People are not mind readers. As much as we would love for people to know what we are thinking at certain times, it’s inevitably not going to happen. And especially when you are inviting people to an event or trying to coordinate a large amount of people, it’s important to communicate exactly when and where you need people to be.
Before the Event
Verbiage on your invite is key. This is your opportunity to prepare guests for your event. If the timeframe of your event is over a normal eating time, but you are not planning on serving a full meal, make sure guests know just appetizers and drinks are being served. Is there pertinent clothing information they need to know? Is it a costume party, a formal event, or is there a need for specific type of footwear (think outdoor venue where heels would not be an appropriate choice) needed? Are there specific directions guests need to know? Sometimes an address and specific instructions once they arrive on property are important. Is there parking on site, or do they need to find parking close by? Are there detours or road closures due to constructions or citywide events? A successful event starts with communication prior to its start.
During the Event
Posting a timeline somewhere at the event helps guests to know where they need to be when and exactly how long each portion of the event is. If there’s a silent auction that closes at a particular time, you might want to note that in a program. Or if you have a long cocktail hour, letting guests know what time dinner is served allows them to know they have time to mingle and walk around before finding their seats. And if there is a particular group of people who need to be aware of an activity, it’s always helpful to make an announcement about it. For example, if you need family to stick around after a ceremony for family photos, have the officiant make a reminder announcement following the ceremony.
After the Event
Showing your appreciation for guests’ attendance and if they brought you a gift is proper etiquette. Follow-up can also be a great way to remind guests where they can go online to find party or photo booth pics. Or if there’s still opportunities to make a donation to the cause of the evening, make sure to mention that in your follow-up email or thank you.
By taking the time to do each of these, your guests will remain well informed, and the overall flow of the event will be much smoother!