It’s all in the details-4 Tips for a successful event

eventI love event planning. I really do, but sometimes in the middle of a project, I have to be reminded of that fact.

When you are waist deep in the minutia that is event planning, you forget how cool it is when it all comes together.

Name tag fiascos, extremely late RSVPs, crazy client requests, AWOL vendors, etc, etc, etc. – it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Sometimes you have to take a step back, see the big picture and know that it’s all going to work out. And at some point, you will decide to work on this event again next year.

Over the weekend, I planned two major events back-to-back for the same client. I nearly went insane until I remembered the basic rules of event planning.

1. If it can go wrong, it probably will – No matter how detailed you plan, or how well you prepare, something will go wrong. I have never had an event go perfectly smoothly.

Sometimes it’s a minor thing – a fanatic shows up at your black tie, high $ ticket, champagne-upon-arrival affair, in running shorts and t-shirt begging for an autograph and has to be escorted out by security (happened to me). Sometimes, it’s a major thing – the very high profile guest of honor arrives 45 minutes late to your event and misses the $10K per ticket photo session with donors (happened to me, too).

2. Checklists are your friend – An event planner can never have too many. RSVP checklist – check. List of vendors with contacts – check. List of what to bring – check. Timeline with flexible times – Check Check CHECK!

3. A car with lots of hauling space is a necessity! I think photo might explain why sometimes a trunk just ain’t gonna cut it.


This is all the stuff that I took home after the event, minus the red carpet and 15 bags of books I already took out. Ugh!

4. It all works out in the end – No matter how crazy things get in the planning process, the event will go on. Many of those seemingly major details move to the back burner and, if you are doing your job well, the audience never knows the difference.

For example, at one of my events this weekend, a centerpiece caught on fire 10 minutes before guests were to take their seats! Thankfully, we had an extra, we had the catering staff do a quick check at all the other tables and the show went on unfazed.

(Thank God! I would hate to be known as the event planner who burned down the Schuster Center!)

The reward of any event planner are the pats on the back, thank yous and happy smiles as guests are leaving the event. When they tell you they can’t wait until next year, you know you did it right. Just remember to order the flowers without the sea grass next time!


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