Last week, I traveled up to Washington, D.C. to participate in the monthly meeting for the National Capital Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP NATCAP) to prepare for their upcoming Expo in November. By attending the educational program “Tips and Best Practices for Smooth Ceremonies” at the meeting, I was able to learn about the panelists’ experience working with and hosting government, elected, military officials and international dignitaries. I found the takeaways on hosting a ceremony to be especially interesting, so I thought I would share some quick, fun facts from the session:
- Take into the consideration of the goal, audience or outcome of the ceremony. Basic ceremony types recognize an organization, an individual or a special event
- A ceremony must include invitations, collateral material, national anthems, positions of honor, introductions, flag displays and Color Guard
- The host country flag should also be placed to the right of the speaker (from the speaker’s position, not the audience’s view)
- Within the U.S., it is appropriate for civilians to place their hand over their heart during the National Anthem, during the passing of the U.S. Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and the movement of a casket
- The most important consideration of a ceremony is the memory and the feelings that the attendees walk away with
Also pertaining to government groups are the changes to the military travel policy that went into effect with the new per diem rates the first of this month. Troops on longer trips will be required to take advantage of weekly or monthly rates and those traveling on temporary duty lasting more than 30 days will not get the full per diem rate. These are factors hotels should keep in mind when bidding on or accepting reservations for long-term stays.
For more information on planning government or military events in Virginia Beach, or details on changes in government and military travel, contact me, Linda Eisan.