No doubt planning your event can save you a ton of money, can help you to become more in tune with the event and can allow you the freedom that a planner may not allow. Or you might be learning event planning to become a professional event planner. Either way, planning an event adds stress and difficulty if you do not know how to properly manage your time and resources to make the most of both.
Here are five tips to help you effectively plan an event:
1. Lists Are Your Friends
Though a list may seem like a very simple thing to do that may not make much difference, there is nothing more helpful than a visual representation of what needs to be done. This will also allow you the chance to mark off what you complete and see what you have been accomplishing. This will allow you to figure out a timeline and see what needs to be done so that you can get tasks completed before your big day.
Recommendation: The best way to stay organized is to use a project management app. We use and recommend Plutio [aff]. It offers project management tools to help you plan and execute successful events, invite clients or others to collaborate, send out proposals to clients, and get paid. It's an invaluable tool for our business.
2. Scheduling is Important
This is a given in many aspects but it is also something very important to keep in mind. If you are the only person that is working on the event, you can go by your schedule and do just about whatever you want whenever you have the time.
If you do have more than one person working with you however you may want to split up the schedule and try to incorporate everyone so that no one gets left out. You don't want to be doing everything yourself if you have an option of others helping you.
3. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Though it may seem like a great idea to meet with the cake maker, the caterer, the dressmaker, and everyone else you can in one day, this is going to end badly no matter how you slice it.
It is always best to schedule one or two things at most in one day so that you have time to make sure you are not crunched for time and that you get the task completed fully as opposed to half-way because you're rushing to the next appointment. This is especially true if you're in a large city where traffic is a problem and/or you have to use public transportation.
4. Give Yourself Some Slack
It may be tempting to order just what you need or to go out and buy only what you have anticipated needing, it is going to save you time, money and hassle if you give yourself some slack to work with by buying more. It sounds counter-intuitive, but giving yourself some slack with resources will save you money. More importantly, you won't run out of critical resources that people need during the event and look unprofessional. For example, running out of champagne glasses at a wedding because some people decided to bring dates they didn't RSVP for.
If you are expecting 50 guests buy enough for 60 or even 70. If you did your due diligence planning and getting RSVP's, 10% slack is good to cover your base. If you're unsure of how many people will show, you might need a bigger slack to be safe.
It is better to have a little more than you need to be left than it is to have to scramble and buy more at the last minute. Or worse, telling a guest at the wedding that they'll be drinking champagne from their coffee cup.
5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Often what gets many planners, DIY, and professionals, down are small details. It may not matter if the ribbon in the centerpieces is perfect so long as you have bigger matters under control. It is easy to become overwhelmed if you are doing everything on your own but you should not buckle because one or two things go a little wrong. It is best to focus on the bigger picture than it is to think about every small thing that goes wrong.
Remember, done is better than perfect. But make sure it's not half-fast either, it needs to meet your and/or client's expectations.