1. Start EarlyAs any pro planner will tell you, an event will always come around sooner than expected, so starting early is a must. Piecing all of the elements of your event together as soon as possible will also leave more leeway for you to handle any unexpected problems that come up.
Another reason you should put the wheels in motion as soon as you can is because many service providers require months—or, depending on the event, sometimes even a year—in advance. Booking your service providers early will give you the best chance of securing the one you want. It will also give you more time to iron out the details of the arrangement, and to make contingency plans if any fall through.
2. Make and Stick to Your Schedule (As Much as Possible)Whether it’s your first event or your fiftieth, the importance of making and sticking to a schedule remains the same. After all, at the heart of any great event is careful planning and organisation. Planning out the entire timeline of the lead up to your event is indeed a very involved process. It will require you to figure out in advance a range of considerations, from when supplies need to be ordered to when certain meeting take place to when items will be delivered.
The trap many people fall into is that once they realise how much they have to do they become so stressed that they give up on keeping their schedule. However, this is precisely why a schedule is needed in the first place! It allows you to recognise what’s coming up ahead of time and to make any necessary arrangements.
The way around the problem of becoming overwhelmed is to plan early (see tip #1) and to also leave room for flexibility. While sticking to a schedule is helpful, you shouldn’t do it at the expense of your sanity! Remember that it’s fine to be flexible, so long as you change your schedule accordingly and make up for it later down the line.
3. Hire the Right PeopleWhile you may be spearheading the event, there are many other people who contribute to making the event a success...or a disaster. That’s why one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself is hiring the right people from the get-go. Whether they are full-time staff or temporary event staff, everyone on your team should share your vision and have the skills and work ethic to back it up.
While there are universal attributes that anyone should look for in a hire, such as reliability, honesty, and efficiency, you also need to think about what other attributes your ideal hire boasts. For instance, some people may seek someone who can work on their own completely independently, while others may prefer someone who checks in with them after each task.
4. Seek Ways to Reduce Your StressOne of the biggest mistakes people make when event planning is that they don’t take advantage of proven ways to reduce stress and to not become overwhelmed. All of the tips we’ve provided above relate to this. For instance, if you want to avoid having a bottleneck of tasks, start early. If you want to ensure you have everything accounted for, create a schedule. And if you feel like you’re taking too much on by yourself, hire a team to help out.
There’s no point in trying to be superwoman or superman when planning your event. If there is a smart shortcut, take it. There’s really no shame in trying to establish a better balance! In fact, your event will run far more smoothly if you seek assistance when you need it. Beyond the above tips, there are also useful event planning resources available that provide invaluable information. In summary, before you take on yet another responsibility, remember to stop and think, “Is there a way I could make this easier for myself?” If there is—take it!