event planning

Event Planning 101

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Planning an event can seem daunting at first. From the event space, entertainment, and vendors to seating arrangements and more, there’s so much to keep track of. The best way to ensure that your event runs smoothly is by staying organized. You can follow this Event Planning 101: 8 Step Guide to Planning a Successful Event to help you stay on top of things.

Whether you’re an inexperienced event planner arranging a family gathering or a professional interested in a future in event planning, you can use this Event Planning 101 Guide when planning your next event.

Event Planning 101: Eight Steps to Planning a Successful Event

8 Steps for Successful Event

If you’ve ever read the book “How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time” by Bill Hogan, you will know that the key to getting a big task done is to break it up into small, manageable steps.

Whether you’re planning a hybrid event or a celebration, follow these simple steps to ensure that your event goes exactly as planned.

1. Set Goals

Before you can get started with the planning process, one of the most important steps is to determine what the goals for the event are. This must be done by assembling all those involved to agree upon the event’s objective.

Is it a virtual event that aims to provide information about a company, or is it one of those large events designed to celebrate women? Whatever the goal of your event, all your planning efforts should work towards achieving those goals.

Why Do Event Organizers need to Set Goals?

Setting a solid foundation for the event planning process is key. It’s  important to have clear vision of what you would like to achieve by hosting the event.

Setting goals also gives your event direction and keeps everyone on your team in sync.

Setting Goals Gives Your Event Direction

When you set goals and objectives at the start of the planning process, you give your event direction. Without clear goals, your event will not go as planned.

Your Goals Become Your Ally

Make a list of your objectives once you’ve decided on them. Include the details of these objectives in your contracts with various vendors. That way, if a dispute arises, you’ll be able to refer back to your established objectives that were agreed upon at the start of the planning process.

These goals will become your partner, preventing the event from straying too far from the original plan and keeping you focused. Additionally, upon completion of each event each goal should be measured (1-10) to assess achievement in the post-event debriefing.

With clearly defined goals in hand, you can work towards ensuring that the event meets the host’s standards.

Event Planning 101: Important Questions To Ask

While you may want to begin by deciding on your theme and color scheme, it is best to start by determining what the overall objective is before working out the details. When assessing your goals for the event, be sure to ask yourself these questions:

  • Where will the event take place? (If there isn’t a venue or location for the event yet, make a note to find one)
  • How many event attendees are you expecting?
  • Is it a non-profit event?
  • How do you intend to measure success?
  • What is the event date?
  • Is it a virtual or in-person event?

2. Assign Responsibilities

After the objectives have been established, it’s time to allocate roles and responsibilities. One of the most significant services event planners could offer is clarity.

In fact, minimizing confusion should be the focus of everything you do when planning an event!

Getting Everyone on the Same Page

Getting everyone on the same page

By communicating clearly with each team member, you help to get everyone on the same page and ensure that everyone is working toward the predetermined goals.

Ideally, duties should be assigned during an initial meeting with the various key role players in the event. It’s advisable to assign roles and tasks at the beginning of the event planning process to get management or stakeholders involved.

3. Determine What the Event’s Budget Is

Costs can accumulate when planning an event, so developing a basic budget early on can help you keep track of your spending and make good choices as you finalize vendor agreements.

99 percent of events have a strict or limited budget, which is given as a general figure. You will use that budget to create a basic outline of what you expect to spend on each vendor, allowing you to manage your expenditures and vendor selections successfully.

What Do You Need to Budget for?

Here are common expenses that you may need to budget for:

  • Venue 
  • Entertainment
  • Food and drinks
  • Decor
  • Staff costs
  • Event Production and AV Rental equipment
  • Marketing
  • Unexpected costs

4. Finalize the Event Date, Location, and Time

Once you’ve drawn up a basic budget, it’s time to finalize the event logistics. Depending on the season, the size of the event, and the type of venue, you may need to book the venue months in advance.

Finalize event date time venueBy determining when and where you want to have your event, you can narrow down your options. Look at venues in the location you have agreed on, consider your options in that location, and book a venue quite easily by reserving it for the predetermined date and time.

