Having worked in the Makawao 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 Makawao, 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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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!
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The wedding is one of the happiest moments in a person's life. When you are planning yours, you just know that it is special. However, unless it stands out in a way or another, for most of the guests it might be just another wedding they attend and they won't remember much of it a few months later.
There are unique wedding ideas that can make yours shine and become a spectacular event not only for the bride and groom, but for each and every guest.
Here are some useful wedding ideas to transform yours from a regular wedding into an unforgettable event for everyone:
1. Pick a theme. Themed weddings are always fun and a great source of unique wedding ideas. Talk with your future spouse and brainstorm together. While your own preferences are always the most important, don't forget to try to take into account the guests as well. For example, you can't go for a new movie if most guests will be elderly persons and won't know what is happening.
The theme can relate to anything within reason so you can be as creative as you wish. If you can afford to splurge a bit, you can include impressive decorations or performances.
If you are mostly interested in outdoor wedding ideas, themes can be even more fun outside as you can include balloons, inflatable cartoons or various games. More space also means a good opportunity to add more decorations such as personalized chalkboards, bouncy castles.
2. Engage the guests. Organise a few activities for them to feel like they are really actively participating to the event. You can get some beautiful memories while you are at it too.
Place a bowl with pens and beautifully designed pieces of paper on each table. Ask your guests to write you a message or to share their favorite memory with one of the newlyweds.
If you have musically gifted guests, you can ask them to sing a song or to play their instruments a bit while your band or DJ is having a break. Also, if you are keen on someone's talents such as dancing, stand-up comedy or gymnastics, you can plan special performances.
No matter what you pick, make sure that no one is forgotten and that everyone gets to participate in an active way, even the elderly persons or the children.
3. Make the guests feel important. Take a while to write personalized notes. Handwritten ones will be the most appreciated. Share your thoughts on this day or just make random comments about your relationship to let them know how much you care about them.
If you are having a hard time opening up and sharing your feelings, you can just write a message that will indicate nice memories. For example 'Alice, thank you for being there with me from rags to riches' or 'Johnny, you will always be my brother from another mother'.
However, if you are running out of time or you simply don't have the inspiration to write a message to everyone, a standard card to thank them for joining the wedding will do the trick. Choose an elegant font and an exquisite design for the card to become a small gift.
4. Customize the entire event. Don't try to copy someone else's wedding, especially if you are on a budget. From engagement rings facts to the tiara, everything should be personal and according to your liking.
If there are wedding ideas that you really enjoy, try to add a personal touch. The event doesn't have to be particularly fancy or pricey. A bit of extra time and effort can make a huge difference.
You can use personal family photos as decorations or tie the napkins with ribbons in your favorite colour. Bring a funny photo stand-in or include mini versions of your favorite foods instead of main dishes.
Get bold and don't stick to eating or dancing the whole evening. Still, whatever you choose to do, make sure that it is fun and that it won't be regarded as offensive or that it won't make any guest remember an unpleasant event.
5. Don't stress out about it. Last but not least, don't transform your special moments into a highly stressful event. You will only end up obsessing over each and every detail. Also, the chances to be disappointed raise significantly if you want everything to be perfect. Admit that you can't control everything and just enjoy yourself.
At the end of the day, no matter how flawless everything might turn out to be, the guests might only remember how stressed out and uncomfortable you have been the whole day. A genuine smile is often worth more than exquisite details.