How to Prepare for the 7 Things that Will Go Wrong at Your Event
Seven is the magic number. The seven sins, the seven wonders of the world, and most important: the seven things that will go wrong at your event.
Even after prepping everything perfectly—from booking the perfect venue, to collecting your online RSVPs—there are still a few things that will inevitably go wrong at your next event.
The good news is, there’s always a way to fix them (or prevent them). Here are 7 tips from Splash’s latest book, Events 101:
01 | Event, interrupted.
The worst possible scenario: The music just stops.
Prevent this ahead of time by asking the venue ahead of time about their electrical outlets and whether they have a backup generator on hand. No matter what, you should have your power in check, because bad word of mouth spreads like wildfire. A study found that customers with a negative experience talk to an average of 12 people about an event, and those 12 go on to tell 6 more people.
02 | You’re packed in like sardines.
Nobody likes to feel cramped at an event.
When you’re confirming your DJ, barista, caterer, bartender, florist, or fire-breathing magician, make sure to always ask them how much space they really think they need. And then add 2 feet on either side. That’s your final calculation.
Vendors are notorious for underestimating how much space they actually need. Draw a site map, and remember: lines take up space. A lot of it. So the pathways you draw between the spaces for vendors will be crucial for walking around and lining up.
Oh, and my favorite events 101 tip: Don’t forget to confirm. Always follow up with each vendor at least 48 hours before every event.
03 | Does something stink?
You want your guests to leave talking about how much fun they had. You do not want them leaving holding their noses because you underestimated the amount of garbage there’d be.
So, let the estimates begin: For every 20 people, you’ll want to have 1 garbage can scattered around the room.
Out of the city? Well, garbage is kind of a big deal there. Talk to a garbage removal service to make sure they’ll get it all out of the way for you in time. If you need to estimate how much trash you’ll have at the end of the night, it’s safe to assume that for every 10 people, you’ll have 1 full bag of garbage.
These days, zero-waste events are on the rise. One way to reduce waste is by abiding by the following hierarchy when it comes to your supplies, in order of most sustainable: reusable, compostable, and finally, plastic.
04 | Long lines and complainers.
At every party there’s someone sneering about a long line at the bar, the buffet, the photobooth—everything. The best way to avoid this at the bar? Over-staff and prep your drinks in advance.
Another way to instantly please guests is to hand them a drink the second they walk in. For efficiency, prepare trays instead of having them take orders, and for style and hydration, keep a carafe of water with cucumbers so people can imbibe whenever they want.
1 bartender for every 50 people
1 bar back for every 60 people
1 cocktail waiter or waitress for every 40 people
Bubbles will also come in handy here. If you serve Pellegrino or anything of the sparkly kind, this’ll reduce intake. Don’t look too cheap though: start off with full cans at the beginning, and as you move onto cups, you can decrease the serving size.
05 | Too cold, too hot.
Before your guests arrive, set the thermostat to 64 degrees. The room temperature will rise to perfection as the night progresses. And remember this rule of thumb: it’s never too cold unless you’re outside (in that case, have some space heaters on hand). So crank up the A/C, keep your guests awake and alive. Your guests’ body heat will be enough to warm up the room.
A little extra heat can sizzle up the energy, though. At the height of the night, the center of any dance floor can get up to 80 degrees.
06 | Getting in and getting left out.
At your event, there will be someone who didn’t get in and they will complain. Sometimes there’s no avoiding this—you can’t be everywhere all at once. But, pay your door staff well and make sure they’re aligned with you before the night begins. Think of your door staff as your guests’ first point of contact during your event. The way they interact with customers will greatly impact their mood and overall view of your event.
The guestlist? It’s more of a guide than a hard and fast rulebook. If someone knows your name or the host’s name, they deserve to be let in. And though there is some value in letting people wait a bit, you don’t want to leave them hanging there for more than about five minutes.
Quick tip: Mark all the important guests with a yellow star in the Splash check-in app ahead of time—that way, you’ll know exactly who the VIPs are as soon as they arrive.
07 | Keep the juices flowing.
For the love of all that’s holy, keep your phone charged.
Buy a Mophie juice pack, or a Prong case for yourself, and consider keeping at least one charging station during your event for your guests. Not only will this be a source of relief when one of your phones run out of battery, this’ll help keep guests connected too. And connected guests mean more coverage of your event.
Ben Hindman is the co-founder and CEO of Splash, an event marketing platform that helps event planners make their events look as amazing online as they do in person. Click here to download their latest eBook, Events 101.