Kinky Event Planning

Deciding to go to a kinky event/ conference can be exhilarating, frightening, and sometimes – overwhelming. I’ve attended a fair number of conferences and when planning my latest foray, I thought a handy breakdown of how to go about would be helpful.

Before you begin – pick a conference to attend. We even have a handy list to help you. My advice is to pick one close to home, to ease the comfort level. Conversely, some will say to go far so you won’t run the risk of running into someone you know. My first was just an hour down the road, and with people I had attended events with before (and plenty of new people). Lots of local people flock to nearby (within three hour drive), so if you do choose to go far away remember many people in that locale will know each other. Place, cost, and duration are just some of the things you will have to consider when choosing a conference.

Alright, you’ve picked one you like. It seems to offer the play opportunities you want, so now it is time to plan.

Ninety Days Out
Commit to the kinky event. Pay the entrance fee and figure out where you will stay. Don’t leave lodging until last, hotels fill up quickly and a place to rest and retreat from the crowds is essential. If it is a camping locale, decide if you will stay in a nearby hotel, a cabin on the grounds, or a tent. To decide, figure out your crowd tolerance. If you can hang around the action all day and be alright, a cheaper, farther hotel is right for you. If your anxiety gets ratcheted up with large groups of people, pay the extra amount and stay close so you can retreat behind closed doors. Last thing to consider – how far do you want to walk after you have had a scene? Do you go hard in a scene and feel drained at the end? Then stay as close as you can, so you are not walking a block or two when you have top or bottom drop

Start saving. You must anticipate paying for the following items – hotel, hotel incidentals, wifi, meals, snacks, gas to the venue, and vendor wares. I’ve paid between $300 to over $1,000 for a weekend away. Save, so money doesn’t stress you out.

Ask for time off work. Determine what days (if any) you will need off work. I always recommend that if you have the time you should definitely take an extra day after you get back to unpack, unwind and recover. Arrange babysitting, pet sitting, house sitting – budget those expenses.

Sixty Days Out
How will you get there and how will that affect your schedule? If you are driving, you need less recovery time. If you are flying, figure out how you will get from the airport to the hotel, and some people need a few hours to recover from flying so consider that. Pay for plane tickets, or plan for tolls and parking fees (especially if you’re on the East Coast). Find your route and lock it in.

Thirty Days Out
Start soliciting play dates, if that is something you want to do. If you are going with a partner, then you may already have a game plan. Dark Odyssey provides a community board for people to talk, invite people and plan impromptu parties. Fill your schedule to the brim! Will you go to everything? No! But a party planner knows that not everyone shows up, so don’t worry that you are being rude. Instead if you feel like doing something at the moment, you know you have some place you can go. Do try to keep the dates you’ve made with individual people, though – it is rude to stand someone up. If you must cancel, let them know as soon as you can so they find alternate arrangements. If you do solicit play-dates, never EVER agree to meet in a room or a secluded place. Meet in a dungeon with an approved Dungeon Monitor. Safety first. You can meet some great people by picking up play, but you NEVER have to stay in a situation in which you don’t feel totally right. So search for play dates, parties, meet-ups, dinners, get-togethers. It’s hard to put yourself out there, I know, but I’ve met so many great people this way. You won’t regret it. Lock the schedule down. (Of course it’s subject to change!)

Now that you have a rough idea of what you will be doing, plan outfits for it. Of course, you will need clothes for sleeping in, hanging out in, and eating (don’t wear fetish wear to a restaurant, duh!) but for the ‘kinky events’ you will want to plan what fetish-wear you will want to put on. Doing so early will allow you to fill in any gaps in your wardrobe. Need black stockings? Need to order a crinoline? A new corset? Now is the time.

2 Weeks Out
Plan your meals. Sometimes you will have bring every meal (especially in a camp environment) but more often than not, there are restaurants nearby. Find out what they are, when they are open and how much they cost. You don’t want to spend all your money at restaurants, so shop for some snacks that will serve those times you want something light. My favorites are KIND bars, almonds, fruit and chocolate. And always make sure you have plenty of water. Keep alcohol to a minimum when at these places, you don’t want something that impairs your judgement.

While budgeting, set aside an amount you will want to spend at the vendors. Conventions will often list their vendors ahead of time and you can look on their site (if they have one) for the kind of merchandise they sell. But be choosy. If you are dying for that piece of latex, remember the cheapest option may not be to buy during the convention, but it is the best way to make sure you get that perfect fit. Strike your balance. There will be plenty of vendors selling toys – now is the time to get that new thing you want to try out. Some eschew the vending area totally – for budget and personal reasons. Do what is best for you, but now is the time to budget.

One Week Out
Read the schedule. A final one should be out by now, and you can lock some things into place. If the event offers classes, attend at least one a day. Never stop learning! Even as BDSM teachers, we still attend classes. They can be invaluable and give you awesome ideas for play.

Plan accessories. I like to joke that I have a tiny hat problem because I have so many tiny hats, but accessories are a real thing – even for guys. Make sure you have enough socks, stocking, earrings, necklaces or whatever you wear and pack them separately.

Check in with your play-dates and make sure they are still coming to the event and are still planning a scene with you.

Start packing! (OK, I NEVER pack this early, but you do you)

One Day Before
Confirm any sitters, confirm hotel plans, check the weather if you’re driving, check in for you flight if you’re not.

Get ready. And HAVE FUN!

One aside for after – make sure to process everything you saw, heard and felt afterwards. That can take some time and is well worth it. Self care is the best care, make sure you do it after the event.

Now that you’ve got one event down, you’re a pro – go forth and have fun!

Keep it kinky!

 

 

 

photo credit: elizabeth nolan brown IMG_4786 via photopin (license)

photo credit: dklimke Artsy glass dongs via photopin (license)

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