How to organize an event

How to organize an event
How to organize an event

Event management is a great experience, no matter if it is for your own party, a corporate event, for your family and friends, a wedding or a more formal occasion. It is both difficult and rewarding work. Those concerned will certainly appreciate your kindness and the effort involved in organizing their birthday, wedding, party or event. Learn how to organize big events and how to solve problems and then with careful planning, simply avoid them.


Part 1 of 5: Mastering the fundamentals

901058 1 1

Step 1. Define your goal and objectives

It may seem logical, but you should write them down in black and white so you know how many guests you will have, the size of your budget, the nature of your services and the strategies to put in place. What is the goal you are pursuing? What do you want to accomplish?

  • Once you have determined the purpose of your event (to celebrate good news, to educate, to sell, to propose a project or to raise funds, etc.), think about why you are doing it. Knowing your motivations will make it easier for you to accomplish your goal.
  • Having a few goals can also help you focus on the tasks at hand. You can't achieve a goal you haven't set for yourself. When you have 4,000 dollars and are looking to get 5,000 dollars, this goal can help you reach your goal.
901058 2 1

Step 2. Choose the date

This is the most important factor for success. Pick a date that is convenient for your guests and that is not too far in time (or too early) so that they don't forget your event or are already booked. It is the basis of event management.

Ideally, give your guests a two-week slack. This will ensure that they are not already taken and give you the opportunity to remind them once or twice to come. So try to plan a few weeks before your event, when possible

901058 3 1

Step 3. Choose the location

Now that you have defined the objectives, it is time to choose the place, to contact the people in charge of the rental to find out if it is still free and meets your expectations. What type of room are you looking for and how will you organize the space? Will the guests be seated in a row on chairs or benches, around a table or on a tablecloth outside? Could weather be a problem? Do you need a space to dance or a podium to deliver a speech? Make sure the space matches your needs.

  • It is always best to visit the site in advance and draw a map of it yourself. This map can be used as a "battle plan" and will allow you to sketch and allocate the positioning of tables, service routes for meals, disabled access, necessary exit routes and positioning. equipment. You should also mark the location of the generator, external equipment, refrigerator, ice maker, barbecue or pans, etc. as well as power points and cables (which can be discreetly covered with a mat) and other possible risks to the safety of your guests.
  • Do you need local government approval? You will need it for example if your event takes place in a bar, but also if you plan to make noise, that you need access for vehicles, a parking lot or a partitioned place like a flag.
901058 4 1

Step 4. Define the number of guests

It will depend on your budget and the space you are going to rent. Some events are only accessible by invitation and are therefore easier to organize, but for others, you will have to plan for delays, extras such as children, companions or friends. Remember, the more guests you have, the more staff you will need.

  • This will be your first logistical concern so make sure the venue is suitable for your number of guests.
  • In older establishments, the number of guests is usually a “pax”, so if your room has a “Pax 150”, that means you can count 150 guests.
901058 5 1

Step 5. Set a budget

You can count on the help of an outside person to estimate the budget you will need. Do you have to pay staff? Rent equipment and a room? Provide food and drinks? Print brochures or postcards? Set a reasonable budget and organize yourself around it so you don't have to pay out of your own pockets.

You can be sponsored by partners or raise donations, but not all of us are so lucky. If you do not plan for additional funds, it is imperative that you avoid unforeseen expenses. Instead of having a catering team, have your guests bring their own food (you will still provide the tables, cooking equipment, and the refrigerator). Instead of hiring a photographer, take the photos yourself. Be creative when the situation calls for it

901058 6 1

Step 6. Form a team

Organize your team of servers (even if they're friends, family, or volunteers) so that everyone is assigned to an area, even if it's a small family reunion. If your event is more important, everyone must have a specific task and know the course of the evening in advance.

Your team should be as well prepared as the staff you are going to hire and your guests. Give them their tasks as fast as possible based on their preferences if you can. And plan for extra help, because every event has unforeseen circumstances

901058 7 1

Step 7. Create an agenda

You need to plan how your event will unfold. When will the speeches be made? Will there be games, activities or presentations? How long will the guests have to eat? Plan a detailed program for each activity.

Always leave yourself some leeway: no event goes exactly as you planned. Guests will be late, speeches will be longer than expected, and food may not be served on time. Although you must have a clear idea of ​​what will happen, understand that nothing is completely fixed

Part 2 of 5: start the preparations

901058 8 1

Step 1. Send your invitations

You must notify your guests of what you are planning. The invitation represents your event and must therefore leave a good impression and make your guests want to come. So plan beautiful invitations.

  • You can plan classic invitations (like a card or a flyer). You can also send your invitations by email, via a newsletter or on social networks and specialized sites like Eventbrite which also allows you to count your guests and manage your calendar.

