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Special Events Blog
Dana Lockwood

Your Guide to Rocking an Event with a Royal (or Other VIP)

The VIPs at your event might not be blue-bloods, but some of the same rules for dealing with them still apply.

Organizing an event on its own can be a daunting prospect. Organizing an event with a celebrity can be even more stressful. Putting on an event involving a member of the royal family—now, this is a challenge.

Whether you will be working with an A-list celebrity or royalty, we have some tips and tricks for you to put on an event that will knock everyone’s socks off.

Our event that we will be referencing throughout this article is a charity film shoot with Prince William. Please allow us to introduce ourselves: we are Bold Content Video, a production company based in London. We are a video production partner with the Campaign Against Living Miserably, or CALM. This is a charity aimed at combating male suicide in the United Kingdom.

We have been working together on a project called the #BestManProject. This campaign is designed to highlight the idea that you do not have to wait for a wedding to be a best man to your friend. Just before Christmas, we were contacted by the palace, informing us Prince William wanted to get involved.

Here are our challenges we faced, and our suggestions on how to best prepare yourself for an event featuring a royal or other VIP.

Keep Your Cool: Perhaps the best thing you can do when arranging an event is not to let the guests see you sweat. All of your hard work and preparation needs to be taken care of before anyone arrives. Here are a few things you may not have encountered before:

Confidentiality: Because the film shoot was meant to be kept confidential, the majority of the information was limited until the day before the shoot. Even the fact that Prince William would be attending at all was withheld; he was referred to as “The Principal.” We recommend you outline immediately what should and shouldn’t be disclosed.

Palace Approval: Any content that you would like to publish online containing the image of your royal or VIP will likely need to be approved by their team. As we were creating videos, all of our final edits had to be approved not only by our charity partner, but also by the palace.

Dress Code: While this may seem like a no-brainer, we in fact had to alter our dress code a few days before the shoot. We had planned to wear formal or business attire out of respect for Prince William. However, we were informed by the palace that he would be wearing business casual, and we needed to dress in kind.

Before you read on, here is a behind-the-scenes video in which the Bold Content and CALM staff discuss some pointers:

Keeping those challenges in mind, here are some tips we have compiled to help your royal event run smoothly:

Organization: We have found from working with other celebrities that their time may be extremely limited. If you are having a high-profile speaker, performer or VIP guest, they might not stay the whole time the event is running. You need to have their time planned out and prepared for.

This was no exception with Prince William: We had exactly one hour in which we could film all of the content we needed. Brainstorming potential problems and solutions helped alleviate this concern. We recommend a detailed agenda to a schedule “talk-through” with your staff to increase efficiency on the Day Of.

Communication: Something else we recommend is establishing a communication chain-of-command. Working between our company, CALM, and the palace, it was easy to cross wires. To alleviate any confusion, we selected one person at CALM who communicated with the palace and one person at our office who communicated with CALM. This streamlined any information we had or needed.

Logistics and Security: Depending on where you are hosting your event, you could have a large presence of members of the public. It will be important to outline any security protocols and prepare your staff to make it through security checkpoints.

We filmed Prince William at a high-end hotel in central London. We were allocated on-site parking, which could have been a problem with equipment drop-off/pick-up if it were not available.

We recommend providing passes or ID’s for your staff to make it through security checkpoints.

Dress in Layers/Bring Extra Clothes: This tip goes along with our dress code discussion above. We recommend, no matter what dress code you have been given, that your staff dress in layers and/or bring along extra items that can spruce up their dress if need be. Ties, heels, lipstick and blazers are four easily transportable items.

Visit Your Space: As we mentioned above, we had a very limited time with our VIP (and you may as well!). We needed to plan out where he would come in, whom he would meet, where he would sit, how he would leave, and every second in between.

We recommend that you scout out your event location before the Day Of. This way, you can see any potential issues and, if necessary, request amendments from the venue.

To help us make the most of our time, our staff arrived several hours early to run through transitions that would occur during the Duke’s visit. Rehearsing setups--whether it’s for film shoots, weddings, awards, or any other event--can help smooth out the flow of the day.

Have a Great Event! There you have it--those are our top tips for prepping an event involving a royal, celebrity or any other VIP. The more you plan ahead, the easier your life will be on the Day Of. Make sure communication between parties is as clear as it can be. Prepare your staff for any extra security or procedures that will take place. Establish that everyone is on the same page and prepped for the day, and watch the event unfold.

To learn more about the #BestManProject, click here.

Dana Lockwood is junior production manager at London-based Bold Content. A Mass Media graduate of Missouri State University, she now lives and works in London. She has extensive experience in video production and radio broadcasting.

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