Fabulous in the City

A Primer in Event Planning
3 December 2007, 10:09 am
Filed under: Great Finds

Everyone knows that I love to plan events. Parties, showers, luncheons, brunches – you name it, I can make it happen. I love coming up with new ideas and [finally] getting to use themes and visions that I’ve come up with in the past. A lot of my clients ask me how I can keep up with all the little details, and I’ve told them time and time again – it’s all about proper organization.

When planning an event, there are certain things that I have to know before I even get started. From the answers to the questions that I’m about to share with you, I gather a list of lists. It sounds silly, I know, but you’ll see what I mean in a second. For now, here are the questions that I ask before designing any event.

1.       What is the occasion?

2.       How many people are going to be there?

3.       What’s the age range of the invited guests?

4.       When is the event going to take place?

5.       What is your [the person hosting the event] goal in having this shindig?


From there, I gather the lists that I’ll need. Let’s dive in further, starting with question number one.

Depending on the occasion that the event is for, I’ll need a frame of reference for themes, meals, agendas and activities, and what vendors, services, and arrangements I’ll need to start working on. For instance, if it’s a benefit, I know that I’ll need to choose the menu, find a caterer, musicians, furniture and accessories, plan for guest speakers and possibly a red carpet entrance. If it’s a bachelorette party, the activities will be a little different, and the food may not be as important.

By having even a ballpark estimate of how many guests will be attending the event, I know a number of things from the beginning. I know which vendors to call [I categorize partners based on a number of criteria], and what meals and activities will be feasible for the client. I also know how to divide the budget [based on percentage] to allow for the feeding, seating, and entertaining of each guest.

While the age of the invitees may seem like a rather silly question, it tells me a lot of things. For one, I prefer to have a separate menu option for any event where there will be children under the age of ten. Also, having a section for children to lounge and play isn’t such a bad idea if the event isn’t too formal – otherwise, they’ll be next to their parents. Also, based on the ages of the attendees, I tend to choose certain meal options, musicians, and seating arrangements, to suit the needs of all that are invited.

Knowing when the event is going to take place of course gives me a timeline of when I need to have things set in stone, and gives me a delivery date for my corporate partners. That’s self-explanatory.

The goal of the event is extremely important. Even if it seems silly or pompous, the goal of an event can make or break the entire planning process. If your goal is to wow the neighbors, there are certain ways of pulling the event off that have to be done – and no expense can be spared. If your goal is simply to celebrate a special occasion, there are certain things that you don’t do, which would ruin how your guests perceived the event and spoil what they take from it.

Planning an event isn’t a cakewalk – don’t let me give you that impression. It’s just a little different when you have the proper gameplan in place.


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