How to end an event gracefully.
Everything ends. Most hosts and organisers don't spend too much time thinking or planning for the last bit of the event and after. I believe it is because thinking about the event is so much more exciting.
However, how you end an event is also essential for the host and guests. A gracefully done ending to an event can leave a lasting impression.
Here are my top tips for hosts:
You need to say goodbye to everyone if the number of guests is less than 50. Anything over that, you will need to make a short speech during the event to thank them and let them know that chances are that you will not be able to say goodbye in person, but you will follow up with an email or even a card, depending what kind of event it is.
End the event on a high note, meaning don't let things drag out and become dull. Maybe keep a short, fun activity for the end that brings everyone together. Or you can announce that the event is about to finish whenever you feel like people had a great time and are still enjoying but starting to get tired and slowing down. You are the host, and you decide when to end your event.
Some guests like to stay longer, but you are ready to go to bed. You are responsible for letting them know you are tired and wish to sort things out elegantly and authentically. In my experience, hints don't work and don't feel graceful to me at all. To be direct is kindness.
If you need help at the end of the event, please let your guests know early on and give them clear instructions on what you need them to do. Please don't assume they know, especially after a few drinks.
After the event, send them photos if you have some and a message through whatever media you feel comfortable with WhatsApp, email, social media or even a lovely card if you have the time and it is that kind of event. Make it personal.
Even if the event didn't go as planned and things turned out quite different, if the ending is handled with grace, honesty and a sense of humour, the guests will leave with a good impression, and you will feel better about it too.
Days after the event, note how it went, what you learned, and what was good and less good. Reflecting on our past events is essential to learn and makes it easier next time. There is nothing like experiences to teach us how to become more confident hosts and event organisers.
Here are my top tips for how to handle the end of the event as a guest:
Say goodbye, and chase your host for it. They might be busy, but a short thank you and goodbye are better than leaving without it, even if you didn't enjoy it as much.
If you have something good or even less good to share about the event, do it privately after it is finished, preferably a few days later. Make it short, direct and graceful. No one likes a long moan.
If you sense the event is starting to slow down and get dull, leave. This is what my grandma always said to me. Leave when you are on a high, even if it is hard, especially after a few glasses.
If you know you will stay briefly, let your host know beforehand.
If you see your host yawning and getting tired, it's great if you can offer to help sort things out, and if you can't, it's probably time to take your leave.
And if your partner is kicking your leg and raising their eyebrows, it is definitely time to leave :)
Let me know what else you would add to the lists.
I hope this helps.
From my heart, Nora