Event Planning 101
Whether you’ve been asked to organize a work party, you’re recently engaged and are planning a dream wedding, or you’re working on anything in between, planning an event can be daunting (sometimes even for the pros, shh, tell no one).
Your mind might be overflowing with ideas or coming up blank. Either way, this process is going to bring order to what might be chaos! As a first step, and then a guiding framework, we recommend a walkthrough…but not just of the potential venue.
Start at the beginning. Walk through the whole event step by step. Who is coming to the event? How are they going to find out about it? Will it be an invitation-only private guest list, or will there be promotion involved? Will there be tickets or a guest list? Or will you not know who is coming ahead of time? What will your pre-event communication look like? Now the day of, how, where, and when are people arriving? What happens next? Where do they go? What is the flow? How long will they be there? Will they need parking, will they be eating, will they be drinking, will they be sitting, standing, listening, interacting? What about after the event? Is follow-up necessary? Thank you cards? Event surveys?
Walking through the event from the guest’s perspective, from point of discovery through to after the event, will give you a framework for the rest of the planning. Start with the big picture, but then don’t be afraid to get into the details. It will trigger other conversations. Different event elements will start impacting each other. For example;
- The need for promotion will dictate a timeline for other planning pieces.
- Deciding on a menu will trigger the need to ask at point of RSVP or registration for any dietary requirements.
- Knowing there will be drinking may necessitate alternative transportation for guests or accommodation arrangements.
- Considering the weather might have you creating a rain plan. For more outdoor planning ideas and strategies check out the following blog: Don’t be nervous, consider the outdoors! – The GrandWay.
- How the guests might engage with the event program might determine AV needs or lead you to include a dance floor in your site plan.
- The length of the event might require ordering outdoor washrooms or if you’re indoors, you may just need to add washroom signage, or include the washroom location in your emcee script.
- Signage needed and writing the emcee script, add those things to the now growing to-do list.
- Walking through the actual venue will prompt changes – that table can’t go there, we need an extension cord here, this area isn’t well lit for our evening program, etc.
This by no means is this a quick task, as we said, this initial and ongoing discussion becomes a guiding framework for the entire event planning process. You may realize where you need to involve experts such as:
- AV equipment needed. When considering AV equipment check out the following blog: Navigating the world of event AV – The GrandWay
- Decorator and other suppliers
Will you think of everything? Perhaps not, but as in other industries, we too have an 80-20 rule. Work really hard to plan 80% of the event, so that you have time to handle the 20% you didn’t think of or that goes wrong.
Start at the beginning. You’ve got this.