TAMING THE GUEST SIZE Part 1

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Hi ya!

How are you all doing? Good I believe. Whatever way it is I Celebrate You!

Any English literature student wouldn’t think twice as to who, when, what, and where my post title came from. Well, I am certain that the famous William Shakespeare play, “Taming The Shrew”, has no relations to this post, but I am hopeful a little link may be derived. Loll!

This topic says a lot, and it has been a festering peeve in my mind since the day I ventured into the world of events. However, I do strongly advice readers the sensitivity of this post, so I beg of you, to please read with an open mind and with ultra-super shock absorbing caution. Loll! :D. Also there may not be any pictures put up in this to stimulate the urge to carry on reading.

I asked a few close colleagues in events, what their opinions were about having a large crowd at events they had attended or managed. 3 out of 5 had quite a lot to complain about, 1 said she was indifferent and the other person said she rather enjoys it (odd).

In this harsh economy crisis worldwide, where everyone is tightening their spending purse, and taking to account of every last N 1.00, whilst singing constantly to everyone’s hearing, “there’s no money oooo!” Why are there still Nigerians, having colossal, enormous, and gargantuan, proportions of at their events? They usually range from 1000 to 2500 and above. The main culprits are usually the singers of “there’s no money oooo!” Here are some of the experiences from friends in the events industry I had spoken to.

**Theirs names, venues, and places have been changed for strictest confidentiality.

“Jumoke, it was the next thing to a horror movie, true! The annoying things is that we planners get blamed for the clients’ atrocities.”

Meet **Jaime. Jaime had a client who had set everything for guest size of 500 people. The bride and groom made a exigency plan for an extra 150 people, should in case their guest size expanded. However, the couple got MORE than they had bargained for. Jaime said she was in the restroom at the venue, to freshen up after ensuring the venue was set for the arrival of guests.

“Jumoke, which was how one of my assistants burst into the restroom saying, ‘J the community has arrived!’”
Jaime said, she was confused, and went out to see and understand what her assistant was fretting about.
“Jumoke that was when I saw two 18 seater buses filled with women and a few men, all clad in bright red geles, red double wrappers and white puffed armed blouses, chatting loudly and bouncing into the venue.”

Jamie said that by the time the bride and groom had arrived from the church, not only where there no more seats inside the venue, there were crowds of people were hovering outside at the foyer and the main entrance. Food, drinks, sweets, and all edibles had exhausted. Even contingency backups were gone in a hearts’ beat. Trusting Nigerians, a small squabble had begun at the food stations. Jaime said her main concern where the couple, their parents, and the couple’s friends, and they were all fine.

Jamie and her assistant did a guest size estimation and realized that there were approximately over a 1000 plus guests, as opposed to the 500 to 650 people the couple had prepared for.
My sympathies to Jamie. Let me give my own personal experience with dealing with “unplanned and not informed” large guest sizes.

I coordinated an event for one my mum’s close friend some time ago. I have known this aunty since when lost my front teeth as a kid. I was told my aunt that it was going to be a wedding reception for 1000 people. The venue was quite tight, in terms of table setup for 1000 guests, inclusive of food stations and desserts station in the venue. I found out that the hall is meant to seat only 800 people, banquet style, comfortably.
As you can imagine and guess rightly, the venue was filled to OVER CAPACITY! Mind you, while I was being harassed by disconcerted, flustered, rude, insolent and annoyed guests, to find seats for them, the venue manger called me aside and informed that their last reserve of standby 1000 chairs and 100 tables are all in the venue, and I should please kindly inform people that there were no more seats. Aka, NO MOR SHEIR AND TEBU!

Can you imagine that? Here’s an interesting conversation I overheard with the bride and a friend in tête-à-tête while I was dismantling the wedding cake after the reception.
Her friend: “Your people plenty o.”
The bride: (bride laughs) “I don’t even know three quarter of the people here!”

Hmmm….comments anyone?

An event planner friend of mine told me this “Nightmare on Elms Street” house of horror wedding (all in her words), she “supposedly” “tried” to plan and coordinate a while ago.

Event Planner’s Code Name: 009 **Jane Buns (ROTFL!!!):-D

Jane Buns said that the bride came to her on recommendation from a friend in the UK. The bride was based in the Canada, however both parents of the couple are here in Nigeria. The brides’ parent are in Lagos and the groom’s parents in Ibadan, Oyo state. Jane said when she first met the bride, she was all smiles and teeth, seemingly naïve yet funny, and stingy. I told Jane that smiles, teeth, and stinginess should have set off red flags. Her problem with this bride was that the family were not up front about their budget and financial constraints for the wedding preparations, which made planning difficult and boiling point annoying (as Jane said).

The brides mum had insisted fervently on having a guest size of 1000 people and also having a venue on The Island to accommodate the expected guest size. All these proposed on the most minuscule budget ever. Another Red Flag. Though the bride and groom had initially asked for the wedding to take place at their place of residence, Canada, the bride’s mother disagreed to this plan. So, the couple opted for Lagos, and asked for a guest size of 500 people, because the groom made it known that his extended family and friends were not up to 200 and were not the party type. Again, that was disapproved by the bride’s mother.

Jane said what really rattled her chains was that after she had successfully solicited and haggled with 2 prominent venues on the Island for the traditional ceremony and the white wedding reception, at almost near redundant ridiculous prices, the expected 1000 people guest from the bride’s mother did not match up!
“Jumoke, enraged cannot describe how I felt at the events!” not only was the groom correct about his small nonparty animal family, the bride’s invited guests were less than 300 on the day of the traditional ceremony, and less that 500 on the day of the white wedding reception.

She said it so bad that, for the traditional wedding, once the all formalities and the ceremony was over the groom’s family left. Once they left the whole place became void, only handful of the bride’s family and friends were present. For the white wedding reception, Jane said that the hall seating arrangement was split into two, groom’s side and the bride’s side. 5 tables on each side of the hall were removed to accommodate the caterers and make shift for tables and chairs that didn’t have table cloths and chair covers on them. Yet, the groom’s side only occupied about 15 to 20 tables on their on side. Jane then describe hall as ridiculous because the groom’s family were placed at the entrance, so if you were a guest, you would enter and notice that half of the hall was scanty while the other side was just as sparsely populated also. Hmmm…

I don’t want this topic to drag on, so I will; end it here, and continue in part two of taming the guest size.
Enjoy! ♥ J!

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