How to plan an event

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Planning an event, big or small, can be a stressful undertaking.  There is so much that can go wrong.  However, it is also an immensely rewarding task too, and when it goes well, you will feel such pride.  Whether you are looking to put on a wedding, music festival or a dinner party for some of your closest friends, you need to form a plan and then stick to it.

Here we offer a guide to planning your event.  With the right preparations, you should avoid some of the more troublesome moments that could ruin this event.

The preparation stage

Before you can prepare a detailed plan, you need to understand your hopes for the outcomes of the event.  You need to sketch out some of the necessary details, answering essential questions, such as:

  • What are your goals for the event?
  • What is your timeline?
  • What is your budget?
  • Where would you like the event to take place?
  • Who would be the essential suppliers?
  • What will be the main attraction?
  • How can you market the event?
  • How will you create a relationship with the potential attendees?
  • How will you find out if people enjoyed the event?
  • How can you use social media platforms to your benefit?

Once you have sketched out answers for these questions, you should have all the information you need to begin to formulate the outline of a more detailed plan.

Getting the essentials right

When forming your detailed plan, there are lots of decisions to be made.  First, you need to consider what you call the event.  Obviously, if this is a wedding or a party, there is no need for a unique title.  However, if you are organising a conference or exhibition, the name will be an essential part of your planning. It will also be a central feature of your promotion.

You should then book the best venue.  The venue will need to suit your target audience.  Not only should you consider how easily your group can travel to the event but also if they will find the venue attractive.  A repurposed warehouse might work for a millennial audience, but the older generation might not get this vibe as much.

Booking the venue and setting the date and time for the event will likely go hand in hand.  When booking a wedding venue, for instance, you will probably have multiple dates you want to hit – and the one available is the date of your wedding.

Finally, but most essential, be clear on your purpose for the event.  Even if the goal seems self-evident, make sure you define it even more clearly.  If you want to get your friends together for a dinner party, what do you hope the outcome will be for the group? If you are putting on a business conference, what sort of testimonials would you be pleased to receive?

Promoting the event

With the venue booked, the acts and attractions secured, and the tickets or invitations printed, it is time to promote your event. Most promotion is now done on social media with the use of targeted ads.   Once you begin to post, consider the relationship you are building with your potential attendees.  Ideally, they will promote your event for you through shares and retweets on social media.

However, depending on your target audience, you may need to promote using other methods.  You may want to print posters or flyers, to scatter around the area where the event is taking place.  You could also use newspapers, radios and television advertising, depending on the size and scope of the event.

If you are throwing a dinner party, a full promotional campaign might be a bit excessive.  However, you do still need to consider how you will invite the participants and how you can share the experience after the event.  You might even set up your personal hashtag so guests can post and share a timeline of the enjoyable activities you offer.

Managing the event site

When the day of your event comes, you need to be calm and manage the day.  Whatever the planning, everything can be undone with careless actions by your team.  You need to be present with your view of the big picture, guiding people through your vision for the event.

You might want to enjoy the day and not participate in the execution.  If this is the case, you should employ someone who understands the event and what needs to be done.  This person should be responsible for the small details, removing all that stress from your shoulders.