The holidays are right around the corner, and according to the Seattle Times, if this year is anything like last, 80 percent of companies nationwide will be hosting holiday parties. If you're in charge of planning your company's party, there's a lot to think about.Whether you’re a seasoned planner or new to the “glamorous” world of events, remembering these five event planning best practices will help your next event leave a lasting impression.
1. Make your budget work.
Working within a tight budget is one of the many difficult tasks in event planning, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. Get creative—see where you can make cuts in order to devote more resources to signature aspects of your event. It’s crucial to stick to the original budget throughout the planning process, but the best events aren’t necessarily the most expensive. Focus on what will have the most impact.
2. Keep your focus.
Concentrate your attention on the major goals behind the event, and be sure that each of your planning decisions will help achieve those goals. Whether it’s a non-profit event fundraiser or a corporate holiday party, remembering the overall purpose of the event will help you focus your attention appropriately.
3. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Don’t be afraid to delegate and divvy up the responsibility—one person can’t do it all. Try to assign team members with tasks that play into their unique skills or background knowledge. You as the team leader can then focus on the big-picture goals of the event, rather than stressing about mailing invitations or hanging signage. Meeting prior to the event can help make sure everyone is on the same page with what needs to be completed and the urgency of each task at hand.
4. Preparation is key.
It’s always best to over-prepare than underprepare. You don’t want to have to worry the night of the event when you run out of the hors d’oeuvres within the first half hour or don’t have enough seats for all your guests. Always plan for more than is expected for food, seating, and gifts, and make sure you stay organized with to-do lists, vendor contracts and volunteer management.
5. Keep your branding consistent.
Remember that everything from the initial social media graphic or poster down to the signs at the event should all have consistent branding. Invitations, table settings, and even labels—the branding should be clear to each guest throughout the entire process. Cohesive branding will build recognition for your guests and will help you market your event now and in subsequent years.
It can be easy for event planning rookies and gurus alike to get overwhelmed during the planning process, but following these five best practices will help you execute successful, memorable events (and avoid headaches getting there).
Learn more about how you can maximize your next event’s success in our free Event Planning Workbook.