I can't believe it's been nearly 2 months since my Black Tie ball in memory of my Sister to raise money for Bone Cancer Research Trust and When You Wish Upon A Star but I still keep looking back at the photos as it was such a fantastic night.. I still can't believe that after a year of planning it's already come and gone.
I learnt a lot in the last year.. about myself, about my friends and how to (and not to!) plan a huge event like this for 150 people! And as I have friends organising similar events as well as hopefully myself for our next event, I wanted to share what I've learnt in the last year while organising...
TIP 1: HAVE CONFIDENCE
The whole time organising the night I was worried about speaking and what I'd say, I even tried to find hosts for the evening so I wouldn't need to speak to a room of 150 odd people.. a lot of who I didn't actually know. But do you know what, when the time came, I couldn't wait to get up there and be proud of the evening I'd arranged. Yes of course I was nervous, but once I started talking and welcoming everyone, it just flowed and every time throughout the night I had to talk (even before alcohol), I actually felt really at ease as I reminded myself that at the end of the day, everyone was there for a reason (and most people were drunk!)
TIP 2: THANK THE PEOPLE WHO HELPED YOU
No matter whether they helped just a little by inviting people, whether they rounded up raffle prizes or helped set up the venue, never forget to show your gratitude for them being by your side. I did a thank you section after the meal and invited a few people up on stage. I got my parents bottles of wine as thank you presents along with my 3 best friends who arranged raffle prizes and sold tickets and repeatedly advertised the event throughout the year. I also got 2 family friends flowers as a thank you for selling tickets. It's the little things like this that people will remember.
TIP 3: GIVE SOMETHING PEOPLE CAN TAKE AWAY.
Giving people something they can take away is a great way of getting them to remember the night and giving them a little something as a remembrance so even if they don't win anything on the raffle or auction etc, they still go home with something special. At our ball we had a little merchandise table for both charities selling wristbands, pens, badges, teddy bears, balloons etc. They were only little things but not only does it raise money, they can take something home from the evening.
TIP 4: HAVE FUN!
At last year's ball I was too busy running around, stressing out and fixing everything (not that there was a lot to fix) and I really didn't make the most of the evening and I didn't take the time to enjoy it so this year I knew I had to make that change. I had to take the evening as it was, and despite how emotional it could potentially be, I needed to relax and have fun, have a laugh. I'd made sure to have some bits and bobs for people to play with and add fun and laughter to the evening - these photo props on each table were ace and have popped up in so many photos on Facebook. This is one of my favourite photos of the whole night.
TIP 5: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO TAKE AWAY!
With worrying about everyone else and making sure everyone else has something to take away to remember the evening, it's easy to forget to make something for yourself to keep. Last year all I have is the ticket I had for the evening and that was it. This year we made a Christmas tree and had these great stars from When You Wish Upon A Star for people to write messages on for £1. It was lovely the next day reading back on everyone's messages and was a fab way of raising money and sharing memories. They're something we can keep an reread as and when we like.
The Caroline Jack Ball 2016 whooped the arse of any other event I've ever organised and was one of the best nights of my life. I learnt so much after the first year of organising the ball which helped make this year even better. I felt like I made the most of the night, I enjoyed it more and the feedback was a million times better than I could've hoped for. I hope that these little pointers help anyone organising a similar event!