The Not So Dandy Andy Warhol Gala

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I wrote this post a few months back, but didn’t get around to posting it. With the holiday party season in full swing, I thought these party tips could be of some use!

In my many years of reading the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a negative review of a party by the local lifestyle editor than the recap she penned about a recent Andy Warhol Gala.

You all know that I love me some Warhol, but it looks like the event organizers made some simple mistakes that all beginning party planners can make. Let’s see how we can learn from their mishaps.

• Do keep in mind the guest to bar ratio. This event had 2 bars for 400 people. That means if everyone wanted a drink, that’s 200 people per bar. That’s straight up Bent Willy’s in Morgantown on Thursday night. This is a big no no for my dad. He wanted three bars at our wedding for 200 people to eliminate lines.

• Big space = big décor. Large venues are great, but that just means more space that you need to fill up with décor, draping, lighting and…PEOPLE! The $500 ticket price on this event wasn’t helping with the people and because it was charity, not much was spent on the décor.

• Don’t get too big for your britches. If ticket sales are low, consider finding a way to downsize your space. Could you bring in wall dividers to make the room look more intimate?

• While I’m not too sure what the “indifferent service” meant, this made me think about your staff. Prior to an event, I recommend rallying the troops. If you are the lead planner, personally meet your staff and get them excited for the night. Make sure everyone knows what the special food and drinks are in advance. If you have any key talking points for the night, be sure they are aware of those too. And always make sure your staff knows where the guest bathrooms are. Guests tend to always ask!

• The reporter notes that there was bad acoustics. This is a toughie. If you plan on using sound at your party, check the volumes from all angels of the room. I planned a big event for a client in Chicago at a warehouse that is currently a photo studio. Music was a difficult task for us and we conducted multiple site checks with the DJ. Get expert advice if it’s important shin dig and conduct a test!

• If you are paying for a “celebrity” guest or DJ, run their name by at least three people in your target audience. If they are unaware of the celebrity, you may want to rethink your selection. In this case, while I know who Questlove is (barely), I don’t know too many people in the area that would.

I don’t want to be a total negative Nancy, and please know that I didn’t attend this event. I'm sure there were a lot of reasons and obstacles that contributed to things going a bit aloof. Everyone makes mistakes when planning events – that’s part of the learning experience. I just want to point out a few tips that one can discover from this review in the Post-Gazette!
Blogger said...

Oh Shot of Brandi you have outdone yourself!