18 Event Planning Tips
Event organizers are in high demand as more and more people want to celebrate life’s special moments. The planning process for an event can be a challenge, but with careful organization, a good event planning checklist and a few key tips, you can pull off a spectacular event that your guests will never forget.
18 Amazing Tips for Event Planners
There’s a lot that goes into event planning. Anything from choosing the right space to arranging food and beverages needs to be considered. Additionally, everything needs to go off without a hitch if your event is to be a success.
That being said, you can get caught up in the fine details and stress yourself out if you’re not careful, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.
We’ve put together a list of 18 amazing tips for event organizers that will help take your event planning skills to the next level.
1. Learn About Event Management
If you want to know how to start an event planning business, there are plenty of excellent resources out there. Event management is a specific field of study that can teach you the ins and outs of planning an event. It covers topics such as venue selection, logistics, marketing, budgeting and more.
If you’re serious about becoming an event planner, consider pursuing a degree in event management or even taking some online courses to give yourself a head start. There are also specialized certification programs you can pursue.
There are plenty of skills you can learn from programs like these. For example, you’re going to be dealing with budgeting throughout your career as an event planner and learning about finance is important for any business owner.
Additionally, it’s helpful to know how to market an event so that more people will attend. Learning about marketing is also a good idea if you want to start your own event planning business.
There are plenty of other courses you can take as well, such as ones on catering and hospitality. These will give you a better understanding of the industry as a whole and how to work with different types of clients.
No matter what type of education or training you pursue, always remember that experience is the best teacher. Try to get as much hands-on experience as possible by planning small events for your family and friends or volunteering with a local charity.
2. Have a Comprehensive Event Plan
Your event plan should be a comprehensive document that outlines everything related to your event, from the vision and objectives to the logistical details. This to-do list will help you stay organized, save time and keep you on track as you work out your project plan. It’s also a great resource for the team and guests from the organization or group you are planning the event for.
Make sure to include the following in your event plan:
- Vision and objectives
- Event timeline
- Venue information
- Guestlist including contact information
- Menu and catering details
- Audio/visual requirements
- Transportation and parking information
If you’re a new event planner, look online or in your local library for an example of what an event plan should contain and how it should be formatted.
Keep your own copy of this document as well so that you can use it as a template when you are hired by others to plan their events. There are plenty of templates online too.
You should also have a promotional plan that outlines how you will market your event. The event program is also a critical document that should be included in your event plan.
This document will list the order of events and who is participating in each one. In addition, the event schedule should include the times of key events and who is responsible for each task.
An event checklist is also an essential part of your event plan. This is a list of things you need to do before, during, and after the event.
Make sure that your checklist includes tasks such as sending out invitations two months in advance (at least), negotiating contracts with vendors six weeks in advance (at least), confirming all details one month in advance (one week if possible), and reviewing all event details two weeks in advance (one day if possible).
Just as you do with your event planner, put your checklist into a template after you’ve created it.
Additionally, before you start planning an event, think about who your target audience is. This will help you decide on the type of venue, menu, entertainment and more. For example, a corporate event might require more formal attire than a birthday party would.
Keep in mind that your event plan is not set in stone and can be amended as needed.
The more comprehensive you are, the easier it will be to plan your next event. Your target audience will also appreciate having all of this information in one place.
3. Choose Your Event Space Carefully
When planning the perfect venue, choosing your event space is one of the most important decisions you will make. If it’s a corporate function, then location and size are critical, but if it’s a wedding or other personal event, things such as ambiance might be more important than location.
Start by making a list of the features you need for each type of event in order to get an idea of what you’re looking for.
Then, make a list of potential event spaces in your area and set up appointments to visit them. When you meet with the venue manager, bring along your list of requirements as well as a few ideas on how you might use their space if they do not have any event packages.
Don’t forget to ask if they have a preferred list of vendors and what their policies are regarding alcohol, decorations and other potential event details. Try not to contract with the venue until after you know how many people will be attending your event since this might affect your choice of location.
Also, find out if there are technology perks like Wi-Fi and on-site IT at the venue location, as they can simplify your planning and help guests connect.
4. Put Effort into Event Branding and Design
Your event branding and design will be the first thing people see when they arrive at your event. It’s also something that you can use to help promote your event through social media, print materials or even on a website.
When you’re ready to take care of these important details, start by creating an overall theme for your event. This might be something as simple as using the same color scheme throughout all of your branding materials or it could be a more specific theme, such as a vintage circus for a carnival-themed event.
Once you have your theme in place, start designing logos, fonts and other graphics that will help to communicate your brand. If you’re not a designer, hire someone to do this for you. A professional will be able to create something that is cohesive and visually appealing.
Next, start designing your event branding materials including invitations, gift bags and promotional items such as pens or lanyards with your logo on them. If you have the budget for it, consider hiring an event designer to help you with these details so that they are cohesive and professional-looking.
