Today and tomorrow (and maybe for a few days after that), a large swath of the country is going to be dealing with a monstrous snowstorm. Even Dallas, Texas is under a freeze warning! For many of us, winter is just another part of the year. There is always a possibility that the weather will cancel your plans. This presents some inconvenience when you’re calling off a committee meeting, a class or a networking event. But what if it’s something with a significant investment involved – whether on your part or that of your guests?

For most people, calling off an event isn’t going to cause too much pain. There will be some rescheduling, you may face a loss of a vendor deposit, etc. But before any of this happens, you should still have a plan in place if you need to make the call.

-First and foremost, determine the definite reasons for calling off the event. Natural disasters are an obvious one, but it may get a little fuzzy after that. When does it go beyond what your contigency plan can handle? How icy do the roads have to be before you cancel? If a thunderstorm is predicted during an outdoor event; do you call it off completely or just have everyone take cover if lightning presents? If your keynote speaker falls ill but all other presenters can make it, do you proceed? These things need to be considered. You can’t account for every possibility but making some of these decisions will guide you for whatever may come up.

– The next thing you need to know is how you will communicate a cancellation to your attendees. Will it be personal calls, emails? Call the local TV and radio stations so they can include it in announcements if necessary. It never hurts to make your cancellation policies public knowledge either. Sidenote: This is also another reason why I am a huge advocate for creating registration systems or asking guests to RSVP. It’s so much easier to target your audience if you know who is coming and you have their contact information!

-Don’t forget your vendors! Always check cancellation policies on contracts and be aware of the costs you may incur with a late cancellation. If you are considering calling things off, let your vendors know so if they are able, they can hold off on preparations and deliveries.

However, if you are holding an event like a wedding or reunion that requires a lot of vendor deposits and expense, you may want to consider event cancellation insurance. Yes, it exists. (For some more in-depth information on event cancellation insurance, see here.)

If you’re holding an event that is supposed to generate income – like fundraisers, festivals, conventions, concerts, tournaments – you should definitely have event cancellation insurance. Of course, these things are generally major undertaking so I’m likely preaching to the pros on this one.

via Washington Post

The main thing to remember is that an important part of planning is planning on your event not happening. Even if you’re planning a baby shower for 20 – consider a cancellation plan. It will be much easier to tell the mommy-to-be (or other guest of honor) that the party is off if she knows in advance, the conditions for canceling.

It is not the most fun part of planning but it will serve you better than blind hope and keeping your fingers crossed!

New Post

Check out Socialize’s first post debut on the Cafe di Scala blog.
I’ve created a list of the aspects of an event you need to consider for planning. Some of these are pretty basic but putting all of them together will create a foundation for a well-organized, successful event.

For the last few years, my husband and I have gotten together with friends a couple weeks before Halloween to embrace some pumpkin carving fun! None of us have kids (or much artistic ability) but it’s still a great reason to get together and an easy gathering to plan. Here is what you’ll want to do:

Pre-determine a location. You are probably not going to want to do this in your house. The grown-ups I know are just as messy as most 5-year-olds and you’ll be sweeping up pumpkin seeds on Labor Day. The backyard works well if the weather is still pleasant enough. You can use the garage as shelter from the elements if there’s a chill in the air. Wherever you are; clear enough space to give everyone plenty of room to work.

Gather supplies and prepare the space. Pull out your folding tables if you have them.
Collect newspapers to cover everyone’s carving space. Make sure you have enough to give everyone a couple layers.
Put an empty trash can in a central location for most* of the pumpkin seeds. Use a heavy duty trash bag or double up on the household kind. Those seeds get heavy!
Print and set out pumpkin stencils for those who don’t want to freehand. Better Homes & Gardens has a huge (and free!) selection here. For some tips on carving with stencils, check out Pumpkin Carving 101.

Have a sharpie and a pumpkin carving kit for everyone or ask them bring their own. This way, you don’t have to sacrifice your good steak knives to a jack-o-lantern.
Have a lot of rags or paper towels on hand.
Finally – have tea lights for each pumpkin!

