With the pandemic continuing to impact the industry, event professionals must remain vigilant to mitigate the risk of viral spread. In addition to measures like on-site testing, mask mandates, and hand sanitizer stations, most have also had to adjust event layouts to accommodate social distancing and smaller gatherings.
Of course, altering a floorplan isn’t an isolated change — it impacts every member of the event team, from servers’ walking paths to floral placements to a photographer’s lighting.
Naturally, planners and venues must communicate layout changes to the rest of the creative team — but how and when they do can facilitate collaboration or create undue confusion.
As we navigate the late stages of the pandemic, keep these three communication tips in mind while adjusting event layouts and bringing everyone on the same page.
Be mindful of budget adjustments.
Layout changes can have financial implications, ultimately shifting a client’s budget to reallocate funds. For vendors, this could mean working with a smaller budget than initially agreed upon due to safety precautions.
“Now that people have returned to events and we are even seeing less attrition than pre-covid percentages, we are finding the cost is higher all around,” explains Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates. “Supply chains have driven up the cost of goods while comfort level of the consumer has reduced. Meaning that the flowers/linens/food costs more, while you also want to seat fewer people at each table causing you to need more tables and more centerpieces and more linens, etc.”
If a client’s budget changes due to a new layout, communicate that clearly with the creative team to find a solution that achieves the client’s goal without cutting into anyone’s profit margins.
Prevent confusion and overwhelm.
Constant changes to an event’s floorplan, timeline, or other integral detail can leave vendors lost and unsure of how the “final” updates will impact them. Avoid overcomplicating the changes with unnecessary communication!
“My top tip for communicating event layout changes is to communicate it quickly but also efficiently,” says Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “I would need to ensure the change is final, so diagrams/spreadsheets/etc. aren’t sent out multiple times. That is a recipe for confusion before and during the event.”
While designing floorplans within Allseated makes collaboration easy, sometimes it’s best for the first several iterations to loop in only the people who need to confirm they can accommodate the changes — the venue, the planner, and the rental company. Then, share the updates with the rest of the team, including the caterer, florist, transportation company, photographer, and other vendors onsite on the event day.
Ensure final copies are available for everyone.
When layout changes are a common occurrence as they have been throughout the pandemic, it helps to be as straightforward as possible in the days leading up to the event.
Sandy Brooks of Timeless Event Planning shares: “If a wedding has had several changes, we always send an additional final copy the week of the wedding to avoid any confusion. We also print several copies to have on hand during the wedding in case any vendors printed the wrong version.”
Effective communication is vital for any significant changes to an event, especially the layout. Allseated makes communication about the event’s floorplan layout, seating, chart, and timeline easy and accurate. In addition to being a collaborative tool for designing floorplans, the ability to generate reports makes it simple and efficient for sharing details with the entire event team.
With a responsive team and the proper channels in place, you can seamlessly execute a stellar event no matter how many times the details of an event layout change.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.