The first annual myth 

Get it right or pay the price

When approached by the Charleston City Paper to contribute to the “What’s Your Beef” issue, a thousand topics came to mind — mayoral term limits, the flooding in downtown even when it drizzles, and how our roads are in such horrible condition, just to name a few. However, I needed to restrain my rant to a word limit and avoid overwhelming you, the reader. With that in mind, I decided to write about the one thing that makes me cringe when I see my fellow event coordinators and public relations professionals across the country write it: First annual.

Those two words, generally written in all caps with several stars before and after, do to my eyes what nails on a chalkboard do to one’s ears. One’s wedding date is not a first anniversary, so why would a client’s first event be labeled first annual? For an event to be an annual event, 12 months must pass between the inaugural event and the second time the same event is thrown. There is no excuse for calling an event “first annual.” Either one doesn’t pay attention to the little details, or one is arrogant enough to believe their event, before it’s even been thrown, will be such a huge success that the attendees will demand a repeat next year. Either excuse should not be acceptable for a paying client or the intended attendees.

The following are my solutions to the problem: inaugural, premiere, first, launching, or introducing. You’re welcome. —Jonah Jeter, owner, The Becket Agency

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