By: Shannon McMurray
Before I joined the ScoutComms team, I worked in the wedding and event industry. As a certified event planner, I worked up to thirteen hour days, handling everything from chasing down the hors d’oeuvres to testing out photo booths, consoling emotional brides and more. Even though weddings were something I enjoyed and those experiences are helping me plan my own wedding, I am relieved to be in a more relaxed environment, free of frantic brides, with great team members that I know are here to help me. That being said, I am looking forward to assisting in planning ScoutComms events, like our annual Scout Social (which was a total hit, if I do say so myself)!
Life happens, and there will always be obstacles to overcome, but there are ways to conquer and prepare. Avoiding these 5 mistakes in event planning will save you, and your event planner, a lot of heartache:
NOT SETTING AN EVENT BUDGET
By not setting an event budget, you are setting yourself up for failure. In the early stages of planning, sit down and create a plan of what is the max amount of money you want to spend on the event; this should be done before any other planning occurs.
You can create a binder or a folder on your computer to keep track of all expenses, details, vendors, etc; this will make it clearer when you need answers to your questions and makes everything more easily accessible. Another tip for budgeting is to break down the individual costs, including: venue, food, swag bags, entertainment, beverages, etc. You don’t want to have a $5,000 total budget and spend $4,800 on your catering, do you? No. The answer is no.
OVERLOOKING OTHER EVENTS ON THAT DAY
It is important to select the right day so as to avoid conflicts with any other significant event taking place on the same day as yours.
Know your target audience and your industry! Make sure you do your research ahead of time to ensure that another event will not put a damper on yours.
NOT BEING PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED
I cannot stress this one enough: be prepared. Something is going to come up that you will not be expecting. Sure, whoever you are planning the event for will most likely have something to say about it, but the attendees will likely not notice if you have black linens instead of white.
Before you spiral into a black hole of event-planning despair, take a deep breath and consider what your next option is. To avoid these situations, create an event risk assessment in the early stages of your event planning of what you can attempt to prevent or how you can fix the situation.
It is always important to have good communication with anyone involved in the event and to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Poor communication can create costly errors in event planning. Without good communication, you are once again setting yourself up for failure.
Create a plan with your internal event staff of all the details of the event, to include: venue, arrival time, set-up time, vendors, breakdown time, etc.; share this with the external team as well, for reference. By communicating with your internal and external team, it allows for everyone to properly coordinate for a successful event.
STICKING TO YOUR TIMELINE HARDCORE
Now, this one can be difficult, but ultimately your timeline will never go as planned. Delays can be caused for a variety of reasons, where it’s because the bride and groom want more photos, the flower girl had an emotional breakdown, or because the caterers didn’t show up on time; whatever the cause, you have to just go with the flow!
This also stems from the communication issue: make sure to communicate with your internal and external event staff on the timeline/run of show you have created. That way, if you do go off your timeline, you can quickly assess how to juggle and move forward with the changes. Plan to have a phone call with all of your vendors the month of the event, as well as the week of, to confirm all of the details.
Hopefully, understanding these top five problems and solutions will help you when you are planning your next event. Just remember that sometimes things happen out of your control, and the best thing to do is REMAIN CALM. Follow the plan that you created, and if something happens, refer to your event risk assessment and adjust accordingly. Happy planning!