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6 Different Events You Might Find Yourself Planning This Year

Weddings, parties, conferences, and galas are standard fare for event planners, but the event industry is one that’s constantly evolving. Up-and-coming events mean new challenges for event planners, so if you’re looking to expand your skill set—or just to try something new—keep an eye out for some of these different events, from the innovative to the offbeat.

1. TEDx Events

What originally started as a one-off conference turned into an annual series, and from there TED blew up into a household name by posting presentations from its conferences (TED talks) online.

TED focuses on helping communities to create local events and provide a platform for people who might not get a chance to speak otherwise, so any community is a potential organizer. Another unique element of a TEDx event is the inclusion of video. While not every TEDx event has to include live speakers, all of them involve screening videos of previous TED talks, so audio-visual issues will be a major part of the planning.

Before diving in, check out the different TEDx event types, and make sure you’ve looked over TED’s rules. You’ll also need to apply for a TEDx license before you start planning.

Woman giving a presentation

2. Interactive experiences

You might be brave enough to watch Jaws, but are you brave enough to watch it while floating around a lake in an inner tube? That was the idea behind Jaws on the Water, an event first hosted in 2002 by a theatre in Texas. While you won’t find yourself hosting this exact event, you can definitely expect to see more like it. Corporations, business, and super-motivated individuals are all turning to events that will really get their guests engaged.

Build-your-own-baked-potato bars are no longer cutting it: people are looking for parties and events that take the theme to the next level, and the traditional murder mystery soiree is just the start. Look at Groupon’s 007-themed party, which turned its guests into secret agents who had to complete “missions” throughout the night.

This type of event goes beyond the usual expectations of guest entertainment, so be prepared to get wildly creative!

3. Strange sporting events

The world has always had its share of weird sports, but thanks to the Internet, once-local oddities are transforming into global events. And you know what happens when events start to grow—the planning responsibilities grow along with them.

Spectators cheering at a sports event

Whether it’s a sport local to your area that’s suddenly picked up popularity or a weird activity from across the country that’s made its way to your city, you may find yourself working out the unique logistics of organizing a Quidditch tournament, a shovel racing competition, or a bog-snorkeling event.

4. Green meetings

Technically, a green meeting is just another meeting. The only difference is the focus on hosting an event with sustainability front and centre in the planning process. While this might seem like a small change, it can make a big difference in how you approach your planning.

We talked about planning a green wedding earlier this week, and many of our pointers will also apply to planning green corporate events. Obviously shopping for an eco-friendly dress or jewelry won’t be a problem, but things like locally sourced food and energy-efficient venues will definitely be high on your list for a corporate event.

5. Hackathons

Also known as codefests, hackathons involve groups of computer programmers, software designers, and hardware designers meeting up for some intensive work on a new piece of software or tech.

Aside from needing state-of-the-art tech and really good Wi-Fi, hackathons come with some unique planning challenges. The consultation with your client might involve figuring out an attainable goal for the event and settling on a theme, like food sustainability or social justice.

Two people coding on computers

6. Internet meetups

Despite the name, an Internet meetup doesn’t actually take place on the Internet. Instead, it’s an event where people who’ve met on the Internet through shared hobbies or interests get together in person to… well, meet up.

Often these are small, casual events consisting of small groups of friends, whose organizers wouldn’t necessarily feel the need to bring in an event planner. But sites like Tumblr have taken to organizing large-scale meetups complete with speakers, entertainment, games, and prizes, and as people get more invested in their online communities we’re sure to see this trend grow.

What unique events have you worked on in your career as a professional event planner? Let us know in the comments!

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