Organizing an event can be difficult. You have to consider the big decisions and every little detail. Every problem has its solution in event planning – a lesson you can apply when planning the next event. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when planning your event:
1. don’t get carried away by the little things – keep your head above water
Getting too deeply involved in the smallest details can derail the planning process of your event completely. The larger the event, the more likely you are to be overwhelmed with little information, wasting valuable time that should have been invested in the big planning issues. During the event planning process, focus on the theme and colors, not individual decorations. Sketch out the menu rather than planning each dish. Establish an overall budget without creating a line item for each dish. Establish a calendar with milestones (signed catering contract, rented facility, invitations sent, etc.) Don’t schedule every necessary activity, or you’ll spend all your time on your schedule! Consider hiring someone to help you manage the process: a volunteer from your organization, a friend or family member, or a temporary worker.
Remember that you cannot function effectively if you are under a lot of stress. An emotional breakdown can ruin your event. An essential aspect of planning an event is keeping your cool. Keep your priorities in order. Use others to pick up, repair, and decorate. You are the planning guru. You are responsible for the proper execution of important decisions, not table decorations.
2. Invest time in food and bar planning – Keep your guests happy.
Large events, unless organized by a large group of volunteers, must be catered. Catering includes both food and bar. When choosing your caterer, make sure you have a detailed written contract that specifies the menu, bar configuration, exact costs, a precise schedule, and specific performance standards that may influence the amount you will ultimately pay. If the caterer lets you down, you should not be required to pay the amount you agreed to in the contract.
Remember that the caterer will be « invisible » to your guests. If the menu is not delicious, if the setting is not attractive and tasty, and if the bar is not working well, this will be reflected in you, not the caterer. If you are organizing an event for charitable or fundraising purposes, these elements can be critical to success. Make sure that your caterer is responsible and that you have read their recommendations before signing the contract. Your reputation depends on it.
3. Don’t rely on a handshake – put it in writing.
Almost every aspect of planning an event should be documented in a contract. From tablecloths and towels to entertainment, cleaning, facilities, and seating, make sure you have a written agreement with your supplier that clearly outlines what you are paying for, what you expect from them, and when they will provide their goods or services. This agreement documents your suppliers’ commitments to you and gives you a clear basis for evaluating their performance.
If you settle for a friendly handshake, you’re exposing yourself to disappointment and additional expense. Without a written agreement, your supplier may have overbooked their service or changed their price on you at the last minute. You can avoid this crisis by having formal written contracts that cover your needs. Should the worst happen, an arrangement also gives you a strong argument in legal proceedings regarding payments (or lack of costs)?
4. Don’t go bankrupt – Successful event planning involves a budget.
Make sure you have a clear budget for your event. If you are doing this at the request of an employer, they will give you a figure to use as a basis for planning. Of course, they will respect you if you save money. If you rely on donations or pay for the event out of your pocket, you need to keep in mind a minimum and maximum amount that you can spend. Do enough research to get a realistic idea of the various elements of event planning (catering, entertainment, facility rental, decorations, etc.) will cost.) Some of these costs will be more flexible than others. You may not be able to do much about the facility’s value, but you can make menu choices that will influence the cost of the catering. And you have a lot of leeways to negotiate affordable entertainment, whether it’s an orchestra or a one-person band. Decide which parts of your budget are most essential and finance them first. Try to buy decorations and other supplies at a discount or wholesale store. Do your homework when planning the event, and you’ll be more likely to get the most out of your money.
5. Don’t be too stressed or too relaxed.
Planning successful events requires considerable and very advanced work. This reduces the organizer’s stress level. It also ensures that the best goods and services are available at a reasonable cost. But sometimes, when things are going well before the event, one is tempted to rest on one’s laurels for a while. But beware, by the time you sit down, the roof is falling. Follow the event’s planning by finding out about others, offering to help you solve problems, or making a few important phone calls during the « downtime » when everything seems quiet. Don’t let things drag on into the next day, or they can become much bigger problems that take more time or money to fix than if you had been there to cut them off.
If you plan your events thoroughly and have a well-thought-out schedule and budget, you should plan for some time to relax. Use them as intended, not as they seem to come. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a crisis with limited resources and few options. The time to slow down and relax is usually the day of the event. Everything is in place and ready. You’ve done your job, and the event is running smoothly. You can afford to relax and enjoy the event because you were aware of everything from the earliest planning stages.