    If you're looking to have a lot of guests, go through Facebook and Twitter instead. If your event is more confidential, don't go through social media

901058 9

Step 2. Count the positive responses

You need to know exactly how many guests will be coming and what you will need, so be organized! Not everyone will come, but you will have a general idea of ​​the number of guests. Some specialized sites can help you with these tasks, but you can also go through Facebook and Excel.

901058 10

Step 3. Manage the items you need to rent

Will you need to find, hire, book or delegate photographers, builders, designers, decorators, speakers, sponsors, artists or groups, clergy, dancers or demonstrations? It is wise to include them in your calculations for food and seating so that a meal and seating is provided where appropriate or necessary.

  • Do you have to plan food and drinks? If so, you need to know who will do the preparation, service and cleaning. What type of food will you be serving? Do your guests have allergies, do they follow a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diet, do they have diabetes or do they have to adhere to religious principles like consuming halal or kosher meat, etc. Will there be babies, young children, the elderly or injured who cannot eat solid food?
  • Do you have to organize entertainment or logistics? This part may concern the delivery of musical equipment, the erection of pavilions, tents, the setting up of decoration or the management of the stage such as the installation of a microphone and amplifiers, lighting, sockets. power, projectors, slide show screens, smoke machines, mirrors, company banners and signs, etc.

    If you are outsourcing these aspects to a specialist company, make sure that they are able to supply and set up their own equipment, the place where the equipment will be stored on site and its schedule. This way you will be able to know what you are going to need to do to help them

  • Caterers, florists, artists, and other important people appreciate being able to plan their delivery, as urgently ordered services usually cost more. The other advantage is that in the event of cancellation, you will be able to find an alternative.
901058 11

Step 4. Find someone to preside over the ceremony

The master of ceremonies does not necessarily organize the event, but animates it. This is usually a guest who will organize speeches, announce the arrival of dishes, the first dance, the arrival of special guests and various activities. Communicate with this person regularly and keep them informed, as they will be better able to help you in the management.

In some cases, you will be the master of ceremonies, which may make it difficult for you. You will therefore have to appoint leaders at the head of each team in order to delegate most of your duties to them

901058 12

Step 5. Group your equipment

When hiring a team, double-check that they bring the necessary materials. In some cases, you will have to rent the equipment yourself. You can rent them, buy them, or even borrow them from family or friends. Double check your entire list, from towels to extension cords and amps.

Decoration is essential. Tablecloths, flowers, gifts, candles, balloons, banners, white backgrounds for photos or the red carpet should always be found in advance

901058 13

Step 6. Get back to your basics

One thing that a lot of newbies forget is the finer points of the setups. Have you planned enough? Think for example of toilets and bathrooms, parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, changing rooms, storage rooms and kitchen areas, waste disposal bins, refrigerators, electricity generators, etc. It is important to plan these aspects in advance.

Also think outside of your event: do you need to plan transportation and accommodation for guests and non-living staff, as well as booking transportation to bring them to the venue?

901058 14

Step 7. Know your guests well

Understand the social hierarchy of your event (if it doesn't match yours) so you can handle all situations. Your customers need to trust you, so you need to master the following.

  • Know your guests well. This is often simple when you are celebrating an event, such as a wedding. The client is not always the guest of honor, however, but may be part of the same group or even not be present.
  • Who takes care of the reception: it is often the people who invite to their own tables and socialize easily with the guests. These people are useful for maintaining a friendly atmosphere and starting a conversation if things calm down, encouraging people to dance or introducing guests to other customers. They must be reliable, but are generally useful to know because they will keep you informed, can intervene if necessary and preside over the event in an emergency. These people therefore facilitate the management of your event.
  • Who will be your peacekeepers: You need to know these key people well, because you need to keep them informed and involve them in contingency management when appropriate. This will usually be the head of the family, a guard or the head of security.
  • Who makes the decisions: In some cases this will be yourself, but for situations where you need to consult with guests, but it is not appropriate to disturb them, you need to know the person to who to talk to in an emergency. Usually, this will be the person paying for the event or anyone you consider to be your client and therefore have the final say.

Part 3 of 5: getting closer to the finish line

901058 15

Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the site

Before your event, it is important to analyze the site in order to know how to organize yourself. You may have to think of additional arrangements, such as providing additional extension cords or lights, etc. If these items are difficult to find, they will be even more difficult for your guests so take this into consideration.

Make a site map. If you don't have room for a piece of equipment, then it's wiser not to bring it. Talk to site managers to find out what help they can give you or if you need to follow local rules, especially in an emergency

901058 16

Step 2. Plan kits for your team

Your team may not be unemployed and in order to show them that you appreciate the work they do, plan a kit that you will give them during the event. Bring water bottles, granola bars, chocolates, small gifts and whatever you think is appropriate. It will certainly cheer them up.

