Some think event planning is the fun part of PR. Well, of course it is! However, event planning requires extreme detail-oriented and organization skills. Event planners must plan accordingly for all unexpected occurrences. For those of you just starting out in event management (or who need a refresher), below are seven tips to help you organize and execute a successful event.
- Guests. The ability to correctly identify your audience will greatly shape your planning, day-of-show, and follow-up steps. Know where your guests will be coming from, what they’re doing after, and how your event can be the best part of their evening (or day). Remember to always give guests a take-away (or like many of us referred to them at our childhood birthday parties, a “party favor”). This shows guests your sincere appreciation for their company. Always make sure to follow-up after the event, too – both to thank them again for coming and to gain their opinion on the event’s success.
- Venue. It’s a no brainer (or at least I hope it is) that your venue must be large enough to accommodate your total guest count. If you’ve never been to the venue before day-of-show, always arrive at least one hour prior (this means before catering, flowers, etc., are scheduled to arrive, not the guests). You never know what funky challenges might occur (i.e., non-adjustable thermostat set to a whopping 96 degrees, no ramp for your three guests who cannot climb stairs).
- Signage. If you represent an organization or have a sponsor(s), make sure you credit important parties with signage. Signage should be large enough to be seen and small enough that it doesn’t become the backdrop in every candid photo.
- Budget. Plain and simple: stay within it.
- Helpers. I know everyone refers to you as the “Hostess with the Mostess,” but that doesn’t mean you didn’t (or shouldn’t) have assistants along the way. Don’t try to be a one-person team – you’ll end up fatigued and unable to enjoy (or spectate) any aspect of the event because you’ll be too busy running around like crazy. Get a team together (with individuals you can trust), delegate with purpose, and always show appreciation for your teammates.
- Cold food is a no go. The venue is amazing! There is an open bar and guests look overjoyed. They then bite into a wonderfully looking filet mignon, and their faces quiver at the taste of cold steak. Regardless of how great everything else is, guests will always remember a cold meal and talk about it in the weeks to come.
- Personal toolkit. Create your own personal toolkit and stock it with the answers to potential event crises, which will happen. Some items in my toolkit include Band-Aids, superglue, tape (Scotch Blue and Scotch Double-Sided), matches, tape measure, markers, pens, blank nametags, and a rubber doorstop.
With these seven tips, your toolkit is already half full. It’s your job to fill the rest!
Good luck and happy event planning!
— Saramaya Weissman, Account Supervisor