Planning a memorable event can often seem like a daunting task at first, how many people do you invite? What's the budget? Is there enough parking? What if it rains? ...There are so many things to remember and just knowing where to start can often be overwhelming! But don't panic, we've got you covered.
Whether it's a birthday party, wedding reception or business conference, planning the perfect event needn't be stressful if you follow our 10 useful tips.
1 - First thing's first
Writing out a list can help you keep track of what's needed.
Make a rough draft of everything you think you might need for the event, you can always add and re-arrange things as the event starts to take shape but this will help you create a clear picture in your mind of everything you may need. It might also be handy to number your list in order of importance to help you get the most pressing things done first.
2 - Create a Budget
Let's face it, we all want to hang out in beautiful venues to get great pictures for our Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds, but keeping a close eye on how much you are spending is essential to running a successful event.
Once your list is complete, allocate a rough amount next to each item and keep an eye on the total. This will help you plan each area of the event around your budget and will prevent you from splashing the cash a little too much!
3 - Create a guest list
You can't plan much unless you know who's going to be attending your event, so it's time to get the notebook out and make another list.
Write down the name of everyone you would like to attend and don't forget to factor in their partners and plus ones (if applicable).
If you need a VIP list, make sure you highlight the names of everyone you want to feel extra special – check with your client to see who they want to really impress and upgrade their experience!
It's best to double check the list with a colleague or your client before sending out the invites - no one likes the embarrassment of forgetting to invite someone!
If you’re planning a wedding, the guest list is determined by the bride and groom – follow these tips for the perfect summer wedding
4 - Where's the party?
Time for the fun bit! You're ready to search the internet, trawl through your event planner’s diary and start speaking to suppliers to find the perfect venue!
Keep in mind the theme and feel of your party to ensure the venue fits in with the overall effect of the event - you wouldn't want a children's party held in an 18th-century manor house.
Won over by the venue? Wait!
Check your guest list and budget against what the venue is offering, then double check it’s suitable with your client. They have the final say, so if you get a ‘no’, it’s back to the drawing board!
5 - Set the Date
OK, it sounds obvious, but you can’t fully plan the event until you know when it’s being held!
Not only will this allow you to plan and book services like catering and entertainment, but it will also help you set and stick to deadlines. Some things will need booking well in advance whilst other things can be completed nearer the time – knowing that frees up some head space to focus on the matter in hand.
Keep in mind any outside factors like major holidays - bank holidays, religious holidays and half-terms - as this may seriously affect your event.
6 - Food and Drink
Chances are, your guests are going to need something to eat – that doesn’t necessarily mean a four-course meal with wine pairing! At the very least, guests would expect nibbles so your caterer and waiting staff is a priority you won’t want to forget!
Depending on your event and food requirements, caterers can often get booked up months in advance. Once your date is set and you’ve got an idea of guest numbers, make contact with your caterer and get them booked in.
Don’t forget to take note of the dietary requirements of your guests so the caterer can accommodate them.
7 - Let Me Entertain You
Silence is golden…except when it’s in a room full of your important guests! Keep the party atmosphere going with some great music!
Whether you choose to hire a band, DJ or just make your own playlist – make sure your music fits the style and theme of the event. You may have a number of generations in one room so try and select music that will be enjoyed by all.
8 - You’re Invited…
It’s time to officially invite your guests to your amazing event!
Whether you choose to create the invitations yourself, hire a company to design them for you, or send out e-invitations - make sure you choose invites that are eye-catching and follow the theme of your event.
Give your guests enough time to respond – this will also allow you some time to plan ahead and prepare everything so that your event runs smoothly.
9 - The Devil’s in the Detail
You’re almost done, so now it’s time to think of the smaller details that really make a difference to your guest’s experience.
Things like table decorations, lighting, seating plans and place cards will all need to be thought about and created. Depending on the type of event, you may want to speak to your client about goody bags – speak to local businesses who may want to donate supplies and advertise their brand.
10 - Congratulate yourself
Phew, there’s been a lot to plan but you’re finally done! Now you can sit back and relax before the big event.
For your own peace of mind, it’s worth creating a last-minute checklist to make sure everything is in place and running smoothly.
Once you have enjoyed your event, don’t forget to thank your guests for coming.
We’re sure everyone will have a fantastic time and will want to see the pictures of their incredible night, why not create your own hashtag for your guests to use, this will allow everyone to see all of the images from the event and share them on their social media pages! It’s great exposure for you as the event planner too!
Are you a natural at event planning? You should turn it into a career!
Learn more about our events planning course here