth and Sherman relax, and enjoy their special day, and I was able to highlight my confidence and ability to get things done no matter what crisis was thrown my way.

In the end, the wedding was absolutely beautiful. There was a reunion of soul mates in an old barn with cascading lights behind them, with all of their friends and loved ones behind them.

mary beth and sherman

Sherman & Mary Beth

After everything was said and done, I handed the key to the honeymoon suite to Mary Beth and Sherman, and Mary Beth said the words that I had been waiting for. “I thought that I could do this by myself, but after all of this I am so glad that you were here! You were truly a life saver.”

To an event planner, that is everything, because it shows that you were able to make a dream come true, and make that one day stand out as a timeless and special experience. As those two authors said, “Events are like theatre shows in the fact that there is only one chance to make everything right and then the experience is over and it won’t be recreated in the same way ever again.”

Time Management…What’s That?

 

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Time management…perhaps the concept that many people have trouble with the most.  I know that I personally did not grasp the importance of time management until I was a sophomore in college…when I was faced with multiple papers, various tests, and no time at all to get them done due to the fact that I chose to procrastinate and wait till the very last minute.  As Yanping Tu and Dilip Soman stated in their study, “Getting things done is part and parcel of life, and failing to do so usually results in undesirable consequences.”  The study that was conducted by Tu and Soman included research done using various subjects such as farmers and other consumers, and explored the idea of time management twisted with procrastination.  Though the study was done using opposite subjects, I find that I can totally relate this idea to planning events, especially festivals.

When individuals face deadlines, they are more likely to act on the task at hand if the deadline is close, than if it is far away.  In other words, time is the buffer between procrastination and good time management skills.  Event planning requires you to always be ahead of the game.  You have to be completely organized, have a clear goal for each event, complete tasks by a certain date, and make absolute sure that the event that was entrusted to you ends up being a success.

A factor that stands between us accomplishing our goals and missing our opportunity is the simple aspect of starting on the task at hand.  Many of us face those situations when we have a task before us, looming over us really, and we feel somewhat unmotivated at the thought of completing it.  Maybe that task is going to take a lot of time, or maybe that task feels entirely too hard for us to complete? The reality is that everyone, including event planners, face this situation.  BUT, as the authors tell us in their study, the easiest way to motivate yourself and set goals for yourself to accomplish those daunting tasks, is to simply start on the tasks.  In terms of festival planning, time management is everything while preparing for the big day or week.  Many components make up the set up time and preparation…a few of those tasks can be put into a list:

  • lock in all vendors that you want to be present at your festival
  • send out all contracts to the bands participating
  • coordinate times for the band to rehearse and designate their stage
  • set up security measures
  • organize all staff…including volunteers
  • set up stages and vendor booths

A small taste of the beginning stages of  festival can be viewed in this video below, as the crew from the IGNITE! music festival prepares for their time to shine…

[youtube]https://youtu.be/xLVaYsnYmAw[/youtube]

All of these tasks listed and shown are only a tiny fraction of what it takes to put on a successful music festival. If one were to wait until the very last minute, instead of completing tasks by certain small deadlines, they would feel completely overwhelmed, and that they simply could not complete any of their goals, i.e. their music festival.  By completing small tasks at a time, we feel more motivated that we can not only finish the task at hand, but be successful with our tasks and reach our goals.

Time management is extremely important in the field of event planning, as well as every career that one pursues.  Time management is the glue that holds us together with our goals, and keeps procrastination from hindering them.  I believe that if you have to possess one solid quality, time management is it.  It will help you blossom into a professional, make you stand out in your job, and ensure that you will be ahead of the game accomplishing your goals.  If you are sophomore me, then snap out of it! You have places to go, jobs and tasks to crush, and qualities to boast about.

 

FloydFest: A Very Smart Festival

FloydFest at night...

 My passion in life is to become a festival planner. I mean, who doesn’t love festivals? The clean air, a week full of irreplaceable memories, contagious courage that only comes around for that single week, and the environment that is filled with great vibes, generosity, and eccentric people of all backgrounds. One goes to a festival not knowing what is going to occur, as every festival is different, and some, like myself, emerge feeling like a brand new person…awakened by the incredible experience that is gained. Along with festival planning comes the extreme importance of planning a “smart festival”. The concept of a “smart festival” is basically a balance between human and social capital and traditional communication that enhances the purposes of quality of life and sustainable economic growth for cities involved. According to Ian Frank, author of Smart Festival, six things essentially encompass a smart festival. Those six things are as follows:

  1. Utilization of networked construction to improve economic and political efficiency, all the while enabling social, cultural, and urban development.
  2. Emphasizing and making it a goal for business-led urban development
  3. Having a strong focus and aiming to achieve social inclusion of multiple urban residents in public services.
  4. Stressing the crucial role of technology-savvy and creative industries in long-run urban growth.
  5. Intense attention to the role of social and relational capital in urban development.
  6. Social and environmental sustainability being a major strategic component of smart cities.

These six items basically encourage a smart festival to increase and maintain communication between residents and owners of the festival, encourage and improve economic and social development, including multiple cultures and social classes, including technology that is up to date and relevant to the festival, and maintaining the sustainability of the environment around the festival ensuring that it is not destroyed. I will have to agree with Frank, as he stated that the fifth and sixth elements were the most interesting and important. A successful festival generates a contagious and uplifting feeling of good…or as I like to refer to it as, “good vibes”. Good festivals do not destroy the environment around them, but enhance its beauty and rely on the natural resources that are provided to them by the earth. Great festivals, according to Ian Frank, encourages small cities to grow, bringing new businesses that are eager to go to the “festival town”, and enable that small town to prosper and thrive even after the crowds leave.

There is a music festival that is close to my heart, and that festival is FloydFest. FloydFest is located in Floyd, Virginia, a town that had around 425 residents recorded in the 2010 census. This town is extremely small, extremely quaint, and incredibly beautiful, as it is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. FloydFest brings an incredible variety of musicians, encompassing a wide array of genres to its festival scene.  Check out the video below from last year’s Fire On The Mountain FloydFest to get a taste of the festival that keeps rocking it out year after year.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Xg7DKjRjpl0[/youtube]

As you probably have noticed by watching the video above, the vibes of FloydFest are unimaginable. Last year’s, Fire On The Mountain, brought nearly 10,000 people to the itty-bitty town, and rocked it to its core. Being in the heart of the mountains, FloydFest is naturally very beautiful, and plentiful with natural resources. For example, all festivalgoers camp in tents, yurts, or simply swing in the trees in their Eno’s. FloydFest brings an array of vendors to the festival, including food trucks that serve only locally grown food, local coffee roaster’s Red Rooster, and many more. FloydFest also features a large volunteer basis, which includes a team called the Green Team. The Green Team spends the whole festival picking up trash, and ensuring that each piece makes its way into the recycling bins. Klean Kanteen is a popular vendor as well, as it has a station in the middle of the festival that features multiple waterspouts to fill up re-useable canteens and thermoses throughout the day. By Ian Frank’s standards, as well as mine, FloydFest is, and will always be a smart festival. Festival planners should take note, as FloydFest continues to lead the way for incredible music festival experiences on the east coast. Do yourself a favor, and if you haven’t been, go to Floyd, and feel yourself transform.