18 Event Planning Tips

event planning tips

Event organizers are in high demand as more and more people want to celebrate life’s special moments. The planning process for an event can be a challenge, but with careful organization, a good event planning checklist and a few key event planning tips, you can pull off a spectacular event that your guests will never forget.

18 Amazing Event Planning Tips

There’s a lot that goes into event planning. Anything from choosing the right space to arranging food and beverages needs to be considered. Additionally, everything needs to go off without a hitch if your event is to be a success.

That being said, you can get caught up in the fine details and stress yourself out if you’re not careful, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

We’ve put together a list of 18 amazing event planning tips that will help take your event planning skills to the next level.

1. Learn About Event Management

If you want to know how to start an event planning business, there are plenty of excellent resources out there. Event management is a specific field of study that can teach you the ins and outs of planning an event. It covers topics such as venue selection, logistics, marketing, budgeting and more.

If you’re serious about becoming an event planner, consider pursuing a degree in event management or even taking some online courses to give yourself a head start. There are also specialized certification programs you can pursue.

There are plenty of skills you can learn from programs like these. For example, you’re going to be dealing with budgeting throughout your career as an event planner and learning about finance is important for any business owner.

Additionally, it’s helpful to know how to market an event so that more people will attend. Learning about marketing is also a good idea if you want to start your own event planning business.

There are plenty of other courses you can take as well, such as ones on catering and hospitality. These will give you a better understanding of the industry as a whole and how to work with different types of clients.

Gaining knowledge in event management is pivotal for any event planner looking to elevate their skills and services. Beyond formal education and certification, engaging in continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends can significantly enhance your event planning prowess. Consider the following actions to deepen your event management knowledge:

  • Join Professional Associations: Becoming a member of professional event planning associations such as the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) or the International Live Events Association (ILEA) can provide access to exclusive resources, webinars, and networking opportunities.
  • Attend Industry Conferences: Regular attendance at industry conferences not only offers learning opportunities from seasoned professionals but also keeps you updated on the latest event technologies, trends, and best practices.
  • Subscribe to Event Planning Publications: Keep your knowledge current by subscribing to leading event planning magazines and online publications. These resources are treasure troves of case studies, expert advice, and innovative ideas.
  • Network with Peers: Building a strong network with fellow event planners can lead to knowledge exchange and collaboration opportunities. Peer discussions often reveal practical solutions to common challenges and creative ideas for event planning.

No matter what type of education or training you pursue, always remember that experience is the best teacher. Try to get as much hands-on experience as possible by planning small events for your family and friends or volunteering with a local charity.

event planning tips

2. Have a Comprehensive Event Plan

Having a detailed event plan is essential when organizing any event. Think of it as your event’s blueprint, covering everything from your main objectives to all the small details that will make your event unique.

Not only does it help you stay organized and focused, but it also gives a clear picture to everyone involved.

The primary benefit of a good plan is that it keeps things on track. When there’s a lot to juggle, having a checklist can save time and reduce stress. Moreover, when you’re working with a team, this plan ensures everyone knows their role and what’s expected of them.

For the organization or group you’re serving, your plan shows your preparation and professionalism. It provides a clear overview of what they can expect from the event and allows for feedback or adjustments as needed.

In short, a comprehensive event plan is your guide to ensuring a successful event that meets everyone’s expectations.

Make sure to include the following in your event plan:

  • Vision and objectives
  • Event timeline
  • Venue information
  • Guestlist including contact information
  • Menu and catering details
  • Audio/visual requirements
  • Transportation and parking information

To make your event plan truly comprehensive, incorporate the following elements:

  • Risk Management Plan: Identify potential risks that could impact your event, such as weather conditions, security concerns, or vendor failures. Develop strategies to mitigate these risks and include emergency response plans.
  • Sustainability Practices: Outline how your event will adopt sustainable practices, such as minimizing waste, using digital over physical materials, and selecting eco-friendly vendors. This not only benefits the environment but also enhances your brand image.
  • Inclusive Practices: Ensure your event is accessible and welcoming to all attendees by incorporating inclusive practices. This includes considering physical accessibility, providing diverse food options, and being mindful of cultural sensitivities.
  • Technology Integration Plan: Detail how technology will be used to enhance the event experience. This might involve event apps, social media engagement strategies, live streaming options, and digital registration processes.
  • Post-Event Evaluation Plan: Define how you will evaluate the success of your event. Include methods for collecting attendee feedback, measuring engagement levels, and assessing the achievement of your event objectives.

