Event planning can be stressful… There are so many things to consider within the event planning process that sometimes it can be difficult to remember everything… so I have put together a quick A-Z checklist of points you should consider when planning your next event or party.
Consider if you’re event is accessible for all your attendees – is there wheelchair access to the venue and toilets etc? Does your event need clear signage… You need to be aware of these considerations in advance and be able to communicate them with anyone interested in your event.
How much money can you spend on the event? What incoming and outgoing costs will there be? This should be one of your first steps!
Even with careful planning sometimes things will not always go 100% to plan and that is why it’s a good idea to consider contingency plans so if something goes wrong you can act quickly and the event can still go ahead. For example if your DJ cancels last minute, do you have a back up plan? Can someone else step in or can you play music through your laptop etc? Think about what you would do.. in advance.
Is there a theme to the event? How do you want it to look? Remember sometimes you can borrow or have homemade decorations and sometimes you don’t need a lot of extra décor… Think about your event and budget and what is best for you.
The entertainment is one of the biggest parts of the event experience for your guests so it is important to get this right. Do you want live music, a magician, comedy, games etc. Again, think about budget as this can be one of the big costs associated with events however often the most worthwhile cost, as this is what guests are likely to remember and talk about.
F. Food (& drinks)
Food is another very important part of any event… will you provide a full sit down meal, a buffet, canapés, nibbles or no food. Will there be a bar, an arrival drink? Always important to consider dietary requirements too… Ask people in advance where possible.
G. Goals (objectives)
What is the purpose and goals for your event? It’s important to know why you are holding the event, what do you want to achieve? This will then help confirm all other decisions..
Do you need to hire a host or will you yourself be the host? Who will welcome guests?
How are you going to invite people? Will you create physical invites, send an email or create an event on Facebook… Or all 3? Or something unique and different. Remember to include all necessary details and also consider adding in dress codes, travel advise and any other factors you think your guests should know.
What needs to be done to ensure the event runs smoothly and who do you have to help you complete these tasks/jobs? Create a list of tasks with timeframes and delegate some jobs to the relevant people, where possible.
It’s great if you know people who can help you out… Do you know an entertainer, someone who works at a venue, a journalist that can promote your event…? Get them involved, don’t be afraid to ask for help or even a discount, you won’t know if you don’t ask. It’s always worth a try!
This will depend on the type of event you are planning but make sure it is something you have considered as the right lighting helps to create the atmosphere at your event.
M. Marketing & promotion
If you are planning an event which you need to promote to members of the public… How are you going to do this? You will need to consider the costs associated with each method of marketing but also the most suitable option for your target audience.
What else is happening on that date nearby? It is best not to clash with another big event.. also think about is there something which will affect traffic in that area at the time people are arriving for your event. How do guests travel to the event, is the venue near to a bus stop or car park etc…
You need to be organised to plan an event effectively! This one is obvious! Don’t delay, get organising now! Being organised and planning everything in advance is key.
Everyone loves photos to remember a good event whether that be a big festival or just your brothers birthday party. Also remember theses photos are likely to be shared on Instagram and Facebook nowadays… You want them to look good! Will you hire a photographer, will you have photo props, a photo booth…?
Q. Quit (don’t)
As I mentioned before it can get stressful but please do not quit… All the hard work always pays off when your event is enjoyed by your guests. Seeing people enjoy events I have organised for them is one of my favourite things in the world! Keep going, you can do this!
R. Risk assessment
No one wants to get hurt at an event… Make sure your event is safe! For bigger events open to the public… Definitely complete a full risk assessment. For smaller family events, I wouldn’t do a risk assessment but still consider if everything is safe, check the venue before people arrive, check everyone has the right licences and insurance in place and always ensure you know the fire evacuation rules etc. You just never know and I always think it’s better to be safe than sorry!
S. Social Media
In recent years social media is how events are promoted, people share live videos from the events, hashtags, photos… So make your event social media friendly. Think back to the photos or entertainment sections – what are people going to be posting about your event? Also, is there wi-fi in the venue?
T. Time management
Depending on the size of your event, you may need a lot of time to pull all the elements together… Give yourself that time and manage your time carefully. Also make sure you know all deadlines in advance… When do you need to give the venue final numbers, when is payment due etc – pop this in to a calendar or planner and ensure you are ready for each step as it comes.
U. USP (Unique selling point)
There are so many events out there, what makes yours unique. Why should people turn up to your event? Think of something special and unique for your event…
This is so important… You need to get the venue right. What do you need from your venue, how much do you have to spend on the venue. Think about some of the other factors above, is is accessible, is it easy to find, does it fit your theme, what is the capacity…
Who do you actually want to attend your event – you need to know your audience in order to ensure the event is well suited to their needs and likes…always think about who is attending when you are making all those vital event decisions already mentioned in this list. If you have a range of ages (adults and children) you will need to make sure there is something for everyone.
X. (e)Xtra touches
Sometimes it’s that attention to detail, those little extras that really make people smile and have positive feelings about your event. What special extra touches can you add to your event? Extra touches also includes things like remembering to say thank you to everyone involved and attending.. it’s good practice to show your appreciation for everyone that made the event a success.
Although I am writing this checklist to help you organise your event, don’t just follow everyone else’s advice 100%… Put yourself in to the event. What can you bring to the event, what do you want from the event, use your skills and creativity. Especially if this is an event for you such as planning your own birthday party… Yes, you need to think about the factors above but it’s your party… What do you like? Do that!
Lastly, events can be a lot of hard work… Don’t over do it and burn out early. Get enough sleep along the way, get everything organised in advance so you can relax and sleep the night before the big day. And after the event is finished, yes take some time to reflect but also catch up on your rest after! You might need it!