28 Questions Your Guests Might Ask and How to Be Prepared

Image credit: Heath Brandon

Image credit: Heath Brandon

If you’ve ever been the wizard behind the scenes of a big event, you know that on the day of, your behind-the-scenes status can dissolve into a very front-and-center role, as the Hub of Party Information. To help keep you from being caught off guard, here are some of the typical questions that guests ask before, during and after events, and how to prepare for them.

  1. Where *exactly* is the event? Be careful not to assume, when writing up invitations, that a venue name is specific enough to get people to your event. Include the building name/number, or landmark-specific directions to get people right to the door.

  2. How do I get tickets? If it’s a ticketed rather than invitation-only event, make the ticketing link obvious and publicize it frequently in the two weeks prior to the event (at least).

  3. What’s the best way to travel? Often people will be unfamiliar with the area, and will be grateful for driving directions or public transport information. Include this in the invitation to be safe. If you organize via the SquadUP app, guests will be able to use Uber to book a taxi from right in the app!

  4. Can I/Should I bring a gift? This is a tricky one, and much comes down to a etiquette. A good rule of thumb for events that may traditionally be associated with gifting is a statement on the invitation that gifts are not requisite, and that you only desire the presence of the invitee. This relieves pressure on invitees, without specifically banning gifts.

  5. How can I make a donation? Particularly for charity benefits, but also as a way to divert the gifts question, give guests the option of making a donation to charity. If you’re using the app, guests can make in-app donations with the click of a button.

  6. Where can I park? If possible, make a map available to guests showing where there is available parking. If there isn’t any, or it’s limited, make this known beforehand so people can carpool or book a ride.

  7. What’s the dress code? Provide a clear dress code on the initial event info. If formal attire is optional, specify that, too.

  8. Can I get tickets at the door? Let people know well ahead of time whether they can purchase tickets at the event itself. For invitation-only events, it’s good practice to account for a few guests beyond those who have RSVP’d, just in case.

  9. Who’s going to be there? Especially important for networking events, often guests will be curious about who has RSVP’d so far, and who the headliners will be. A good rule of thumb is not to sell your event on RSVP’d guests (things may change), but to sell hard on the entertainment and other paid headliners.

  10. What if I have to be late/need to leave early? Provide a basic schedule to confirmed guests, so that those with conflicts can time their late entries and early exits to be as gracefully as possible.

  11. Can I smoke? Have a smoking area in mind, and check this with venue operators well before the event.

  12. What’s the event hashtag? To keep the conversation buzzing around your event, designate a hashtag and publicize it on event information and at the event itself. The SquadUP app’s social feature will aggregate social media activity around your event so participants can help build the hype!

  13. Where can I stash my coat/bag/camera? If your venue doesn’t have a cloakroom, have a safe, enclosed area for people to leave their belongings. If this isn’t possible, include this on the event info so people know not to bring any valuables.

  14. Who’s sponsoring it/Where are proceeds going? If the event is for a brand or charity, link to this organization on the event info and have information on hand in case people want to find out more.

  15. Are there vegetarian/vegan/nut-free options? At a large event, you will absolutely have questions about the food. For sit-down meals, it’s useful to include menu options with the original invitation or ticketing, to allow people to specify any special requirements they might have. For other kinds of events, ensure you have vegetarian options, and that you have a good idea of what’s in the food (or have a caterer or chef on hand to direct these questions to).

  16. Is it kid-friendly? This isn’t as obvious as people think. If you have a broad mixture of guests, it’s always smart to specify whether yours is a family-friendly event, and to use language in the event info that conveys the atmosphere you’re going for.

  17. Is it pet-friendly? For outdoor events, it’s worth adding whether people can bring pets. For some, this might be a selling point. Make sure you clear it with your venue beforehand, of course.

  18. What’s the wi-fi code? Especially for business- or work-related events, it’s useful to post the venue’s wi-fi code in several obvious places around the event.

  19. Where can I charge my phone/tablet/camera battery? It’s a conscientious move to set up a charging station (ie. extension cord with multiple outlets) for guests’ mobile devices. Check this with the venue first, just to be aware of any potential electrical issues.

  20. What time does the entertainment start? Just in case things run behind, have a Plan B activity to keep people happy.

  21. Can I meet the guest of honor/entertainer? If you have a big headliner, expect guests to ask how they can get a VIP meet-and-greet. The best way to handle this is to arrange a time for guests to meet and chat to the headliner, generally following the big performance or appearance, with the agreement of the VIP guest of course. Unless they offer to do it for free, this is a paid service that should be budgeted for.

  22. Is the venue disability accessible? In most cases, you’ll want to choose your venue with accessibility in mind. If the venue isn’t wheelchair accessible, make this known on the event information. If, on the other hand, the event has disability access beyond the basics (for example, a sign-language translator), it’s worth noting this on the event information as well.

  23. Do you take credit cards? If you have any element of purchasing within your event, from a drinks bar to promotional merchandise, it’s handy to have a credit card reader (or two or three) on the premises. Luckily, mobile card readers are now very common and very affordable.

  24. Where’s the closest ATM? Know where the nearest one is, and preferably the nearest two—it’s surprising how often an ATM can run out of cash if it’s in the vicinity of a large event.

  25. Can I get the contact info for the planner/caterer/decorator? Before the event, ask your event team to provide business cards for you to give out if anyone asks. This is a gesture of goodwill and interested guests will appreciate it.

  26. How can I spread the word about the organization? If it’s a charity or brand event, have some marketing on hand in hard copy, stashed somewhere safe, that you can provide in case anyone asks. Be ready with the Twitter handle and URL of the organization, too.

  27. How can I get photographs of the event? If you have a professional photographer, you might arrange with them beforehand a special deal for event guests who would like photos for their own publicity or for posterity, for web and print use. Keep the photographer’s card on hand to give out to interested guests. Even better, guests can get event photos for free through the SquadUP app’s social feature and gallery!

  28. How do I sign up for the next event? Take the opportunity to build a guest list for future events! Have a way to record guest information (name and e-mail address, typically) for those who want to be included in mailings about future events.

Have you been asked a question that we missed? Leave it (and your answer) in comments below, or tweet it to us!

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