With optimism and hope, I am inclined to believe that this too shall pass. When? At the rate of negligent mishandling in our country, I think we’d better hold on and settle into a space of patience. Big elbow bump to fellow event servicing businesses during this time of pandemic and civil unrest! As for me, the safety of my family and that of my prospective clients is of much more importance than obtaining event contracts during a pandemic. Nevertheless, we are all in this together so let’s take this time to reimagine our post pandemic events and the new normal our current times is calling for many aspects of life, including events.
So, what will be safe or considered safest when it comes to events? I am thinking outdoor events with lots of open space ventilation is to become a more popular new normal. It is time to turn beautiful backyard lots into beautifully decorated event spaces again. Reserved beaches, farmland and wine vineyards are also great outdoor open space options. Even for those who do not really prefer the great outdoors, there are plenty of safer options, let us look at a few:
1. Tenting – can become a great option for an outdoor event as they also provide a safe covering from sun and weathering. The sizes and shapes can vary for all types of events with the potential to seat as many as 2000 guests.
2. Table styles - often depend on the number of guest and the event type. For instance, an evening cocktail event for an estimated 50 people, may be really nice with the simplistic use of high- top cocktail tables that could be socially distanced inside of a 10X20 tent. Regardless of whether square, oblong, or round tables are chosen, placement should be socially distanced at less capacity than any one tent would hold.
3. Seating - For high top cocktail tables that accommodate 5-6 people, for safety maybe only seat guests in sets of 4 (from the same households). Guests could be seated at the outward ends of the tents versus inward positioned closer clustered seating with less spacing.
4. Dance Floors – would also be reimagined. Normally, one might place a dance floor in the center of the floor where the main guests are seated; however, there is a safer possibility. A separate tent with a dancefloor that would hold the full capacity of the number of guests. The caveat is to limit the capacity allowance of the dance floor use to less than half its actual capacity at one time. Have an Event Logistics Manager to monitor capacity limits for safety.
5. Mingling – It is difficult to be in one place with people and not have the urge to simply mingle, chat, and catch up. However, mingling should be reimagined and kept to a major limit if not fully banned beyond a passing wave/nod. Planned speeches and group communication at one portion of the event would be much safer.
6. Food/Drink – A separate food and bar tent would be the best option. However, another option could be setting up the mini bar and buffet in the center of the room to be served outwardly to the guests. No more self-serve buffets so that utensil touches and sharing is limited to one person per each side of the food bar. Regardless of the option, plates would be prepared and served to the guests from the buffet and bar by masked and gloved catering service managers.
There are so many unique and different event ideas to be explored, and now is the time to do just that. I see visions of glowing hand sanitizer centerpieces at each table and personalized party favor safety masks. Regal outdoor wedding themes could become a play with colors and fabrics where face masks would become a touch of your themed fashion. Every event reimagined can become a form of a new normal safe reality!