Event planning is the process of creating an event to achieve specific aims for business or fun.

An event can be defined as any happenings that individuals share in a common location for a certain amount of time.

There are three different types of events:

  • Personal events include weddings or birthday parties.
  • Commercial/Consumer events can be anything from product launch parties to conferences.
  • Community/Social events include church meetings, school functions, gala affairs, etc.

When managing an event, there are a lot of pieces that must come together. Sometimes one can get lost in all of the details and skip over some important things that could lead to disaster for an event.

Here is a list of 10 common mistakes that happen when planning events and how to avoid them:

Not communicating with your staff

There will always be someone at the location you rented or work with who has been there before and knows what they are doing. Let them know how many people you will be attending so they can prepare accordingly.

Also, discuss any special needs you may have for your guests, such as vegetarian or kosher options on the catering menu, A/V equipment requirements, etc. If you have been given access to the building, they will most likely have a list of things you need to bring.

Here are some examples:

  • Guest count (try to overestimate if possible).
  • Security needed (don’t forget traffic directors, check-in people, ushers, etc.)
  • Personal items (i.e., coat racks, guest books, place cards, etc.)
  • Special equipment or needs (if any).
  • Cleaning items (broom, mop, trash bags, etc.)

Not having enough parking

Though it seems like this would be easy to avoid, it’s prevalent for event planners not to consider that their guests may drive themselves or park further than expected. If there is not enough parking at the venue, guests will not feel welcome and may turn around and leave even though that’s where they want to be.

Not making it clear how guests should enter

If your event requires security, have them set up so that all of your guests can see, but most importantly, they can get through quickly without bottlenecking. If you are having an issue with people trying to sneak past security or sneaking in extra people, find another way of controlling this problem, such as sending out invitations so everyone knows who can enter.

Not providing transportation for out-of-towners

Having free transportation pick up and drop off is usually seen as special treatment for your guests, making them feel very important. This is great if they are attending an event that is out of town. However, if it’s local, they most likely will want to rent a car or call for a taxi.

For your convenience, include information about transportation in the invite so guests can plan accordingly.

Not thinking through logistics

Thinking through how everything will be set up before the event begins is very important, especially when you have multiple events going on at once or in different building areas. If possible, visit the location beforehand and see what works best with your layout.

Keep in mind things like clutter behind the stage (i.e., cords), room temperature (if it gets really hot, some guests may leave early).

Things that can help you out:

Print a master sheet

This will come in handy when more than one person is helping run the event. It ensures that all-important information is gathered and not missed.

Test Wi-Fi stability and bandwidth

Make sure your Wi-Fi can handle the number of people using it during the event time frame. If possible, try setting up some devices to act as wireless hotspots or repeaters on different channels to test if they work better than the main supplier. If there are any problems with Wi-Fi, you can switch over to them without breaking everything down first.

Also, ensure that whatever device/s you plan on using for this purpose has enough power to last the event.

Collect food preferences

If you are providing a meal or snack as part of your event, note what people would prefer from those available options. Usually, online events will provide this information easily, otherwise ask around if it’s a live event and post the question on the event page itself so that everyone attending will know about it too.

Have one person be responsible for lost & found

There should always be someone in charge of keeping an eye out for misplaced items during an event. Ensure a system set up where participants can let staff know if they’ve lost something like their wallet, phone, etc.

A form with several empty fields for more than one person’s contact information is recommended so that it can be picked up at the end of the event. Also, provide a ‘lost & found’ area where all items are stashed until their owners pick them up.

Have Charging Stations

Ensure there are enough power outlets (at minimum, two per 50 people expected) to charge everyone’s electronic devices during your event. This will make participants happy and reduce the amount of lost time spent waiting for people with low batteries to catch up on what they missed.

Have a backup plan to announce last-minute updates

If you’re allowed to publicly publish updates about an online event (or there is another way for participants to get information), have a backup plan if you are unable to do so. For example, have someone on standby who can communicate via instant messaging with participants if the Wi-Fi acts up again.

Prepare an emergency kit and keep it with you

In case of any accidents or emergencies, make sure there is at least one person who has all-important numbers on them (in case of more serious accidents) and some basic first aid supplies. Doing this will allow staff members to treat injuries until more professional help arrives appropriately.

Parka car nearby

If you’re hosting your event anywhere outdoors, make sure there’s parking nearby for people who did not bring cars or use public transportation. A parking spot can usually be found within a few minutes of walking, but it is still essential to make sure people know where they can go if they don’t come by vehicle.

Having too many different dishes all coming out at once

This can be very overwhelming to your guests, and you will end up with a ton of wasted food. Try to limit the number of dishes that are served, maybe having appetizers or desserts instead. This way, the main course comes out at different times, which is usually more desired.

Not informing guests about dress code

If your event requires formal attire, make sure all of your guests know what to wear ahead of time to dress accordingly. If they show up in something else, it’s embarrassing for them and sends off not-so-great first impressions to everyone attending.

Having an unorganized coat check

Don’t let coats pile up everywhere, so guests may have trouble finding their own when they go back outside or lose track of it. Have a designated area and plenty of staff to handle the number of guests coming through. This way, there is no digging through piles, and you will be able to find the owner’s coat if they forgot to take their ticket.

We hope that these tips helped avoid some common mistakes when planning your events. 

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