Event Planning Basics
What do you need to know about planning an event.
Planning events is fun! Whether you are organising your own birthday party or you do it for a living it is exciting when you see all your hard work come together.
People tend to glamorise the idea of event management, but in reality, there is a lot of planning, organising, administration and time that goes into making an event happen. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing job to have and I love it, but it isn’t all about the bit that everyone sees. It is mostly about getting to that bit.
Being an event planner requires a lot of patience, organisation, time management, people skills, drive, determination amongst other things. You have to be quite assertive and sometimes bossy – although the right kind of bossy, of course. The key thing to remember is that you are often in charge of a day (or period of time) that is very important to someone or multiple people and that is something that has to be taken seriously.
While every event is unique there are some basic tips that will get you started on the right path and give you a good foundation for any type of event.
LISTS – Lists are incredibly important to me. I create lists for everything. As soon as you realise you have something to do, write it down. Creating lists of things you have to do for a day or for a specific event will help make sure you remember everything. Tick things off as you go along. It is very satisfying seeing the lists go down.
SCHEDULE/TIMELINE – Work out the schedule for planning the event and the running of the day. Think of all the key points you will need to reach and when that should be done. An on the day timeline is also really helpful to keep things on track, particularly if there are many elements to the day. A running order is also key if you have a team you are working with. Once if it all written down this can then be distributed to the team so everyone knows what will be happening and when.
CALENDAR – Keep a calendar of everything you have to do including reminders of when you expect to hear back from people. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple events going on or if you have many appointments ahead of the event. I like to colour code mine to make it easier to see what I have going on at a glance.
WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET – This is one of the first things you should establish. There isn’t much point starting with the planning if you don’t know how much money is available to spend. If you start planning before a budget is set it can easily get out of hand. Know how much can be afforded and try to stick to it. If you are on a tight budget try to manage your expectations and work out cheaper alternatives or where money can be saved if needed. Sometimes if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture you can see if there are certain things you would like to have but realistically don’t need. Prioritising is key.
If you are really unsure where to start with your budget have a look round to see how much things cost. Make a list of some of the most important things you need to make your event happen and try and get a general idea of what the costs for these are. If everything is seeming too expensive see what alternatives there are out there.
Excel spreadsheets are excellent for keeping track of budgets and one of my favourite tools.
KEEP ORGANISED – Create folders of everything relating to your event. Create email folders and keep all correspondence. Any documentation you receive, eg. contracts, should be kept together. All confirmations, contact info, etc. should all be kept together and easy to find.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT – For the event itself you should have a document with every single detail listed. All timings, contact information, what food and drink there will be including allergies and dietary requirements, what equipment is being supplied, table plans etc. You never know when you will need something and having it all in the same place is a lifesaver. If you know the who, what, when, where, how then you can make sure everything runs as it should and it will make it easier to know what to do if anything does go wrong.
EVERYTHING ELSE – There are many more details when it comes to event planning, of course, but this is where lists come back into it. As long as you know what you have to do and when, you’ll be alright. Try and make a comprehensive list as you go along so you can then go back through and tick everything off towards the big date.
What are your most important event planning basics? Is there anything you think should be added?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.