In this age of smart phones with cameras, instagram, twitter, tumblr and the like, anyone who wishes to plan and hold a private event must take extraordinary actions in the planning stages, or settle for the fact that all activities at the event will end up as 140 character tweets or Instagram posts. Planning starts with the very first vendor, whether it is a venue, caterer or photographer. Many caterers and event planners "for the stars" already incorporate confidentiality provisions within their own contracts, but what about the vendors who do not? How will you ensure that those supposedly trusted business people do not intentionally or unintentionally disclose private details that you require remain confidential? How about the staff hired for the day of the event? Most importantly, what about the many guests who will attend, cell phones in hand, one finger constantly on the SEND button?
One could rely on the good faith of the staff and guests. However, if you plan an event to be out of the public eye and rest your faith on good faith of others, you will be in for a mighty disappointment. People are people. Even the guests who are themselves public figures want to capture moments and be in the limelight.
So, what can be done?
You can engage a lawyer to draft a confidentiality agreement specific to your event and circumstances that all guests and vendors will sign. You will then need to figure out how and when each attendee will sign such an agreement, and whether use of electronics will be restricted or banned altogether. You will need to make sure each person does sign such an agreement and that all attendees are accounted for. The lawyer will need to work with security staff hired for the event and, most importantly, the lawyer must maintain controls over his or her law office files so that the law firm’s own employees do not inadvertently come across confidential information.