If you’re a new event planner, look online or in your local library for an example of what an event plan should contain and how it should be formatted.

Keep your own copy of this document as well so that you can use it as a template when you are hired by others to plan their events. There are plenty of templates online too.

You should also have a promotional plan that outlines how you will market your event. The event program is also a critical document that should be included in your event plan.

This document will list the order of events and who is participating in each one. In addition, the event schedule should include the times of key events and who is responsible for each task.

An event checklist is also an essential part of your event plan. This is a list of things you need to do before, during, and after the event.

Make sure that your checklist includes tasks such as sending out invitations two months in advance (at least), negotiating contracts with vendors six weeks in advance (at least), confirming all details one month in advance (one week if possible), and reviewing all event details two weeks in advance (one day if possible).

Just as you do with your event planner, put your checklist into a template after you’ve created it.

Additionally, before you start planning an event, think about who your target audience is. This will help you decide on the type of venue, menu, entertainment and more. For example, a corporate event might require more formal attire than a birthday party would.

Keep in mind that your event plan is not set in stone and can be amended as needed.

The more comprehensive you are, the easier it will be to plan your next event. Your target audience will also appreciate having all of this information in one place.

event planning tips

3. Choose Your Event Space Carefully

When planning the perfect venue, choosing your event space is one of the most important decisions you will make. If it’s a corporate function, then location and size are critical, but if it’s a wedding or other personal event, things such as ambiance might be more important than location.

Start by making a list of the features you need for each type of event in order to get an idea of what you’re looking for.

Then, make a list of potential event spaces in your area and set up appointments to visit them. When you meet with the venue manager, bring along your list of requirements as well as a few ideas on how you might use their space if they do not have any event packages.

Don’t forget to ask if they have a preferred list of vendors and what their policies are regarding alcohol, decorations and other potential event details. Try not to contract with the venue until after you know how many people will be attending your event since this might affect your choice of location.

Also, find out if there are technology perks like Wi-Fi and on-site IT at the venue location, as they can simplify your planning and help guests connect.

event planning tips

4. Put Effort into Event Branding and Design

Your event branding and design will be the first thing people see when they arrive at your event. It’s also something that you can use to help promote your event through social media, print materials or even on a website.

When you’re ready to take care of these important details, start by creating an overall theme for your event. This might be something as simple as using the same color scheme throughout all of your branding materials or it could be a more specific theme, such as a vintage circus for a carnival-themed event.

Once you have your theme in place, start designing logos, fonts and other graphics that will help to communicate your brand. If you’re not a designer, hire someone to do this for you. A professional will be able to create something that is cohesive and visually appealing.

Next, start designing your event branding materials including invitations, gift bags and promotional items such as pens or lanyards with your logo on them. If you have the budget for it, consider hiring an event designer to help you with these details so that they are cohesive and professional-looking.

When designing your event’s website, choose a theme that matches or complements your other branding materials. You can also use the same colors for each page of your site as well as include graphics from previous events on this new one if applicable.

Besides the event design, you want to have an event name. The name of the event should be unique, but it also needs to fit your brand’s image. For example, if you’re hosting a Halloween party at a nightclub called “Club Purple”, then calling it something like “Purple Party” would work well because both names are related to each other and they match in color scheme as well.

Don’t forget to create signage for your event that will help direct people where to go. This could be something as simple as a large banner at the entrance or directional signs throughout the venue.

Creating a cohesive design for your event is an important way to make a good first impression and helps promote your event long before it actually takes place.

event planning tips

5. Work Out an Event Budget

Before you start planning your event, it’s important to have a realistic idea of how much money you’re willing to spend. This includes the cost of the venue, catering, decorations, entertainment and any other miscellaneous expenses that might come up.

If you’re not sure where to start, try using a worksheet to help estimate the cost of your event. Once you have a ballpark number, start finding ways to reduce the cost so that you stay within your budget.

One way to save money is by doing some of the work yourself such as designing and printing invitations, creating signage or making centerpieces. You can also find affordable catering options or look for discounts on decorations and supplies from local stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

If you’re working within a budget, it’s also important to consider the cost of staff for your event. While you might not be able to hire full-time employees, there are many freelance companies that offer part-time workers at an hourly rate which is much more affordable when compared to a salary.

