How to Plan Your First Big Event

Whether you’re in charge of throwing an industry conference or a company outing, planning your first big event can seem overwhelming. To eliminate stress and create a memorable time for your guests, make sure to consider the following tips.

Choose your venue

Choosing the proper venue is one of the most important elements of your event. Before beginning the search, you should have a general idea of your event’s estimated size, budget, and space requirements. Be sure to book your venue four to six months in advance so you’ll be able to turn your attention to invites, catering, and other details.

One of the keys to choosing the right social event space is to pick a location within a reasonable distance of most attendees. If most of your attendees are travelling from out of town, a location near hotels or the airport is optimal. In addition, don’t forget to take traffic, transportation, and parking into consideration. If drinking will be involved, take a look at Uber and Lyft’s discounts on group transportation for events.

Send invites early

Regardless of what kind of event you’re planning, every guest appreciates an early invitation. Plan to send out invitations two months prior to your event. Each invite should include details involving the event’s date, location, start time, end time, dress code (if applicable), contact information, and an RSVP deadline. Sending out invitations early provides guests with adequate notice to make travel plans or request time off from work. Plus, it’ll allow you to gain an initial headcount.

A few weeks before your event, reach out to any guests who have not yet RSVP’d. To take the hassle out of RSVPing for your guests, send each invitation with a pre-addressed return envelope and check boxes for “will attend” or “will not attend.” If an early headcount is needed, skip requesting an “RSVP.” Instead, try writing “please reply by [date].”

Make catering plans

While there are several elements that contribute to the success of your event, the food you choose to serve will have a significant impact. In order to serve food that will impress, consider the kind of food your guests will enjoy the most based on the kind of event you’re planning.

Even when you do your best to anticipate the food your guests will enjoy, you’ll never be able to please everyone with one dish. Therefore, event planning experts recommend offering two or three entrees, three or more salad dressing options, serving all condiments on the side, and offering two dessert options. Additionally, determine whether guests have special dietary restrictions, such as food allergies or intolerances and voluntary restrictions. If you’re planning to serve drinks, opt to hire trained bartenders instead of taking a trip to the liquor store.

Hire a photographer

Hiring a photographer or videographer for your event can create a big buzz on social media and ensure that the event is one that guests will remember. A professional photographer will be able to heighten your reputation as an event planner as well as interest viewers in your upcoming events.

Depending on the type of event you’re throwing, hire a photographer whose style matches your needs. For instance, if you’re throwing a corporate event, you’ll want a classy and sophisticated feel. On the other hand, if you’re throwing a wedding reception, choose a photographer with a bold and fun style.

There are a multitude of factors to consider when planning an event. To avoid feeling overwhelmed or stressed, start by choosing your venue, sending out invites, making catering plans, and hiring a photographer as early as possible.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.