Planning a destination event or celebration of any kind or size is always a thrill! A thrill because each event is not just uniquely challenging as no two destination nor individuals are ever exactly the same – as the crowd will be different, location(s), personality, style, culture, food/cuisine and so on will all differ and so taking all these distinct elements and factors and marrying them to create and deliver a personalised experience is the thrill and what we love doing at Hannah Michael. So how do we plan a destination event? Below are some of the key things we consider:
1. Initial Client meeting
Once we are approached either by an enquiry coming in through our website or we receive a phone or via any of our social media platforms, we respond promptly and schedule a free initial consultation. This can be face to face or virtual or a phone conversation. Some of the reasons for this meeting is to understand the client’s initial requirements and for both parties to gauge if we have the right fit to deliver their sort of celebration. This initial engagement is important to us as it is crucial that we ‘connect’ with the client as celebrations are personal and we want each client that we work with to be comfortable with allowing us into their world. It is also important for us to ensure that we understand their brief and can deliver their requirements based on whatever information we are given; it is important that we are transparent. Once the mutual connection happens, I have found that planning is a lot easier as there is an understanding and respect both ways. So number tip is, hire the right vendor for you.
To create an exceptional experience for clients, there are critical factors to consider depending on the type of celebration. For a wedding, the couple will confirm if they want a beach front ceremony or a church for example. They will confirm if they want an outdoor event or a ballroom reception. If the couple already have a destination in mind, somewhere they had visited and love or somewhere new, a site visit is required. Some celebrations last a few days to a full week! Each day, each element of their time away right from their airport departure has to be planned even if the plan is for guests to do their own thing.
Depending on the location, we sometimes work with local vendors on some aspect of the celebration as due to logistics or costs, this might be a necessity. We work with local vendors that will deliver the same level or even better quality of service.
The food, entertainment and every other element will depend to a large extent on the location and venue, that is, what is on offer, what can be sourced and at what costs where there is a budget!
Outfits, makeup, hair will fit personal style and design of the event in most cases. So, second tip will be to ensure that you understand every element of the design and love it!
3. The Wow factor
This is that extra that sets your celebration apart and is my most favourite part of planning; where we tailor the celebration to reflect the couple or simply just add that touch that is unique to them! This can be within the theme, the entertainment, outfits, stationeries, first dance…unique to the couple or the celebrant. This extra touch always gets a ‘wow’ from guests.
Third tip is make your celebration about you so when you look back, you will always smile.
4. Enjoying the day
One of the areas I ensure we don’t overlook when planning and delivering an event is ensuring that the celebrants actually really enjoy their day. The day or days disappear after months or years of planning, so I ensure that they do not only enjoy their vision but actually experience every aspect as they envisioned it. I ensure they eat the food they paid for, really dance and enjoy their party! You will be amazed at how people are so concerned over everything going well that they forget to enjoy their day.
Fourth tip will be trust your planner to deliver and the relax and enjoy your day. If you don’t trust them, don’t hire them.
5. After celebration care
So the party is over, all the schedule has been followed but with most destination event, the job is not done until all the guests have safely ‘checked out’ of our care. So airport transfers and any other logistics will still need to be handled!
Fifth tip is to ensure the after care of your guests is all covered and agreed beforehand. Remember, the thank you cards or gifts still need to be sent to your guests and there might presents to be transported back for you!