Find your perfect pumpkin. We like to make this part of the event for the whole group. Head to your local pumpkin patch so everyone can select their canvas.

And a couple suggestions for easy, festive additions!
You can’t beat hot spiked apple cider to keep everyone warm. Use fresh apple cider, spiced rum and some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves (to taste)

Heat apple cider in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Stir occasionally. When cider is heated, remove cinnamon sticks and cloves with a slotted spoon.
Pour a shot of rum into a mug, then pour cider over to fill mug. Add a cinnamon stick to stir drink.

To keep things easy, hold your pumpkin carving party in the evening, post dinner. This way, some light snacks will be sufficient (remember – this is supposed to be an easy one!). Last year, I had some candy corn, Halloween-theme Oreos and some popcorn for guests to snack on. You can also *save the seeds from the first few pumpkins to be gutted. Roast some up using butter/olive oil and salt or this recipe from Fabulous Foods. By the time the carving has ended you’ll have a seasonal snack ready for your guests.

Let the fun begin!

Pop quiz: What’s the one space that many but not all of your event guests will use; but usually gets left out of the event decor plan? Think about it. The bathroom is probably one of the few other areas in your home or venue that a large portion of your guests will visit. Why not tie it in with the rest of the festivities?

The Bride Scouts show us how to do just that with a photoshoot they did for Style Me Pretty. Check out their post here for a few more tips on how they customized the display. It’s a great take on the dessert buffet craze, don’t you think?

I am a huge believer in providing bathroom baskets for any gathering. But if you have a venue that will accomodate it; a display like this is a lovely way to let your guests know how much you appreciate them. Mints, handtowels, soaps and cotton swabs are wonderful to have in the bathroom. Since you won’t be worried about minimizing things for photo purposes; you’ll want to include a few more basics. I recommend including:

Bobby pins
Ponytail holders
Safety pins
Shout wipes
Lint Roller
Feminine products
Spray deodorant (choose whatever brand is best suited to your color palette, naturally)
Band-aids
Hairspray
Tylenol/Ibuprofen
Antacid
Contact Solution
Floss
Nail Clippers

The list can go on but these items will help people survive most situations that they may not be prepared for (blisters from new shoes, sauce spilled on their shirt, etc.). And if you don’t have a whole vanity to dedicated to the amenities; use a smaller basket and one stand for a more limited display. I’m willing to bet that at least one of your guests will find something that saves the day for them!

I am a personal attendant in my good friend’s wedding this weekend. And well, I just won’t feel right if I’m not prepared to help her. She has a wedding coordinator who I’m sure is fabulous and has everything Krystal will possibly need but when I saw this adorable drawstring bag at Von Maur, I had to buy it and get it stocked!

I put an emergency kit together for my own wedding. Most of it didn’t get used but it was good to know it was there. Bonus – the leftovers are now in my guest room for visitors to use! Here is what I’m bringing along this weekend (mostly in travel sizes):

Shout wipes/Tide stick
Ibuprofen
Tissues
Safety pins
Mints

Band aids (more for uncomfortable shoes than actual injury)
Tampons

Bobby pins
Ponytail holders
Lint roller
Cough drops
Small brush/comb
Hairspray

Spray deodorant (I could NOT find this in travel size anywhere!)
Blotting papers

Contact solution
Ziploc baggies
Tums
2 Power bars
Hand lotion
Hand sanitizer

There are some other responsibilities and problems that come with the territory in my job as a corporate event planner. I carry a tool box that has some of the items above and try to put the rest in bathroom baskets for the attendees. My tool box stocks:

Various battery sizes

Zip ties (I LOVE zip ties)

Measuring tape

Bungee cords

Trash bags

Scissors

At least one extension cord

A long lighter (I’ve had a caterer forget to bring one to light the sternos)Scotch tape

Packaging tape

Ribbon or string

Velcro

Pens

Sharpies

Tylenol or acetaminophen (pregnant women are advised not to use ibuprofen)

I think that, by nature, event planners are horrified with themselves when a need arises and they are caught empty-handed. Although it’s probably next to impossible to be prepared for any

situation, the basics will probably get you through most pinches. What else would you stock in your bride bag or tool box?