Events: Bye-bye, tie-backs! Adieu, event muffins!

The 6 things we hope don’t make it back into the events industry

In the events industry? We have pet peeves to share. You might call ‘em grumpy… but they make for enjoyable reading. Especially after 2.5 years during which everyone in the events industry had to develop a rock-hard sense of humour. 

We’re Alchemy Group. Events are back. We know because, thank goodness, we’re busy. But there are 6 event “things” we’re hoping don’t make a comeback… 

  1. Event language: It’s “events”. It’s not “eventing”.

Listen up. When you say or write “eventing”, you’re actually referring to a horse triathlon. Not a function attended (largely) by humans. What’s more, the “eventing industry” handles equestrian interests: dressage, show jumping, cross country, etc. It’s not event management, event planning, or even event execution. Now you know. 

  1. Event décor: Organza tie-backs are over.

It’s not 1998. So the era of the “chair bow”, AKA the organza tie-back, is over. If you want to dress up an event, skip the swathes of sheer fabric and let those chairs go naked. If they’re not pretty enough to go naked – i.e. if the budget doesn’t extend to an upholstered or ghost chair – no problem. Just use a chair cover. No bow!

  1. Event uniforms: Is it a Trump or a cravat?

We don’t like to think about the era of President Trump. But he has one lesson to teach the events industry: Check your waitstaff’s tie-tying. Perhaps they’re ridiculously long (à la Trump) or so thick and short they may as well be cravats. Either way, they’re one element of a waiter’s uniform that guests can clearly see. So check ties before kick-off or provide a stylish tie-free garment, like a mandarin shirt. 

  1. Event set pieces: Podium. Potato. Potahto.

The MC looks down at his notes, announces an award-winner, and then says, “Please come up to the podium.” It’s unlikely to be a podium. It’s probably a lectern. Here’s the difference: A low platform, on which a person stands to be seen, is a podium. Like the set featuring the numbers “1”, “2” and “3” at the Olympic Games. A lectern is a stand with a slanted top (to hold notes), behind which a speaker stands. 

  1. Event décor: Go beyond the pull-up banner.

Granted, branded pull-up banners are lightweight, low-tech, and transportable. So they’re perfect for advertising a product or service at exhibitions and trade shows. But if you’re planning an event, you can go beyond the pull-up/pop-up banner (or use them with restraint, for effect and maximum impact). There are subtle, clever, and striking ways to inject brand personality into an event, including branded touchpoints, crew and staff outfits, space styling… all derived from your corporate ID.

  1. Event catering: The ubiquitous “event muffin”

Muffins. The only good thing about them is that they’re basically breakfast cakes. But they don’t belong at high-end events. Especially not wrapped in plastic, with a Best Before sticker that has several months to go. No-one wants to eat that stuff. Granted, some of the biggest advantages of peri-pandemic online events came in the form of erased budget line items: no chairs, no coffee, no muffins. But now that a lot of folks can’t wait to get back to in-person events, don’t punish them with muffins. Please.


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