A Simple Guide to Event Planning
Organization and forethought are essential to the event planning process. The more work you do on the front end, the more enjoyable and stress-free your event will be. Bring together your people and have fun! Create lasting memories for you and your guests by following this simple guide to event planning.
1. Determine the purpose and goals of your event.
Brainstorm event planning ideas early in the process. Why are you throwing this event? And what do you want your guests to experience? What is the occasion for your event? Is this a business or personal event? What are the guest demographics? Be specific about your goals. Think about how your event will accomplish those goals. This will inform the scope of the event.
Moreover, think about objectives that will aid in achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness for a product, one objective may be to gain 100 new social media follows.
2. Compile an event team.
For smaller events, the team may consist of you and a partner. If so, well-defined roles will aid in the event planning process. For larger events, assemble a team to delegate responsibilities. Defining team members’ roles at the outset will ensure accountability. Identify a project manager for your event.
Depending on the size and nature of your event, you may wish to have chairpersons or subcommittees in the following areas: venue management, speakers, entertainment, publicity, sponsors, volunteer management, etc. For the most effective team, communicate, schedule team meetings, and set clear expectations.
3. Establish a budget.
A budget is an essential part of event planning; it sets parameters. Once you have an overall budget, begin to identify line-item costs. Most events include these expenses: venue, food and drink, entertainment, décor, staff, marketing (for business events). Include a miscellaneous category for unforeseen costs. The line-item costs will vary greatly depending upon the purpose of your event.
4. Set the date and select the venue.
Start early! Have a backup date in mind, should your dream venue be booked. Think about the number of guests, location, entertainment, catering, equipment needed, security. Additionally, will you need permits, licenses, or insurance for your event?
5. Make a planning plan.
Put together a timeline of everything that needs to get done for the event. Include deadlines and assign a person charged with completing each part of your plan. Promote and market the plan if applicable.
Distribute invitations that include essential event information: date and time, location, RSVP details, requested attire, and any additional information that your guests should know prior to attending the event. Think about when you want your guests to receive their invitations and when you would like to receive RSVPs.
7. Plan for the day of the event.
Put together a complete event agenda from set-up to clean-up. Be as detailed as possible!
- Confirm entertainment, speakers, vendors, etc. Check in with your event planning team, vendors, location. Make sure all parties involved are ready for the event.
- Have fun at your event!
- Post-event reflection. Determine what went well and what did not. Write down what you would improve upon for the next event. How will you measure whether your event was a success? Return to your event goals (step 1) and think about whether those goals were achieved. Create a survey if helpful in evaluating success.
These steps will aid in your event planning process. Stay organized and goal-oriented. Extra work before the event will lead to an easier and less stressful event for you. Happy event planning!