Event Planning 101
Getting Started With Your Event Framework
We’ve talked a lot about event planning details. We’ve gone over how to hire entertainment for your event, what to ask when choosing vendors, and how to choose a venue. But if you are a first-time event planner, then even these tasks can seem overwhelming and foreign. No amount of training or reading can truly prepare you for planning an event for the first time. Whether it’s a corporate event, wedding, or conference, the tasks related to planning such an event can seem never-ending and unmanageable to someone who’s new to event planning.
But while things can seem overwhelming, they can also have a high reward and can be a great opportunity to learn how to negotiate, schedule, and network. These skills are valuable outside of the realm of event planning, so it’s a nice opportunity to take what you’ve learned and apply it elsewhere.
So if you are new to event planning or are just taking the task on as a side job or project, where do you start? Though it’s never as easy as simply following a set of steps laid out for you – since every event is different and has its own challenges – you can follow an outline that will get you started and help you stay on the right track throughout the process. Let’s dig into the framework you can use to plan an event if this is your first time.
Event Planning Framework
- Set a goal. As with any task, it’s impossible to track progress or measure success if you don’t have clear goals in mind. What do you want to accomplish with your event? How will you know if it was successful? Before you ever call a vendor or venue, be sure you know exactly what it is you want to get out of your event.
- Put a team together. Though you may be tasked with putting on your event, it should not be a one-person show. Event planning requires a lot of heavy lifting – both in reality and metaphorically – and one person cannot do everything on their own. Just because you need a team, however, does not mean you have to assemble it all on your own. Putting together a team could simply mean hiring third party event vendors, such as AV providers and caterers, to help you with execution. Whoever you choose to put on your team, just make sure you have people you can depend upon that are in your corner.
- Set a date and choose a venue. These should come immediately after you’ve identified your team members. The venue is typically the most difficult piece of the puzzle to lock in, so be sure you choose your date early and contact venues you like as soon as you have the date set. Waste no time in securing your venue space.
- Start marketing. Whether it’s a wedding or a conference, you want people to attend your event. Marking in this case could also mean sending out save the date cards or putting together event flyers. Either way, you want to ensure that people know when your event is being held so they can plan accordingly and get it on their calendars as early as possible.
- Create a plan and execute. Now that your team is assembled and your venue secured, you can begin piecing the rest of it together. From food to music/entertainment and everything in between, you can now begin to fill in the gaps to ensure that your guests or attendees have a great time at your event. There are many details to consider when creating your master plan and executing on it, but you cannot get this far in the process without first creating a strong base. This includes having a solid team who knows what they are doing on your side and having a venue secured.
Planning an event is all about process. The way to avoid overwhelm and frustration is to set out with a plan and a process and move down your list task-by-task until everything is complete. While planning an event will not be without its challenges, you’ll be able to handle them much easier if you focus on the process and methods for getting ready for event day.