By Caroline Bujold
Whether you’re organizing a simple get together with a few friends or a monstrous family gathering requiring a hall rental, the science behind event planning is the same. Only the details change.
There are only seven steps to organizing an event, whether it’s a baby shower, a professional conference or a party. I should know, I’ve been organizing events for 20 years. No matter how you think about it, these are the only steps you need to follow:
Here is how it works.
WHY are you organizing this event? What is your event’s purpose or goal?
WHO is it for? WHO can help?
WHAT is the feel, the theme and activities happening during this gathering?
WHERE are you holding your party?
WHEN is this event taking place? The weather and time of day can affect your planning.
WHAT ARE resources available to you to make this happen?
To make things happen, you need a plan. For me, this usually boils down to a timeline, a few checklists and a budget. I’m pretty low tech when it comes to planning, even for big events.
Excel spreadsheets + Planner + Electronic calendar reminders = Success for me.
I only use a spreadsheet if it’s a bigger event, spread out over a long period of time, like when we were planning our wedding, for example.
TIMELINE – Start from the date of your event and work backwards. What needs to be done the day of the event, the week before, the month before, etc.? Plan for some wiggle room.
If you’re not the only person working on your event, make sure you note who is in charge of what task.
If it’s a big enough event, plan for alternatives if things fall through. Having a plan B is always a good thing.
This is what a simple typical timeline looks like:
- People – Of those invited, who have confirmed?
- Things – What needs to be made, borrowed, bought or assembled?
BUDGET – Dream a little to start with, then check prices of everything and then scale down if needed.
Now that you have your plan, it’s time to do the work.
Follow your plan and adjust as needed. Your plan is a living tool and needs to evolve as things move forward.
Be flexible and adaptable
Invite your peeps, post on social media and make your event known.
There are so many ways these days to promote an event that it would be pointless to get into details here.
Your promotion is only limited by your imagination and creativity.
The big day is here!
Some things will go wrong and others will be better than you planned.
Take a big picture approach, delegate what you can and enjoy your event.
The order of these next two steps can be interchanged depending on your event
Once the dust has settled, examine what worked, what felt wrong and figure out briefly what you would do differently.
Document your thoughts, especially if this is a recurring event.
This could be as simple as making a note in your planner or as complex as writing a report with recommendations.
You’ve worked hard, and if you were lucky enough to have helpers, they worked hard too.
Show your appreciation by saying thank you in some capacity.
And take some time to celebrate your own success :).