Events of any sort, whether they be personal or professional, should be stress-free if you start and finish both organized and prepared. If you are efficiently and effectively planning an event, that alone will reduce the likelihood of day-of issues by 80%. The other 20%? None of us can do anything about unknown external outliers or unlucky circumstances – dealing with those takes patience (I’m still learning to be more patient, so that’s not what this post is about).
Be Smart With Your Budget | Between the venue, décor, food and beverage, entertainment and all of the miscellaneous “necessities” for the event, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the mounting costs. Ensure that you document everything and anything you might need for the event, then sort those items and ideas into three buckets: 1) Necessary, 2) Nice to Have and 3) Unnecessary. This is where you and your team, your friends, your family, and/or your partner need to be super honest with yourselves – it may sound harsh; however, assigning these categories at the beginning make budgeting adjustments so much easier. The more details you think of upfront, the more precise your budget will be – AND it’s more likely that you’ll end up sticking to said budget.
Get Technical with Your Timeline | As soon as you have a date, a detailed event timeline (Simplified offers excellent event planning tool kits!) will help guide you through the planning process and set expectations with those who are planning with you. Without a timeline — never mind, I don’t even want to think about an event without a planning timeline. Pro Tip: Utilize a cloud service like Google Drive to create your timeline so it’s easy to update on-the-go and simple to share with your team, family, friends or vendors.
Vet the Venue | Start venue screening by truly understanding the type of event you want and the number of people attending. If you can, always tour the venue in person. Seemingly perfect party locations can be easy to portray online, so make sure to do your due diligence – you amazing event planner, you. Whether the perfect venue is a cozy park, classy hotel, eclectic brewery classic ballroom or a rustic barn, the venue is a massive decision that deserves your full attention.
Figure Out Food & Beverage | Some venues have in-house chefs or preferred caterers to use, which makes life a lot easier. It goes without saying that you should also be mindful that the menu is suitable for any guests with food allergies or specific diets. The food and drinks can absolutely make or break your event. Work closely with your caterer to create a menu that is delicious, within budget and double confirm that there is enough food for your number of guests/attendees.
Stay Mindful and Alert | Events are live and in real time – you cannot pause, rewind or unplug. Event planning can be arduous considering the balancing act of logistics, external factors, human emotion and your general sanity. Planning and preparing in advance, whether that means having a back up florist or finding alternate entertainment in case the DJ or band flakes, can help you avert disaster. If you find yourself planning an event and feeling that familiar sense of stress creeping up, just remember these words from Confucius, and do your best!
Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.