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?
Your Main Purpose As a Wedding Planner
A Wedding Planner was once thought of as a luxury, only used by the wealthy. Now an event coordinator is essential to a well planned affair. It is important to remember that your Wedding Planner is not there to make a decision for you but to guide and assist you in making informed decisions.
Every bride dreams about their perfect wedding but find it's not easy making that dream wedding a reality. Brides can average around 250 hours organizing their wedding. The engagement period should be a time of fun and excitement but most brides and grooms find themselves running around sourcing suppliers and reception venues, choosing invitations and arguing over guest lists instead of enjoying this exciting time in their lives. Combine this with working and is it any wonder, come the wedding day, they are totally stressed.
What will a Wedding Planner do
A Wedding Planner will do as much or as little as you want. If you want a completely stress free wedding your Planner will source and negotiate prices with all suppliers, assist you with decisions regarding themes and colors etc. for your wedding, basically they will do all of the legwork and you will only have to make the decisions regarding which suppliers to contract. Your Planner will also assist with any pre-wedding parties, if required. They will also be there on your wedding day to make sure everything runs smoothly and on time.
You may prefer to organize some part of your wedding yourself and use a Planner to source suppliers for you or you might want to organize your entire wedding and just have a coordinator on hand for your wedding day so you can enjoy your big day without worrying about anything. Most Wedding Planners will offer a range of packages and hourly services.
This will just be an added cost
A Wedding Planner will save you valuable time and money as they can take advantage of discounts not available to private parties. They will do all the legwork and present you with a list of options within your budget. Their expertise in negotiating with service providers means they can secure the best deal for you. Wedding Planners build up a network of top quality vendors in the wedding industry and they only recommend the best as this impacts their own business. They negotiate very good discounts with these vendors and, in most cases, you will find that your Wedding Planner will not be an added cost on your budget as the discounts they obtain will cover their costs.
Where to start
When you first meet with a Wedding Planner they will provide you with a starter kit which will detail their services and costs, along with checklists and ideas and suggestions that will assist you to make a decision regarding themes, colors, flowers, number of guests etc. This is also an opportunity to see if you are comfortable with the Planner and if you will be able to work together. This initial consultation and starter kit is usually offered free of charge. When you make the decision to go ahead a contract will be presented to you detailing exactly what is expected of both parties and the cost of the services provided.
Event Planning - Throw an Event That Will Be the Talk of the Town
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!