In order to plan an event, you need to establish dates and alternate dates, budgeting, choosing and reserving venue location, obtaining permits and coordinating transportation and parking, along with event registration procedures and systems.
Some other tasks of event planning, depending on your type of event, may include interior design, choosing rooms, tables and chair design, contracting electric and lighting crews, audio / visual, etc.
For an outdoor event, security, parking, portable toilets, emergency and health professionals and clean up and sanitation are all things to plan for.
Event Planning Tools
There are event planning companies that provide meeting and event planning solutions, as well as online software tools that include multiple sub-programs like email blasts, invitations and reminders, and online help tips and suggestions as you go along the process.
If you are doing it on your own, there are some very important event planning tools you will need to help you, such as guideline sheets and checkslists, forms such as Registration Forms, Budget Analysis Worksheets, Safety Guideline Checklists, Meeting Space Calculators and Meeting Supply Lists, etc.
In order to keep organized and prevent you from going over budget, use a spreadsheet with categories like Projected Expenses, Actual Expenses, Notes, etc. Track venue rental costs, catering costs, decoration and design expenses, transportation charges, etc.
Take a checklist with you so no important details are forgotten. Get phone numbers of venue management staff to communicate details for any reason. When selecting a venue, get familiar with the management team so they can help you determine if the venue meets your event's needs.
Speak to venue managers to learn what options exist to help resolve possible design difficulties. If there is room in your budget to hire a design company, they are expert at coordinating design with event theme and guest needs.
If you are doing it yourself, and trying to make it on a smaller scale, then ask yourself if your event will be ceremonial or laid-back. Whether it's lighting, audio / video, or invitation printing, you need to know how thrifty you need to be. Many avenues have ready-to-go props, lighting and podiums available since they host of all sorts of meetings and events often.
Once you decide what type of event you want to make, this will determine what sort of supplies you will need. If it will be of a festive nature, you'll need a compressed air tank and some balloons, maybe rope, tape or cable, some paper towels, etc.
If you are having a business meeting, then pens, pads, bottled water and a white board maybe in order. If it's a party you're throwing, then gifts, party favors, food, drink and napkins would be on your list.
If you are throwing a fully catered event, taking the dietary requirements of your guests into consideration is a priority. There may be religious requirements such as Halal, Kosher, etc. Perhaps medical needs must be provided for those with Diabetic or Vegan diets, etc.
If your event will last more than two hours, you should have a variety of snacks available. If meals are in your plan, then make sure to have low-fat and vegetarian foods available.
Make sure your budget can afford the quantity and quality of food you are providing.
Some venues will have in-house caterers that can help out with all or some services like tables and chairs, decorations and waiting staff, even if they do not accommodate the desired menus.
If all you had in mind was a short meeting, have at least coffee and water available.
There are companies which provide these services online and onsite as well as software you can use to do it yourself. Important factors to consider when mapping out your registration process are: will it be online / offline, free or fee based, onsite automated or manual registration, how will tracking in / out traffic be done, etc.
Depending on what type of event you are having will determine what type of lighting, power requirements and ease of access you will need. Once the type of event you have chosen is determined, you would make an accurate layout plan that complies with local ordinances.
You may want to light any areas that people typically take note of, such as floral arrangements or bar areas. Be careful to place ample lighting, setting a warm glow in which people and food can be seen.
A room can be altered by adding different colors on the walls and ceiling. Spot lighting and color effects can be added to emphasize performers and speakers on stage areas.
On a dance floor, adequate lighting allows the guests to feel like an important part of the event. Most likely, your event will have some sort of video projection.
In the future, lighting fixtures that double as video projections will become the norm. Lighting, landscaping, or decorating the exterior of the facility can have a dramatic affect on arriving and departing guests.
After all is said and done, the event planning job has been done well when all the pieces to the puzzle flow seamlessly together. Equipment and supplies arrive on time and in place, people are safely and soundly delivered to appropriate destinations, and everyone got what they came for. It seems overwhelming, but successful evens happen on a daily basis, and you can do it too!