You can also give them badges to make them feel part of a team. Also make sure they have food and drink. Be concerned about your team, as you might need them in the future

901058 17

Step 3. Coordinate with your teams and outside parties

Before D-Day, it is important to have your soldiers in the same row. Make sure you provide clear instructions to your team on how to get to the site and give them your number or preferably a business card with contacts to call when needed. Anyone have any questions? No ? Let's go!

Make sure everyone knows their role. Some people will not be comfortable asking for details, so be proactive as much as possible. Does your team look confident? If not, reassure them, go over the different tasks to be accomplished and ask them basic questions. When in doubt, pair them with more experienced team members

901058 18

Step 4. Prepare a list of contacts and the necessary papers

Your personal organization is just as important as that of your event. If you plan all aspects, you will be better able to deal with the unexpected. Here are a few tips.

  • Prepare a list with the phone numbers and addresses of your contacts. The pastry chef thought you were going to get the cake? No worries, you can call Ashley who lives nearby and can pick him up before going to your event.
  • Make a list of things to remember. You will know what is missing and can keep an eye on your teams.
  • Prepare invoices if necessary. The more prepared you are, the more problems you will avoid.
901058 19

Step 5. Avoid last minute changes

Do you think there will be a lot of artistic changes? This is for example the case with weddings and it is therefore important to give your clients a deadline after which you will no longer accept the changes (for example, one week before the event). This will give flexibility to your customers while avoiding changes that you could not implement or that could cost you too much.

If it's simple, subtle, or basic changes that use decorations already on the site, then it's reasonable to accommodate your customers' requests. Be as flexible as possible, as this is a highly anticipated event for your customers

Part 4 of 5: Manage the event itself

901058 20

Step 1. Be Prepared

Be the first on the site to oversee the preparations. Make sure your entire team is on site and call those absent. Help and direct those who need it, but back out when not needed. Avoid accidents.

You will feel calmer if you prepare a list. One part will be dedicated to your team, another for the people involved, one for decorations and basic preparations, another for equipment, etc. When you have checked all of these items, you can take the time to breathe

901058 21

Step 2. Don't be afraid to delegate

Lack of time will usually be the most stressful factor. In order to win it, you have to be on all fronts. If a person is not as efficient as they should be, give them a task in which they will be more proficient. It's your job so don't be afraid to give orders or exceed certain limits, you just do your job.

When delegating, be firm, but always polite. Say something like "John, I need your help in the kitchen to help the caterer right away." Thank you. Your team should be coordinated as much as possible. Everything will go smoothly if you know how to take matters into your own hands

901058 22

Step 3. Be flexible

It means making sure things go as planned or having alternatives when they don't. If you start to stress you will lose your temper and things may get worse. So if the speech is 10 minutes late and the emcee ignores your distress signals, create a diversion. Just prolong the aperitif and no one will notice a thing.

The unforeseen are inevitable. You cannot fully predict how your event will unfold and you must accept it. An organizer needs to be calm and focused if he wants things to go as smoothly as possible. So, relax and let yourself be carried by the wind …

901058 23

Step 4. Keep your team up to date with all the details

Check that your number of guests as well as their specific needs are still correct on the day of the event and keep your team informed of any changes as soon as possible. You should be the first to notice an error or a possible problem.

Communicate with your customers, too: they may be excited, nervous, worried, bored, distracted, or concerned, and you can fix this by talking to them and offering to help. Take the time to re-motivate your clients and your team when appropriate

901058 24

Step 5. Trust your team, they know what they're doing

If you give them the right basics, they should be fine. Offer to help them, but they shouldn't need it. Here's what you shouldn't forget.

  • You're going to have to welcome the guests to get started. Then pass the queens to the master of ceremonies when the event begins. Your role will be to resolve any issues and oversee the most important items, like meal preparation, etc.
  • Monitor guests and keep in touch with the emcee discreetly if they want (or need) to change their plans.
  • Keep a respectful distance from your main customers, because after all, the event is all about them, but be easily accessible by coordinating with them when appropriate in order to anticipate their requests and possible problems.
901058 25

Step 6. For business events, plan giveaways

Your guests need to remember your event and you probably want more than that: a website visit, future donations, word of mouth, etc. To make sure your event is legendary, you need to give your guests a present. Whether it's a picture, flyer or pen, plan a keepsake for your guests so they never forget your event.

901058 26

Step 7. Congratulate yourself on completion

Most events run on their own once they start, but you took charge of all of its preparation. Congratulate yourself, because you deserve it. But don't linger too long, because your job is not yet done!

