So, my Pastor was turning 50, the big one, a great milestone! In my head from about year or so prior, I was thinking it would be an absolute honour to event manage his birthday! Not only would I be doing what I love doing, but I would be doing it for someone I hold in high regard.
An organising committee which I was part of was set up, it made up of the key decision makers for the occasion. When we initially met, we discussed the expectations of the celebrant and how as a team we would achieve our goals. I was given the go ahead to coordinate and plan the party. In all honesty, as much as I was excited to do it, I also became very very nervous because this was not going to be a client I would be able to avoid in the future, neither was it a client that didn’t know about excellence. My client is a man who thrives in achieving excellence in all he does both in church and in business, therefore he had high expectations of how he wanted his party to be. In one of my earlier conversations with him, he had said the party must be ‘Buckingham Palace style’ – that never left me!! A good planner will pick up on keywords from their clients and hold on to it through the whole planning process to make sure they don’t go off track.
So the planning for this Buckingham Palace style 50th birthday began!…Being in the event industry for over 8 years meant that I had built my own list of preferred suppliers that I knew were more than capable of handling an event. Suppliers that I knew were reliable and suppliers that I knew loved what they did, just as much as I did. This alone saves a lot of researching time for any client asI just needed to match the ‘Buckingham Palace style’ theme to the right suppliers.
First things first…Budget! I needed to know exactly what figures I was working with as that could possibly determine choice of suppliers. A budget was agreed by the committee (Yeaa!!).
As I was booking and confirming suppliers, the committee were kept informed on a weekly basis. When working for a client you must always keep them informed of the plans along the way, because at anytime, a client can change plans, so if you leave it too long to update them there could be the chance of wasting money. Key expectations from a planner is to make proposals and options on the most efficient way to deliver services.
So all the right suppliers were selected and booked from MC to cleaners, next was to ensure all suppliers knew my expectation for my client. Everything started to fall in to place, the organising committee at church were happy with all suppliers chosen. It was now time to plan the actual day minute by minute execution and who would be responsible for what. A good planner will always work with a schedule of the event day broken down, from the minute the hall opens for access to when the last light is turned off, so as to make sure EVERY aspect of the day has been covered, with no stones left unturned.
The occasion had a guest list of 330 guests and the brief requested for all guests to RSVP and be seated by a seating plan. RSVP advice: when organising an event and the client requests for a seated arrangement, make sure the invitations are sent out at least 3 months in advance so that it is easier to collate the data of guests attending. This was done for this party and we provided a beautifully crafted seating plan for guests to see where they were seated on the day. Did we have amendments of guests along the way? Yes of course, but that is why we advise the RSVP process to start in good time to allow for discrepancies along the way.
The big day was now here, and that morning before I left my house, I had a quick prayer asking God to let the day be as it was ordained to be, because remember…a planner is only human, I can plan, plan, plan – have meeting upon meeting, but at the end of the day I cannot control if the caterers van breaks down on the motorway or if the decorator brings 200 charger plates instead of 220. I can only ask God to take control of the day, which I did ask and as faithful as he is, he did.
The party was PERFECT. As my Pastor requested, he received – a party in Buckingham Palace style. Guests came dawned in beautiful outfits, food was served on time but most especially the food tasted good! (not that I ate myself, but I was told by others). If a planner on the day of an event needs to sacrifice their own eating time to ensure everything is working to schedule, be it so…there is always a fast-food drive thru on the way home to pick something up from. A planner must know their priorities on the day.
What do I look for to confirm to myself an event was a success: laughing/smiling guests, happy suppliers throughout the evening, but more importantly…a truly grateful and happy client!…
“Thank you for all you did for my birthday! You are such a great blessing to me in ministry. The Lord bless you and your family indeed.” Pastor Eddie Iduoze
Suppliers on the day:
– Venue – Eastgate, Northfleet
– MC – Akpos
– Caterer – Jemmy Catering
– Music – DJ Kelechi
– Decorator – Abicious
– Photography – Godson Studio
– Videography – Video Point
– Cake – Panari Cakes
– Children’s Entertainment – K & DD