Did you know that event planners rank in the top ten most high-stressful jobs in America? This is owing to the long hours and great pressure they are under.
There is no denying that it’s tough to organize special events. Preparing and arranging a small meeting with only five people can be tough enough. Now, visualize planning a big festival with big-name performers and 100,000 people coming. Can you picture the stress?
While event coordination may be tough, it can also be thrilling and beneficial. Also, event planning isn’t brain surgery once you know the ropes. Instead, it’s all about precise planning.
We will share a guideline, and while each event is unique, we will recommend some practical tips and best practices that you can use for every event.
Start Planning Special Events Early
Beginning as soon as possible is the first and most important guideline of successful event preparation!
Whether your event is planning a wedding or a bigger musical festival, you should start preparing at least four to five months in advance, ideally six months. Even for smaller functions, organize the event at least one month prior.
Plan Your Budget
We’ve already stated how vital it is to organize your event early, but you should also prepare your budget early. After all, without a financial budget, you have no event!
Your budget will affect many aspects of your event, so while nothing is etched in stone, it is important to know what you can spend before you start organizing.
Your budget should include the following key elements:
- The venue’s rental fee and any applicable insurance that is required
- The expenses related to catering, including food and beverage
- Decoration costs, be they inside the event or outside
- Entertainment expenses include audio and visual media, including handling equipment hire and movement
- Travel and accommodation costs for all key players appearing at the event
- Advertising and marketing, including printing of cards, place cards, name cards, etc
- Any event management software, for example, ticketing software, etc
- Staff and volunteers, and helpers for any aspect of the event
- Surprise costs or contingencies. At least 20% of your budget should be planned for surprise expenses
Once you’ve contracted some suppliers, make sure also to keep updating your budget with how much money you’ve actually spent on the project. This will keep you in the loop as to your expenditure.
Choosing Your Venue
The venue selection can literally make or break your event success. In choosing an event venue, you should take the following into account:
- Again, if this is a significant event, plan it at least 4-6 months in advance, preferably more
- Avoid booking during school holidays when venues tend to be more costly
- Check for national and religious holidays
- Confirm dates with important speakers, VIPs, and key attendees
After deciding on a date, you can look at possible available venues. However, here are some factors to consider while picking a location:
- Size of venue, depending on the number of attendees
- The location of your venue should be near to public amenities. If you want to invite people from afar, make sure the venue is near an airport or train station. Also, take into consideration how near accommodation is
- Is there enough parking or public transportation access?
- Check for all-gender restrooms, accessible entrances, lifts, etc
- Check whether you need to get supplementary insurance, which may increase your overall cost
- Check for the venue’s acoustics, notably for conferences and presentation speeches
- Consider hidden fees, deposits, and cancellation charges
It’s probably best to draw out a checklist before heading out to check venues. Once there, it is easier to tick all the boxes and this way you will not forget anything.
Get a Strong Management Team To Support You
Even if it’s a small event, it is always preferable to share the burden with others. Therefore, an event team should not be too large. It is, however, critical to choose a Project Event Manager to oversee and monitor the entire team.
Assign roles and duties to various members of your team. If you have a small team, you can delegate many duties to one individual.
The following are some of the most frequent roles on an event team:
- Manager of all things venue
- Manager of, again, all things entertainment
- Catering manager who handles food and beverages
- Marketing manager
- Staff manager managing everything in the human resource part of the event
By allocating responsibilities to various team members, you can assure accountability for each event team member. This increases productivity and the likelihood of the event’s success. As they say in the classics, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved!’
Adopting a reputable event management software package will also assist you in managing the whole team, delegating duties, and tracking each team member’s success based on their assigned responsibilities. For example, to keep track of the approaching event date, you could use a countdown app. These can keep you abreast of progress and if everything is on track for the big day!
An Event Without a Plan Is Nothing More Than a Dream!
While planning and organizing successful special events can be challenging, the tips we’ve shared above can be a solid foundation for planning your next event’s success.
Above all, the key to effective event planning is a deep understanding of your prospective guests. The better you understand how you can give value to them, the more probable you can build an ideal event for them, and the greater the likelihood of success.
Remember to keep a positive attitude and not be afraid of unexpected surprises, in any event, you’re organizing! Doing this will help to guarantee that your event is a success!
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