We’re all itching to get out of the house — and even more so to see those friends and coworkers we’ve only seen through a screen in the past year and a half. Finding an indoor venue among the ever-changing mask mandates and COVID protocols can be overwhelming and difficult. We’re here to offer up some of the best unique venues in and around Boston with outdoor space so you and your guests can enjoy each other’s company safely, and with beautiful scenery!
- Envoy Rooftop, Seaport Boston
- 9OFS Federal St, Boston
- Boston Public Library Gardens
- New England Aquarium, North End Boston
- SRV, South End Boston
- District Hall + Gather, Seaport Boston
- Pierce Farm at Witch Hill, Topsfield MA
- Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, MA
- Granite Links, Quincy, MA
- The Fruitlands Museum, Harvard MA
- The House of the Seven Gables, Salem MA
- The Barn at Gibbet Hill, Groton MA
(Images from venue websites)
Over the past couple of months, we’ve traveled with the PERKS team to San Francisco, New York City, and back home to Boston helping to execute their in-person conventions. In addition to this being a really fun event, we love feeling like an extension of the PERKS Team and helping their exhibitors connect with new and existing clients!
In every city, the event kicked off with a champagne toast and ended with an open bar. In between, there were manicures, drag bingo, inspiring speakers, fun giveaways, and exhibitors offering fantastic services. The safety of all attendees was top of mind, requiring proof of vaccination, masks, and providing extra sanitizing stations.
Our major takeaways:
- Attendees and exhibitors loved how the intimate settings facilitated more genuine and valuable conversations.
- People were very excited to be in-person and see each other!
Kayla began her career in events working with Her Campus Media, a Boston-based media portfolio and 360-degree marketing agency for college and GenZennial women with over 380 on-campus chapters worldwide. She created and executed events ranging from branded brunches to career-prep conferences, Fashion Week events, brand activations, on-campus experiences, mobile tours and more, and found her love for event planning and styling along the way.
Since then, Kayla has planned private functions and weddings, earning a Certified Wedding Planner title this past year. She has now entered the exciting world of corporate events as Swank Events’ Assistant Planner. In her free time, she loves murder mysteries, spending time in Aruba with her partner Bradley, gardening, spicy margaritas, and Pilates and hopes to earn a Yoga Teaching license one day.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina where she was an active member of the Elon News Network as a writer and copywriter, The Edge Magazine, and Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, serving on the events committee.
- She has a chinchilla named Aubrey
- There is a brick in the food court of Fenway Park with her name on it!
- She studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland
Please help Swank Events Boston welcome Kayla!
Here we are a year into the Pandemic and have the same event-related questions – do you move forward with the in-person event that has been in the works for over a year, postpone, go virtual or land somewhere in between? The timeline on getting back to “normal” is still unclear so these decisions are still difficult ones. Don’t worry, we’re here to break down your options.
Keep Calm and Plan On
Depending on the size and date of your event, you may still be able to hold it in-person. You will, however, need to adjust your plans, along with your expectations. This event will be different than what you had originally planned. Your guests will need to wear masks and keep their distance from each other. There may be less dancing. Food service will likely be handled differently. HOWEVER, with a sense of humor and a good attitude, your event can still be fun, successful and impactful. Some of the most beautiful events we’ve seen have been the more intimate, thoughtful ones so don’t discount this option.
And if your event is scheduled for the fall of 2021, we say keep the date! We are so hopeful for the return of larger in-person events by the fall and have many clients who are proceeding with this. Think positive thoughts and ALWAYS have a plan.
Keep Calm and Go Virtual
If your attendees are not local or if you are hosting a larger event, it may make more sense to take your event to a virtual platform – for the first half of this year anyways. If you aren’t sure, read our COVID-19 and Your Event: Can It Be Held Virtually? blog post on how to determine if going virtual is a feasible option for you.
