Wednesday, September 11, 2013

14 Ways Planning a Wedding is like Planning a Football Game, Part 1

Football season is in full swing now. As someone who works with wedding professionals on a daily basis - and who has worked in both professional and college football in the past - it got me to thinking:
What are some similarities between planning a wedding and planning a football game?
As I started my list, it continued to grow, so I decided to split this post into a two-part series. The following items are the first half of that list. 

1. Evening and weekend work
The hours can be brutal at times. Most of the time you are the first one in the building and the last to leave. You not only put in the time during regular business hours, but you often have to work later in the evening to attend events or accomplish some tasks, some of which cannot be done until off hours.
Wedding Planners
Need to meet the bride and groom for a cake testing or band demo? They have jobs during the day that they can't simply leave, so you have to meet them in the evening or on the weekend. This is not even considering the actual wedding weekend, when you work all day Friday and Saturday.

Football Planners
Let's face it: no football game is going to be during regular work hours. Nearly every college game is on a Saturday, while NFL games are on Sunday. You may occasionally have a Thursday or Friday night game and work late hours just to make sure everything set.
2. Multitasking
Simply put, events are not simple. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of components involved. As the main planner, you are the one that has to make sure everything is done right.
Wedding Planners
Gather client info, meet with vendors, arrange for hotels, go over the guest list, do a site walk-through, meet with the clients again, confirm the correct decor and food, follow up, follow up, follow up.

Football Planners
Send info to teams and officials, coordinate with security, coordinate with marketing and sales, meet with the teams and officials, work with sponsor parties, check the weather report, deal with obnoxious fans, etc.
3. Dealing with ego
You have a lot of big egos to juggle. Everyone thinks their needs/responsibilities are more important/pressing than yours. Sometimes they are right, but many times they are not. Whether you are dealing with brides, vendors, fans, players, or coaches, you have to be patient enough to address their needs without losing your cool.

4. Making sure everyone is on the same page
The nature of events is that there are many moving parts and even more people. Does everybody understand not only their specific responsibilities, but what everyone else is doing, how they fit together, and why?
Wedding Planners
Does the venue know when the DJ is arriving to set up? Does the caterer know about specific food allergies? What's the first dance song? What time do the bride and groom arrive for the ceremony? When and where are photos being taken?
Football Planners
Does the stadium know about each team's walk-through? Are ticketing policies in line with compliance's policies? Which credentials are allowed on the field? Who is the entertainment and when should they be on/off the field?
5. Everyone blames you if anything goes wrong
Sometimes you wonder if this shirt is your work uniform. When something goes wrong - and it eventually will - people automatically look to you to assign blame. After all, a good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem at hand.

6. Nerves/stress
Because of point #5, the stress level is high. In fact, last year listed event planning as the 6th most stressful career out of all careers. And it isn't just the worry about getting blamed if something goes wrong. You also don't want to mess up an extremely memorable moment for a bride and groom or a specific player or coach. The number of eyes that are on you at all times and the volume and variety of tasks you must complete (see point #2) just adds to your burden that much more. 

7. Months of planning for a few weekend hours
This can be simultaneously satisfying and exasperating. You spend months of your life planning, pulling out all the stops, and stressing yourself out to make a perfect event. Then, in a matter of hours, the event is over. On one hand, you think, "All that planning was worth it for a great event." On the other hand, since you typically won't have something tangible to show for your work, you may think, "All that planning for a few hours?" The main takeaway for you is the satisfaction that you (hopefully) put on a fantastic, memorable event that served a lot of people.

Tomorrow we will focus on the second half of our list, many of which have to do with the attendees/crowd.

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