Fun Reads

Event Planning 101

Emily Dawson
By: Emily Dawson
Nov 6, 2020 • 6 min read

Welcome to Event Planning 101

Are you working on pulling together an event for work? Do you lack experience or ideas about where to start? Here is a step-by-step guide to event planning! This blog will share everything you need to have a successful and fun event that will impress your colleagues.

event planning

Pick a Theme or Cause

The first step is asking yourself what this event is for. Is it a fundraiser? Is it a party to celebrate a holiday? You probably already have the answer to this since there has been a request for an event. After you know this information, figure out a theme that goes along with the event. Say if you are doing a fundraiser for the ASPCA, the theme should be surrounding animals. If you are doing a holiday party, find a creative way to include all religions in the celebration. However, if you are celebrating a milestone at the company or just throwing a party at work because everyone needs a break, pick something more specific. You could do a decade theme, like the 1920s, or an environment like the jungle. Whatever theme you pick, make sure to match the decorations, venue, and food.

Have a Budget

You likely were given x-amount of dollars to spend on this event. This budget will be allocated towards things like food and venue. Make sure you do not overspend! The worst thing you could do is plan this amazing event that is over budget. We recommend you make a spreadsheet and write down everything you will need to purchase and how much money it will cost. This is a fantastic way to stay organized. If you feel like the budget is too small for the event to be successful, find ways to be innovative and scale back the event or fundraise.

Keep in mind you will likely need:

  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Decorations
  • Table settings
  • Music
  • Events/games

event planning

Book a Venue

The event has to take place somewhere! If you are trying to be budget-friendly, maybe you can do it in the office and find a way to make the room more engaging and suitable for the event. If not, have a good idea about how many people will be attending the event and the places that could fit your party’s guest list. Some good places to start would be hotel ballrooms, a restaurant with a private room, an Airbnb on the outskirts of the city, or venues strictly dedicated to events. These are all flexible in how they will serve you and your event. Think again about your theme or cause and how each venue will blend with the location you choose.

Pick a Time and Date

Unless you were given this information already, you’d need to figure out when the event will occur. If it is on a weekday, you’ll likely need to set an evening time because everyone will be working. Your company may allow a day off in place of the event. However, this will likely not always be the case. If you are doing the event on the weekend, you probably have more leeway when the event can be scheduled. Think about if you want the event to be more laid back or formal. If you are doing a very lighthearted and laid-back event, I would suggest a daytime event that takes place over several hours. This would be great for a fundraiser. If you are doing more of a formal event, then pick the evening. This would be greatly suited for a milestone event or an event to recognize an important person at the company.

event planning

Plan Catering

Once you have your time nailed down, you should figure out how you will feed people! If you have a formal evening event, you’ll want to book a catering company that will deliver a menu that is best suited to your needs. This will just take some quick googling of catering companies in your area. You’ll be able to see what they have to offer. If you are doing a daytime event that might occur around lunchtime, consider some food trucks. Or, a popular local restaurant to cater to the event. Also, remember to have accommodations for people who may be vegetarian or gluten intolerant.

Choose a Keynote Speaker

Regardless of what the event is for, you’ll likely want to have someone say a few words about why everyone is there for the event. If you are doing a fundraiser, have someone in charge of the fundraiser, speak. When honoring a specific person at the event, make sure you have someone to queue up their speech with some nice words about that person. If you have invited some special guests to your event, make sure they are recognized. You can also choose a company employee who is passionate about an interesting topic! Everyone loves to listen to an engaged and passionate speaker. 

event planning

Extra Details

Depending on what type of event you are planning and the circumstances your venue has presented, you’ll likely run into a few other things you’ll need to plan. If you have a day time or outside event, you’ll want to plan out the guest’s activities to partake in. If the venue you have chosen is in a busy area, have a parking plan and what people will have to do to get to the venue. Maybe this means everyone parks away, and you have a shuttle service bringing people to the event. Ensure that you have determined a dress code and made that clear to everyone coming to the event. You’ll also want to send out invitations with all the details in advance. That way, everyone can plan to come to your event! Make sure to begin planning well in the future so that you allow yourself enough time to prepare for roadblocks in the planning process.

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