When choosing a date and time, be sure to take public holidays and the availability of your guests in mind.

5. Create a Master Plan

Create Master Plan

A strict timeline and a detailed schedule will be critical to your success during the event planning process.

Start with a Rough Plan of Action

Begin by creating a rough plan of action using your budget as your guide. This can be a few scribbled notes in a notebook with the information of a few vendors and a to-do list.

Make notes of details like the date, time, location, and how many guests you expect to host.

Compile a More Detailed Plan

Consider creating a more comprehensive master plan as everything starts to come together. The more comprehensive your event strategy or plan is, the better you’ll be at managing the different components without anything going wrong.

What Should You Include in Your Plan?

Here are some of the things you should include in your plan:

  • Seating chart or floor plan that tells you what will be where
  • Details about the vendors and supplies you will need
  • A timeline with actionable tasks and who they have been assigned to
  • The event theme and information on the decor
  • The status of permission or legal considerations

Consider an Event Management System If You Are Working with a Large Team

Event Management System

If you’re organizing an event with a group of people, try building a dashboard or shareable plan to keep track of who’s accountable for what and to view the team’s progress at a glance.

It might be a good idea to use event management software if you are working with a large team to ensure that everyone is on board and working toward the same goals.

6. Find Vendors for the Event

At this stage, you should already have an idea of which vendors you will need for the event. Contact vendors, get quotations, and narrow down your options by looking at your budget, what value the vendor can add to the event and the company’s reputation.

Take the Time to Meet with Prospects

Before deciding on which vendors to go with, schedule a meeting with each of them to discuss your requirements and expectations and learn more about the company.

When negotiating terms and payment arrangements, be sure to keep your budget in mind.

7. Market the Event

One of the most important steps in this Event Planning 101 Guide is promoting the event because there’s no point in planning the entire event if no one shows up to enjoy it.

Whether the event is public or private, marketing is essential. Regardless of what method you choose to market the event, it is vital to start early to ensure that you reach enough people.

Marketing Public Events

If you are planning a public event, you may need to pay more attention to your marketing strategy. Here are some of the means you can use to market an event effectively:

  • Social media announcements
  • Flyers and other printed materials
  • Email advertising
  • Posters
  • Media coverage

Marketing Public Events

8. Check That Everything Is Going According to Plan

A week before the event, you will need to review your plan and check whether everything is moving along as planned. This is a good time to finalize any last-minute details.

Check on Your Vendors and Prepare an Itinerary

You should also check in on your vendors to ensure that they are ready and have the information they might need from you. This may include final numbers, seating arrangements, and other last-minute details.

Next, you will need to finalize the event itinerary. You might want to create a checklist for your team at this point to ensure that everyone knows which tasks are still outstanding.

Test Equipment and Finalize Details with the Venue

Lastly, you will need to contact the venue, finalize details, and make sure everything is on track. You should also test any equipment that you might need.

If something isn’t working, you will have enough time to replace it before the event.

Test Equipment and VenueFive Essential Skills That Event Planners Must Have

To be successful as an event planner, you will need to have the following skills to pull off successful events every time:

  • Organizational skills. Because there’s so much to plan and keep track of, it is essential to be organized when planning events
  • Communication. Event planning involves working with several vendors and members of the team, so communicating your requirements and expectations clearly is a must
  • Budgeting skills. Every event planner should be great at managing finances to pull off a successful event
  • Networking and people skills. The most successful planners are the ones who build relationships with vendors and third parties to ensure that the planning process becomes easier with each event
  • Creativity. Your ability to find creative solutions to any problems you may encounter is a valuable skill that will come in handy

Looking for an Event Production Team for Your Next Event?

Whether you need lighting, staging, audiovisual, or flooring for your next event, LIV Technical is here to help! We use cutting-edge technology to ensure that your events aren’t just successful but unforgettable.

At LIV Technical, we combine meticulous planning with impeccable execution, so you can rest assured that your event will be flawless. Contact us today to find out more about our event production services!

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