Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top Ten Things Learned While Interning

Now that I have been at my internship for eight months, I thought it would be the perfect time to go over a list of the top ten things that I have learned regarding event and wedding planning through my time spent at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort.

1. Focus on the details.

As my wise Event Planning professor, Kendi Root, would say “love is in the details.” Event and wedding planning is all about being imaginative and creating a “wow factor.” Not only is it necessary to do the little things like making sure that the table settings are set perfectly, but it is also about utilizing the lights and music to create the vibe that the bride and groom want. It is about utilizing the six dimensions (anticipation, arrival, atmosphere, appetite, activity, amenity) to make the Bride and Groom’s dream wedding a reality.

2. Go above and beyond.

The little surprises that are presented to a bride and groom/client can truly make the event for them. For instance, at Sycamore, we deliver chocolate dipped strawberries decorated as a tuxedo and gown to the Suite along with champagne, two flutes, and a letter to the newlyweds for them to come back to after the reception. This is a special treat that my boss started doing for her couples and I think that this kind gesture goes a very long way for the bride and groom.

3. Plan ahead.

Whoever created the original BEO was a genius! This document has become my best friend since I began my internship. It is incredibly important to take the time to create a detailed, realistic, and accurate BEO so that the Chef, restaurant staff, Banquet Captain, banquet staff, General Manager, and Event/Wedding Coordinator all know what is happening at all times. A BEO is necessary to keep everyone on track and the event moving. If you do not take the time to plan ahead for an event, there will not be any organization or schedule.

4. Have a backup plan.

Despite all of the planning ahead, things are bound to go astray during an event or wedding. In this case, it would be critical to have a backup plan. A back up plan should include everything from what to do if it rains during the ceremony and what to do if someone has a heart attack during the reception. When a crisis/disaster/unforeseen obstacle occur, it is necessary that a backup plan was instated to keep the guests safe and the event flowing.

5. Network with vendors.

Networking with the vendors can make or break your career. If you allow the vendors to see how professional of a job you do with coordinating weddings and events, you can be sure that they will tell people about you and your client base will grow exponentially. Furthermore, if you have vendors who respect you and vice versa, the event is bound to go much smoother than if the relationship between the two parties is rocky.

6. Form a solid relationship with clients.

It is important to create a strong relationship with clients before the big day because when the wedding/event occurs, tensions will be high due to stress and there is nothing worse than having a bride or groom take their frustrations out on you. To avoid that problem, become the client’s friend early in the planning process and they will trust you on the big day instead of second guessing all of your actions.

7. Do not panic.

There is nothing worse than stressing out and panicking on a wedding day. If you panic, that will only make matters worse because you will not be rational. Murphy’s Law says that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. In the case of weddings, Murphy’s Law is likely to occur every now and then despite how much planning you did prior to the event and how many backup plans you had in place. Sometimes, things that are out of your control will occur and when that happens, do not panic. Breathe. Be rational. Think. Make a decision and go with it.

8. Go with the flow.

During a wedding, there will be certain things which you simply cannot control. For instance, the bride is not ready in time or the photographer is insisting on taking more pictures of the Bridal Party when you want to get the Grand Entrance started. In cases like this, there is not much you can do because you want to keep the bride and groom happy. All you can do is go with the flow and try and encourage everyone to get back on schedule.

9. Prioritize.
It is not humanly possible to be in more than one place at once. In that case, it is necessary to prioritize everything that needs to be done. Tasks tend to come in waves so when there are a lot of different tasks which need to be accomplished, it is important to prioritize the tasks depending on which are the most important and which need to be finished first.

10. Wear comfortable shoes.

This may sound silly, but I learned this lesson the hard way. On my first wedding, I thought it would be better to dress cute than functional. Shortly after the ceremony began, I realized that I had made a horrible decision. I immediately went out and bought a pair of what my friends like to call “granny shoes” but they were the best purchase I have ever made. There is nothing worse than being in uncomfortable shoes while being on your feet for ten hours straight.

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