By Craig Pannozzo
As we approach the end of the summer, micro events – and even micro weddings – have
become the flavour of the moment. Mass gatherings remain banned under social distancing
rules, but up to 30 guests can now attend a small event in the UK.
Through my recent work with companies in the hospitality and events industries, I’ve seen
firsthand what does and doesn’t work for this type of party. This guide offers tips, techniques, and
insights for those who are looking to organise their own micro events.
HOW TO ARRANGE A SUCCESSFUL MICRO EVENT
As any event planner or executive assistant will know, the key to arranging a great party is to
consider all of the angles in advance and organise every aspect of the event meticulously. As
you might imagine, there are a lot of moving parts involved in putting together a socially
distanced micro event, so we’ll look at all of the important considerations in turn.
1. Pick the right venue
Where possible, I’d advise you to pick a venue with lots of outdoor space. Whilst it’s fine to meet
up with a small group of friends in a restaurant or bar at the moment, inviting 30 guests to
socialise in a confined indoor space would be a risky move given the current climate.
Beyond this, your choice of venue will be decided by the nature of the event you’re planning: I’ve
helped to organise informal birthday parties that have worked well in open rural settings recently,
but this might set the wrong tone for a corporate event.
For a formal micro event, you might want to look into hiring a more impressive location such as a
small local wedding venue. Not only are the prices on such places much lower currently due to
lack of demand, but they’ll also be perfectly equipped to cater for a group of 30 outdoors.
2. Ensure the safety of your guests
The safety of your guests should be your main priority when organising a micro event. Social
distancing is the most vital consideration here: the area should be large enough so that your
guests can stay at least 1-2m apart, and any tables should be spaced out appropriately.
It’s also now considered good form to provide hand sanitiser to your guests – if the event
involves any sitting down, provide at least one bottle on each table. For corporate events, I’ve
even seen branded hand sanitiser gels offered out for attendees to take home.
3. Consider food and drink carefully
Closely connected to that last point, it’s important to weigh up your options when it comes to food
and drink. Hiring waiters to circulate vol au vents and canapés is no longer appropriate due to
social distancing measures, meaning that you make have to rethink your strategy.
The World Health Organisation says that it’s highly unlikely COVID-19 will be transmitted on
food, so you could still offer a buffet and have your guests collect their own meal one at a time. If
possible, though, the best option is just to provide table service catering.
As outlined in the UK government’s guidelines, table service should be used where possible as
this can minimise risks of transmission. If possible you should also organise for a catering service
to provide one waiter per table and ensure that empty plates and glasses are collected from the
table rather than left for the attendees to bring back to the bar.
4. Add a splash of theatricality
With so many measures in place to protect guests, micro event planners need to work hard to
ensure that the atmosphere doesn’t end up feeling too sterile. That said, it’s easy to bring an
event to life by adding some entertainment and giving your guests something to remember.
Depending on the type of event you’re organising, you could consider possibilities like fireworks,
performers, or even an outdoor pop-up bar offering bespoke cocktails. If any children will be
there with parents, you might want to look into some activities to keep the kids happy.
5. Guarantee a good time, whatever the weather
As I’ve already suggested, micro events should really be held outdoors whilst we wait for the
current situation to improve. For this to work, you need to be prepared with a decent amount of
cover should the weather take a turn for the worse – and this is a feature you can really get
I’ve seen lots of organisers zoning off areas with gazebos and marquees recently. This provides
rain cover for guests whilst encouraging them to mingle in small groups; people are free to move
about and chat, but household groups can also stick to their own bubbles if they wish, making it
easier to ensure social distancing for everyone.
Alternatively, you could invest in some festival-style ponchos for your guests to wear, which
would be another opportunity to introduce some branding if you’re organising a corporate event.
Even if you’re just planning a private party, you could use personalised waterproofs to take the
theme of the event a step further.
Craig Pannozzo is the manager of specialist events supply company, Gazeboshop.