Organising An Overseas Event

WORDS:: CHYKA KEEBAUGH

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If you follow me on social media, there is no way you could have missed the week of celebrations we are having over in Positano for Bruce’s 50th birthday…

Bruce and I decided about a year and a half ago that we would love to celebrate BK50 in our favourite place in the world; Positano. We knew we wanted to keep it small and intimate and over a couple of drinks, we started planning and let our imaginations run wild. We were of the opinion that if we were asking friends and family to come halfway across the world for a party, then we needed it to be more than just one event… and we also needed days in between to recover. So with this in mind, off we went planning the extravaganza that has been BK50 in Positano!

Organising a party is always hard work. Nothing ever runs entirely to plan, combine this with creating multiple events in another country and honestly comes down to one thing: ORGANISATION. It is all about being thoroughly organised. With language constraints, logistical constraints, being a million miles away from our trusted suppliers - we had to pull up our event planning socks and get started.

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The first thing to get working on right away was the invitation. When guests are being asked to travel, it is best to give them as much advanced notice as possible, and although six months to a year may seem like a long time, it’s the perfect amount of time for people to organise themselves.

We have worked with the fantastic Lemontree Calligraphy for many events and knew we wanted her to make the most beautiful bespoke invitations. Having multiple events meant creating numerous layers to this invitation as we wanted to hint at the look and feel of each party. Honestly, making sure each guest received their invitation through Australia post had been the hardest thing so far!

Weekly meeting of spreadsheets, contacts, to do lists began six months out and communicated via the WHAT’S AP GROUP CHAT app was the simplest way to keep everyone together and on the same page. Keeping all emails and communication with different vendors is also important for when they say - we didn’t agree to that! Well, yes you did & I have the paperwork! If you have someone who can speak the language of where you are going, enlist their help. This way, there are no words lost in translation and certainly streamlines all the planning.

With three events in the making in three different styles, we had a million and one things to decorate the table settings with. Fans, place cards, and menus were easier to organise in Melbourne and ship across before the event. Not everything needs to be done overseas; if you have the option of shipping pieces over before the event, you will feel a lot more at ease and organised. You don’t want to spend the few days leading up rushing about looking for the perfect placeard. You want to feel relaxed, excited, organised…

TOP TIPS FOR YOUR OVERSEAS EVENT...

  • Get a team of helpers and set them on different tasks, don’t overwhelm yourself with the entire job, or the planning will feel a chore
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Make lists, tick things off and STAY FOCUSED. 
  • When you get there…. let it go if things aren’t exactly how you dreamt them to be... things happen, and at the end of the day it’s a first world problem.
  • Have fun… don’t get caught up in detail and lose sight of why you are there and celebrating.