Planning an event can be challenging, particularly if you are not an experienced event planner. You want everything to be perfect (in fact, your job might depend on it), but there are many variables to consider.
Obviously, the biggest considerations in planning an event are things like speakers (if needed) and venue, but in this post we’ll focus more on the behind the scenes elements:
First, what is the goal of the event? Not just what it’s called, but its purpose. Is it a corporate event to launch a new product? Is it an annual meeting? Is it a client appreciation event? Is it a charity event, and, if so, is its main goal to raise money for the organization, to identify new donors, to raise awareness, or something else? Is it a personal event, like a holiday party or a housewarming? Once you understand the goal, use that information to guide your other decisions.
What’s the budget? Most of us aren’t fortunate enough to have unlimited budgets, so it’s helpful to have at least an idea before moving on to the next step –brainstorming. If you have champagne taste on a beer budget, you can waste a lot of time coming up with ideas that you would love but can’t possibly achieve.
If it’s a larger event and there are multiple people involved, do some brainstorming. This doesn’t have to be a formal sit-down-at-the-conference-table session, but instead you could utilize one of the many online brainstorming tools. The idea is to allow everyone to share their good ideas and use the collective brains of the group. If the event is smaller and you’re solely in charge of the planning, spend a little time envisioning what your ideal event would look like. (Keep in mind, of course, the point above about the budget!)
At this point, if you’re going to work with a professional event planner, you will at least have some basic information to help guide the conversation. The event planner will work with you to further refine your ideas and likely have some additional thoughts and suggestions. If you’re doing it DIY, now is the time to start lining up all the services you will need (e.g., catering, décor, tables, venue, lighting, sound, etc.)
You should also be creating and refining your guest list throughout this process. If you’ll be sending formal invitations, you need plenty of time to have them printed,
addressed, and sent. But even if you’re sending invitations electronically, give yourself plenty of time to review the guest list (and then review it again) to be certain you didn’t forget anyone.
Will you need a photographer? In today’s digital age, most everyone is sharing photos on social media, but a professional photographer or videographer can offer quality that you won’t get from a phone camera. (Plus, you can own the photos or videos to use as you wish.)
John Michael Exquisite Weddings and Events has been planning and catering events for over 20 years. Our number one piece of advice for creating an event you will love? Start planning now; it’s never too early!