Thursday, September 12, 2013

14 Ways Planning a Wedding is like Planning a Football Game, Part 2

Yesterday, we listed the first 7 ways that planning a wedding is like planning a football game. Today we continue with the second half of the list.

8. It's about everyone else but you
Whether you are planning a wedding or a football game, you are typically behind the scenes. A lot of people don't even know of your presence unless something goes wrong (see point #5 yesterday). It is your job to make sure that the client's needs are served and that the guests have a good time. It doesn't really matter what your opinion is on a topic. While you can provide all the expert advise you have, in the end, it comes down to what they want, not you.

9. Perception of your success often hinges on others
Whether or not people view you as a success is often out of your hands. Many other people have to do their job - and do it well - for people to think highly of you. Did the vendors show up on time? Were they quality professionals? The decorators, caterers, and entertainment can make an event memorable or disappointing. At a football game, you not only have to rely on the vendors, security, ushers, and marketing staff, but even more so on the players and coaches. If you ran an event perfectly, but the fans were disappointed with the game, they will inevitably find something to complain about and let you know about it. But the opposite is true as well. You may have had a bad day, or someone else didn't do their job, but if your team won in a thriller, that's all anybody will remember.

10. Everyone has an opinion
More often than not, people have an opinion on how something should have been done differently. Even though you have years of experience in the industry and understand all the detailed goings-on behind the scenes, Average Joe/Jan - who doesn't know the first thing about event planning - thinks they could have done it better. Not only that, oftentimes they will let their opinion known to someone, possibly even you. The flowers should have been placed somewhere else. Parking should have opened at a different time. The entertainment/music should have been different (more on this later). It's too loud. It's too quiet. No matter what you do, someone will always complain, so you know it is best to rely on your experience and best judgment.

11. What are the food options?
People like to eat. If there is an event with food - particularly if it's free - people will flock to it. Attendees often have a better/worse opinion based on the state of the food. Was the reception buffet  style or individual plates? Are there enough concession stands with enough variety? Oh, and do I have to mention the alcohol. Often it seems that the only reason someone attends a wedding reception or football game is to throw a few (too many) back.

12. Entertainment is crucial
Everyone loves to have a good time and for good reason. Events are supposed to be enjoyable. So making sure that the entertainment is top notch is critical to the attendees having a good time. Is it a band or DJ? Is the music good? Is there good energy or does the DJ like to hear himself talk? Even at a football game, while the contest itself is the prime entertainment, there are many breaks throughout the game. Do you have good halftime entertainment? What's going on before, during, and after the game? Am I staying engaged during timeouts or just checking my phone to see what I'm missing out on?

13. Expect the unexpected
Yes, there is some irony in this picture. But, seriously, when you have so many elements and moving parts to an event, something interesting/crazy/memorable/infuriating is bound to happen eventually. Can you quickly address the matter? Have you prepared for contingencies? Weather often is a key player that can completely change how either a wedding or football game goes. How are your improv skills and ability to react on the fly? Honestly, though, this is why we love working events. You may have a template on what to do, but no event is ever like another and you constantly have to stay on your toes.

14. To survive, you must love it
Considering the hours (point #1), the blame (#5), the stress (#6), and the vast amount of people you have to deal with (#'s 3, 4, & 9), you really have to have a passion for what you do. If you are not excited to be doing your job day-in and day-out, then how are the people you are serving supposed to get excited. People quickly can see uninspired work and will turn to someone else if you continually provide a less than stellar product.

You also have to fight to keep that passion. Inevitably, burnout happens. There will be days where you think to yourself, "Why I am doing this? Do I want to continue on this path?" It's up to you to figure out a way to stay passionate and remind yourself why you love it.

What other similarities can you think of between these two industries?

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