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Event Planning in the Covid Era

Well friends, welcome to my day to job!

If you didn't know, my job is managing events in the tourism industry, specifically the City of Oak Ridge, TN. I've known since high school that I wanted to work in events, so I can provide unforgettable experiences to people, with the hopes of owning my own event planning space one day.

As I launched my website, I created a few different pages that cover my passions: writing, health and wellness, home decor, and of course, events!

On my events page, I've shared ideas on how to plan a few different types of events. If you haven't checked them out yet, head on over to the page!

As I try to grow my website, my plan was to share different aspects of my site so you, as the reader, can understand my passions and how I can help you. However, due to Coronavirus, the events industry is at a pause. So rather than me provide event planning tips, event ideas, or timelines, I thought it would be best to share how to continue event planning during these times of uncertainty.

Maybe you have a back up plan, and maybe you don't, but here are some tips I've learned through this season!

1. Don't panic.

Easier said than done right? Whether it's your wedding, a race, or a concert, know that you are not the only one facing uncertainty in this season. Know that whether you postpone your event or cancel altogether, it's not just you! Freaking out may only cause additional stress, not allowing you to make the best decision. Take a few deep breaths, take some time, and begin making contingency plans. I can't stress enough how important it is to take some time to mourn the situation before making a decision - as you want to have a clear mind when you take the next steps. (Trust me, I'm speaking from experience here!)

2. Do what's best for your attendees and you!

We're still in the "social distancing" and "stay at home" phases, so it's important to keep the health and safety of your guests/attendees of the utmost importance. It may be a bummer to cancel or postpone, but I promise your attendees will respect your decision to protect them. And know, there might always be the one person that disagrees, but don't let the opinions of others change your mind - you know all the moving parts of your event.

3. Decide if cancelling or postponing is the better option.

Nobody wants to cancel an event they've worked so hard to plan. Especially when there's money involved. Whether it's your wedding day or a work event, decide what's best for you and/or your organization. If a reschedule date is possible - go for it! However, I encourage you to look at dates and see what other conflicting events could be happening on your proposed reschedule date. Sometimes cancelling altogether is better than competing with 4 or 5 other events. Remember, the success of an event isn't just the profit made, it's the turnout, experiences, and memories made!

4. Decide how to handle your refund policy if you cancel.

If you cancel, people will probably expect a refund or deferral to the next event. While many events don't typically provide refunds, remember this is a time where we all are struggling, especially financially. You might take a financial loss, but providing refunds provides great PR for future events you host. If there ever was a time to change your refund policy, it's now. And if you provide a refund option - give people choices! Offer them a refund, deferral, or ask if they would let their entry fee be a donation to your organization. While maybe financially strapped, people are very generous in this season, and a ticket to your event is money already spent so you truly never know what people will choose unless you offer.

5. If the event you face cancelling or postponing is your wedding, do what's best for you and your fiance.

While for most (and more so girls), your wedding day is something you've dreamt of forever and planned for since getting engaged, I fully understand the disappointment you may face. At the end of the day: what's your goal? (I certainly hope it's to be married to your future spouse!) Whether marrying your spouse in front of all your friends at a beautiful venue is extremely important, or if the only thing you care about is you and your fiance tying the knot - do what's best for you! It's okay to make what feels like a selfish decision based on what you and your fiance want. Those who love you will support you with whatever you decide.

6. Be creative! Go virtual.

Maybe canceling or postponing doesn't have to happen! If your event is a fundraiser for your organization, go virtual! Host an auction, perform live on social media, sell now for a "redeem later" date. Think outside the box. Don't want to postpone your wedding but want loved ones involved? Have them FaceTime or Zoom call in!

7. Finally, and maybe most importantly, a set back is a set up for a comeback.

I've been saying since this all began, we can make lemonade out of lemons. We - event industry or not - are all facing setbacks in this time. But know this - whatever you decide for your event - it doesn't have to be any less great just because you had to move things around. Remember to be flexible and understanding. Who knows, maybe new opportunities will arise out of having to change things around and will elevate your event even better!

If you have questions or concerns about your event, please reach out! You're not in this alone, and you don't have to figure it out alone. Work together; ask for help; and I promise you, your next event will be great! Maybe you're wanting to dream up your next event or gathering but don't know what steps to take while in limbo. I'd be happy to help!

Whatever position you're in, my goal is to help you envision and host an event that you dream of. To reach me, head over to the connect page and send me a message! Or if you follow me on social media - you know what to do.

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