Planning any type of event can be very stressful, especially if you are doing it for the first time. In truth, even professionals can get overwhelmed at times. Depending on the type of event and the number of guests, you may need a significant amount of time to handle everything properly, and with so many balls to juggle, and so many different types of people to work with, you will have your job cut out for you.
If you feel you may not be up for the task, or if you are pressed for time and want things to go smoothly, you are very much advised to leave things to the pros. If you live in Prague, the pros in question are those to be found at Prague Eventery – they can make any event go down perfectly, without a hitch, and will help you make the most of what this stunning city has to offer.
Here are ten tips to help you plan the best event possible:
1 – Begin planning on time
When I say on time, I mean six months beforehand if you are hosting a large event, and at least two if you are doing something on a smaller scale. Don’t make the mistake of leaving it all to the very last possible moment. Vendors will be booked, people will be unavailable, and you will be left with very limited options. Make sure that everything is settled with every vendor, and all the contracts are signed three weeks before the event, at least. Start sending out invites on time, and use a online collaborative table for event registration to help you with tracking the RSVPs.
2 – Stay flexible
Things are not likely going to play out as you planned at the very start. Event times will be changed, locations can be changed, and all you need to do is remain calm and stay flexible. Don’t panic, and try to work with what you’ve got, not have everything back to what you thought it needs to be.
3 – Learn to negotiate
Even when vendors tell you otherwise, you can negotiate almost anything. There will be unforeseen costs along the line, and you should make it a point to try to negotiate every price. Before meeting a vendor, establish a budget, and then offer to pay 10% less – very often, the vendor will accept your offer.
4 – Delegate
Don’t try to handle everything yourself. Break up the event into smaller portions – like transport, catering, music, invitations – and assign each to a member of your team. That way, every portion will be handled by someone who has the time and resources to go into minute details. Make sure to have regular meetings, and inform each other about the most important facts – locations, times, contracts, and so on, so that everyone can still see the big picture.
5 – Establish collaboration
In tune with the above, establish a means of communication. Create a folder in the cloud where you will store everything related to the event, and update it regularly. This is the place to have vendor contract and information about the guests, the seating charts, the invitations, everything and anything that is important for the event. Make it a point for everyone to go over the entire document, not just their own sections, so they can spot if something is missing, or if something is not in accordance with the laid down plans.
6 – Have a backup plan
Even if you plan everything down to the smallest detail, issues will arise, something will not be delivered, and important guest may be late, something will get broken, it will rain, and so on. During the planning stage, identify the most important parts of the event, and create a backup plan for each of them. This especially includes backups for any guest speaker you may have, and for your team as well. If one of you gets ill or fails to show up, someone else need to be able to fill their place effortlessly, and handle that part of the job. If anything smaller goes awry, decide on the spot what to do – but the core elements need to be backed up.
7 – Do a test run
Two weeks before the big day is the perfect time for a test run. Have a meeting with everyone involved, and go through everything, and I mean everything. From the setup, to the event itself to the aftermath, you need to know where the glitches will arise. This is often when you will be able to tell if something was missed, if you have too much of something, and this is the right time to correct these issues. Also do a test run at the venue, at least two days before the event.
8 – Take photos
Make it a point to photograph the even to death. Hire a photographer is you can, if not, have the team take as many pictures as their tasks allow them. Take in shots of the event branding, the guests, especially those having the best time – this will be perfect material for your future marketing campaigns.
9 – Announce it
Hosting an event is the perfect way to boost your social media activity. Create a hashtag for Twitter and Instagram and use it when talking about the event, and encourage your guests and followers to do the same. Tag guests in relevant photos and have them share them too. Upload photos during the event itself and afterwards, and have everyone tag themselves. User engagement will go through the roof, if you play your cards right.
10 – Follow up
After the event is over, there is one more thing you need to do right away – follow up. Reach out to your guests and thank them for attending, send a message to those who could not make it how they were missed, thank the vendors and everyone involved. You should also remember to thank everyone in the team for working on the event. After a few days, sit down and go through the best parts of the event, see where you could have done things better, and note them down for the next one. That is how you become better at managing large scale events.
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Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit.