It is challenging to think of a time when social media didn’t exist- a time when people of all ages weren’t sharing their best selfies, posting pictures of their food, etc. The idea of the wonderful thing we call “social media” has been around since the 70s. From that moment on, users were introduced to photo and video sharing websites, live chat rooms, and more. In 2003, the popular MySpace launched. Users were given the ability to access content they never could before like sending private messages while posting public comments all their friends would be able to see. Facebook launched shortly after, in 2006. Suddenly came Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. The list goes on. All these social media handles expanded upon all the popular features users wanted. Social media is changing, and it is changing rapidly. Many may think it’s in its adolescent years, but in a way, it’s just beginning to grow. Marketers are learning which methods are the best to engage with users. All types of users are getting smarter. Platforms are using interactive and innovative ways to increase revenue.
When it comes to how event planning has evolved over the decades, the list is never-ending. The advent of smartphones, social media and active use of technology has undoubtedly had a considerable impact on events.
There are many reasons why social media is an essential marketing tool for event planners. Whether it is by establishing a personal connection, understanding a client’s vision or negotiating a deal with a vendor for a client, the event industry has always been filled with naturally social people. The mediums through which all of these interactions occur are changing in significant ways.
“Savvy event planners can quite easily use social media to connect with attendees, and engage more deeply with attendees than ever before.”
Social media has two main components that influence people to events and form them to be successful- an opportunity for networking and educational content. It is common for event attendees to be talking about the event in advance, during and after on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If the event host is not participating and encouraging such engagement on the event page, attendees may not be comfortable in attending or attending the following year. This change could affect the dynamic of the event, as more important participation can take place if attendees have more knowledge about the event. Allowing attendees to engage with one another allows them to express their thoughts and similar interests between one another. Social media is a very inexpensive way to promote events. Some handles, such as Instagram, allow you to promote at no cost.
To put it into perspective, more than one billion people are active on Facebook, and 100+ million people use Instagram every month.
Common sense would tell you that a percentage of those people would most likely be interested in learning about your event. Marketing via word of mouth has a whole new meaning through social media. Hosts or Planners can assemble all of its subscribed attendees and reach out via social media to invite their followers. Years ago, you would have had to pick up the phone to call people and convince them to sign up. Nowadays, a simple “share” button gets the job done. Talk about effortless and efficient!
One of the many beneficial features of social media for event planning is that attendees can select what subject they are most passionate about. They simply do this by joining Facebook groups, LinkedIn discussion groups, “Like-ing” fan/business pages on Facebook, following influencers on Instagram, re-Tweeting exciting content on Twitter, etc. If a planner can interpret and recognize this information, they can effectively target their desired attendees based on their passions rather than their job titles. Live streaming has become a favorite part of social media. Live videos can help a company connect with their existing community and potential users in a different way. The brand feels more authentic, more accessible and more relatable. Not only can a company show their name to a potential customer via live streaming, but they can also better educate customers on the brand through promotion. It also increases social participation in the audience by engagement through comments. Now, those consumers that were unable to attend the event could follow along through live updates and comment engagement. In turn, this leads to attendees feeling empowered to criticize events. Attends can easily post their positive and negative feedback for the world to read since the Internet and its social networks all act as publishing platforms.
It is evident that social media can form the reputation of an event and its organization. Many conferences and larger scale events are successful due to their reputation with vendors, sponsors, and attendees. Improving and enhancing your image can start with social media. With a simple review from an attendee based on their experience, potential attendees looking into the conference will be able to know if they will get what they want out of it.
It was April 1st, 2021 when my childhood friend from elementary school called me out of the blue and asked me “Hey, do you think we can plan my wedding for May 1st?”. And no, it wasn’t an April Fools joke! I was like …”2022 or like next month?” She said “no, like next month”. I paused for a minute because as you can imagine, I have NEVER received a request as such.. and then proceeded to say “absolutely!” Honestly, I had no idea at the moment what I just agreed to, but I was up for the challenge!
Background story on Brittany and Danny: I have known Brittany since elementary school. Her and I became besties right away and have attended the same schools ever since. In high school, I started dating my boyfriend and a few months after, she started dating his best friend, Danny. Long story short, we have been double dating since! Brittany and Danny are literally those “high school sweethearts” you read about in books. Not only did they survive the awkward stages of high school, but they also did the long distance of our college years as the boys left for Tallahassee and we stayed in Miami. So when she called me to plan her wedding I knew I had to be a part of this moment!
Brittany and Danny are actually one of my COVID couples! They reached out to me in 2019 to plan their 2020 destination wedding in the beautiful Bahamas. But with COVID and after tons of back and forth with our contacts in the Bahamas, Brittany and Danny made the tough decision of cancelling completely- still hoping to celebrate one day, but not sure when or where. They were supposed to get married on May 1st, 2020 in Baha Mar, Bahamas.
As it got closer to their original wedding date, they still couldn’t plan a trip or anything big at that time due to COVID-19 and the travel restrictions, so they decided to “officially” become Mr. and Mrs. Dieguez with an extremely intimate backyard wedding. It was so special for them and at the end of the day, they were able to celebrate their love with the most important people in their lives, on the date they originally wanted!
Brittany and Danny are people that like to party so I always knew they still wanted to do something with the rest of the friends & family that were supposed to join them in the Bahamas. When she called me that Thursday, April 1st, I knew I had to pull this off for them! They had been going back and forth for months debating if they should have a party to celebrate with everyone and just couldn’t decide. I would say that my response, “absolutely!” to her question on that call, must have eased her mind, so we took the challenge and ran with it!
My advice for someone that may be planning a wedding in a short time is to just have patience.
