Whether you are considering to throw a music event, conference, company celebration or exhibition, you will need a great deal of resources and planning.
Given that events are so wide ranging and can be customised to fit any need, the best practices for effective event planning also vary widely. However, there are some tricks and tips for the event planning novice to use and ensure the event has a long-lasting buzz!
1. Set your Goals Clearly
Knowing exactly what you want to achieve from the event will help save time and money. Most of the times, event planning demands more effort and time than originally anticipated so maybe you would want to consider if a significant investment of resources is necessary and whether your organisation can commit to making the planned event a success.
Does it reflect your company’s values/mission/goals? Will you need support from outside the organisation to make it happen? Will you need a sponsor? Are the timelines realistic? Who is your target audience? What is the budget? How will you measure the success of the event? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start planning space rental, seating arrangements or sound system.
2. Decide on Whether you Will Need a Professional Event Planner
If you are hosting a large number of people, you may find the help of a professional event planner valuable. This is because the more people you are expecting to come to the event, the more detailed planning will be required. And, details can be a pain, especially if you are expecting lots of children (i.e. planning a company picnic) that will also have to be entertained throughout the event. A good event planner will also have a Plan B in case Mother Nature decides to send a thunderstorm your way and threatens to turn your outdoor event into a disaster.
Finally, professional event planners are full of fresh ideas that can make the difference between a good event and a great event. Professional event planners will help you with anything from music for your corporate event to the menu choice. Plus, with an event planner organising things, you can spend more time with your guests and relax.
3. Make Sure you Have Plenty of Time
Effective event planning may require planning that begins as much as 12 months in advance, depending on the scope of the event and, of course, its size. Although it may sound like a really long lead time, it’s barely that if you consider that you will have to take into consideration your attendees’ schedules, vendors’ deadlines, availability of suppliers and venues, time required for ordering, printing, and sending invitations, and competition (what other events are set for the days you are considering that could affect attendance). Maybe there is a large trade show scheduled for the same day. This will make finding lodging difficult for out-of-towners coming to your event.
Tip: If you want to host the event on the company’s property, remember that you will have to provide everything, from tables and chairs to dishes and tents. So, it’s not free as you may have originally thought.
4. Make Seating & Space Arrangements
Space planning is important so that your guests feel comfortable rather than bumping into each other when they slide out their chair to sit. Also, the number of people that you intend to host is important. For example, for cathedral seating, you’ll need to provide 6 sq.ft/person while for dancing 2-4 sq.ft/person. Cocktail parties are great if they allow 5-6 sq/ft of space (if they are standing) or 8 sq.ft (if seated) per guest. The same applies to space allowance between tables.
5. Choose your Vendors Wisely
You can either ask your other vendors for some recommendations or take note of the things you love when, for example, you attend parties. If you like a band, ask for their card, and so on. And, when you narrow down your options, you can expect vendors to bend rates (negotiate!), or you can ask for more creative solutions, so you stay right on budget.
Creating a blueprint of the event will help you keep all information in one place so you can plan the event more effectively. So, make sure you include your budget, contacts, correspondence, food and beverage, floor plans, décor, venue, guest list, seating plans, sound and lighting, insurance, and expenses, as well as transportation, and enjoy the event when the times comes!