“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”—Robert Burns
Unfortunately, we tend to forget about such thoughtful insight as the above quote until a seemingly well-planned event gets rained out and you have to barbecue on the best indoor grill (See it on Amazon).
An event’s success relies on having a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, or as many contingency plans as necessary to make a speedy substitution without anyone having a clue something went awry.
Sunshine > Rain
Weather is always the No. 1 unpredictable element for outdoor gatherings. If that morning is sunny and pleasant, don’t automatically assume the remainder of the day will follow suit. Despite weather forecasts, there’s always a possibility that a huge front can roll in and drench your guests.
Contingency consideration: Obviously the first answer to bad weather is to bring your outdoor event indoors. If it’s a big occasion at a hotel, inquire about reserving a gathering space, readied with seating, ahead of the big day. It can also function as storage. That way, if you do have to come in out of the rain, your goods are already on the spot, waiting for you.
Secondary suggestion: If your gathering is at a park, set up near pavilions. Even if you don’t want to use the covered structures, it’ll only be a quick dash if raindrops start falling.
Third time is the charm: Keep large tents handy so they can be pulled out at a moment’s notice.
Confirmed Guest List > Party Crashers
In an ideal world, everyone will r.s.v.p. by the deadline date with an accurate number of guests. Or your attendance estimates for the community fair will be spot on. But let’s face it, that ideal world rarely works out.
Contingency consideration: If you have to order meals per guest count, order a few extra for the unexpected plus-one persons. If you’re serving food at your charity celebration, tell the caterer your maximum head count (plus a few more if you really want to build in a cushion).
Secondary suggestion: Ordering extra tables and chairs means no one is left standing. It’s better to have a few empty seats than to have people trying to balance food in one hand and drinks in the other.
Signed Contracts > Unforeseen Obstacles
Caterers, DJs, and entertainers are all human, and therefore, can fall ill, have car trouble or be called to a family emergency. You don’t want to be left stranded only hours before guests arrive.
Contingency consideration: Develop a network of caterers, DJs, and entertainers. Ask if they will “hold the date” in case you need an emergency substitution. Of course, they need to earn a living, so they may decline or ask for a holding fee.
Secondary suggestion: As the day of your event approaches, check in with the backup contactors to see if they’re free. Make a note of who’s available and who’s not and be sure to bring their numbers with you just in case.
Fully Staffed > Short-handed
Just like contractors may have an unexpected conflict, their staff may leave them—and vicariously you—high and dry.
Contingency consideration: If you’re in charge of planning anything that requires servers, security or other miscellaneous workers to pull off a successful event, then have a list of people you can call with little notice to fill in. This could be a list of people you’ve worked with in the past or who others have recommended, or call a short-term staffing agency to help find workers.
Secondary suggestion: Consider sending out a volunteers request to local high schools.
Entertainment Booked > Equipment Failure
Why does it seem like electronics give out minutes before you open the doors to let the crowd in? Unfortunately, DJ equipment, sound systems, and cooktops give out.
Contingency consideration: When booking contractors, ask them about their equipment and write in a clause that they need to provide backups in case of last-minute malfunctions.
Secondary suggestion: Bring your own. Have a stash of batteries of various sizes. Invest in a few cordless microphones if you plan multiple events. And if you’re hosting a barbecue, stock up on indoor grills so the cooking can continue if you bring the party inside.
Go to http://www.wychwoodbarnscommunity.ca/summer-community-event/ for more interesting articles.