To be fair, we got VERY lucky. Most of the first round of vendors we reached out to were available. I know this is not common. Even for weddings planned out close to a year out, vendors get booked up so quickly! The first thing I did was listen to what Brittany and Danny envisioned for their special day. Danny was the chillest groom, he just wanted to party! Brittany and I would literally FaceTime every single day so I can keep her updated constantly! As I mentioned before, we were extremely lucky to have found vendors that were available, very early on.
Funny story: when Brittany was turning 15, she and her mom went to visit a venue in Davie as a potential location for her Quinceañera. In the end, they ended up going on a trip rather than having the party, but Brittany always remembered this venue so it was the first place she thought of for her wedding day! Another option was her mother-in-law’s beautiful home. While we were weighing out the pros and cons to both locations, we kept going back to the venue in Davie. The best part was they didn’t have to do much to create their vision. It was all the vibes they wanted: a tropical, lush oasis! They wanted to keep it “tropical” like the Bahamas. Brittany loves greenery and this place was the perfect blend. The venue is called The Bamboo Gallery. The back part of the venue is actually a nursery filled with gorgeous plants! Brittany called me on April 1st, we took the weekend off because it was Easter and that Monday, April 5th, we went to see the venue. 4 days from our first call and they eagerly decided to go with the Bamboo Gallery!
Then we had to proceed to confirm all of the vendors that made this special day an absolute success! Brittany and Danny were able to have a huge engagement party! They used Exquisite Catering by Robert for catering and had the best experience so naturally, we reached out to them for their special day. The venue had preferred catering vendors but we wanted to go with someone they trusted and worked with already before. They put together a custom Hawaiaan menu for us to keep the tropical vibe consistent throughout the event. Brittany has worked with Guillermo from DIPPPhotography and DIPP Photobooth for all of her wedding events so naturally, he was the first person she contacted! I have actually worked with him before for some corporate events and was looking forward to another event together! He was available to shoot her special day as well as provided his photobooth services. First vendor, secured! Brittany had recently seen one of her friends posts about her wedding video and tagged the amazing videographer, Danny from NewRezMedia. To our luck, he was available! My go-to makeup artist since my college days has always been Vanessa from Vavavoom Artistry. I have always told her, the day I get engaged, she is the first vendor I would contact! I swear by her- she is so talented! When I contacted her on behalf of Brittany, she was already booked, she had another wedding. Brittany had been reaching out to a bunch of local hair and makeup artists that week via Instagram DM. It just so happened that when Vanessa received her DM, the wedding she had booked for that day, postponed to another day, so she became available!
I’m telling you, this day was meant to be for them!
Since the venue was very lush with so much greenery and even existing dainty bistro lights, Brittany didn’t want to decorate too much because she loved the place itself. She did mention she wanted candles to set the romantic setting. When looking through Instagram for a vendor to do this for us, I came across Lennox and Grace Candles. If you haven’t heard of them, you must go right now and follow them! The perfect vendor for this service. She is very unique to the candle market because the candles are eco-friendly, exclusive, long-lasting and have a reusable candlelight. You gotta check out her page!
Since we had 25 days to plan a whole wedding- ceremony, cocktail reception and dinner reception, Brittany was very involved in the planning process. We kind of divided and conquered our to-do lists so we could reach out and get confirmation from these vendors a lot quicker! One of my go-to “all in one” event rentals companies is The Event Depot. I reached out to them to provide us with all the tables, chairs and linens we needed for the evening. The DJ was one of the most important pieces to this wedding for them. As I mentioned before, they are party people so they had to find the right fit here. Through mutual connections, we both know DJ Ray Costa, who works with the Miami Heat as a DJ/MC! Our initial call with him made us feel so comfortable and we knew he was the one! He listened to everything, asked the right questions and delivered on the day! The dance floor was full the entire evening! One of Brittany’s friends had recently used Cakes by Cec for an event and Brittany remembered it looking so delicious and unique! I reached out to her and she was another angel to work with! She delivered the most delicious guava wedding cake- yes, I said guava! It is Brittany and Danny’s favorite flavor- mine too actually 😉
I can’t forget the beautiful florals! Brittany’s mom actually made her bridal shower arrangements so she surprised Brittany with the perfect mini centerpieces for the special day. She definitely has a gift! But when it came down to bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres and the ceremony arch, I had to call my go-to florist, Monika from Lucelo Flor. We showed her one inspirational picture that Brittany loved from her work, and that is all that it took for her to blow Brittany’s expectations out of the water! We can’t forget Brittany’s gorgeous dress from a&be bridal shop! I wasn’t there when she got it, but a few days later, she showed me the stunning gown and my jaw dropped! It was the perfect style to fit her wedding vibe! She told me so many great things about her experience that I would recommend any bride-to- be to go visit them! Some other little details that were the perfect touch were the cake topper and custom drink stirrers from Mr Kustoms, they are local here in Miami and have the best custom items in town! Lastly, the best way to end the magical night was having Bakey Pies as party favors. I have tried all of the flavors (multiple times!) and I swear, I cannot get enough! For every occasion and any event, they are always a hit!
Once we received each vendor’s quote, we knew Brittany and Danny were limited on time, so I suggested they give themselves about 24-48 hours to review and confirm/edit if needed. It was the best thing they did because that is what made us sweep through the process so effortlessly.
It truly was something to plan a whole wedding in 25 days! Although we were lucky with hiring amazing vendors, it was just as stressful (probably more) as planning a wedding with a couple that has 8+ months! All in all, it was an absolutely dreamy day. The weather was perfect, the guests had the time of their life and most importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Dieguez got to finally celebrate their love with everyone! We celebrated exactly one year from their original wedding date so truly, it was meant to be! Oh and they still got to enjoy the Bahamas- for their week-long honeymoon! It was perfect!
Not sure if I’m crazy to ask this, but …… who’s next?
It could not have been possible without the following vendors: