Hello! Intern Ashley here! In March, I decided to do my summer internship experience with Jenn and her company Knot Your Average Events. I thought this would be a great way to dig deeper into the event industry. After 7 weeks, I have finally completed all of my hours. I have seen a lot of the behind the scenes work of events, such as communication with vendors, and the set-up, which was my main goal when I chose this company as my summer internship experience. I am very impressed with how many events Jenn juggles at a time, how many clients she accepts at once and how each event seems to come together wonderfully even after hitting multiple bumps in the road, and multiple plan changes.
In order to talk about what I’ve learned, I will use student learning outcomes or SLOs to explain. There were five SLOs I had going into this internship:
SLO 1: Identify the characteristics and needs of the participants/clients,
SLO 2: Assist and plan a recreation program or a special event for the participants/clients,
SLO 3: Implement a recreation program or special event for the participants/clients,
SLO 4: Recognize and respond to risk management concerns in the practicum work setting,
SLO 5: Communicate effectively and professionally, both orally and written
SLO 1: Identify the characteristics and needs of the participants/clients:
I learned that in the event world this is very important. I got the opportunity to sit in on an appointment that Jenn had with a bride. We were discussing costs and how to cut back on costs. Jenn suggested that the bride not cut a specific arch. This arch was something the bride had said she wanted from the beginning of the planning process, so to her, it was a need. Jenn knew this and made sure to suggest keeping it as part of the wedding.
During this process, I was able to learn that being able to really know your clients will essentially keep them happy and make their vision come alive. Identifying needs or wants of clients in the beginning of the planning process will help later in the process because you will already be aware of what type of client you are working with. This is a lesson that can help me in my future career no matter what path I choose to take, because I will have clients or participants no matter what.
SLO 2: Assist and plan a recreation program or a special event for the participants/clients:
I have assisted in planning two special events, both events being a wedding, one private home wedding and one venue wedding. I learned that planning begins months and even years before the event actually takes place. I learned that planning is not a one man job. Many vendors are involved, such as caterers, tents/foundations, venues, florists, and many others.
Also, the planning process requires an enormous amount of communication between the client, the planner and vendors. This outcome was hard to reach because I could only assist in the last minute planning because most of the planning had already been done as the events took place during the first four weeks of my internship.
However, the areas where I did get to assist taught me to pay attention to details and double check everything. I had the chance to look over an invoice from a tent rental company and had to make sure that all tents were accounted for and were listed to be set up as the event was three days away. If we had not checked the entire invoice we wouldn’t have noticed that the client was being charged for a tent that they didn’t want because they canceled it at the last minute. Essentially, planning special events is not easy, and without effective communication with all vendors, the process will not go smoothly.
SLO 3: Implement a recreation program or special event for the participants/clients:
This learning outcome is the one that I exceeded in meeting, as it was quite easy to meet. I have implemented two special events, both weddings as I had mentioned above. By implement, I mean contributing to the delivery of decor, set up, “hosting”, and tear down of the events.
I learned that it not only takes four to five hours to set up a successful wedding, but the set up can also take place throughout the wedding. I also learned that it takes a lot of communication to implement a special event. Jenn’s team and I are all given radios so that we can communicate with each other throughout events and make sure things are running smoothly in all locations of the event space.
During the implementing process, I also learned a lot about how to handle equipment. For example, I learned that when moving tables in a venue you should always lift and not drag, so that table legs and the floor do not get damaged.
I also learned that when dropping linens on tables you should always tuck the ends that touch the floor so that no guests or clients trip on them. One last thing that I learned about equipment during the implementing process is that documentation is important.
A lot of equipment used for events is rented, and we do not want to be liable for any damages that were already present when we received the rental. For example, one linen that we received had a stain on it. In order to document it, we placed a watch next to the stain that clearly showed the time and took a picture. This way it can be sent to the company to show that we were not the ones who made the stain and therefore would not be liable for the damage.
Overall, I have learned a lot about the implementation of special events, and can use this knowledge in my future planning career.
SLO 4: Recognize and respond to risk management concerns in the practicum work setting:
Responding to risk management during a special event is very important. One thing I learned is to stay calm. During a wedding at a private home, I noticed many guests going around to the back of the house. Because it was a private home, my concern was that guests were drinking brown bag alcohol, which is not permitted during an event that has a licensed bartender.
I immediately and calmly notified the rest of the team about my concern, and it was handled. When the event concluded I asked Jenn how she handled it. She explained to me that she went over her policy with the owner of the house and informed them that outside alcohol was not permitted. The owner agreed and notified the guests. This situation taught me to, again, stay calm. It also taught me to make sure clients are aware of what is in your contract in order to help prevent issues like this from arising.
Another event that I recognized risk management concerns was an outdoor wedding that I worked my first week of my summer practicum. There was a small chance of thunderstorms in the area for that day. It was my job to continuously check the weather for updates, and notify the team so that we could make arrangements if inclement weather happened to occur.
Luckily, it did not storm that day and the risk was avoided all together. The ability to manage and respond to risks in the event industry is essential. Without this ability you put guests and clients at risk for incidents.
SLO 5: Communicate effectively and professionally, both orally and written:
I have learned how to communicate with my superior, Jenn. I have spent time emailing Jenn about upcoming events, her weekly schedule and when I am available to come into the office. This has taught me how to communicate professionally. I know to read the entirety of an email, and the attached documents to prepare for the next event. I also learned to communicate efficiently orally.
As I stated before during a risk management response, I communicated with my team to address a concern. Communication is important and doing it effectively is essential. I also stated that it takes communication to plan a special event.
I learned that communicating with vendors is how you successfully put on a special event, and make sure that everything arrives on time and is in the right place. Overall, communication has been a big part of my internship experience, just between my supervisor and I. As I continue I want to learn how to communicate more effectively and maturely with other professionals in order to open more doors in my career.
I believe that I have learned so much from this internship experience. It wasn’t easy. In fact it was a challenge to try and learn as much as possible while working part time and taking two summer courses. I would definitely love to have another experience like this in the future. I would want to dive deeper into the planning process and learn more about the business side, such as contracts and payments, if I had the chance to do it again.
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I will take these lessons with me through my next steps in finishing out college and my future career. I would like to thank Jenn for allowing me to tag along this summer and work with her. It has been great!
The best is yet to come!
Intern Ashley, signing off~