When working out your event budget, consider the following detailed steps and tips:

  • Break Down Categories: List every possible expense category, including venue, food and beverages, entertainment, decor, technology, marketing, and unexpected costs. This granularity helps in not overlooking any potential expenses.
  • Research and Compare Quotes: For each category, obtain multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. This can significantly impact your overall budget and possibly allow for upgrades in other areas.
  • Track Every Expense: Utilize budget tracking tools or software to monitor your expenses in real-time. This can help in making immediate adjustments if certain costs are running higher than anticipated.
  • Include Contingency Funds: A common best practice is to allocate 5-10% of your total budget to a contingency fund. This fund is crucial for covering unforeseen expenses without derailing your event plans.
  • Evaluate ROI for Corporate Events: For business-related events, outline how you will measure the return on investment (ROI). This could involve lead generation, sales, or brand exposure metrics, helping to justify the event’s cost.

By creating a budget and sticking to it, you can avoid any last-minute surprises that might affect the overall success of your event.

event planning tips

6. Design a Strong Marketing Plan

When you’re planning an event, it’s important to create a strong marketing strategy in order to get the word out about your event and drive attendance. The first step is choosing which platform(s) will be most effective for reaching your target audience.

For example, if you’re hosting a networking mixer at a local restaurant then Facebook might be your best bet because most people who use social media are Millennials and Gen Xers which means that’s where their attention is focused.

If you were to host an outdoor concert instead then using Instagram stories to promote it would be more effective since they’re mobile-friendly and easy on the eyes.

Once you’ve decided which platform(s) to use, it’s time to start creating content. This should include a mix of teaser images or videos, quotes from speakers or attendees, and information about the event such as the date, time and location. You can also create a custom hashtag for people to use when they post about your event so that it’s easy for others find it on social media.

Media relations are also an important part of marketing an event. This includes reaching out to local publications and bloggers to see if they’re interested in writing about your event. You can also offer them free tickets or a complimentary meal in exchange for coverage.

If you’re planning an in-person event, consider including a QR code on the invitation that links to more information about your organization and what attendees can expect from attending this particular gathering. This is also helpful if there are any changes that need to be made last minute as people will always have access to the most up-to-date information about your event.

Also, hiring a professional photographer is always a good idea when planning an event. Not only will they help capture all the important moments for your attendees, but it is also important to have high-quality images on hand that you can use in future marketing materials or promotional campaigns.

Lastly, don’t forget about email marketing! You can use tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact which allow you to design beautiful newsletters and send them out for free (up to a certain number of subscribers).

These tools also allow you to track how many people open and click-through your email, so you can see which messages are resonating with your audience.

event planning tips

7. Consider Having an Event App

If you’re planning an event, it might be worth looking into creating a mobile app for your attendees. There are many benefits to having an event app such as:

  • Easy access to important information like maps and schedules makes navigating the venue easier than ever before.
  • You can send push notifications with updates or reminders about upcoming talks or events.
  • Interactive features like a voting ballot or Q&A session can keep attendees engaged and entertained.
  • The ability to sell tickets and merchandise right from the app makes it easy for guests to purchase what they need without having to leave the event.

While there are many different event apps on the market, most of them are fairly affordable which makes them a great investment for any type of event. If you’re not sure where to start, try contacting a local app development company to see what they can do for you.

8. Hire Amazing Staff

One of the most important aspects of any successful event is the staff that you hire. Not only do they need to be professional and courteous, but they also need to be knowledgeable about the event itself and what’s going on so that they can answer any questions that guests might have.

When hiring staff for your event, always make sure to have them fill out an application and provide references. This will allow you to see what kind of experience they’ve had in similar situations before making a final decision on who gets hired.

You’ll also want someone who is going over everything that needs finishing before the event starts so that everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises on the day itself.

If you’re having an outdoor venue, then it’s a good idea to hire security guards who can keep an eye out for any troublemakers or potential problems like fights breaking out among guests (or even just inebriated people wandering around).

