When setting up and executing an event, there’s a lot that can go awry. Sure, there are big things that can happen, like vendors showing up late or parking attendants just deciding not to bring cars back, but there are also lots of little things that can add up to create an overall imperfect feel. A droopy flower arrangement here, a cracked place card holder there, uneven table runners, and even your own sweat can make you seem disheveled, make a space look sloppy, and in turn, make you look unprepared.
The best thing a planner can do to avoid this is to anticipate challenges and create a kit that will have your back as things arise. My kit has been honed thanks to my type A personality and years of planning and running events where the little, unexpected things sent me scrambling. My kit may not be perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Here’s some of what’s inside and why:
Notebook:It’s important for me to learn from the good and the bad of what happened at the event. I can only learn from these things if I can remember them!
Safety Pins: From a quick fix to a hole in a dress to an easy way to get tablecloths the way you want them to sit, these babies do it all.
Hair ties: Have you ever stood on a stepladder trying to string lights with your hair down? It’s the worst!
Rubber bands: These little miracles help me keep those droopy flowers upright when stems won’t behave
Pen: Believe it or not, pens are not easy to come by in venues, and people love to steal them. If I don’t have a pen, I can’t sign invoices, make lists, or make a note to buy more pens.
Binder clips: These are great for little fabric fixes where you want to be sure you don’t cause damage to the linen.
String: String is a more attractive version of a rubber band or tape. If something just won’t stay together, but the fix will be visible, string is my best friend. I go with a natural color, as it can appear fancy if need be.
Neosporin: I’ve gotten paper cuts, puncture wounds from rose stems, and scrapes from tripping over cords. Ain’t nobody got time for an infection, and this litle to-go version can fit anywhere!
Advil: I’ve done events that have required me to be on my feet for upward of 12 hours...in heels. Aches and pains are common, so Advil is a must.
Black Marker: This is the best tool to pair with post-its to guarantee people will see the instructions I write out.
Tiny Mighties: These micro magnets pack a BIG punch. They are the strongest and classiest I have found, and love to have them in my back pocket.
Matches: When candles go out, I want to be prepared to get them going again without needing the help of a caterer. They also help with unexpected smells that may arise. And they do.
Mints: I chat with a ton of people while executing an event and always want to have fresh breath while doing so. I also have some clients who always want mints on-hand, but sometimes forget them. I love being the person who anticipates the needs of others.
Hairspray: You’d be shocked at all the off-label uses for hairspray. It can stop runs in stockings, repel insects, eliminate static, prolong the life of flowers, and even remove ink stains.
Post-its: I use these to mark where things should go.
Tape: I usually have 4 different kinds in my kit. Gorilla extra sticky tape (which this is, is the best for a tight hold) gaff tape for taping wires and cords to the ground, double sided heavy duty tape, and painter’s tape, which is great for marking where things go without leaving sticky stuff behind.
A Calculator: It seems old school, but there’s nothing better than this tool to make sure vendors are properly paid (and aren’t overcharging).
Super Glue: Beautiful things crack sometimes, and super glue is the only way to fix them.
“Thank You” Notes: For a quick and easy way to thank those who engaged your services. I also love to thank my day of staff with a handwritten note. It’s so much more personal than a quick email the next day.
Deodorant: For those of us who live that "stress sweat" life, this is a must.
So what do I put all this in? Well, many of my heavy-duty items go into an adult Kaboodle (you know you remember those).
Shandy’s version is my favorite. It’s sleek, practical, and doesn’t make me look like I’m a handyman showing up pre-event to do repairs.
I also like to keep some items in a small shoulder bag in a color that goes with everything. I love that my tools of the trade are always by my side so when the unexpected happens, I can look like a freakin’ rockstar.