The Process of Planning an Event

First, you will need an idea! It should be something relevant to your organization with a purpose. This could be where you see a need for a particular type of event, such as a fundraiser, general awareness, meeting or conference, personal event (such as an anniversary, birthday, or wedding), etc. IMG_2445 copy

What will the objective be? For a wedding, it’s fairly simple: for a couple to be married, involving a ceremony and reception that flow smoothly for their guests. For something like a meeting, the objective gets a little trickier; why are you holding this meeting, and what do you want the attendees to take away from this event?

Have a broad overview of how you want the event to be portrayed to your guests. To answer this, there are a number of questions that should be thought out: How do you want your guests to feel when they enter the event, what will the atmosphere feel like throughout the event, what will the theme of this event be? Do each of the event elements tie together to form a consistent tone?

Locate a venue that will stay true to the objective of the event. Factors that will play into this decision include location, type of venue, and the ability to achieve the atmosphere for the event.

Make a critical path. This is a chart that identifies what needs to be done leading up to the event, who needs to do each task, and the task deadline. This is particularly important if the event is months (or in some cases, years) away. It will ensure that everyone involved in the planning of the event is on track with their duties.

Contact outside vendors. Depending on the type of event, extra help will be needed from out-of-house vendors. These services could be catering, special event equipment rentals, entertainment, etc. These vendors should be closely related to the objective(s) of the event, which will ultimately appear more streamlined to the guests. For example, if the objective of a meeting is to conservatively educate employees, a DJ won’t likely be brought in for the entertainment; rather, a motivational speaker would be more appropriate. Scheduling when vendors arrive on-site is important – otherwise there will be a traffic jam of people!

Since the broad overview has already been established, the fine details will need to be determined. What have I found to be the most common details forgotten in planning for an event? Napkins, signs, and seating requirements.

Once the event is underway, it is time to manage all of the employees, volunteers, vendors, entertainment, caterers, and anyone else who is involved with the event.

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As this is just a quick overview of the steps involved in planning an event, what are other some details to be aware of?

Contracts

Rules and regulations involved in any aspect of the event

Budget and funding

Hotels and transportation for guests and speakers of the event

Marketing plan

Registration process

Post-event reports and assessments