Here’s Everything You Need to Know About How to Plan an Event
Are you planning an event of some kind? Regardless of whether you’re going to be managing something personal and celebratory (e.g. a wedding, baby shower, etc.), something more business-focused (e.g. a meeting or team-building event), or another kind of event entirely, there are basic guidelines you should follow. In this article, we’ll sum up the important things to remember when planning an event, as well as what not to do, based on the mistakes that new event planners tend to make. Keep reading for our most useful advice on how to plan an event.
Establish a budget in the early stages of planning
You probably didn’t get into event planning because you love dealing with numbers, but since you’re wondering how to plan an event, we’d be remiss if we didn’t emphasize establishing a budget. This is an unavoidable aspect of event planning. After all, before you can make key planning decisions about what to incorporate into your gathering, you need to know how much you can spend on the event. Be careful not to forget about any major costs, as your budget should be realistic. This way, you won’t end up spending more than you can afford.
Choose the right venue
If at all possible, your event should be held at a unique, exciting location — and certainly not one that’s cookie-cutter. You might feel like you have to revert to a more generic space if you don’t have a huge budget to work with, but that’s not necessarily the case! If you’re looking for a special event venue within your budget, try a quick search on Peerspace. As the internet’s biggest marketplace for event venues, Peerspace offers access to thousands of spaces in hundreds of cities. Also, the venues cover a broad range of budgets.
Besides the expansiveness of their offerings, Peerspace also makes it amazingly easy to find the perfect venue — just enter your location and the type of event you’re planning. Then, you can filter the resulting list of spaces by price per hour, space type, keywords, and more.
Take advantage of social media as much as possible
Social media is an amazing resource. Plus, so many aspects of it are completely free! If you’re going to be marketing an event, it’s very likely that most people that you’re going to be trying to reach are on social media — after all, about 2.7 billion people are on Facebook, 330 million people use Twitter each month, and 111 million people are on Instagram!
And even if you’re planning a smaller event that won’t need as much publicity, social media is a great way to announce the event, share photos with attendees, and so forth. For instance, let’s say you’re planning a wedding. Lots of wedding planners these days are creating hashtags for specific weddings so that all the photos taken by guests are aggregated in one accessible spot. (If you’re interested in giving this a try, check out this fun wedding-hashtag generator!)
Set SMART goals for your event
Not just smart, but SMART! That’s an acronym that stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.” This means the goals aren’t vague, like “plan an amazing meeting,” but clearly defined — there should be no doubt when you’ve met your goals. They should be challenging and ambitious, but still doable with plenty of hard work (finding this balance sometimes takes practice). And your goals should have a clearly defined deadline, which helps with time management over the course of the weeks or months you’re planning an event.
What these goals look like will vary enormously based on the kind of event you’re planning. For a fundraiser, the goal is probably pretty clear — an example: “I’d like to raise $50,000” or “I want to raise 30% more than our last fundraiser.” Or if you’re marketing for a conference, it might be: “I would like to sell at least 1,000 tickets.” It all depends on your specific situation, but in most cases, the SMART goals should apply.
Don’t put off planning until the last minute
Another way to put this: DO get started with planning as soon as humanly possible. This is an absolutely crucial part of how to plan an event. Most things end up taking longer than you’d expect, so it’s not only a good idea to leave yourself extra time for everything — it’s pretty much a necessity.
After all, if you’re able to spend plenty of time figuring out every aspect of your event, your final product will almost certainly be better than something you rushed to plan. This advice is even more important in cases where you’re trying to invite speakers to an event like a seminar, as they’ll probably need plenty of notice to agree to attend. But of course, if you already feel like you’re behind schedule, you can still do a great job — it’ll just be more work!
Don’t try to do everything yourself
If you’re a perfectionist, as many event planners are, it can be hard to give up control of a particular task to someone else. But you can’t overburden yourself and expect to be able to do your best work. Whenever possible, delegate. If you’re not sure where to start looking for help, Peerspace offers an extremely helpful Concierge team that can help you manage A/V rentals, catering, furniture, and other logistical factors.
Don’t be overly rigid
Things are almost certainly going to go wrong. And that’s okay! Try to ensure that your planning is flexible and leaves room for things to change. This means, again, getting started ahead of time in case you need more time to work out an issue. It also means having backup plans wherever possible. Try to imagine what these possible scenarios of last-minute changes might look like (maybe a vendor drops out or a speaker doesn’t show), and have a plan B ready.
With this list of essential tips for how to plan an event under your sleeve, you’re well-situated to begin the planning process!