Effective Special Event Planning – The Starting Point of Every Successful Event

Photo courtesy of Travelin’ Librarian on flickr

Special events are called special for a reason. They don’t happen everyday and you cannot just organize them on a  whim, unless of course, if you have the wherewithal to do so.

So, whether it is your big day to walk down the aisle, your dad’s 90th birthday, or your company’s convention, make it count by planning it thoroughly and covering all the bases.

To help you kick off the daunting endeavor of  planning and answer some of those how to plan a special event queries, let the responses to the following relevant questions guide you.

Getting These Questions Answered During Special Event Planning

1. What is the main purpose of the event? What do you want to accomplish from the event?

For special occasions event planning like birthdays and weddings, this is very easy to answer. However, for big corporate, association, or social affairs, you may need to do some serious asking and clarifying. To help you answer this question, list the key benefits that you intend your invitees and your organization to get. Also set evaluation criteria to measure the success of the event.

2. Who are your target guests?

With the purpose and objectives of the event clear in your mind, you would instantly know who you must invite. Determine the minimum and maximum number of guests you aim to accommodate. Plan on how to reach out and invite them; consider various promotional materials and approaches, like brochures and invitations, posters, online invites and registration, and so on.

3. How much is your budget? What available resources do you have?

You can approach this question in two ways. The first one is easy; your superiors may just give you a specific amount to work on. So your concern here is allocating this amount to the various expenses. In the second approach, you will need to ask for quotations from potential suppliers and work out the numbers, then present it to your bosses for their go-signal. Another related question to this is “Do you intend to generate revenue from the function, or will the company foot the entire bill?”

4. Who are your team members?

Resources needed when planning special events are not just limited to the finances. You will also need manpower so that you can delegate the various tasks. How many people are available to man the different committees and commit to the pre-event, on-site, and post-event tasks?

5. When is the event? How much time have you got?

Time is another resource. With the different committees formed to handle the various tasks, set a time frame that schedules the critical deadlines. The first ones you may have to ensure is reserving the venue early. Make sure that the date of your event does not conflict with holidays and special events in the area or other events for your target audience. Also factor in the weather at that particular season during the event.

6. Where will you hold the event?

Of course you cannot book the venue if you have not decided where to hold the event, so pick one first. When selecting a place to hold the affair, consider availability of amenities that you need, space, parking, etc. Do an ocular inspection and match your needs with what you see.

7. What must be included in the program?

Based on the flow of events detailed in the program, think of the things that you would be needing when the event takes place, from the ingress of guests, down to the inception of the main program, up to their departure, and perhaps, days or weeks after the event (as follow up). This is the perfect time to utilize a special events planning checklist. Some of the items you may require are lighting, sound system, audio-visual equipment, physical arrangement and seating plan, registration table or station, computers, Internet connection, free flowing coffee and tea, convention materials and registration kits (pens, note pads, name tags or place cards), etc.

8. Who are the suppliers whose services you will be needing?

Special event  planning companies are here to help. Besides your special event planning team, you will need to hire service providers with their respective specializations.  This could include a set designer or florist, photographer, make-up artist, caterer, entertainers, security agency, transportation service provider, and many others.

9. Who is the event’s speaker or resource person?

If it is a convention, then you may need speakers or guests of honor. Confirm their attendance and find out what their needs are for the event.

10. What have I forgotten?

Every time you run out of special event planning jobs and questions during the event planning, always ask this question. You may be surprised with your answers.

When you have answered all these special event planning questions and probably a whole lot more, then you are ready to start organizing your special event, or relay your answers and needs to a special event organizer will help you in executing the plan.

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