Rebecca Eckhart

Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best when Event Planning

By Rebecca Eckhart on November 7, 2013

Event planning can be fun and stressful, all rolled into one, no matter the scale of the event. It requires multi-tasking, pleasant persistence and the ability to function on a few hours of sleep to succeed. At Core, between our talented team, we’ve hosted our share of events for clients and have learned a few lessons along the way – some expected and some not so expected.

[h4] 5 Things You Need to Know About Event Planning [/h4]

  1. There is no such thing as over-planning. Sunny forecast ahead, plan for rain anyway. Think you have plenty of parking for guests, think again. Back-up and contingency plans will hopefully never be needed, but you’ll always be happy to have them. The best ones usually come to you in your dreams, so sleep tight! 
  2. Everything costs more than you think. There’s no such thing as a “cheap” event anymore unless you’re running it out of a garage. From $6 soda cans to $30 gallons of coffee, space rentals can be cheap for a reason – hello food and beverage minimum. Know this going in, and get over it.
  3. The on-site vendor contact is your new best friend. Be nice, they can make or break you. They know what works and what doesn’t in their venue, listen to them. They can be a great resource for ideas and prevent you from potential stumbles.Verizon_Droid_Launch
  4. Get everything in writing. Thought the linens were included with the table rentals? Check the order form. Whether you keep your records electronically or prefer the old-school binder method – be sure to get all agreements in writing.
  5. Order less food than you need. Buffets are notoriously over stocked. Unless you’re doing a plated meal, or a set number of passed appetizers, be sure to cut your food needs by about 20-30 percent than your expected attendance. If you need to order more of something to reach the food and beverage minimum, overstock on things you can take home.

[h4] 5 Things You Didn’t Know You’d Need for an Event [/h4]

  1. Event Survival Box. Inevitably you will need to be MacGyver. I like to bring a plastic shoebox filled with random supplies to have on-hand. Here are some of the items in my box: Duct tape, scissors, permanent markers, pen supply, string, stapler, scotch tape, phone charger, 4G LTE hotspot, paper clips, safety pins, bobby pins, index cards, sticker name tags and a lint roller. 
  2. Your Smile. Even when you’re at your wits end, asking for things with a smile makes you more approachable and people are more willing to help. Nobody wants to help a crab succeed.
  3. Flat shoes, or at least comfortable, chunky heels. Who are you kidding, ladies? You’re never going to be a happy camper after a day of smiling and standing in stilettos. Comfort will be the key to success, and that starts with your feet. Same theory goes for the guys – be comfortable with your style.
  4. Contact Sheet. You never know when your phone will crash, and we all know it comes at the worst times. Keep a sheet on-site with any potentially needed phone numbers – from the florist to your own client and media you may be working with. While you’re at it, bring hard copies of your news release for media and of messaging for your client. In addition to a back-up for yourself, it’s great if you need to quickly share information with others.
  5. Thumb Drive. Technical difficulties are bound to happen, and they can be the most frustrating last-minute. Having everything on a thumb drive (or two) will allow you to transfer the presentation to a different computer, or share it with another colleague.

Rebecca Eckhart is a PR specialist at Core Creative. Be sure to follow her on Twitter @RebeccaEckhart