On Event Hashtags

I've written about smartphones and weddings before, but today I thought I'd share my thoughts on event hashtags.

In an increasingly social media focused world, event hashtags have become a great way to "track" events. By giving guests a custom hashtag that is specific to the event (i.e. #EandS16 or #brandlaunch), 

Event Hashtags | LIG Events - Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

For corporate events, hashtags are important as they provide a way to evaluate certain metrics that brands value. Those statistics are important for corporate marketing strategies and go a long way in determining the perceived success of a promotional event.

When speaking in terms of weddings or social events, however, hashtags take on a different purpose. In general, they are a great way to pool all of the partygoers' photos in one place. Wouldn't it be great to take a moment at the airport as you jet off on your honeymoon to look at all of the photos everyone took throughout the night? Yes, I think it must be pretty cool and fun. (Not going to lie -- I love going through my clients' hashtags a few days after an event to see photos showing how much fun everyone had at their party!)

But where I get a little weary with hashtags is when a private event is Instagrammed heavily and MANY people find out about it. What happens is your little private corner of Instagram with that obscure hashtag you didn't think anyone would find out about has been made public and everyone can look in and see your wedding.

I have seen nasty comments from strangers on wedding posts saying things like "Wow, she should not have worn that dress" or "Must be nice to have that money" and that just rubs me the wrong way. Events are supposed to be celebrations. The negativity and judgmental attitudes that exist on the internet should not overshadow the happiness of the celebration! 

I am a firm believer in client confidentiality, which is why hashtags make me fret. I feel that if you're agreeing to publish your photos in a magazine or on Style Me Pretty, you know that you're opening yourself up to the good, the bad, and the ugly. But publishing photos on Instagram is so routine these days that you may not be consciously thinking of the choice you are making in letting everyone see your private wedding photos. 

So, while I LOVE Instagram, I just ask that you think about the choice you're making in encouraging everyone to post using your hashtag. My answer on the subject definitely varies depending on the event. Sometimes it's appropriate and sometimes it's not. So choose wisely!

Would you hashtag your wedding? Let us know in the comments!

What do I mean when I say an event should be cohesive?

I often talk about making an event cohesive. I think it's one of the benefits of hiring a wedding planner. And a couple of weeks ago, a groom asked me what "making an event cohesive" means. 

I guess when you talk about certain ideas often enough, it doesn't dawn on you to go in-depth on a particular concept. And to me, making an event cohesive is a basic concept that guides a lot of decisions during your event or wedding planning process.

A classic "Laura-ism".

A classic "Laura-ism".

The idea behind "making an event cohesive" means that all of the components of your event should be connected in one way or another.

Putting together interconnected elements really creates a wonderful experience. For instance, if you are planning to host a backyard barbecue in honor of the beginning of summer (not a bad idea since Memorial Day is right around the corner!), it would make sense to set up a grill station, decorate with red and white gingham tablecloths, and possibly set up a game of cornhole or lawn jenga for guests to play. Sending out princess tiara invitations for this type of shindig? NOT cohesive.

It Makes a Difference 

The reason I place so much importance on creating a cohesive event is because it really makes a difference. You don't often go to a party that has carnival, luau and disco components and think "wow that was great!". You're more likely to think, "uh, that was a train wreck". 

But if you go to an event where the components fit together, there will be a natural flow to the event that will make it graceful and relaxed. (Yes, a proper timeline and thinking about the overall sequence of events helps this as well, but that's another topic for another day.)

How do you create an event that is unique but still cohesive?

I firmly believe that your event needs to reflect you and your personality. So how do you create a cohesive event that is also unique? 

Are you a burlesque dancer in your spare time and want to have burlesque dancers at your wedding? Okay -- we'll make it happen. But I would not have them perform during the cocktail hour. That's something I would recommend after dancing or during the after party (if you're having one that is).

As you can see from the example above, if you think about the other elements of the event as well as the guest mentality, you can incorporate all sorts of elements without making them seem totally weird and outlandish. Guests will walk away thinking "what an unexpected touch!" as opposed to "those dancers during cocktails were a mistake". 

So definitely feel free to include those unexpected and unique moments in your event. After all, they will certainly help create a memorable experience for you and your guests. But also make sure to think about every component fitting together well so that there is a natural sequence of events throughout the celebration. 

What do you think about creating a cohesive event? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let us know in the comments!


Event Pet Peeves

After you've worked on and seen as many events as I have, you start developing certain pet peeves about the events you attend.

Every event planner I know can walk into a room and point out at least a couple things they would have done differently. walks into other people's events and can point out at least a couple things they would have done differently. (It's rare when this doesn't occur, but there have been a few times when I wouldn't change anything... high praise coming from this picky planner.)

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that we behave this way... after all, we are paid to review details with a fine-toothed comb. 

So what are my top event pet peeves?

Event Pet Peeves | LIG Events - Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

1 - Ill-fitting Tablecloths

Oh, there is nothing I hate more than an ill-fitting tablecloth! 

First of all, an ill-fitting tablecloth looks sloppy.

If it's too short it looks ridiculous. If it's too long it looks clumsy. In either case, a tablecloth that does not fit its table looks terrible. 

Also, tablecloths that are too long for a table are a tripping hazard.

Picture this: If you've had your feet tucked under the table and you move to get up, chances are you will drag part of the tablecloth out from under the table with your feet, creating a large tripping hazard for you, other guests at the party, and the waiters who are usually carrying plates with food and glasses with (red) wine.

Aunt Jo getting splashed with red wine during your dinner reception... Nightmare in the making, isn't it? 

It might sound like an exaggeration, but I've seen it happen. I've also tripped myself...and I know what to look for!

And in my opinion, there is nothing worse than spending a large sum of money on an event to then have a basic feature look mediocre and disheveled. 

2 - Ties on Chairs

While not as noticeable as ill-fitting tablecloths, the ties on reception chair cushions are another pet peeve of mine! It's a small detail but it makes a big difference and for those times when they're really noticeable, I have an army of catering staff re-tie the cushions.

Sometimes two bows on the back of a chair (even though they're small) are just not appropriate. Sometimes they look overtly feminine and cutesy. And half the time they are mis-tied and look lopsided or topsy turvy. 

So how do I remedy this quirky pet peeve of mine?

I always like to wrap the ties around the chair and then tuck the tails into the pocket on the underside of the chair cushion, a move that effectively disguises the "mechanics" of the cushion. 

For events where we have chair cushions custom made,  I will always specify that we should have velcro attachments. They are easier to put on and they look seamless. 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼
(Why don't a lot of rental companies have velcro "ties" on their chair cushions? Because velcro wears out after many uses.)

3 - Not Thinking About the Guest Experience

While not exactly a physical item, not thinking about this important tenet can ruin an event. I have said it before and I'll say it again -- the guest experience is paramount when planning an event. If your guests have not enjoyed themselves, the party has not been a success. 

If an event's layout is not well thought-through, guests will bottleneck in one spot and not fully experience the party. 
If not enough bartenders have been provided for the event, all guests will remember is the line at the bar. 
If the party favor is a totally impractical bauble (like a photo of the honoree), guests will just throw it out when they get home. 

After all the time and effort you've put into organizing and paying for your party, the last thing you want is unhappy guests. Keep them in mind and think about how they will experience your event. It's always nice to walk into a party and feel like the hosts thought about you and went the distance to make you feel at ease. 

This list could be a mile long, but these are my top event pet peeves.
What do you think of them? Do you have any? Let us know in the comments!