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Some people honestly don’t care.

By Kayla

My fiancée would qualify as one of those people.  He honestly does not care if we eat at Olive Garden or Texas Roadhouse.  He just wants to eat.  And he absolutely does not want to pick.  While this can be infuriating, I know that no matter where I pick, he will be content, and I won’t hear a single complaint. 

When it comes to event guests, some of them are like him and enjoy that along-for-the-ride mentality.  The details don’t really matter as long as they have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and activities to entertain them.  If they wanted to make the decision, then they would be the planner. 

However, there will also be guests at the other end of the spectrum.  The ones that 20-question you about every detail of the event.  This attitude does not mean they don’t trust you as a planner.  They are just more comfortable attending something that they know details about and can ask questions.  Some simply have special concerns that planners may forget about or not know.  For example, the mom of a kid with allergies will ask for the menu at every meal to make sure that her kid will have enough to safely eat. 

Here are a few important questions to expect:

What are the accommodations?

Dorm style rooms may not include linens, which guests need to know so they can pack appropriately.  If roommates are assigned, guests will want to know ahead of time, especially if they thought they would have single rooms.  People may even ask what kind of bed they will be sleeping in. Comfort in this area is important, but often forgotten when promoting the event.

Are meals included?

This may be the most important thing some people ask.  Not just included, but make sure to let people know which meals they will be having and the setup, i.e. buffet, plated, sack lunch.  And as in my example, many people will question the menu in regard to dietary restrictions.

How will we get there?

They say it's half the fun... Will you have people carpool, fly, parents drop off, pick up, shuttle?  Transportation is not solely the responsibility of guests.  Even if you don’t plan on providing a shuttle or bus, you should at least let guests know that.  If they have to arrive on their own terms, make sure they have the correct driving directions.

What else is there to do?

Yes, you are having your retreat/conference/event, but is there more to the schedule than just eating and meeting?  Guests want to see the fun that is available, like lake and gym activities.  It also helps them figure out what to pack.

Remember that both the questioners and the don't-carers are equally important demographics in your guest list, though they approach the event differently.  To save yourself (and them) the trouble, give hard copies of as much information as possible.  Pass out the schedule, menu, lodging layouts, etc.  Whatever you don’t have access to, ask your venue.  They may have resources specifically for guests.

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626