Having worked in the Lahaina event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?
So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Lahaina, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.
The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?
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A Bar Mitzvah is an honored, important Jewish celebration celebrating a boy's coming to age. A Bar Mitzvah symbolizes the boy's entrance into manhood at the age of 13. Putting religious ceremonies aside, a Bar Mitzvah is a huge, exciting celebration where the boy turned adult is treated almost like royalty, getting the best on this special occasion. It's important to celebrate this coming-of-age with a bang -- and that bang usually involves a spectacular party. Here are five essentials for making your son's Bar Mitzvah a spectacular, memorable event:
1. Great invitations. Send out traditional invitations with Hebrew and English wording weeks before the event. Invitation stores can make Bar Mitzvah invitations for you for convenience's sake. Otherwise, design your own with a computer graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop. A free alternative is the program GIMP or Pixia. Double-check your wording after it's completed, especially the Hebrew wording. Hebrew wording will not be the same as English wording. If you're having trouble wording it, consult a Hebrew linguist. Send these invitations out two weeks to a month before the actual Bar Mitzvah.
2. Pick a great location. Whatever you do, don't hold it at home. It should be held in a place of worship, or if you're very casual, a cute bar or restaurant. Make sure to decorate it plentifully -- you want to give the message that this day is very, very special in your lives. Sparse decorations won't convey that message, but ones that nicely accent your son's celebration will.
3. Travel in style. Your son is the center of attention, so treat him like he is. Have a limo take your son from your home to the Bar Mitzvah location. Fill the limo with gifts, non-alcoholic drinks, and finger food -- but let the limo driver know that he should take his time driving him to that location. That way your son can enjoy his day of coming-of-age, as well as arrive in style.
4. Delicious food. It's not a Bar Mitzvah without delicious food, right? Serve delicious food such as finger sandwiches, decadent sweets, and other goodies that younger and older generations will enjoy. Be mindful of dietary restrictions.
5. Meaningful speeches. It is not a true, meaningful Bar Mitzvah without speeches from the Torah. Relatives can read stories and speeches in English or native Hebrew, telling the tales of adulthood and coming-of-age. It's truly meaningful for the family and the son, something everyone will remember for ages.
Highlighting how special your son is - and how important his coming of age is - are the fundamental elements to creating a great, memorable Bar Mitzvah - besides a sprinkling of love, that is.
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You've been tasked with planning an event and don't know where to begin. Take a deep breath, anyone with any level of event expertise can take an event from good to great. Here is how:
For beginners, it is imperative that you do your homework. You must first generate an event plan and consider the building blocks of any event: target market, situational analysis, the 6 P's and planning.
Let's get started. Think very clearly about the people you are trying to attract. Ask yourself the question: Who is your target market?
Once you identify those that will be attending your event, allow yourself time to travel into the hearts and minds of your potential audience. Believe me; knowing what kinds of things they like to see, do, buy and eat will be helpful as your event plan begins to come to life.
Now that you have your target market in mind, let's take a look at your situational analysis. You will need to examine your internal strengths and weaknesses and your external opportunities and threats as they relate to whatever you are planning to do. You must be brutally honest with yourself when analyzing the various components of your event.
The next step in taking your event from good to great is to identify the 6 P's of event planning: Purpose, People, Product, Place, Price and Process. Outlined below you will find the questions related to each P that you should answer prior to diving into the planning phase.
- Why are you doing this event? (Purpose)
- Who will attend? (People)
- What are you going to do? (Product)
- When and where? (Place)
- How much is it going to cost you? (Price)
- How are you going to get the job done? (Process)
Now that you have identified your target market, have performed a situational analysis and have answered the building block questions of planning an event, you are ready to develop a formal event plan and begin execution shortly thereafter.
A formal event plan has several interrelated components: goal, objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, timetable and evaluation. Your written detailed plan of action will serve as the backbone to your master event plan. Keep it close at hand and refer back to it often.
Congratulations, at this point you have finished your homework and can now move into the imaginative, fun side of event planning! Take your events to the next level by identifying a theme and carrying that theme from start to finish.
Planning a successful event is no walk in the park. It is tedious work and requires an individual who always keeps their dancing shoes and party hat nearby. One who is forever excited about the adventure and who remembers that problems that will inevitably arise but the beat must go on.
You've got a plan, now the let the event begin. You are on your way from good to great!