There have been so many movies that showcase the horror or hilarity of an event gone badly. Jennifer Lopez taught everyone some nifty wedding planning tips and who can forget the lack of an entrée meal in “The Birdcage” or the loss of the turkey in “The Christmas Story”? Hollywood may entertain us with stories of event catastrophes, but it’s not so funny when it’s your wedding, family reunion, or corporate event.
Events are meant to be memorable and successful. However, there are many circumstances that can affect an event. If a solution or back-up plan is not found quickly, one mistake can set forth a chain reaction of difficulties that is hard to stop. Planning an event, however small, can be loads of fun and it can also be quite daunting.
Events can be affected by poor scheduling, cost overruns, and poor communication resulting in the event not living up to standards. The aim is to impress your guests, make them feel welcome and entertained, and have them leave content with a smile on their face.
This article is for hosts that are tasked with organizing something grand for friends, family, colleagues, community leaders, etc. Regardless of the type of event; weddings, corporate events, high-luxury fundraisers, you can create a successful gathering over speeches, food, drinks, and music. Here are some common mistakes that every host should beware.
Planning your event at the same time another large event is taking place
Hosts have always faced this crisis when trying to bring a long guest list together. Before you organize an event, you need to thoroughly check if there is another event on the same day. At worst, you will create a conflict for guests if invited to both events. At best, your guests will be available, but you may find yourself competing for the best venue and event vendors.
True horror story? How about trying to get married in the same hotel where the President is doing a speech. The traffic jams, crowds, protesters, security clearances, and diversion of service to a VIP guest can be disastrous to your event. Check news outlets and carefully question your venue representative to make sure your event isn’t railroaded by another. Even a big concert in town can create traffic and parking issues for your guests.
Planning your event during certain seasons
Some events are better celebrated on beaches and some in the cool air of an air conditioned venue. You cannot expect people to appreciate it if you plan your corporate barbeque party in the winter months in Wisconsin. Similarly, a midday outdoor wedding in July is pretty much unbearable in most of the United States.
Season is an important factor in event planning. Do your research and ask advice from your close friends and relatives – you never know who has the right experience and knowledge about the season you are looking into. And it’s not just weather. Pollen, animal migrations, venue closings, tourist season, and sporting schedules can have a huge impact on your event. For example, recently a prominent networking group realized that the location that had served well for events for several months became a nightmare during baseball season. The proximity to the stadium resulted in traffic jams and a stressful search for parking. To avoid having their events fail due to poor attendance, they had to move the event to a “baseball season proof” location.
Not planning properly for vendors to arrive when needed
Any average event vendor serves several clients in a day. There is a lot they need to remember and it is the responsibility of the host to make sure they understand the exact requirements. While the problems are less common with experienced professional vendors, you need to take charge and make sure everything happens on schedule.
Coordinate carefully between your vendors and your venue staff. Make sure vendors have access to clean, decorate, set-up music, deliver tables, chairs, flowers, and food. Having the cake, drinks, music setup, and other elements in place is crucial to any event. The more formal it gets, the more things can go wrong and the more your credibility is at stake. Ideally, select vendors who are already experienced working with your venue.
The best laid plans…
As much as possible, have back-up plans. What happens if it rains during your outdoor event? Does the venue have a room available for your event? If your MC goes MIA, do you have a back-up person to keep your event moving along? Put yourself in the shoes of the guests and brainstorm everything that must go right to make your event successful and then, where feasible, create solutions to potential problems.
No one expects you to be a professional event planner…well…maybe your boss does. In truth, planning an event requires strict attention to details and it is understandable if your first couple of events go wrong in some ways. The next time you plan to host an event, do your research well and get everything organized well in advance. If you find the task overwhelming or you need to make sure everything goes right, contact us today. We have over 28 years of experience with all kinds of events. We’ll be happy to speak with you and determine how we can help you have a Grand Event!