Since the beginning of the Pandemic, virtual event platforms have really come a long way and the possibilities are endless. You can now make your event as interactive and as customized as you’d like, ranging from tradeshow booths where your guests actually feel like they are roaming the floor to having attendees create their own avatars, virtual coffee breaks, meditations and happy hour, offering many unique sponsorship opportunities and more.
All platforms are not the same so we encourage you to do your research and shop around to find the right option for your event. This can be an overwhelming process (it’s similar to determining the venue with in-person events) so if you still need help, let us know!
Keep Calm and Go Hybrid
If you’re not quite sure which option is most suitable for your event and you have some attendees that are traveling and others who are local, it may make sense to do a combination of in-person and virtual, or Hybrid. This could mean many different things depending on what type of event you are planning. It may be a meeting or tradeshow where some attendees are in a room, safely spaced out, and others are watching it via livestream. Or perhaps it is an awards ceremony that is held virtually and then there are smaller in-person gatherings within teams to celebrate their achievements.
We are expecting to see this in the late summer, as in-person events are returning and attendees may still be a bit hesitant to travel or gather in large crowds.
There is no easy answer when it comes to planning events these days so if you still have questions, please contact us today! We are here to help. Happy Planning!
Rescheduling your event will take extra consideration during these uncertain times where our new “normal” is not yet clearly defined. At this point, you have hopefully considered all of your options; and have determined if your event can be held virtually.
If you’ve determined hosting a virtual event is not the direction you’ll be going in, you’re likely considering either canceling or rescheduling your event. Here are some things to consider if you are rescheduling your event.
- Review Your Contracts
As a diligent planner, you likely reviewed your venue and vendor contracts prior to signing. However, at the time, like the rest of us, you had no idea that we would be in the middle of a pandemic and needing to make very difficult decisions regarding the fate of our events. Reviewing the contracts again and pulling out any information regarding postponement and cancellation policies is a great first step. . Once you’ve done this, it’s also worth reaching out to your vendors and seeing if they are making any special concessions due to the unforeseen circumstances. You may be surprised by how understanding and flexible people can be during these challenging times.
- Assess Your Financial Losses
Once you’ve gone through your contracts and have determined what’s at risk, you can make a more informed decision and feel comfortable either moving forward with a new date or cancelling altogether. Sometimes the financial impact of rescheduling an event can be significant, due to rescheduling fees, poor attendance if guests have scheduling conflicts on the new date or still do not feel comfortable being in large groups and for many other reasons. In this case, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of rescheduling with the potentially great financial loss.
- Find a New Date
Perhaps one of the scariest things about this pandemic, is that we don’t know how long it will last, which also makes picking a new date particularly challenging. If you do decide to have your event on a future date, like with everything else, there are certain things you should consider when determining a new date.
First, if this is an annual event, how will rescheduling impact your scheduling for future years? Chances are, the rescheduled event will fall quite close to the following year’s event. Will you continue to hold the event around the same time as the new date? Will you skip the 2021 event? Or, will you choose to still hold the 2021 event even if it was just a few months after the 2020 event?
There are many things that go into making this decision, but it’s generally a good idea to keep your annual events within the same month or two since people typically plan around the event being the same time of year.
If it’s not an annual event, you have a bit more flexibility in the rescheduled date. It’s important to consider your industry’s calendar and other important events/activities that may be happening around the same time. Make sure your new event date does not conflict with other major conferences, tradeshows or holidays so your attendance is not negatively impacted. Finally, you’ll need to reach out to speakers and vendors to see if they’re available on the new date.
This is a very challenging and stressful time for many people, particularly those in the hospitality and events industry. Whichever direction you decide to go in with your 2020 event, clear, detailed communication with your attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and any other key stakeholders is one of the most important components to a successful event (in any format) and maintaining your company’s reputation.
Remember, we will get through this and celebrate together again. When that time comes, we hope you will reach out to Swank for your planning needs. In the meantime, we’re here as a resource to you and can also assist with planning virtual events. Please take care and stay safe.