One of the main goals of organizing an event is, apart from the actual event, to create an atmosphere where people can connect and form the beginning of a network. Even though the attendants of your event have something in common, they may approach that from different points of view.
Naturally, there is a difference between private events such as a wedding and professional events or conferences. But still, in most cases, not all the guests know each other when they arrive.
Create a Marker
This is a commonly used strategy. A simple example is the name tags at conferences. But there are other ways that work already when people are travelling to the event.
Send customized stickers to the guest before the event. They could for example be put on the suitcases or worn on the jacket. This will help guests recognize each other a long way before the event and give them more time to get to know each other.
If you create the stickers smartly, you could leave some room to write the guests name and phone number. Thus they can be used as business cards, but in a more informal way.
Not Everyone Is Great at Small Talk
Try to help the guests get talking. For most people, starting the conversation is the difficult part, once common ground has been established it flows more easily.
Make a “conversation starter sheet” and either distribute or place where it is easily visible. Avoid the expected questions, and think outside the box. But also keep in mind not to make the guests awkward.