States are beginning to open up, and we’re excitedly at the beginning stages of planning events again after quarantining due to COVID-19. Whether you’re planning a birthday party, wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, anniversary party or anything in between, there are some changes that will be made before we can host large events again.
The new normals for all types of events will vary depending on location as states have different reopening timelines and restrictions. We connected with a few event planners and professionals from the event industry who shared their insights for the future.
Here are 6 things you can expect to see in the future of event planning from real event professionals.
Smaller, More Intimate Events
With social distancing still top of mind for the foreseeable future—smaller, more intimate events will continue to be a standard for gatherings. With that being said, this new trend for events can definitely be seen as a good change!
"We believe that events will become smaller and feel more intimate moving forward. It's a change we're excited about, because people can really focus on giving their nearest and dearest an unforgettable experience for their celebration! Every detail will be that much more intentional." says Natalie Good, Creative Director at A Good Affair.
Increased Safety Measures
Seems like a no-brainer, but this tip for upcoming events could not be more important. Ked & Co. Event Design and Production shared, “Summer parties can still be festive and safe. From picnic style dinners, to backyard movie nights and driveway cocktail hours, we are going to see people enjoying events at home in a whole new way.”
Ked & Co. recommends “utilizing 'meal drop offs' from local caterers and incorporating some old-fashioned backyard games”, to set expectations before guests arrive and “let them know what kind of measures you've taken to keep everyone comfortable and safe.”
“When sending an invite, make sure to explain how you plan to take care of your guests' concerns–sanitizer station, disposable cutlery, pre-batched specialty cocktails and ample bathroom space with an attendant sanitizing restroom consistently after each use, are a few ways to keep guests at ease” says Ked & Co. Event Design and Production.
Small Food Stations
With increased safety measures comes small food stations as a trend for future events.
“Staff training and procedures will be ultra-focused on everyone's health! Buffets will be different, more like small stations, to alleviate crowding. Each buffet station would most likely be operated by a chef or server, keeping safety in mind, with gloves, and face masks on during serving. Purchasing hand sanitizer to keep at all stations is definitely on our radar too." says Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director at Collette’s Catering.
More Digital Experiences
While quarantining, we all learned how to host virtual events from the safety of our own homes. We can expect to continue to see digital experiences as a new trend for upcoming events and planning. Brides, grooms, and party hosts should anticipate more virtual meetings and venue walk throughs, with less face-to-face time with their event professionals.
Generation Tux shares, “Many companies will be going online for the first time, especially those in the event industry which relies heavily on in-person experiences. All of us in the wedding industry will have to think creatively to incorporate the restrictions that have been put on gatherings. All involved will have to integrate some form of technology into their business and communications as we move forward.
“For example, we have found a great balance of utilizing technology to service our clients while still offering great perks like expert advice from our Customer Experience team, free swatches, and a free home try-on for the groom. Anything we can do to keep it high-tech and high-touch with our couples.” says Generation Tux.
Remote, Virtual, and At-Home Celebrations are Here to Stay
With more digital experiences and smaller events, the continuation of virtual and at-home events is going to remain popular. It’s most important to continue practicing social distancing at events for now. For events with ceremonies, while limiting guest lists, it may be best to live stream. We also anticipate the use of digital invites, virtual gifts and back-yard celebrations.
Noelle Ahmad-Snedegar, Owner & Lead Event Designer at Lily & Grayson Events shares, “For the time being, focusing on remote celebrations, virtual nuptials, and at-home vows is a great way to keep loving moving full steam ahead with proper social distancing—But what happens when it’s time to get back to the party? We would never want to force guests to stand 6 feet apart on the dance floor or give a toast to the newlyweds with masks over their faces so the first step is planning events with an appropriate time frame in mind.”
“Once we finally get to roll into the season of approved gatherings, our focus will be on ensuring that the couple and their guests feel comfortable, safe, and cared for by the entire vendor team without compromising the vision for experience and design. This means heightening awareness of proper food and beverage handling procedures with gloved staff members, covered perishable stations, and moving to have attendants distribute what were once considered self-serve items (cocktail napkins, bread rolls, stirrers).” says Ahmad-Snedegar.
The Start of In-Person Planning, and New Questions
States are beginning to open up at varying rates, and we’ve come to a time where we can start some in-person meetings. With weddings this is extremely important. So, now that the time has come, what are the new questions that need to be asked?
When it comes to new meetings with clients, Lead Event Designer Noelle Ahmad-Snedegar shares “The answer is the same approach we’ve always taken: What is our clients’ vision for their wedding weekend and what are the most important elements for them? As a team, we have rescheduled 18 weddings from the spring and summer of 2020; I can say with confidence that each one was a completely unique case and we tailored the approach, our recommendations, and the strategy accordingly.”
For upcoming weddings taking place later this year, she shares, “we’re gearing up to put their tastings, walkthroughs, and design sessions back on the books which is an incredible feeling. But with each one, we’re also making sure to have an all-encompassing conversation to discuss important elements:
- What is their guest count looking like? What portion of their original list was made up of international attendants or elderly family members? How can we negotiate a new turnout expectation with the caterer?
- Do we want to incorporate any form of live-streaming or, if we didn’t have videography in the budget, perhaps this is a new investment and something that can be shared with those who don’t feel comfortable attending?
- For couples in the fall who rescheduled from the spring–what design elements do we need to pivot? Instead of handing out flower seeds at the ceremony, let’s look into fleece blankets!
- And of course, if stay-home orders are extended, let’s discuss the most important elements for you two and what the best option would be for a reschedule or a pivot!”
“Bottom line: people miss people! With that being said, we anticipate a rush of celebrations once we have permission to start gathering."– Ked & Co. Event Design and Production
Find more event inspiration and planning tips from The Bash.
Production: Be Inspired PR ❘ Event Design: Detailed Touch Events ❘ Photography: Sanaz Photography ❘ Floral Design: Inessa Nichols Design ❘ Wholesale Flowers: Fifty Flowers❘ Rentals: Theoni ❘ Stationery: Copper Willow Paper Studio ❘ Cake: Beverly’s Bakery ❘ Linens: La Tavola