When designing your event’s website, choose a theme that matches or complements your other branding materials. You can also use the same colors for each page of your site as well as include graphics from previous events on this new one if applicable.
Besides the event design, you want to have an event name. The name of the event should be unique, but it also needs to fit your brand’s image. For example, if you’re hosting a Halloween party at a nightclub called “Club Purple”, then calling it something like “Purple Party” would work well because both names are related to each other and they match in color scheme as well.
Don’t forget to create signage for your event that will help direct people where to go. This could be something as simple as a large banner at the entrance or directional signs throughout the venue.
Creating a cohesive design for your event is an important way to make a good first impression and helps promote your event long before it actually takes place.
5. Work Out an Event Budget
Before you start planning your event, it’s important to have a realistic idea of how much money you’re willing to spend. This includes the cost of the venue, catering, decorations, entertainment and any other miscellaneous expenses that might come up.
If you’re not sure where to start, try using a worksheet to help estimate the cost of your event. Once you have a ballpark number, start finding ways to reduce the cost so that you stay within your budget.
One way to save money is by doing some of the work yourself such as designing and printing invitations, creating signage or making centerpieces. You can also find affordable catering options or look for discounts on decorations and supplies from local stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.
If you’re working within a budget, it’s also important to consider the cost of staff for your event. While you might not be able to hire full-time employees, there are many freelance companies that offer part-time workers at an hourly rate which is much more affordable when compared to a salary.
By creating a budget and sticking to it, you can avoid any last-minute surprises that might affect the overall success of your event.
6. Design a Strong Marketing Plan
When you’re planning an event, it’s important to create a strong marketing strategy in order to get the word out about your event and drive attendance. The first step is choosing which platform(s) will be most effective for reaching your target audience.
For example, if you’re hosting a networking mixer at a local restaurant then Facebook might be your best bet because most people who use social media are Millennials and Gen Xers which means that’s where their attention is focused.
If you were to host an outdoor concert instead then using Instagram stories to promote it would be more effective since they’re mobile-friendly and easy on the eyes.
Once you’ve decided which platform(s) to use, it’s time to start creating content. This should include a mix of teaser images or videos, quotes from speakers or attendees, and information about the event such as the date, time and location. You can also create a custom hashtag for people to use when they post about your event so that it’s easy for others find it on social media.
Media relations are also an important part of marketing an event. This includes reaching out to local publications and bloggers to see if they’re interested in writing about your event. You can also offer them free tickets or a complimentary meal in exchange for coverage.
If you’re planning an in-person event, consider including a QR code on the invitation that links to more information about your organization and what attendees can expect from attending this particular gathering. This is also helpful if there are any changes that need to be made last minute as people will always have access to the most up-to-date information about your event.
Also, hiring a professional photographer is always a good idea when planning an event. Not only will they help capture all the important moments for your attendees, but it is also important to have high-quality images on hand that you can use in future marketing materials or promotional campaigns.
Lastly, don’t forget about email marketing! You can use tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact which allow you to design beautiful newsletters and send them out for free (up to a certain number of subscribers).
These tools also allow you to track how many people open and click-through your email, so you can see which messages are resonating with your audience.
7. Consider Having an Event App
If you’re planning an event, it might be worth looking into creating a mobile app for your attendees. There are many benefits to having an event app such as:
- Easy access to important information like maps and schedules makes navigating the venue easier than ever before.
- You can send push notifications with updates or reminders about upcoming talks or events.
- Interactive features like a voting ballot or Q&A session can keep attendees engaged and entertained.
- The ability to sell tickets and merchandise right from the app makes it easy for guests to purchase what they need without having to leave the event.
While there are many different event apps on the market, most of them are fairly affordable which makes them a great investment for any type of event. If you’re not sure where to start, try contacting a local app development company to see what they can do for you.
8. Hire Amazing Staff
One of the most important aspects of any successful event is the staff that you hire. Not only do they need to be professional and courteous, but they also need to be knowledgeable about the event itself and what’s going on so that they can answer any questions that guests might have.
When hiring staff for your event, always make sure to have them fill out an application and provide references. This will allow you to see what kind of experience they’ve had in similar situations before making a final decision on who gets hired.
You’ll also want someone who is going over everything that needs finishing before the event starts so that everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises on the day itself.
If you’re having an outdoor venue, then it’s a good idea to hire security guards who can keep an eye out for any troublemakers or potential problems like fights breaking out among guests (or even just inebriated people wandering around).
9. Have a Backup Plan
No matter how well you plan an event, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan in place for every possible scenario so that you’re not caught off guard if something unexpected happens.
For example, what if the venue is double-booked and you have to move the event last minute? Or what if half of your guest list doesn’t show up because of a snowstorm? Or you need to move everything under tents because of rain?
