With everyone focused on the New Year and new beginnings, a great deal was already going on and many people were booked with prior commitments on the night of the event. Nonetheless, this kind of last-minute event planning worked because of the variety of relationships and connections White Book has established throughout the years as well as a bit of creative ingenuity. In order to pull this off we had to rely on our network - as soon as we found out that the party was a go, we got to work. From drink sponsors to photographers, we were able to pull everyone together to help spread the word and kick in for a great event, and by the time we were able to begin external PR, we already had 45 RSVPs and things were moving along nicely.
Here are a few tips to help you pull off a similar shindig of your own.
Pick up the phone
This is not the time for email. We immediately reached out to previous event partners and people of interest in the community to let them know "something" was coming. Since we had communicated with these individuals on previous occasions we were able to give a minimal amount of info (which is all we had at the time!), but that was ok because our contacts knew we could be counted on to follow up and keep everyone informed as more info became available.
Make a task list
No time to create a full strategic event plan. Instead we improvised with a make-shift project schedule and jotted down all of the different components required to produce a successful event - things like the venue, monitors (for viewing) and drink specials (for sanity). We categorized everything into "urgent and important" and "important but not urgent." Everything else could wait.
Repurpose what's on hand
We reviewed decor used at other events (ours and others), banners, flyers, etc. that could be re-purposed appropriately for our event.
Call in the troops
We asked for help. With only two weeks to plan and promote, this is where relationships come in. We all understand the value of networking with others within our areas of interest ~ to cultivate relationships, share ideas and receive feedback from "insiders" but it is equally important to make connections outside of the industry. Especially if you need to hop through hoops and your peeps are busy!
Like any event, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. We were only expecting 120 attendees, we had over 250. At the last minute we realized that the mini-Bose speakers weren't going to get the job done, so we hooked up the deejay's large speaker to be able to project the audio from the screen. We had fabulous raffle giveways from our vendor partners, including a $500 jewelry and make-up basket from celebrity stylists, Andrew Ashton and Steven Anderson of Andrew Ashton of LaPosh Salon, plus great items from Hpnotiq, Art Institute of Tampa, and New Identities Salon. In addition, several media partners attended and we received post-coverage from the Tampa Tribune and tbt*. The viewing party was a hit - happy client, happy guests...in less than two weeks.
Images are courtesy of Carrie Wildes Photography (www.carriewildes.com)