My first month as a PR girl has been nothing short of evolutionary.
With any red-carpet event comes the usual glitz and glamour. To anyone looking in on the outside, these kinds of events always look like so much fun, and trust me, they are! But before that first celebrity steps out onto that carpet, a lot of work and preparation has to happen in order to make the event a success.
Two weeks ago we completed our 4th Hampton’s event with BELLA Magazine. Their summer issue is always accompanied by a party in everyone’s favorite summer destination, and is one of the biggest events the magazine hosts each year. That’s why we start planning at least a month or so in advance before the big day.
Since planning red carpet events for some of our clients is just one of the many things we do here at JMG PR, I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase how they come to life from our perspective, so I’m taking you with me on a quick rewind to see how the Hampton’s event came to life.
Location, location, location
For this particular event, the location - Southampton Social Club - had already been chosen. It was actually the second year the venue served as the backdrop for the event. Sometimes I’ll work together with a client in choosing the space, other times the decision is left solely in my hands. It really is decided on a case by case basis.
Compiling the guest list
The end goal with each event you plan is not only do you want it to be epic, you want it to be a party that is going to be talked about for all the “right reasons.” That’s why the guest list is so important. One of the first things I do is find out exactly how many people we can invite to attend as a guest and how big the carpet is so we know how much press we can accommodate (although we never turn away good press from any event).
4 Weeks Out
Media invites begin to go out along with emails to publicists asking them to submit their clients for consideration for the red carpet. In addition, I consult with the client to find out if there is certain talent they’d like to attend as well as any talent who may have been invited by the client and their team.
Two Weeks Out
As the names of the talent attending come rolling in, my team and I start creating face and tip sheets to hand out to all media the day of. Both of these documents help the press in identifying faces, spelling names, social media handles, and the names of the presenting sponsors correctly. Both sheets are constantly being updated and revised, sometimes even right up until the day of the event.
One Week Out
At this point we are confirming with any pending media or talent on whether or not they will be attending. Like any party you plan, there are always those “maybes” and it’s our job to follow up on those unconfirmed responses.
The day of the event can still bring last minute tweaks, changes, additions - you name it, we’ve seen it happen. Just because the party is about to begin doesn’t mean we aren’t making adjustments as needed.
Right before start time I’ll run through the deck with my staff, which includes our amazing interns. Everyone is assigned a task when it comes to handling the carpet. Our goal is to make sure each person who walks and is photographed on that red carpet has a smooth and seamless experience.
At this point, I’ve also been given the host’s ETA - it’s important I know exactly when they’re arriving that way I can ensure the red carpet is clear and press is ready to go. For every photographer who covers a red carpet event the goal is to get that “golden shot.”
Particularly, for this year’s BELLA event, two cover hosts were featured, Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry and 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Model Camille Kostek, so we needed to coordinate their arrival and make sure they each had ample time on the red carpet alone, as well as together. Talk about having a few great money shots! Tyler and Camille had so much fun hamming it up together for the cameras.
I also build in time for press interviews, photos with notable clients, and of course members of the client’s team, as well as for our very own PR team. Sometimes it can get pretty hectic trying to keep a steady flow moving while fending off guests who all are clamoring for a picture with the celebrity host. Once we’ve gotten our host, or in this case hosts, to their designated VIP area, and wrapped up the carpet with any remaining talent, can we say our job for the day is complete.
The Day(s) After
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean our work is done. In the days following, we send out the post-release containing all the specifics of the event with images. This allows press to post “sightings” and “event recaps.” The work we do after is just as important as the preparations beforehand.
While not every client that JMG PR works with host’s red carpet events, the ones that do differ from one another in some way or another. What doesn’t change is the approach we take when it comes to the work we do behind-the-scenes. Each event may be a lot of work, but they’re also a lot of fun and it’s that fast-paced excitement that keeps us on our toes, and why I love this business.
For some of my interns, the BELLA party was their first red carpet event, so of course I had to find out just what they thought of the experience:
“We had duties and set jobs we knew we had to fulfill, but once the red carpet started it was all hands on deck and there was no rule book to follow. This event truly showed me that every day, even every minute of PR can be different but with hard work and knowing what needs to be accomplished it is all worth it” – Riley Powers
“I knew going into the event what was expected of me, responsibility and professionalism. I was impressed by how the team worked so well in a stressful situation. When you’re working and having fun, that’s when you know you’re in the right profession” – Allie Gonzales
To show you all how much fun we had, I’ve shared some of highlights from the event. Enjoy!
If there’s one thing I always tell the college students I meet is… do an internship! I cannot stress enough the importance of why every student should complete at least one, if not several, internships while still in school. The benefits are immense, and ultimately can lead you to employment, which is how I landed my first job just two weeks after graduation.