Having worked in the Waimanalo 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 Waimanalo, 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?
Event Planning - Take Your Event From Good to Great!
A useful event planning guide needs a large section on what exact equipment you will need. Have you ever been an event planner at an event and had the spine chilling moment when you realised that a vital bit of equipment had totally been forgotten about? Yep me to. That is one of the reasons I put this article together. The amount of technical equipment you will need will depend on what kind and size of event you are organising. A good Event Production Company will be able to advise you. A good place to start is to think about what media you want to use to get across your messages? Meanwhile, here are a few things to get you started.
Ask yourself and your speakers/presenters:
- What visual mediums will be used in presentations? PowerPoint slides, video, DVD?
- What type of screen is needed, a simple screen, projector and lap top, or a more complex stage set with lighting and graphics? All of these may depend on the size of your audience generally the larger the audience the more equipment you will need.
- Plus, do you want, front, back or fly projection?
- Will you need a Public Performance License? i.e. for Videos or DVD's or music you plan to play?
Now for some practical stuff..
- What size PA System and how many microphones do you need?
- What type of microphones do you need: Lapel, Hand Held or Lectern?
It's handy to have backups too. I was at an event recently where there was a shortage of roving mikes available for a question and answer session. The audience was about 300. The client gave the organiser a significant grilling after the event. Remember that errors like this can often lose you and your company a significant contract. That is why planning ahead is so vital to run a successful event. Something that is necessary is a supply of mike runners, or mike stands. With many companies recording events to leverage afterwards having all questions on tape is vital. A few agile mike runners will ensure that everyone has a mike at the correct time.
How will the organising team communicate, can you use Walkie Talkies?
How many technicians will you need and can the Event Production Company provide the right amount of people resource as and when you need it?
Finally a really good event production company can tell your more about systems such as:
- Electronic badges,
- Data readers to collect bar code information,
- Credit card payments for offers made at events
All are increasingly being used at larger events. When you know exactly what it is used need, create your own mini event planning guide that is bespoke to your event. Sometimes the simplest
ideas are the best. Mine becomes my 'event bible'!
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One reason you might not socialize as much as you could with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or others may be the barrier of supplying them with food and drink. There is stress in planning any summer outdoor party when you must purchase large quantities of food and prepare it for your friends in a way that will impress them. What is lost in the process is your time speaking, dancing, and catching up with the people you invited. With a top-notch catering team, you can forget the preparations and mingle until your feet tingle in your backyard, by the pool, in the gardens, or wherever you choose.
Enjoy the summer weather and the palate-pleasing fare whipped up by people like Chef Carl of the Franklin Market Basket. In states such as Michigan, we live for the few nice summer months where the flowers are in bloom, the sun is bright, and the trees are not bare. Don't miss the opportunity presented by this weather and the company of your friends; seek out a reputable caterer in your region and let them take care of the most problematic aspect of any party: the food.
Just as you would take a large group of co-workers out to lunch at a restaurant rather than to your house, apply the same thinking to your summer gathering. It comes down to how you want to budget your time. You can spend hours at the grocery store overloading a cart with odds and ends, and inevitably forgetting something; washing dishes in the kitchen while you watch the party progress outside in your yard; and having the blood vessels in your eyes explode when you hear a cousin complain about your cooking skill. Hand the job to a professional and head outside, umbrella-adorned drink in hand. Remember: no one moves to Michigan to shovel snow. A good party catering service can move you in the right direction in the summer months-outside.