1. Hosts have influence.
Recently I saw a video come up on my Facebook newsfeed of a speaker pacing back and forth across the stage during a presentation on anxiety & stress. Without watching the full video, I know the audience began to feel anxious by the look on their faces and body language. Whether or not a host is conscious, the way he or she feels will be picked up and felt by their guests. So stay calm, and eat an eclair!
2. What you use, you will wash.
Teapots, teacups, tea-saucers, teaspoons…you get the idea. For each guest, plan to wash around fifteen pieces of fragile, hand-wash only beauties. For 30 women, that is a lot of washing! Decide ahead of time how the pieces will make their way to the wash station, if you want to offer a set of clean plates, cups and/or silverware for seconds and anticipate at least a few items may break.
3. God bless the outdoors.
Plan for the worst, and hope for the best weather. It is one of the few elements event planners have no control over. While having events outside can be delightful, weather is as temperamental as a four-year old child. Three months ahead a forecast can be sunshine and blues, while three days ahead it shows clouds and drizzle. Having an indoor covering for the festivities to transition into or a tent are wonderful helpers. Outdoor heaters, misters, tress and umbrellas also do wonders!
4. Tea Culture: delightful!
Themes are so much fun! From gloves, hats and conversation, the ladies at “Tea Time with Mom” all looked stunning in their beautiful dresses and had a wonderful time. I mean, how much better does it get than being served hot tea, scones and macaroons and talking to your closest family and friends on a beautiful day in the spring?
5. One benefit of an event planner and event at home: flexibility.
Can I call out the elephant in the room? Not everyone has the gift of planning a successful event. The moment your host, you know who you are, and you know you are one of my absolute favorites, but when your host makes a bad decision, the planner’s job is to adjust and make sure the event is still fabulous. So when you ask the host: ‘where are the decorations you ended up purchasing?’ And they respond: ‘I thought you were going to use the tea items.’ A planner will move fast and remain calm. One of the benefits of having a home event, I can hunt for hidden treasure, even if the event is the day of.
6. Reduce, reuse, recycle or $$$!
Have you ever priced out purchasing ten teapots? $$$$$! How about renting teapots and the accompanying brothers, aunties and cousins? $$$$! Thankfully, one man’s garbage is another man’s potpourri. And I’m not sure why, but there are many individuals that have a fill in the blank reason not to step into a second hand store or visit a garage sell. Here are some reasons you may want to reconsider: 1) you get to keep the item; 2) dual purpose: you can send the item home with your guests; 3) it is a fraction of the co$t, and you will appreciate it more, as a result of the cost-savings; and, lastly, my favorite reason is, 4) $1 Thursdays at Goodwill. I will expand a little more on #5. Have you ever purchased a brand new designer suit for a $1? How about a chair or a coffee table? Let me just say I know someone who has :) Plus, if the above five reasons were not enough, places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill train individuals that struggle finding employment and train them to become employable, with proceeds from your purchases. Win-win!!!
7. The more the merrier
Accept the fact that some people may arrive that either a) did not RSVP; b) RSVP’ed they were not coming; or c) were not invited by you. In the heat of the moment for items a) and b), remind yourself that you did, in fact, invite this individual. To eliminate justifiable panic when a million other minor things may come up, plan ahead for this! Always have extra food, a few seats and place settings. And for a), b) and c), recall lesson #1; if you blow-up on Aunt Jane for bringing the new boyfriend of the month that nobody knows or Cousin Mary for bringing baby Jack when it was clearly stated that the event is adult-only, your guests will pick up on your vibe, and light-hearted London will be as far away from the atmosphere as London really is far away.
In conclusion: events (and teapots) come in all shapes and sizes. While planning, it is key to remember what you or your client are aiming to achieve: to spend a great time with closest family and friends, not stressing or running around because you did not know that the British do in fact take milk with their tea. A host should be able to relax and enjoy the day while a planner takes care of those last minute items and guests with professionalism and grace.