Organising a special event is far from easy and can be overwhelming and stressful for those who have never planned one before. It can take a lot of energy and time to figure out the process all by yourself- how and when to book a venue? How many staff are needed? When to start sending invitations, what kind of decorations are required, etc.
The secret behind all successful events is an effective upstream planning process. This will prevent stressful experiences and last-minute surprises. This 10-step guide can help you to get started with the organisation of your next major event - whether that is your 50th birthday party or the wedding of your daughter.
1. Develop A Vision For Your Event & Create A Checklist
Before starting the planning process of your event, you need to take the time to decide and write down what you want to achieve with the event and develop a vision for it. You should brainstorm and ask yourself questions including: What is the goal of the event? What kind of participants do you want to have? What atmosphere do you want to create? This reflection process needs to be finalised before you start planning and organising your event to avoid changes that can have a significant impact on your budget.
When you have a clear vision of what you want your event to look like, you need to translate it into a planning checklist, a key element in the success of any event. You need to define a deadline for each specific action so that you can achieve your ultimate event goal. There are a lot of useful templates available online and could help you to get going.
2. Finalise Your Guest List
Many people struggle with this part of their event-planning efforts because they are concerned that they will offend someone if they do not invite them. Nonetheless, it is an important part of the planning process and you can not move on until you have decided how many participants will attend your special event.
3. Come Up With A Budget
Finances are the most crucial component of your event and many people jump into the planning phase without establishing a thorough budget.
The number of participants is one of the main criteria that will have an impact on the budget planning. Also, key expenses such as rental of the venue, use of audio visual equipment, catering services, creation of marketing strategies and entertainment should all be included from the start in the event budget.
The absence of a well-thought budget may jeopardise the success of your event. But it is also important to remember that organising an event is not an exact science and last-minute changes do happen. For example, some guests may bring someone along without mentioning it. Be prepared to have a small amount of extra food and seating available in case this occurs. This is the reason why you should be ready to have a little bit of flexibility in your budget to cover unexpected expenses.
4. Decide On A Date & Venue
Securing a venue for your event should be a priority as it usually needs to be booked months in advance, if not an entire year. Most reservations for sites require an advance payment or at least a security deposit to be paid.
Once the location is booked, you can start sending invitations to your participants. Remember that you should never send out invitations to your guests until you know for sure that you have the venue secured.
5. Send Out Invitations
Most of the time, organisers start by sending a save-the-date email to their participants so that they can mark it in their calendar. This will give you time to work on the preparation of the official invitations that you can print or send in an electronic format. You can even decide to use a website as an invitation so that participants can RSVP online.
When preparing invitations, make sure to include useful information such as the program of the day, the location, your contact information, the dress code…don’t forget to clearly indicate the RSVP deadline. It should not be later than three weeks before the event.
6. Organise Catering Services
Food and drink is an essential part of your event and should not be neglected. Most cake decorators and food caterers need at least a couple of weeks of advance notice before an event to make sure that they have enough time to get everything ready. So try to contact them as soon as you know for sure how many guests will be there. They can help you come up with the best food choices that taste great and fit within your budget.
7. Rent The Equipment
Unless you are going to be holding a lot of events on a regular basis, renting equipment for your big day is often the most affordable option. The list of equipment needed will depend on the type of event organised. Outdoor events should have marquees in case of poor weather and rain. That way, guests can stay dry and the supplies and food will not be ruined. Tables, chairs, party equipment and event hire are really important because everyone will need a place to sit down to talk and enjoy their meal.
8. Plan The Activities
Once you know your theme, how much money you have to work with and the size of your guest list, the next step is to plan out activities. In order to do this, you will have to decide how long you want the event to last. From there, break the time up into sections for each of the activities.
9. Purchase Decorations & Supplies
The type of decorations and supplies that you order depends on the kind of event that you are organising and the atmosphere that you want to create. Some organisers even choose a theme or a colour code that sometimes has to be followed by all the participants.
The number of decorations and supplies that you need will depend mainly on the size of your event. This is the reason why it is essential to take accurate measurements beforehand to ensure that you do not run short of anything. Also, some stores that sell party supplies may only have a limited quantity of certain items. So make sure to order them as soon as possible.
10. Set Everything Up
When the big day arrives, you will probably only have a couple of hours ahead of time to set up all of the equipment and hang the decorations. To make the process faster, try to have some friends or family members give you a hand.
You may also want to ask them if they can help with the clean-up efforts after everything is done because many venue facilities require that everything is left spotless once the event is over. Otherwise, you may lose your deposit.
Also, working with providers who are not organised or professional enough can turn the planning process into a challenging and stressful experience.
Do not hesitate to call Bespoke Event Hire today to benefit from our extensive experience with private functions and corporate events.
We have been hiring marquees, furniture, lighting and staging to Melbourne’s events and parties for over 30 years.