Believe it or not, between scoffing macarons, writing blog posts and online shopping, I actually spend the majority of my day planning events. Uh huh, shocker.
And last night we put on one of my fave feel good events of the year, so I started getting all cutesy about my job like ‘aw int it nice being an events organiser‘ and ‘aren’t we lucky that we get to spend all day doing this‘. There was an abundance of super team hugs and high fives, which made me feel like writing a lil summin’ summin’ about organising events.
Because at some point in your life you’ll have to organise something (party/wedding/dinner soiree/summer fete) and I thought HOLD THE PHONE let’s pass on some knowledge about the things that make a cracking event.
People go to events all the time, but they rarely look at them scrupulously and figure out why something was just so darn good.
I do. That’s my job.
So here’s me breaking it down for you. These are the most important things to consider when planning a super duper event where everyone will go ‘oh my, aren’t you just the most perfect hostess with the mostest?’
HAVE A CLEAR VISION
Have a good old think about what you want your event to look and feel like. Is it an informal Moroccan themed affair with scatter cushions, shisha pipes and belly dancers galore? Or is it a gala dinner with a full string quartet where you want everyone in posh frocks? Write it down. Make a list. Go and make a bloody Pinterest board if that’s how you roll. Make this decision early on. It’s crucial.
And then, be as consistent with this decision as an England football loss.
From the the invites to the decor to the dress code to the music; it’s gotta emit the same feel.
And that, my friends, is the first step to creating a seamless and effortless event. It tells people that you’ve thought this whole shindig through and you got this thing down.
PREPARTATION IS KEY
Get your butts down to Staples ’cause you’re gonna need an array of folders, 63826 dividers, plastic wallets and every highlighter in the rainbow.
Some people find this daunting. I find it thrilling.
These are the main things to consider in your prep:
Budget. Make a list of estimated costs in the first instance, and then throughout the lead up process make a note of how much everything is actually costing you. Oh and sounds silly but be realistic with your budget. Not everyone can afford a helicopter entrance. I know, weep.
To-do-list. What needs to be done to get this event off the ground? List your actions and when they need to be completed by. And then proceed to tick them off with a giant purple felt tip when they’ve been completed. Cue smug smile.
Schedule. Programme your event. How’s this bad boy gonna run? You may think that festival you went to the other week flowed like magic, but guess what? The fun police over here makes that happen. You want to note down the key points of the event and when they’re gonna go down (‘cake comes out -7.30pm’)
The more stuff you get down in your folder, the less you have to hold in that head of yours. You’re not a robot. Remember that.
CHOOSE YOUR VENUE WISELY
It doesn’t matter how much bunting and fairy lights you put up if your venue isn’t up to scratch.
I think venues are all about the three P’s – Is it pretty? Is it practical? What’s the price?
It’s gotta be a good mix of the above. It could be insanely cheap but covered in red sticky carpet (ew) with no loading bay for your DJ. Or it could be insanely beautiful but a million miles out in the sticks making it difficult for your guests to get to with an ridiculous price tag to boot.
The three P’s have gotta work together. It’s gotta look good. It’s gotta tick all the practical boxes for the event. And it’s gotta be at an attractive price that leaves space for macaron favours in the budget (wink wink).
A note about practicalities:- one of the most important things about venues is to be clear about what they can provide on the outset. Ask as many questions as you can and don’t assume anything.
You may think ‘Oh it won’t be a big deal for them to open an hour earlier for us’ or ‘I’m sure they won’t mind adding an extra 10 people onto the maximum numbers list’. Nah ah. Never assume that these things will just be breezed over. These are practicalities that you need to get ironed out with your venue on the first meeting so there’s no nasty surprises once you’ve booked.
Believe me, there’s nothing worse than making a booking and finding out you can’t do something that you wanted. The money has been paid leaving zero wiggle room for negotiation. It sucks.
Remember. The space of an event is the first thing your guests are going to take in. And you know what they say about first impressions.
FEED YOUR GUESTS LIKE KINGS
Now this may just be because I’m a humongous foodie. But on further investigation, I’m not the only one that considers food to be one of the most important factors of an event (and life, obvs).
Come on, who remembers the weddings or parties where you had three desserts, the biggest pile of cheese in the evening, all finished off by a tiny cone of chips on your way out? *hands up*
Me, that’s who.
Keeping people fed and watered is probably the most important thing at any event. And yes it’s expensive, but don’t be a Scrooge on the food budget. Cut back on other stuff (like those crap flashy lights on the dance floor) and invest in some good food for your guests.
If you’re serving a sit down meal or canapés, always request a tasting session. Not only will it reassure you that you’re serving the right grub, but you also get to eat that delicious menu twice. Score.
If you’re holding an outside event (a fete or festival, for example) where you might be using food vans (like those cutesy ‘lil vintage ones, aw) then always, always go on recommendations. Ask for their food rating certificate and insurance too.
Oh and if anyone’s looking for an adorable ice cream man, I know one.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
A lot of the things I’ve pointed out above are really big things to consider. But please remember that the small details also have a huge impact on your guests too.
It might be that little note you leave on your guests tables, or the warm welcome you give everyone on arrival, or that balloon artist at the entrance to your school fete (‘he’s making flippin’ dinosaur shaped balloons!’)
You don’t need a 10 foot ice sculpture to wow people (although let’s be honest, ice sculptures are pretty ace).
People pick up on the small details, the thoughtful stuff that makes their experience just that bit better.
Dont forget to iron table clothes. Don’t forget to ask your guests for dietary requirements. And make sure everyone’s names are spelt just right on every darn thing.
Memorable events are memorable because they paid attention to even the smallest of details.
INVEST IN A TOP NOTCH EVENTS MANAGER
For some events, like weddings or parties, you don’t wanna be worrying about the table dressings or if the schedule is running to time. You wanna be worrying about how sassy your make up’s looking and sipping on bubbles whilst practicing those kick ass dance moves.
So for events like this, consider hiring a top notch events manager (plus that top notch events team). HINT HINT. Award-winning one below. Didn’t wanna drop the ‘A’ word but hey, what’s a gal to do.
An events team can solve all your issues. An events team can erect a marquee in record time and write a schedule in three minutes flat. An events team can convince any guest that everything’s hunky dory when actually there’s a goose loose in the kitchen and your DJ’s just cancelled.
Someone once described it; Like a swan on water. Looking serene on top but underneath were paddling at a million miles per hour to make everything go swimmingly.
I like that.
So yeah, weddings/parties/barmitzvahs – hit me up. I’ll take that stress off your hands *sassy lady emoji*
Good luck with that event planning all. And if you’re throwing a party, where’s my invite?
If you’ve been inspired and wanna know more about working in events, check out the post below:
20 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT WORKING IN EVENTS