Defining Your Goal
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Larry Elder
Determine the Event Type
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
– Walt Disney
Any successful event starts as an idea. Before that idea can be executed it's important to think about where the idea came from and what you want the end result to be. As the quote from Larry Elder suggests, wishful thinking is not enough to achieve the outcome you want. You need a plan and an objective to get you there. Ask yourself questions like, Why should this event take place? Where will the event be held? Who will be the target audience? What is the desired outcome? What do we want to accomplish? How will this event benefit (me, the attendees, the organization, our company, etc)? Answering these questions will lead you in the right direction and help you stay on track to creating the type of event you want.
Planning any event takes time, organization and clearly defined goals. Before you begin planning all the details you must first understand the main purpose of the event and what you are hoping to accomplish. A successful event will depend on an overall vision and taking the appropriate steps to ensure that your objectives and desired outcomes are achieved. Regardless of the size and scope of the event it is important to consider all of these aspects when planning any social event or gathering. With any event, there may be changes and unforeseen issues to address, however, with a structured plan in place you will be less likely to encounter such situations, making for a greater overall experience for your guests.
Now that you have clearly defined your goals and objectives for your event, you can start thinking about step 2 – determining the event type. There are a variety of event types to consider and what you choose should depend on both your desired outcome as well as your target audience. Knowing your audience will help you determine how to keep people interested and engaged during the event. Some events include conferences, tradeshows, off-site retreats, sales and marketing meetings, employee trainings or workshops, teambuilding, product launches, fundraising or charitable giving events, annual events such as beginning of the year kick off meetings, summer picnics, holiday parties, awards dinners and employee recognition events.
Once you know your goals and event type you can begin to strategize on the event details. The details are also referred to as your event outline or program. The details are the most important aspect to any event because it is a measurement of your guest’s overall experience and satisfaction as well as the factor that will determine if you were able to reach the goals you set in place. When it comes to the details think about your primary attendees and the message you want to convey to them. What message do you want the guests to take away? Do you want them to feel appreciated, loved, cared for, recognized, educated, empowered, motivated, inspired, enlightened or simply valued.
Determine the Scope of the Event
“We should seek the greatest value of our action.” – Stephen Hawking
The message can be shown through the overall event experience in several ways whether it is in the context of your words, the atmosphere of the event, the personal conversations, the gifts or take-aways, a look into the past or the future of your organization, collaboration amongst peers or praise for a job well done – you can decide how your message is received. The rest of the details will consist of planning your guest list, the timeframe and deciding which day of the week the event will take place, finding the appropriate venue, utilizing indoor or outdoor space, speeches and presentations, entertainment, meals, transportation and lodging in some cases, as well as you event budget and how much you have to allocate towards these expenses.
Focusing on the smaller details while keeping the bigger picture in mind will help you on your way to a successful event.
Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Follow Gatherings for Good on Facebook to see more great event planning tips!
If you are planning a corporate event and would like more information on our services or to get a quote, please contact us today!
A very big THANK YOU to all those who made this event possible and to the supporters, sponsors and donors for their generous contributions!
The free flowing culinary experience was held at the Montecito Country Club and consisted of 19 chefs and restaurants, all of whom created tasty dishes from their menus for guests and celebrity judges to sample.
On Friday, May 15th Family Service Agency’s very first Cooking Up Dreams culinary event dazzled, delighted and dished out delicious fare from several leading local chefs and restaurants. It was an exciting, new cooking competition event and fundraiser to benefit both Family Service Agency and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Barbara County.
Congratulations to Avery Hardin of Scarlett Begonia who won the People's Choice Award and Kurt Steeber of Cielito who won the Judge's Choice Award! Great job to all the amazing chefs who participated!
Other entertainment included music from DJ Scott Topper, a photo booth courtesy of 805 Party Pix, a chocolate fountain, hosted bar with exquisite wines and silent auction.
Guests were welcomed by the host for the evening, Santa Barbara’s own Meredith Garofalo of KEYT, Newschannel 3 who served as the Event Committee Chair and Emcee for the night. Legendary newsman John Palminteri entertained the crowd as the auctioneer for the Dream BIG live auction which featured a guitar signed by Katy Perry, South African Safari and a trip to Mexico!
Brenda Cali of Gatherings for Good was thrilled to be included and volunteer her time to support these organizations and the contributions they make to positively impact families and individuals in the community.
To learn more about Family Service Agency, the programs they offer or to make a donation, please click here.
