My Creative Process for Event Planning
Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Every few months, I get an idea for a new project or event and if the idea keeps me awake for multiple nights in a row, I know it’s something to move ahead with. Passion projects like this have driven me for the past few years, starting with opening an online vintage shop, quickly followed by hosting a weekly pop-up with my vintage wares at a local market when I lived in South Carolina. Once I set my mind to something, I can get a little obsessive, so these ideas usually come to fruition pretty quickly. This can be a good and a bad thing - I'm productive, but also occasionally a bit too ambitious and impulsive.
It was one of these brainstorm explosions that urged me to plan my first Workshop last Autumn – a pretty wild idea, honestly, since Winter was fast approaching and I had never planned any type of event beyond a birthday party. While the timeline from “awake at night” to event was just about two months, I’m happy to report that the event actually happened! (See a recap here).
Photo by Jenn Bakos
While it isn’t unusual for big ideas to pop into my head, the difficult part for me is deciding whether to move ahead or just write the idea in a journal and come back to it later. I seldom consider how unattainable projects and ideas might be in reality. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, but more often I follow through with something that I end up feeling excited and proud of.
Some of the questions that spin around in my head are,
“Is this realistic while maintaining a full-time job?”
"Is this event for networking or for profit?"
“Will anyone want to attend?”
“Am I going to put myself in "the red" by hosting this event?”
I’ve found that even while working full-time, planning events and side jobs actually propels my enthusiasm in my day job. As a Prop Stylist for Stonewall Kitchen, I need to be on my creative A-game on a daily basis, so I think any form of brainstorm ends up being beneficial to my overall work ethic as a Creative. Thankfully, this means that I have a low burn-out rate.
About a month ago, I found myself awake for another couple of nights with a new idea. While it’s been in the back of my mind since Autumn to host a pop-up dinner, or plan another weekend-long workshop, I kept feeling a little overwhelmed by the logistics of these ideas. My new plan felt much more attainable, with minimal planning required. Per usual, I grabbed a pad of paper next to my bed and jotted down a bunch of buzz words to build upon later (when I was more awake). I'm happy to report that the planning portion is complete and invitations are out!
Here's what I came up with:
Since I’ve been wanting to connect with different people in my industry from New England who I’ve only interacted with online, I decided to find a fun and easy way to make that happen in person! I considered renting a Farmhouse through AirBnb, hosting the event there, then offering overnight accommodation for a small fee to those who would be traveling for the event. I considered making food together, photographing on location, and styling an elaborate tablescape where we would share a family-style meal. I quickly realized this was becoming more like my weekend workshop than I had intended. I had to remind myself to keep it simple.
Due to timing and my work schedule, I knew I needed to keep this event casual and less work than others I’ve hosted. So, I modified my plan and remembered that the main purpose of this event was to meet and mingle with others in the industry – not work, not photograph (even though I love collaborating), but to spend time with creatives from the area. As such, I have planned a simple potluck and recipe swap.
Most people attending will be foodies, so I hope that preparing and bringing a dish will be fun, not stressful. I feel strongly that this event should be free of cost, so potluck will help make this possible and keep my overall cost down. I will be providing brunch cocktails, tea, and coffee, as well as light bites. I think bringing copies of the recipes of dishes made will be a fun way to remember each other, tying a face to the food, and opening the opportunity to tag each other should we choose to post on social media.
To help this event become a reality, I've partnered with Lila Haynes, owner of Heaven on Earth Cooking Studio in Boxford, MA. I'm thrilled to have made a new entrepreneurial friend and found such a beautiful place to gather with peers. After a few emails, Lila graciously offered to host the event at her cooking studio – a beautiful space in a great location not too far from the city. Be sure to check out her class schedule on her website!
Heaven on Earth Cooking Studio, Boxford, MA.
The final step after settling on a date was to draft an invitation. I chose to do this on pen and paper, then snapped a photo for my my design-saavy friend, saying “Please help me bring this to life.” Literally the next day, with just a couple of edits, our invitation was ready. It is so rewarding to see these random ideas come to life!
This event is open to any creative professionals actively working in the industry from New England – bloggers, photographers, prop stylists, and food stylists. If you are interested in attending, please send me an email! We have a couple of spots left.
Another whacky idea – posting this, which I guess means I’ve started a blog! Onward!