Whether you are a professional event planner or just someone who has stepped up and volunteered to plan the next church or company festival, you can make the job much easier by starting out with a clearly outlined plan of action. Put some thought into initial planning and be as thorough as possible and you can save yourself a lot of grief down the line. Remember that old adage about the best laid plans though, and be flexible along the way.
Every type of event requires a much different approach. For instance, if you are planning a corporate event, then your responsibilities may include planning the travel arrangements for employees traveling from other cities. The key aspect to planning a successful corporate event is the venue and the venue should normally be decided by the number of guests expected to attend.
Many companies enjoy the convenience and versatility of holding their corporate events at local hotel ballrooms. Hotels are already set up and equipped for large and small events. They have the staff, the kitchen equipment, commercial dinnerware, the tables and chairs and may even be able to provide decorations. You work with event planners at the hotel to arrange the entire event including food and beverage selections. Most of the work is done for you by the hotel and their staff. There are a few important elements to consider though, in order to pull off a successful corporate event.
- Number of guests attending-Be sure to ask for and get an RSVP from every person who receives an invitation. It may be necessary to follow up with employees several times but it is essential in knowing how large a meeting space will be required. Your boss will not be happy if you reserve enough tables and food for 300 guests and only 200 people attend.
- Sound System, stage and microphones-If you will have featured guests who will be speaking at the event, then be sure to arrive early and test all sound equipment. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a CEO walking up to speak at a mic that doesn’t work properly.
- Theme, decorations-If this event is a birthday celebration for your company’s CEO or even a 25th anniversary for the company itself, then let the hotel know the type of decorations you will need or the theme you’ve chosen. If they are unable to provide what you need, then you may have to seek out other sources for your decorations and arrive early the day of the event in order to make sure the ballroom is properly prepared.
- An Amazing Cake-Unique cakes are very popular and can make a tremendous impact on the success of your event. For instance, if you are planning a corporate event for an auto dealership then you could present a cake baked in the shape of a Model T Ford or some type of fancy sports car. Work with your cake designer to come up with an unforgettable cake design that people can’t stop talking about.
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Normally, the pressure is off when planning a birthday or anniversary event. Attendees will be friends and family members who are very forgiving if you forget something. You can use Evite invitations for this type of event so it’s pretty easy to send out invitations to 10 or 100 people at virtually no cost.
Your biggest challenge will be deciding where to hold the event and that usually cannot be determined until you get your RSVP’s back from the guest list. For groups of 12 or so, someone’s home can be used and this affords a comfortable, relaxing setting for your party. Once the guest list climbs to around 20 or so, it is often better to rent a local meeting room. This will require some research but normally there are places like the Kiwanis Club or a local community center where you can rent space economically. If your budget allows it then most cities now offer meeting rooms and banquet hall space for parties and events. You can normally just rent the space and do all the decorating and catering yourself or you can buy a package that includes everything.
Be sure to make a list of what you feel are the most important elements to have at your birthday or anniversary party. At an anniversary celebration, you might have a collage of photos from the couples’ past life together with pictures of family members and pets. You could also do a video or PowerPoint presentation that includes funny stories from the past. Adding these little personal touches can ensure success.
Bridal Showers and Parties
Bridal Showers and Bachelor Parties can be fun to plan. You can get silly and include an embarrassing moments video for the bride or groom or you can turn it into a very elegant event held at the best hotel in town. When deciding on the theme and tone of your Bridal shower or party, take into consideration the personalities of the bride and groom themselves.
For instance, if the bride and groom are professionals with very distinctive tastes in art and music, then you might include their favorite Bach sonata as background music. Always decorate the venue based upon what the bride and groom would like and not your own preferences. If you know that the couple attends a local church, then hiring a male or female stripper would not be appropriate.
It’s best to take your cues about decorating and food selections for your event based on the preferences and personalities of the couple. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and use an idea from an aunt who knew the bride as a child that is no longer suitable. You can often get great ideas from people who currently know the couple.
Tips and Hints
-If you are short on time, then call around to local restaurants and see if you can reserve a private room for your party. Be sure to have a good idea of how many guests are coming because the restaurant will charge you based upon the number of guests attending.
-If you are short on funds, then check with friends and family to see if anyone has a home large enough to host the event.
-Look for unusual ideas for the food, decorations or theme. At a recent Snoop Dogg birthday celebration in Los Angeles, the desserts were edible 40-ounce bottles of Colt 45.
-Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, like you can in no way get everything done in time, then call some friends and family members or ask around the office for volunteers to help you plan your event. Normally, people are more than willing to help out in any way they can.
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