Mostly everyone has planned some type of event throughout the course of their life, whether it be a birthday party or a business meeting. There’s no question that event planning can be stressful, exhausting, and aggravating and that’s on a good day. If something can go wrong it most likely will. But the good news is that planning and hosting an event can also be exciting, rewarding, and enjoyable. If your goal is to plan an amazing event that wows your guests you will need to take your party planning to the next level. Follow these five simple steps to get you started on planning the event of the year:
- Plan It: I hate to sound like I am constantly repeating myself but I truly believe that nothing is impossible with a little planning and effort. Grab a pad of paper or your tablet, find a quiet place, and brainstorm about your event. Does the event have a theme? Will you be serving food or beverages? How will guests be entertained? Determine what your ideal event will look like and write it all down. Once you have your ideas down, next determine a budget. Although, this may be the most tedious task of event planning, your budget will become your guide to keep you on track throughout the planning process. Be sure to include everything you may need in your budget. From the obvious such as food, décor, and entertainment to the not so obvious such as parking, travel arrangements, and printing costs. For most people planning personal, or even professional events, cost may be the key factor in every decision that is made so do your best to estimate costs as accurately as possible. And when all else fails, be sure to add an additional 5-10% of your total budget for incidentals and other unplanned costs.
- Assemble your Resources: When it comes to event planning, or any planning for that matter, there is no need to start from scratch. Save yourself hours of time, and potentially a ton of money, by using resources such as online templates. A simple Google search for free event/party planning templates will yield a multitude of documents from vendor proposals, to invitations, to budget spreadsheets. Many of these resources are created and shared by party planning professionals and may include items or specifics that you would have missed otherwise. Don’t forget to keep track of any other resources you may have including equipment, linens, or even friends and family that are willing to lend a hand. In the end, having excellent resources, or a lack of them, can easily make or break your event so be sure to have all your bases covered.
- All in the Details: Details, details, details. Your guests may not remember what song Uncle Earl sang at your wedding or every acceptance speech from the company awards banquet but they will remember the unique personal touches you add to your event. The trick is to make each of your guests feel special so it makes sense to design your event with your guest in mind. Create personalized favors to give out to guests or add a signature drink to the menu that appeals to your group. Be careful not to go overboard or you will overwhelm your guests (and yourself).
- Be Creative: Now is the time to harness your creative energy. One of the easiest ways to do this is to plan a unique theme for your event with the décor, menu, and activities planned around that theme. This is extremely common for birthday parties and is becoming increasingly more common for weddings as well. If a theme sounds like too much, focus on one detail and use your imagination to enhance it in some way. For example, try designing the table centerpieces or create a customized printed program for your event. Be bold and don’t be afraid to try something different.
For children’s party inspiration, please check out the board below:
- The Ultimate Goal: When planning events I often find it helpful to determine what your ultimate goal for the event will be. What is the one thing (or primary thing) you hope to accomplish with this event? For example, if planning a dinner party to raise money for a charity your ultimate goal may be to raise $5000 in donations or to distribute 100 educational pamphlets to guests. If planning a birthday party, your goal may be to surprise the birthday girl/boy with a fun party. Whatever your goal, write it down and refer to it often during the planning process. Not only are you much more likely to accomplish a goal once it is written down but reinforcing it will allow you to maintain your focus on planning (and holding) an amazing event.
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