We all know and love the concept of après, aka the after party, but sometimes, we find that clients overlook pre-event opportunities to wow guests before they ever step foot into the experience.
When our team at Cassie LaMere Events approaches an event, we map out all of the touchpoints that we will have with guests, from the moment they first hear about the event to the post-event thank you, and consider each interaction an opportunity to surprise and delight. As a host, it’s beneficial to unveil details and information to guests in a layered series of correspondence that keeps them engaged leading up to the main event.
Before you light the candles and welcome the first guests, consider these four tips to capturing their hearts and piquing their curiosity- far before the big day arrives.
Be Our Guest
Think of your save the date and invitation as a first opportunity to set the tone for your event, enticing guests about the experience that awaits. The key to successfully executing these materials is to give guests the need to know information, plus a few “Easter Eggs” (to borrow a term from Taylor Swift) that alludes to some of the experiences or personalized details that will be incorporated into the event.
A good invitation evokes a feeling of “This event can’t be missed” and gets people talking (and speculating) so much so that by the time they arrive at the event, their excitement is at an all-time high.
We’ve used everything from a preview of custom design elements that have been incorporated into the event, to illustrated renderings of the location, announcements of marquee entertainment, and invitation films to make a statement and get guests ready to party.
Set the Mood
At our HQ, we are seeing more and more hosts elect to define an attire color palette or theme for their events. We know what you’re thinking, a theme? Cringe. Trust us, themes can extend well beyond the dreaded costume party of times past.
By defining a color palette or theme for an event, you are helping ease guests anxiety around the perennial “What to wear?” question and instead, offering them clear, specific directions about the perfect attire for this occasion. Everyone wants to be the best dressed guest and these visual cues will help guests feel at ease.
Defining a color palette means that guests can immediately have a greater understanding of the vibe you are looking to achieve. As a bonus, your photos and videos will be AESTHETIC when every detail, down to guest attire, is cohesive.
Working with our event team and design vendors, we can create attire mood boards that are shared with guests prior to the event. These inspiration collages convey the look, feel, and spirit of an event, while getting guests engaged as part of the pre-event planning process. Boards can include curated example images for what to wear, links to favorite retailers, and for our tastemakers clients, promo codes extended exclusively to attendees.
Know Before You Go
There’s nothing worse than having RSVP’d to an event and being left in the dark about the important details that will help you plan for your experience. We like to remind hosts to put themselves in the shoes of the guest: although you’ve been working on this event for months, your guests have very little information about the details of the event and what to expect, which can often induce anxiety. What you want to avoid is guests losing interest or even further, deciding not to attend an event, because they either don’t feel connected to the experience or are stressed about the plans surrounding the event date.
Keep in mind that strategic communication is key to a successful event. Items such as Know Before You Go emails are essential to helping guests be prepared and feel at ease. Always include the core tenents of who, what, where, when, and why, as well as any specialized information that is unique to your event. Parking and rideshare information, detailed directions for private or hard-to-find locations, security guidelines, a high-level itinerary, and social media links are all helpful information for guests to have in advance.
Our fellow social butterflies are familiar with the concept of a takeaway gift, but how special would it be to receive a customized gift from the host BEFORE you attend? Delivering a small, thoughtful gift to your guests ahead of your event conveys a very personal message to your attendees. Going the extra mile to extend this gesture ahead of time shows guests that their presence is not only meaningful, but also makes them feel special knowing that you’re looking forward to seeing them and sharing in this experience together.
Gifts can vary from an item that the guest can use at the event or a preview of a detail that guests will see incorporated into the event experience. If your event is being hosted in a destination, travel-friendly gifts that can be useful to guests on their journey to your event will go a long way to show your appreciation for their efforts to join you. If you’re featuring a favorite restaurant or Chef at your event, consider sending gourmands one of their signature food items in advance, to whet their appetites for the culinary delights that are to come.
No matter the occasion, there are multiple moments where hosts can engage, enlighten, and excite guests. Given all of the time, energy, and resources that is put into planning an event with our hosts and partners, why not seize every opportunity to blow guests away and put our own stamp on things (literally and figuratively!)
Images Courtesy of Shannon Skloss and Ralpn Lauren