On Saturday, May 2nd, Brenda Cali, Owner and Event Planner with Gatherings for Good volunteered at the annual fundraising event Moments in Time, A Masked Affair, organized by Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF). This inaugural event was named after one of TBCF’s most beloved programs that offers special experiences to children with cancer such as surprise birthday parties, meeting celebrities or fun outings.
A special moment took place when guest of honor, 11 year old Faith DeBrum of Santa Maria and her family gave a heartfelt testimonial, thanking TBCF for their all their support after Faith was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma. Before the event Faith was treated to a makeover courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue andK. Frank Boutique who provided Faith with a new outfit, jewelry and makeup. The staff at TBCF surprised Faith by announcing that she would be getting tickets to see a live taping of two of her favorite shows – The Voice and American Idol in Los Angeles later this month. It was a very touching moment.
Brenda Cali of Gatherings for Good Events volunteered selling raffle tickets and assisting with the live auction and paddle raise which was a huge success! All donations made that evening will help provide emotional and financial support to families throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. If you would like to make an online donation to the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation please click below!
Beach weddings are some of the most beautiful and romantic locations to say “I Do.” All the elements are there to create the perfect backdrop for your big day. They can also be more affordable for those on a budget! You won’t need to add much in the way of décor – you are already surrounded by so much natural beauty!
If you’re thinking of having a beach wedding here are a few things to consider that will help you along the way.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Planning a beach wedding may seem casual and easy but there are just as many details to coordinate as an indoor wedding. Plus a Professional Wedding Planner can help scout locations and tell you which beaches are best depending on your vision, # of guests, accessibility, etc.
If you are planning a destination beach wedding out of town you will definitely need a planner who is familiar with the area you are looking to have your wedding so they can guide you in the right direction and make recommendations on local vendors such as photographers, music, rentals, wedding officiant, florist and much more.
A quiet beach is ideal but sometimes the waves can crash pretty loud. Or if you are next to a busy road you may have noisy traffic passing by. And don’t forget the public! Beaches are full of ocean loving beach-goers. Try to set up your ceremony in a quiet area that isn't too crowded and far enough away from the water to avoid water creeping into your space. Check the tide to find the right ceremony time as well to avoid having the wedding during high tide times. There are websites that make it really easy such as www.tideschart.com.
Think about the Guests
Beach weddings typically are best suited for smaller groups. Because it is an intimate setting many couples opt to invite only their closes friends and family, keeping the guest count to a minimum. Also, it may be difficult for some of your elderly guests to walk on the sand. Keep in mind that there are no elevators or ramps for wheelchairs or those needing special assistance which can make things tricky.
In addition, some beach locations do not allow chairs which means your guests may have to stand the entire time. If you can be flexible on the idea of a beach wedding, another option is to have the ceremony on a cliff or hillside that is overlooking the beach. You can always drive down to the beach afterwards with your photographer to capture those beautiful photos!
Pick the Appropriate Season
Seasons matter! Pick a time of year that is warm and sunny but that is also bearable for you and your guest. You won’t want to be walking or standing in hot sand or having your guests drenched in sweat from sitting in the blazing sun! To be on the safe side a morning ceremony or late afternoon would be your best option to keep everyone comfortable. You will also get the best photos during these optimal times! Regardless of how much sun you have, always encourage your guests to wear sunblock and/or hats for their own protection.
While some beaches are plush with soft white sand, others may not. Be sure to consider the quality of the sand when deciding on the location and avoid beaches that are full of small rock and shells which can be nice to look at but painful to walk or stand on! If this is something you cannot avoid you will need to wear sandals to protect your feet and inform your guests as well prior to the wedding.
What to Wear
If you planning to get married on a beach chances are the weather will be warm or possibly humid depending where you are. California heat is not the same as Florida or Hawaii. Choose clothing that is comfortable, breathable and light. Avoid heavy fabrics that can weigh you down. And if you are the bride, choose a dress with a short train (or not train) that doesn’t drag too much in the sand. There may also be a coastal breeze so be sure to plan your outfit accordingly if you tend to get cold by the water and consider pulling back your hair or using clips to keep strays out of your face!
Most beaches are public and will require special permissions to perform wedding ceremonies. You will need to check with the city on the requirements and contact the county clerk’s office for approval and to make sure you are following their procedures and guidelines. Some beaches may require you to pay a fee in order to use it and to receive a permit. Be sure to check with the agency on rental requirements as well to find out what is allowed or not allowed on the beach such as chairs, arches, candles and music. Anything you bring to decorate the ceremony will need to be removed immediately after and always remember to remove any trash that may get left behind!
Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock Images
Image: Kacie Jean Phototography
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.