The success of your event heavily relies on the performance and professionalism of your staff. To ensure you hire a team that will elevate your event, consider these strategies:

  • Define Roles Clearly: Before hiring, outline clear job descriptions for each role. This helps in attracting candidates that are a good fit and sets clear expectations from the outset.
  • Leverage Networking and Referrals: Use your professional network to find reliable staff. Recommendations from trusted colleagues or industry connections can lead to discovering outstanding talent.
  • Conduct Thorough Interviews: Go beyond the resume in interviews. Ask situational questions that reveal how candidates might handle specific challenges during events.
  • Invest in Training: Even experienced event staff can benefit from training specific to your event’s requirements. This could include customer service, safety protocols, or technology used during the event.
  • Build a Team Spirit: Foster a positive work environment and team spirit through team-building activities or briefings before the event starts. A team that works well together can significantly enhance the event experience for guests.

event planning tips

9. Have a Backup Plan

No matter how well you plan an event, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan in place for every possible scenario so that you’re not caught off guard if something unexpected happens.

For example, what if the venue is double-booked and you have to move the event last minute? Or what if half of your guest list doesn’t show up because of a snowstorm? Or you need to move everything under tents because of rain?

Having a backup plan means that you’re always prepared for the worst-case scenario and can handle anything that comes your way. It might not be easy, but it’s definitely better than being caught off guard and having to deal with unhappy guests or a ruined event.

By having a backup plan, you’ll be able to handle any situation that comes up and keep your event running smoothly.

10. Pamper Your Sponsors

Sponsors are an important part of any event, and it’s important to make sure that they feel appreciated. After all, they’re investing money in your event so you want to make sure that they get the most out of it.

One way to do this is by pampering them with exclusive benefits like early access to the venue or seating in a special area reserved just for them (and their guests). You can also offer them discounts on food, drinks and other things that might interest them.

Decor and theme are also key to an event’s success, and they are very important to your sponsors. As such, you should always make sure to keep them in the loop about any changes or updates that you make. This will ensure that their branding and logo are prominently displayed throughout the event and that they get the most exposure possible.

event planning tips

11. Create an Event Hashtag

One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning events is not having an event hashtag. A hashtag lets attendees know what’s going on with your event, and it helps them to connect with other people who are attending.

This also allows you to track conversations about the event on social media platforms like Twitter so that you can see what kind of buzz is being generated by attendees before they even arrive at your venue! This can help make sure that everything goes smoothly without any unexpected surprises because everyone already knows what’s going on.

12. Include a Separate Cloud Storage Drive

Having cloud storage is great for events because it allows you to store photos, videos and other files on the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. This means that if anything happens during an event (like power outages), then there will still be access to important information such as guest lists or registration forms.

It also allows you to keep track of how many people have RSVP’d so far, which will help ensure that they arrive at the correct time and place on day one! If there are any changes made throughout the planning process—such as adding new sponsors or vendors – then this will all be reflected accurately within your cloud storage system.

13. Have a Transportation Plan

Make sure that everyone can get to and from the event without any trouble. It’s important to have transportation plans in place for attendees who are coming from out of town or traveling by plane or train so they don’t miss out on anything! This is especially true if there will be alcohol served at your event as well since people might need a safe way to get home.

Good resources to use for transportation include Uber, Lyft and taxi services like Yellow Cab Co. Putting a Google Map with marker on the event website is also helpful so people can see the address and direction to where they need to go before making their way to the event.

event planning tips

14. Make the Food & Beverages Count

Food and beverages are an important part of any event. You want to make sure that your guests are well taken care of, but you don’t want to spend the entire budget on catering either! So how do you find a happy medium?

One option would be hiring food trucks or having some local restaurants cater to different parts of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner). This will keep costs down while also providing guests with a more personalized experience.

If you’re having an outdoor event and know that rain is likely to fall, then bring umbrellas or tents for everyone so they can still enjoy their meal without getting soaked in the process! It’s all about thinking ahead of time and being prepared for any situation.

15. Have an Entertainment Plan

Make sure that there is always something for your guests to do. It’s important to have entertainment plans in place during events so people aren’t bored or left standing around waiting for the next thing to happen.

This could be anything from live music performances to games and contests. Interim entertainment can include activities such as photo booths and relaxation and guest engagement areas.

