By Lauren Matthews Posted February 2, 2012, 8:50 AM EST
1. Prioritize personalized details.
“Weddings are all about highlighting the things the couple loves,” says Mindy Weiss in Los Angeles. “I think corporate events focus more on the bigger picture, and sometimes the details fall by the wayside. However, it’s the little things that guests remember—a place setting with a customized name card for each guest, or a specialty cocktail that plays on the company’s name.”
2. Keep up appearances.
“For weddings, I always bring a huge emergency kit,” says Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “It has everything, including hairspray, safety pins, stain wipes, breath mints, and a hot glue gun. At corporate events, people want to look their best when networking, too. Being prepared for any unexpected mishap, such as wine on a speaker’s shirt, is key.”
3. Don’t forgo the printed invitation.
“Corporate events often skip printed invites in favor of a digital invite, but an invitation is the first impression,” says Carolyn Chen of The Special Day in Fullerton, California. “We tell clients not to skimp on the invitation, because it sets the mood and gets guests excited.”
4. Think through the entire experience from the guest’s perspective.
“I look at weddings like a family reunion,” says Rita Swanson of Premier Planning Services in Minneapolis. “It’s the only time all these people will be together in the same room, so it’s important to make the experience great from the moment they land to the moment they leave town. For corporate clients, don’t forget to think beyond the main event: How is the person traveling from the airport? Is there a welcome basket waiting for him or her at the hotel?”
5. Play matchmaker.
“At corporate events, oftentimes tables are reserved for specific companies, and no one mingles,” Christianson says. “At a social event, couples typically want to mix it up, so people from different parts of their lives can get to know each other. If there are eight seats at a table, I’d suggest placing only two people per business to encourage mingling.”