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Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Event Flow

Whether you are planning a wedding, or simply hosting a dinner in your home, there are a few things you can do to ensure your event runs as seamlessly as possible. Event flow is something we rarely talk about, but it is crucial to the success of an event. Where do guests enter and when does their experience begin?  From the moment they arrive at a venue, they want to be directed.  No one likes to be the person walking around aimlessly looking for a sign or a glimpse of someone they know.  We’ve all been there and know how uncomfortable that is!  As early as possible, give people directions and cues about what to do and when. 

 

Event flow is especially important when space is tight.  I had the opportunity to plan a ball a few years ago (yes, a real life ball!) and with over 1,000 guests and only one entrance and exit, we had to think about how to move guests from one area to another without bottle-necking certain thoroughfares.  Mapping things out and creating a flow to each area was pivotal to the success of the event.  From signage to maps, programs to live attendants, you can easily find ways to help direct guests. 

 

One of my favorite ways to direct guests is through signage.  Not only are all things signage amazingly on trend right now, but it helps guests relax and fully appreciate the experience.  And who doesn’t want their guests to relax and fully soak up the experience, right?!  Be creative with your signage and have fun with it, but just make sure it’s clear.  You don’t want to throw your guests into a pinball machine type event where they are being pinged from one thing to another without even being able to take notice of what they are seeing.  You want your event to be more like the board game Candy Land (an oldie but a goodie!).  There is a clear start and end, and in between, there is a defined path that everyone follows.  Now, there may be a few small detours (coat checks, sweets tables, restrooms, photo booths etc.) but they’re all on the board and it’s clear how to get back on the path and which way they are supposed to go.  Think of your event as a board game.  Tuck away some small surprises along the way, but make sure guests know where things are headed. 

 

This doesn’t mean you need to have a sign for everything (there is such a thing as too much signage!), but when you’re planning your event, map things out.  Where is the start and what are all the points on the board that a guest is going to have access to?  Think through the details that will be on their minds (parking, where do they drop off kids, where do they put gifts etc.) and make sure you have addressed them.  As you map out your event, think about what you want the guest to experience at each point.  Creating those touch points for guests is really special.  It helps them to feel not only included in the day, but it allows them to pause and really soak up the experience.  A great experience in my opinion is one where you never have to stop and ask for directions!  

“You know, it’s funny what a young man recollects. I don’t remember bein’ born. I don’t recall what I got for my first Christmas, and I don’t know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the world.”
— Forrest Gump