10 Key Elements of Successful Event Planning

This is a guest contribution from writer Boom Rizal.

Any type of event, whether it’s a business conference or a family gathering, require an event planner who will handle most, if not everything, that should be organized and coordinated to make sure that the event is successful. Event planners manage every single detail—from invitations and food to the location and theme of the event. Of all the things that could go wrong, such as delays in food preparation, missing materials or venue cancellation, perhaps the worst that can happen would probably be losing the event planner and not being able to find a suitable replacement in time.

Fortunately, all is not lost. You just need to remember that there is one more person who would know the intricacies of the event—you. You may know nothing about event planning, but you certainly know what it is the event is trying to accomplish. With this in mind and some information on the key elements of organizing an event, you’d be surprised at how easily you’ll be able to make the event successful.

1. Where are you headed?

What is the objective of the event? Is it to raise funds for a project, introduce a product, a wedding reception or just have a simple party? Whatever the objective is, no one should know better than you. It’s imperative that you know the goal of the event so that everything you arrange will work towards achieving that.  For instance, you need to carefully choose an event venue that will suit the theme of your particular event. You also need to hire service providers based on your objectives.

2. Nothing works better than teamwork

If you don’t have an event organizing team yet, you’ll need to build one as fast as you can. The larger the event, the larger the team you’ll need. You may want to handle crucial elements of the event yourself, such as contacting the guest speakers or choosing a disc jockey, and have your team members managed the rest.

3. Make your event memorable

Do you want to work so hard on planning and managing an event only for people to forget that it ever happened? Successful events are those that people talk about for weeks, months, or even years after it took place. In order for people to remember, you’ll need to first create a brand and market it accordingly. Part of creating a memorable brand is ensuring that the event is held at an excellent venue that offers a unique appeal while staying true to the event’s purpose. People usually remember past events when they see the venue.

4. The devil is in the details

You may not realize it now, but people have a tendency to talk about the smallest of things in an event. Incorrect table placements, the wrong flowers, poor lighting or even a squeaky microphone can ruin everything. Always pay close attention to the details. However, this doesn’t mean that you should micro manage all the tasks. All you’ll need to do is to ensure that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and how to accomplish the tasks. It would also be good if you had an event planning checklist and a timeline to help you keep track of what’s been accomplished and what tasks still need to be performed.

5. The world's a stage

Anything interesting in life has a story. For your event to have an impact, it also needs a story. And like any story, the event must have an introduction, a crisis, and of course, a climax. The story must be able to keep the attendees at the edge of their seats in anticipation of something better to come. It’s up to you on how to deliver the story. It can be told as the event unfolds, or the master of ceremony or the guest speaker can narrate it. The key is to seamlessly knit the story into the event so that no one sees through your objectives so easily. 

6. Purchase everything you need beforehand

If your event requires decorating materials, caterers, lighting effects or anything to make the venue interesting, make sure you purchase them ahead of time. If possible, do this as soon as you’ve completed the plans and you have your budget in order. Doing so ensures that your mind is focused solely on that task. Forgetting to buy something is a common mistake in event planning. In some cases, it can ruin the event, so make sure you have everything you need before doing everything else. Additionally, you also need to check out venue-for-rent options ahead of time to make sure that you’ll find the perfect one and reserve it before somebody else does.

7. Plan for emergencies

Effective event planning always takes into account Murphy’s Law. You need to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. What would you do if a guest speaker couldn’t make it? What would you do if the caterer had an accident on the way to your location? Do you have a backup venue? Without a contingency plan, you’ll certainly be rattled when these scenarios happen, and the entire event can fall apart, so make sure that you know exactly what you need to do if something is to go wrong.

8. Communicate constantly

Never expect everyone to know what you’re thinking. People can’t read thoughts so you need to communicate clearly and constantly. If you want something done a particular way, don’t expect your team members to know exactly what you need without telling them. You’ll also need to communicate with your guests to ensure that they don’t forget about your event. Don’t wait until the last moment to follow up with your suppliers, guest speakers, and anyone who’ll play a part in the event. If you do, you might not have time to fix a problem if it arises. 

9. Be alert during the event

You might not have expected to be organizing an event, but since you ended up doing so, you’ll need to be alert throughout the entire event. This usually means that you won’t have the luxury of enjoying what you worked for. You will of course, be smiling all the time and holding brief conversations with guests, but don’t let your guard down. Always be alert at what’s going on and how the event is proceeding so that you can fix any problem before it gets out of hand. Create a list of the things you need to remember and keep it with you always so that you can check it every now and then to make sure goes according to plan.

10. Close the event gracefully

Always keep in mind that closing the event also needs careful planning. You’ll need a checklist detailing what needs to be done, such as cleaning the event venue, disposing of waste materials, debriefing everyone involved and showing your appreciation, and closing out your budget. 
Event planning certainly requires a lot of work, but if you manage it carefully, it shouldn’t stress you out. Just remember to delegate as much work as you can to your team members and focus on staying on top of things. The key must haves in planning your event should help you every step of the way. 

Author Bio: 

Boom Rizal is an investor, a property consultant, a researcher and a writer. She finds helping other OFW's in making good decisions when investing in various businesses and/or real estate properties as part of her daily life. She also loves to take research in property innovation and writes articles advising readers on how to invest in a property.