What I Learnt from Organising Winter ILD?


Winter ILD is firmly behind us, as is the one I organised the week after the official date. I know that there are lolitas out there who dream of being able to attend some bigger events, but know that unless they do it, it won’t happen. Putting together a bigger tea party can be quite scary, there’s a lot involved in doing it, depending on how many extras you want to do. Now that my first tea party (and one with a twist at that) is firmly behind me, I can offer some little pearls of wisdom I picked up along the way. Hopefully these will help some of you!

Build It and They Will Come

This is definitely the biggest lesson of them all. We have these amazing, wonderful meet and tea party ideas that we keep in our heads. But while fear of rejection is understandable, experience has shown me that once you put it out there, there will be people excited and wanting to attend. So don’t be afraid to put yourself forward and organise it. If you need help, there will be someone available: a mod to aid you with the practical stuff, a friend willing to set up with you, a comm member you’ve not met yet happy to donate something to the raffle… Don’t let the size of the event daunt you or put you off.

At one point everything was just an idea.
It has to start somewhere.

Do the Research

I am naturally the planning type, but with a bigger event you need to get into that midset. For your own peace of mind, as well as for the benefit of the event. Depending on what is it you want to do, there will be different things you’ll have to consider. In my case, the research focused namely on the workshop itself (finding someone to do it and for how much), the food and venue (preferably a combo deal) and how much did past ILD events cost in my comm (so I know what people might be willing to pay). But there were loads of minor things to look into along the way, like checking with attendees if they wanted any extras (raffle, Secret Santa gift exchange etc.) or health and safety things (allergies, both food and to anything involved in perfume making, protective clothing etc.).

Find a planning style that works for you. I do spreadsheets,
but maybe oldschool pen and notebook works better for you?

Accept the Maths

Most of the above will involve a great deal of calculating, so if that’s not your forte, get friendly with a calculator and/or a spreadsheet. At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or deals and be open about your budget. Because I asked and we met the number requirement, we were able to get the workshop at a cheaper rate per person. And when talking with hotel, I mentioned what my budget was and we negotiated a compromise that fit the budget better (buffet-style afternoon tea spread instead of a traditional tiered trays). This extends to being honest with your participants about costs, e.g. if fewer attendees would mean a price increase, let them know.

Being in charge of money is a great responsibility. 

Start as Soon as Possible

Organising a bigger event takes time and the sooner you start, the better. Venues can be popular, especially around December (both for Christmas and wedding bookings), people might have other plans already and generally the more last minute you get with event organising, the more expensive things get. Also, sometimes it can take a while to meet your minimum numbers. Sometimes people are forgetful, sometimes they have poor budgeting skills, sometimes people need some convincing… There’s a whole range of reasons why people might not put down their deposits straight away, so the more time you have, the more flexible you’ll be in acting upon it (either drumming up more interest or talking to the venue/participants about prices and actual numbers). In my case, we were pretty slow in reaching that minimum number, but then interest spiked and we ended up exceeding it with plenty of time before the final deadline. Trust me, the more time you’ll give for everything, the less stressful it’ll be on you. And as the host, while it’s understandable that you’ll be stressed, you need to be as calm and composed as possible, no matter what’s happening behind the scenes.

Get the big things out of the way asap, so you have more time
to polish the little ones and the last minute ones.

It’s Hard Work…

It’s rewarding work, nonetheless it is tiring to organise something like an ILD tea party. Even if you partner up with someone and spread the workload. Your job as an organiser is to make sure that what you promised happens, that things go smoothly/to schedule and that everyone enjoys themselves – which means you have less time, if any, to sit back and relax yourself. Just on the day itself you’ll probably be up early, taking your stuff to the venue, setting up, potentially meeting people elsewhere and herding them to the venue, running the event and then clearing up anything that can’t be left. That’s not including the months of keeping track of payments, making sure everything is paid for, everything arrives/is bought (important if you do a raffle) and keeping everyone updated as things happen (payment deadlines, exciting announcements, housekeeping things etc.). That’s not including anything unexpected you may need to deal with (someone’s dietary requirements not being met despite giving notice is more common than you think). Expect to work more and play less, and you’ll be able to prepare yourself better (personal tip: wear something comfortable, set the next day aside to rest and make sure to eat and drink yourself).

Many hands make light work, so ask for help.
It's still work though...

…But Still Fun

There’s something very contagious about seeing other people enjoy an event you organised. It’s why people behind big events persevere and continue to do it, despite whatever tired and stressed-out moans they may have had in private. Even though you’ll be thinking of what needs to happen next or when, try to find a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Ask someone to take your outfit photo in between things, have a chat with a friend during a quieter moment, sit down and enjoy that cake. You’ve done a great job!

It's your tea party too, enjoy it!

Would I organise another ILD again? Definitely! Probably not as involved as this one though – just a simple tea party will be enough, I’ve done my share of unusual activities for now. And I’d love to organise a Summer ILD one day too, maybe even something bigger… that will have to wait though! Glass Bottle of Gourmand has brewed for a good year and a half before happening, so whatever idea might start in my head now needs time to develop. And my body time to rest.


  1. Thanks for sharing all of this! Honestly, this was really inspiring to read. There's meets I've been daydreaming about and now I'm thinking that maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I tried to make them happen myself...

    1. Yay, I'm glad you found it inspiring! The two meetups I organised that I was really passionate about (this and the fortune telling one back in November 2016) I was taken aback by how positiely everyone responded to them. You might be surprised how well it turns out. Maybe especially if your comm is not used to having bigger/more unusual meets :)


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