Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Sense of History

As we explored the USS Missouri yesterday, I thought of how we can use the process employed by the ship's staff to keep guests entertained during the cocktail hour, ie prior to the reception program. 


People appreciate stories. 

It's always a good idea to let people know of the love story behind the union. However, the OBB AVP is just one way of letting them know of your story. 

You can let them know of snippets of your love story through your table frames. Instead of just putting a number there or a table name based on a certain theme, why not encourage guests to walk around and talk to others by having your story in snippets -- one snippet per table. 

Most of the time, guests get bored during cocktail hour because they get their table number and sit down right away. They are always looking around and hoping the program would commence so that the buffet would be opened already. 

Let's take a cue from the other nationalities. They don't get bored as much because they walk around and mingle. Let's encourage our guests to do the same instead of badgering the coordinators about starting the program or opening the buffet. 

Start your story sharing with the first snippet at the registration table. Inform the guests they can get to know the whole story if they will walk from table to table starting with VIP A or table 1. You can also give them a hint that you will have a game later and the questions are based on the snippets. That way, they will be more interested to go around. It can also be an actual game on its own with guests having a story sheet they need to fill out while going around. You can pick around 5 winners later, after coords have checked the answers, and they have filtered out those who made mistakes. 

It will help if: 
A) your venue is not too tight -- perhaps, you have around 150 guests at a place that can technically accommodate up to 220 guests
B) your caterer can lend you table frames and even print the pictures and story snippets for you 
C) your coordinators can cheerfully encourage guests to go around -- aside from having a sign at the registration area 
D) your emcee can also encourage guests via the mic to go around and read up on your story 

Bottom line: Don't scrimp on the cocktail hour, and don't forget to plan it well. Your plans there can spell the difference between a good pictorial for you or one that's frequently disturbed by calls from elders to start the program. Moreover, if guests had a great cocktail hour, they will know you prepared well; thus, they ought to stay. Because they are happy with the first hour, they probably won't go into "eat-and-run" mode. I noticed that guests who wait long during cocktail time with nothing to do often end up disgruntled even before we can start the formal program. 


Oh and if you really have lots of space, you can do frame exhibits also. Put your memorabilia inside a frame. That way, you can take it home and display it there as well. This is a good way to keep your movie tickets, among others, from fading or getting lost. Seeing familiar movies, a seemingly mundane candy wrapper, or a first gift box can make guests connect with you more -- at least enough to keep them till the end of the dance set :) 





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