I got married in 2016.

It was an eventful and colorful occasion as it was a fusion of cultures, age groups and religious inclinations. I am from Ekiti, my wife, Imo. I was raised Methodist, her parents – MFM. I had graduated 9 years before her and had worked since then while she had just finished school and was awaiting NYSC, so our friends were polar opposites both mentally and socially. To cap that, my father was 77 and my mum clocked 70 a few months before my wedding. Her father was 55, mother a vibrant ‘48ish’.There were some other conspicuous differences but I want to quickly rewind to something that happened at my mum’s 70th……

My parent’s have5 children and the first, based in America, was unable to make the trip for mum’s big day. She therefore, got her husband and kids to record a video sending their love and heartfelt wishes. The event planner was supposed to play this video at the party and warm sweet mummy’s heart. Somehow the ‘planner’ extraordinaire planned (didn’t plan apparently) to play this video without a display device of any sort. She fiddled with the DJ’s equipment in a feeble attempt to at least, play the audio and it was quite embarrassing to employ a euphemism…….. Video could not be played………….special moment lost forever!

I nudged my then fiancée and said, “We must get our planning right for the wedding”, and she nodded in agreement. In the age of stem cell research, organ transplant, interstellar travel and online, real time communication, the least one can do is employ technology in planning events! There are many creative and fun tools one can use. For my wedding, I decided not to send printed invites to anyone in my age group (both sets of parents however insisted on printed invites), referring them to my wedding website*(www.onyiolu.weddingwoo.com) which had everything you needed to know about the upcoming event (and which I proudly created and populated). The homepage played Oriri’s‘SisiEko’ and you could navigate to our story, the wedding party, information, directions, dress code, ‘aso-ebi’ and corresponding payment details, menu preferences, music requests, RSVP, a guest book to leave a message for the couple and a payment interface to purchase selected items for the couple. The website had taken out a lot of logistical bottlenecks! At the click of a button, we had reached everyone we intended to and saved a fortune on printing and delivery of invites!

Not all events will be as divergent or colorful as my wedding (or indeed have catastrophic events like the video at mum’s 70th) but all events could definitely use the help of technology. Here a few innovations that could ease the facilitation of your next event:

Plan for the plan

Technology may be smart but it still needs human input and guidance. You have to have a plan. Understand the specific needs of the client or event and draw up the specific nature of technology you wish to deploy. You wouldn’t want your guests to fumble through gismos and gadgets and miss important parts of the event. You should also deploy and test run before your event.

Event Websites

There are many websites that can host every single aspect of your event with the tools they have on offer. With a website, you can write about your event, insert pictures, directions and create portals where attendees can interact with you and with one another.

Applications

The biggest taxi company in the world;Uber, does not possess a single taxi! The Uber app however has revolutionized ride hailing and is making conventional taxis obsolete in many major cities. Applications are powerful and effective and if your event has an app, it can considerably ease planning and information dissemination.

Schedulers and Organizers

Even the best mind is susceptible to forgetting some details about an event. But when you utilize a scheduler, you are notified of every single detail and you can connect with attendees, vendors or remote members.

Social Media

This is perhaps the easiest and most obvious tool one can use to reach out. Depending on your preference, there are thousands of social media platforms you can use to organize your event. You could also get feedback and attendance confirmation from platforms like Facebook. On Twitter you can create a hashtag to trend your event and get people talking. You can live stream, get it on Google Hangouts or show a cross-section on Snapchat and Instagram.

Drones

Amazon recently started testing items delivery using drones. Drones are being used for a myriad of functions around the world and are perfect for either aerial photography or perhaps for fun games at team bonding events.

Virtual Attendance

Auntie is in New Zealand? Boss is in Timbuktu? Kids are in Uni? Not to worry, there are many free virtual meeting tools you can use to capture the full experience. Apart from popular platforms like Skype and Imo, you can also use ‘join.me’, Slack, FaceTime, Periscope, Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, GroupMe and many more. Some conference rooms also have video conference functionality.

Tags & Passes

You can create access cards, wrist bands and passes with barcodes to restrict entrance and ensure ONLYthose you invited can get into your event. Gatecrashers Prohibited!

Man Management

This isn’t a tech tool but just like the first item on this list, all technological innovations have to contend with the phenomenon called human nature. At your event, you need to manage a lot of personalities and understand their personal preferences and degree of technical knowhow. The nature of the event will also determine how much handholding you will have to do,for attendees to get through whatever technology you deploy. It may be the difference between “this is cool” and “this is cumbersome”.