How to Plan a Women's Conference (Part 1)

  1. Pray and get the approval and counsel of your husband.
  2. Pray and get the approval of your pastor and seek his counsel. If you are not the pastor's wife, get her input and counsel. Work alongside her if she is the type of pastor's wife that wants to be involved.
  3. Pray and decide on a theme for your conference. (I will post theme ideas in a separate post.)
  4. Pray and decide on a key note speaker. 
  5. Contact the speaker and get information on what she requires to come, love offering or a set amount, expenses, etc.
  6. Pray and decide on a date.
  7. Pray and decide if you will have one speaker and a meal or if you will have workshops. You will need to get commitments from ladies who will teach the workshops (I will write a post later entitled "Ideas For Workshops")
  8. Pray some more and decide what to do for the food. In some churches, the men are happy to serve. The food can be prepared ahead of time, or if your church men like to barbecue or fry fish, that would be great. Chicken salad croissants, grape salad or green salad and chips is another idea.
  9. Okay, you have the idea by now that prayer is a given. So from now it will be understood that you pray about every part of planning a women's retreat.
  10. Decide whether you must limit your retreat to the first 50 or 500 to sign up depending on your church's capability. One factor here will be getting volunteers to decorate tables. Most ladies conferences just let the volunteers decorate with individual themes for their tables. It makes for great conversation at the meal when you have a variety of different tables. Each table would have small favors or treats for each place setting. (Ideas for table themes in a later post.)
  11. Decide whether your retreat will be free or if there will be a fee to cover expenses. Sometimes people will be more committed if they have paid.
  12. Prepare a letter of invitation to send out to the churches. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. You could even get it professionally printed. It's up to you. I suggest a tri-fold 8 1/2 x 11 that can be folded and recipient address and return address placed on the outside. Things to include in the invitation letter: Biographical summary of your key note speaker, the theme or title of your conference, the location, date and time of your conference, a list of the workshops (if any), a place for the church's name and a place to indicate the number attending each workshop, tell them how payment should be made (if any), and your return address. We also asked for a list of names of attendees to save time at the door. Also, if you have a limited number of spaces, you will want to let then know that. You will also need to give a deadline so you can know how much food to prepare and how many supplies for the workshops, if applicable.
  13. Send the invitation letter about a month before your event with a deadline of at least a week and a half prior to the event. A few people will go over the deadline, so give yourself plenty of time.
  14. Plan for your ladies to dress alike, like white blouses and black skirts, or a certain hat or apron, etc. This way you can announce at the event, "If you need help with anything ask one of our ladies, they are the ones with ...."
  15. Collect several Door Prizes to give away by drawings. Many businesses will give tote bags, candles,etc. Be sure to give a note of thanks to these businesses in your program or bulletin.
  16. Recruit as much help as you can. You will need someone to design the invitation letter, someone to lead singing, play the piano, run the sound equipment, someone to do door prize giveaways, etc.
  17. Make up a program or bulletin to hand out at your conference with a welcome statement, schedule for the day, thanks to businesses or sponsors, and any special instructions.
(....continued in the next post)

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