Having a backup plan means that you’re always prepared for the worst-case scenario and can handle anything that comes your way. It might not be easy, but it’s definitely better than being caught off guard and having to deal with unhappy guests or a ruined event.
By having a backup plan, you’ll be able to handle any situation that comes up and keep your event running smoothly.
10. Pamper Your Sponsors
Sponsors are an important part of any event, and it’s important to make sure that they feel appreciated. After all, they’re investing money in your event so you want to make sure that they get the most out of it.
One way to do this is by pampering them with exclusive benefits like early access to the venue or seating in a special area reserved just for them (and their guests). You can also offer them discounts on food, drinks and other things that might interest them.
Decor and theme are also key to an event’s success, and they are very important to your sponsors. As such, you should always make sure to keep them in the loop about any changes or updates that you make. This will ensure that their branding and logo are prominently displayed throughout the event and that they get the most exposure possible.
11. Create an Event Hashtag
One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning events is not having an event hashtag. A hashtag lets attendees know what’s going on with your event, and it helps them to connect with other people who are attending.
This also allows you to track conversations about the event on social media platforms like Twitter so that you can see what kind of buzz is being generated by attendees before they even arrive at your venue! This can help make sure that everything goes smoothly without any unexpected surprises because everyone already knows what’s going on.
12. Include a Separate Cloud Storage Drive
Having cloud storage is great for events because it allows you to store photos, videos and other files on the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. This means that if anything happens during an event (like power outages), then there will still be access to important information such as guest lists or registration forms.
It also allows you to keep track of how many people have RSVP’d so far, which will help ensure that they arrive at the correct time and place on day one! If there are any changes made throughout the planning process—such as adding new sponsors or vendors – then this will all be reflected accurately within your cloud storage system.
13. Have a Transportation Plan
Make sure that everyone can get to and from the event without any trouble. It’s important to have transportation plans in place for attendees who are coming from out of town or traveling by plane or train so they don’t miss out on anything! This is especially true if there will be alcohol served at your event as well since people might need a safe way to get home.
Good resources to use for transportation include Uber, Lyft and taxi services like Yellow Cab Co. Putting a Google Map with marker on the event website is also helpful so people can see the address and direction to where they need to go before making their way to the event.
14. Make the Food & Beverages Count
Food and beverages are an important part of any event. You want to make sure that your guests are well taken care of, but you don’t want to spend the entire budget on catering either! So how do you find a happy medium?
One option would be hiring food trucks or having some local restaurants cater to different parts of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner). This will keep costs down while also providing guests with a more personalized experience.
If you’re having an outdoor event and know that rain is likely to fall, then bring umbrellas or tents for everyone so they can still enjoy their meal without getting soaked in the process! It’s all about thinking ahead of time and being prepared for any situation.
15. Have an Entertainment Plan
Make sure that there is always something for your guests to do. It’s important to have entertainment plans in place during events so people aren’t bored or left standing around waiting for the next thing to happen. This could be anything from live music performances to games and contests. Interim entertainment can include activities such as photo booths and relaxation and guest engagement areas.
16. Keep Your Guests Informed
It’s important to keep your guests informed about any changes or updates, so they know what’s going on at all times. This could be done in person by sending them an email with the latest news from you or including updates in a printed program. You can also keep everyone updated by posting updates on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Make sure to use the right hashtag so people can find all of your posts related to the event easily!
17. Invest in New Event Technology
Events look different than they did before and now you have interactive virtual events, hybrid events and webinars in addition to in-person events. New technology can transform any type of event from blah to buzzworthy, so be sure to take advantage of it to make the experience even better!
You’ll want to invest in things such as lighting systems, speakers and microphones for in-person speeches and presentations.
Some virtual event ideas include:
- Drones with cameras attached so you can capture aerial views at heights not possible by humans.
- Virtual reality headsets that allow attendees to experience immersive worlds from the comfort of their own homes.
- Augmented reality glasses that superimpose digital images onto real-world objects.
- Virtual live concerts that include video performances from musical artists.
18. Collect Staff and Attendee Feedback
After the event is over, it’s important to collect feedback from both your staff and attendees to measure success and other key details. You should ask them what they liked best about the event so that you can do more of those things at future events.
Ask where improvements could be made to elevate the event experience or if there were any problems during planning or execution that need addressing soon after everything has settled down a bit.
This will allow you to learn more about what went well and where improvements can be made for future events to make the attendee experience a positive one.
It doesn’t hurt to take notes during the event so you can make any necessary changes next time around, such as changing locations or catering companies.
Use Our Tips to Make Your Next Event Fantastic
Planning an event can seem like a daunting task. But with these tips, you’ll be able to plan your next event in no time! And remember: don’t forget about the little things that make any party memorable—from decorations and food, right down to seating arrangements. Best of luck to you!
This article, “18 Event Planning Tips” was first published on Small Business Trends