Entertainment is a vital aspect of any event, setting the tone and creating memorable experiences for attendees. To craft a stellar entertainment plan, consider the following:

  • Know Your Audience: Tailor your entertainment choices to the preferences and demographics of your attendees. Whether it’s a live band, DJ, speakers, or interactive experiences, understanding your audience ensures the entertainment resonates.
  • Diversify Entertainment Options: Offer a variety of entertainment to cater to different tastes and keep guests engaged throughout the event. This could include musical acts, magicians, photo booths, or interactive workshops.
  • Schedule Wisely: Plan the timing of entertainment to maintain energy and flow. For example, a keynote speaker might be best positioned to captivate guests at the start, while a band can elevate the mood during a gala dinner.
  • Consider Technical Needs: Ensure you have the necessary technical support for your entertainment choices. This includes sound systems, lighting, and staging. Coordination with your venue and technical team is essential.
  • Feedback Loop: Engage with attendees post-event to gather feedback on the entertainment. This can guide future entertainment decisions and highlight what resonated most with your audience.

event planning tips

16. Keep Your Guests Informed

It’s important to keep your guests informed about any changes or updates, so they know what’s going on at all times. This could be done in person by sending them an email with the latest news from you or including updates in a printed program. You can also keep everyone updated by posting updates on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

Make sure to use the right hashtag so people can find all of your posts related to the event easily!

17. Invest in New Event Technology

Events look different than they did before and now you have interactive virtual events, hybrid events and webinars in addition to in-person events. New technology can transform any type of event from blah to buzzworthy, so be sure to take advantage of it to make the experience even better!

You’ll want to invest in things such as lighting systems, speakers and microphones for in-person speeches and presentations.

Some virtual event ideas include:

  • Drones with cameras attached so you can capture aerial views at heights not possible by humans.
  • Virtual reality headsets that allow attendees to experience immersive worlds from the comfort of their own homes.
  • Augmented reality glasses that superimpose digital images onto real-world objects.
  • Virtual live concerts that include video performances from musical artists.

18. Collect Staff and Attendee Feedback

After the event is over, it’s important to collect feedback from both your staff and attendees to measure success and other key details. You should ask them what they liked best about the event so that you can do more of those things at future events.

Ask where improvements could be made to elevate the event experience or if there were any problems during planning or execution that need addressing soon after everything has settled down a bit.

This will allow you to learn more about what went well and where improvements can be made for future events to make the attendee experience a positive one.

It doesn’t hurt to take notes during the event so you can make any necessary changes next time around, such as changing locations or catering companies.

To effectively collect and utilize feedback, implement these strategies:

  • Surveys: Develop post-event surveys for both attendees and staff. Use a mix of rating scales and open-ended questions to gather comprehensive insights.
  • Feedback Stations: For larger events, consider setting up feedback stations where attendees can share their thoughts in real-time.
  • Social Media Monitoring: Utilize social media platforms to gather informal feedback. Attendees often share their experiences online, providing candid insights.
  • Staff Debriefs: Organize a debrief session with your event team. This is an opportunity to discuss what went well and identify areas for improvement from the staff’s perspective.
  • Action Plan: Compile the feedback into an actionable plan. Identify common themes and prioritize adjustments for future events based on this feedback.

event planning tips

For a quick recap and to ensure you’ve covered all essential aspects of event planning, refer to the checklist table below. You can print it out and tick off tasks as you complete them for your event.

Event Planning TaskDetails/RemarksDone
Learn About Event ManagementAccess online resources, courses[ ]
Comprehensive Event PlanVision, timeline, guestlist, etc.[ ]
Choose Event SpaceLocation, ambiance, size[ ]
Event Branding & DesignTheme, logos, website, name[ ]
Set Event BudgetVenue, catering, decor, staff[ ]
Design Marketing PlanChoose platform, content, media[ ]
Consider an Event AppFeatures like schedules, maps[ ]
Hire StaffApplication, references[ ]
Backup PlanContingency measures[ ]
Pamper SponsorsExclusive benefits, decor updates[ ]
Event HashtagUnique and relevant[ ]
Cloud Storage DriveFor event materials[ ]
Transportation PlanFor out-of-town attendees[ ]
Food & BeveragesCatering, outdoor precautions[ ]
Entertainment PlanEngaging activities for guests[ ]
Keep Guests InformedUpdates, changes[ ]
Invest in Event TechLighting, sound systems[ ]
Collect FeedbackFrom staff and attendees[ ]

Use Our Event Planning Tips to Make Your Next Event Fantastic

Planning an event can seem like a daunting task. But with these tips, you’ll be able to plan your next event in no time! And remember: don’t forget about the little things that make any party memorable—from decorations and food, right down to seating arrangements. Best of luck to you!

Image: Shutterstock

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.