Planning an event can be a stressful time. Where do you start? How many people do you invite? Do you provide food? What about entertainment? What’s the weather going to be like, Indoors or Outdoors? There are so many things to think off when planning an event, so there is a magical formula to get you going in the right direction.
Step One – Create your event Wish List
Before you start finalising any arrangements for your special event, it’s always a good idea to have an idea of what kind of event you want to have and most important, how much you want it to cost. The best way to start is to create a wish list of what you expect any ideas you might have or have seen at other events.
While you are creating your wish list here are some questions to ask yourself:
• When do you want your event to take place? If you can, try to identify 2 or 3 dates that will work for your event—especially if you need to coordinate schedules with other people.
• Where do you want to hold your event? Indoors or outdoors?
• How many people do you want to have at your event?
• How much do you expect it to cost?
• What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? Are you going to have a theme?
• How do you expect your guests to dress for the occasion?
• What memories do you want to have as you look back on the event a few years from now?
• What type of food you want? Formal or Informal
Step 2 – Create a Budget
For many, this is the most difficult part because we all tend to want to do more than we can afford. For most events, the venue and catering represent the largest costs, so start looking early so that you can compare. In terms of the venue try and look outside of the norm sometimes the most unusual places make for a perfect event and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. With the catering try and establish what type of menu you are looking for and compare different companies’ menus just beware the cheapest option is not always the best if you are looking for quality. Once you have a rough ball park on those two aspects you will then have a clearer sense of what you are going to spend how many guests to can practically invite and what you have left in your budget for the rest i.e. entertainment & decorations.
Step 3 – Book a Venue
Finding a venue for your event is the most critical task in your planning process. Without a confirmed venue, it’s impossible to continue planning your event. After all this is where it all is going to happen.
A few things to keep in mind:
• The season, do you want an indoor or and outdoor event and is it practical. What if it rains do you have covering?
• Is the venue suitable for your amount of guests and what do they provide as part of the hiring package?
• Do they allow outside catering and if not do they have a menu that you are happy with?
• Do they provide a bar service or do you need to organise that yourself?
• Can you hold your event at home?
One thing to remember when visiting different venues is to take your time, try and visualise your event there and ask a lot of questions. Or if you decide you are going to have your event at home, do you have the space? What about a Marquee in the garden? Whatever you decide make sure that you are happy and that it works for you.
Step 4 – Book your Caterer
Once you have booked your venue you are ready to get started on the best bit, the food! You will hopefully already have an idea of what type of menu you are looking for, if you want it to be formal or informal, seated or standing if you want a full meal or just canape’s.
The best advice to find the right caterer is to firstly ask for referrals from family and friends, and look at your local catering companies reviews on line and what menu’s they offer. Then arrange to see a few talk about what you expect and see what ideas they come up with. Don’t be afraid to ask for a tasting, after all the proof is in the pudding! But more importantly make sure you are comfortable with the company that you chose and that they will deliver on your expectations.
Step 5 – Book the rest of your vendors
Now that you have the 2 main aspects of your event completed you can move onto making the rest of the event amazing. Do you want to book entertainment, maybe a band or a singer or maybe a magician? Or do you want something more low key and would prefer guests to mingle a bit more what about some giant outside games or a photo booth? Again get recommendations from friend and family and shop around for the best deals. Decorations, do you want to go with a theme? Or do you have a colour scheme? Do you have the budget to get decorators in or do you want to do it yourself? This is where your wish list comes in handy, it will list all your great ideas, now just to put them together! Hire a bar company if the venue allows or ask your caterer what they can provide. This is where your imagination can run wild, just keep your budget in mind.
Step 6 – Send Invitations
When you need to send invitations to your event depends on how far in advance you start your planning. In some cases invitations are mailed well after all of the planning is complete, while in others you could still be looking for a caterer after invitations are in the mail. For larger events like weddings, invitations are typically sent about 8 weeks in advance. If you are planning your event at a popular time of year such as a holiday weekend, it is a good idea to send a “Save the Date” reminder in advance (i.e. more than 8 weeks before your event) to let your friends and family know about your event.
After you’ve completed this six-step process, you are ready for a truly memorable event!