Whether you have been assigned the task by your company to host a seminar or expo, you’re in charge of your best friends bridal shower, or you are throwing the poshest gala of the year, the key to a successful event is having a written plan with all the details.
Where To Start On Your Event Planning
The first step is to decide on dates that work for the event. The next step is to find the location where the event will be held. Once these two pieces are in place, the real planning can begin. There are many pieces to any event including catering, entertainment, audio/video set up, seating, parking, equipment rental, centerpieces, decorations, and more. If you enjoy doing the planning and have the time, you are capable of pulling off a great event. If you don’t have time or desire, hiring an event planner may be your very next step.
Event planners have the expertise and the contacts to line up the event of your dreams. When you meet with your event planner, they will ask questions to find out your objective, your style, your budget, and all the details you want to be included. From there they go to work and will generally set up additional meetings to have you sample food if needed, review color schemes, and listen to demo recordings for bands or entertainers when necessary.
If you don’t use an event planner, you may want to assemble a team and begin to assign tasks.
- Date and Time
- Event Type – Wedding, fundraiser, seminar
- Guest List
Create A Budget
- Staffing (servers, bartenders, registration, setup, cleanup
- Entertainment (speaker, band, DJ, performer)
- Equipment Rental (Audio/Visual, tents, tables, chairs, bars, lighting, stage)
- Marketing & Branding (Invitations, Ads, Banners, Signs)
- China & Glasses
Choose A Theme
It’s fun to create a buzz about your event. Getting a hashtag # as people post or talk about it increases the eyes about your event.
Once you have a theme, you can begin to choose colors, decorations, and entertainment.
You want to create an experience so that your guests not only anticipate the upcoming event but have fond memories of it through the years.
Choose Your Food
Will your event have a sit-down dinner, buffet, or passed appetizers? Keep in mind food allergies and include gluten and peanut-free options for your guests. Be creative to allow the food to intertwine with your theme, when possible.
Make sure what is required for liquor permits and licensing. Some event venues have a liquor license and others will require that you have a caterer with a liquor license if you plan to serve alcohol.
Choose Your Entertainment
There are many options when it comes to entertainment.
- Acrobatic Performers
Whether your guest list is small or large, every event has a certain amount of marketing needed.
Some marketing options:
- Printed invitations
- Facebook event creation
- Eventbrite or Evite for tickets and RSVP
- Listing on various event sites Eventbrite, Facebook, and local sites
- Ads on radio, TV, and social media
- Email campaigns
The sooner you can schedule your caterer, entertainers, rental equipment, photographers, staff, etc, the less chance that you will have to scramble to find people at the last minute. Many places and companies book up as much as a year in advance, so reserving your top choices early is important.
Check Your Checklist
Have a written checklist is important. Whether it is online or actual paper, there is no way to remember everything if you don’t have it in front of you. We’ve found some great options for checklists & budgets.
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