How to build your brand through events
(Aka what planning our wedding taught me about event planning in 7 weeks!)
This post is inspired by a major life event. On 28th May, 2019, I got married. It was a lovely day (check out my Insta for a few highlights), a brilliant opportunity for us to bring together the people we love from all walks of life and because of the tight time frame, it taught us a LOT about planning an event. (So much so that the wedding co-ordinator at our venue jokingly asked if I wanted a job!).
So thought I’d share our learnings on here, BUT because brand is what we do, I’ve adapted the lessons accordingly.
Here’s our top 3 lessons on planning a (short notice) event to build your brand:
1. Use your brand framework to set clear criteria and a vision of what you want your event to be.
This is essential. Whether it’s a wedding or event, there is a LOT of noise out there telling you what it should be. Unless you are clear on what you want and use your brand to drive the vision for the day, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed by all the possibilities (and likely fail to make the event ownable to you). Our vision was to celebrate and combine things we BOTH love and this drove our decisions on everything from the venue (a beautiful spot halfway between the two places we call home) to the colour scheme (blue and yellow – both our favourite colours) and even the food on the day (a feast that catered for both meat lovers and strict vegans!). Having this vision helped us in every decision we had to make (if it didn’t combine things we both love, it didn’t make the cut). From a brand point of view, your purpose and personality should set the criteria that help you bring your event to life.
With 7 weeks to plan a wedding we had to focus. And it’s the same for any event, especially if you have limited budget or time – or both! With the above vision and criteria in place, we were able to prioritise where we’d invest our time, money and effort. It also helped us work out where to cut. So for example, we didn’t do printed invitations – we created a free visual in Canva and sent it via WhatsApp (or email). This saved us so much time and frankly money too. So with your vision and criteria in place, work out what you can immediately cut or pare back so you can focus on what matters.
3. Get help!
You can’t do everything. There is so much involved in planning an event (or wedding) that you will need to delegate. Event planners are great, but even if you can afford one, you’ll still need a team beforehand AND on the day. When people offer help, say yes! If no-one offers, use your vision to understand the skills needed to bring it to life and find people you love with the expertise. Then ask them to get involved. Obviously there needs to be something in it for them, but people will often be happy to help. Having your vision and criteria will help you create a clear brief and make the most of their skills and passion. We used the amazing creative skills of our family and friends to help with the music, our cakes, the decorations, flowers and favours and it freed us up to focus on everything else needed to make the wedding happen in the limited time. NB do make sure your helpers ALL share and understand your vision and are willing to abide by it. Nothing is more frustrating than people pulling in different directions when you have an event to plan!
That’s it. 3 lessons we’ve learned about running an event. I won’t be planning another wedding, but it’s totally inspired us to start thinking about running more Brand by Me events in the future.