Then take the time to meet and thank your client. It is always recommended to give a gift so that he will remember you, as it is these little touches that will make your experience richer and make him recommend your services. If you gave a gift at the event, such as a gift registry with the other guests, you can include flowers, a framed photo of your favorite moment (like the ribbon cutting, the highlight of the show, or the handing-over. awards, the kiss of the spouses or blowing out the candles on a cake, etc.) or some other more appropriate gift

901058 27

Step 8. Clean up the site and go

Leave the place as you found it so that you can work with the people you rented it to in the future. So don't let your team go until they've got everything tidied up and roll up your sleeves as well.

This will prevent you from losing your deposit, for example. Many places will charge you additional costs for cleaning if the room is not perfectly clean. So, tidy up as much as possible to prevent the addition from getting too salty

901058 28

Step 9. Manage returns, payments and acknowledgments

You may need to return the rented or borrowed equipment and ask your customers if they are happy with it. Even if you haven't been paid yet, thank them for the experience. Also ask them for their business card.

Thank your team as well. Make sure everyone has been paid well, complete the invoices and manage the final details. You should be the last person to leave the premises and make sure you have closed the door properly

Part 5 of 5: Avoid Problems

901058 29

Step 1. Know how to handle late invitees and other invitee issues

This is a common problem, so be prepared. Delays are hard to avoid (due to traffic jams for example) and are often forgiven by other guests present. However, there are ways to avoid delays when possible.

  • Make sure invitations are clear about the time, and if a response is needed, make sure the time is confirmed. Communicate with your emcee and clients (via your contact sheet), artists and kitchen staff as soon as you are aware of an issue that you cannot solve on your own. If late clients are the focus of your event (like spouses), here's how to handle it.
  • Call late guests directly to find out how soon they expect to arrive. Immediately notify the kitchen so that they can slow down or speed up the preparation of food.
  • Avoid announcing that the event is delayed because of certain guests, but notify more important guests or attendees that some guests are late. Let them know what you plan to do, while still allowing the hosts to give you a suggestion, because they know what will be most appropriate in that context.
  • Constantly watch the time, especially for speeches. If some guests are late, serve an extra appetizer or start with an appetizer so guests who are on time don't get bored.
  • For those guests who will be particularly late (and when you can't wait to serve certain dishes like a soufflé), start as planned and then serve the next dish to the guests when they arrive (even if it's dessert).
  • Organize an extra game, dance or speech to distract your guests. For example, you can set up photo shoots until all your guests arrive (plan these alternate strategies in advance).
  • For guests arriving late on purpose, this will be a deliberate choice of your guests and not your fault as the manager. Take care of the guests who are already present, act as if nothing has happened and continue with the management of your event.

    901058 30

    Step 2. Know how to react to meal-related issues

    The risks will be limited if you have planned your event carefully, however, accidents can happen (such as a table disturbed by a child or a technical problem in the kitchen). Know your guests well so you can anticipate where and when food will be served (especially if you are hosting a buffet) and where guests will sit.

    • All stains should be cleaned immediately for safety reasons, even if that means you need to remove red carpet, decor, or furniture to be able to do so. If it is impossible to hide a stain without affecting the decoration or integrity of an object (such as an antique), it is wiser to simply remove it. If you have a spare, you can use it. Otherwise, move furniture or decor subtly so that its absence is not noticed.
    • A taut rope, curtain, or screen can help hide food (such as a buffet with warmers or a surprise dish), as some customers may think that if the food is already there, they can help themselves when they need it. wish, which is not always the case.
    • Be flexible with your menu. If you can no longer serve a dish (for example because the accompaniment has burned), you can remove it from the menu, find an alternative, or reduce the portions of the accompaniment by replacing it with something else. Always notify your guests.
    • Think of unexpected vegetarians, abstainers, people with food allergies or following a specific or religious diet, etc. Never be surprised, but it is possible that your guests are accompanied by someone whose preferences you will not know. These situations are generally easy to resolve. Visualize your guests when they arrive and immediately ask them if they have any dietary preferences and let your kitchen team know.
    • For large, unforeseen groups, send a member of the kitchen team to take stock and, if necessary, pick up missing food. Kitchens usually prepare more food than necessary to cover the unexpected and more often than not you will have more cancellations than unforeseen guests. The limited portions can be supplemented by adding extra side dishes, such as bread rolls, salad or vegetables, ingredients that you can quickly purchase at the nearest supermarket.
    901058 31

    Step 3. Adapt to children

    We often forget to take into account the needs and desires of children during events, when they have the same needs and wishes as adults (namely to have a good time and not to be bored). Remember that parents may be offended that you are not looking after their children. In practice, it is preferable to ask for confirmation for each child who would like to come.

    • Young children (under 10) often need to be fed earlier, as the meal usually starts at 8 p.m. for adults, which is too late for children. The food should be fun and healthy, but also prepare a special menu like you would for adults so that they too can enjoy their evening.
    • Children over 10 can usually eat the same dishes as adults, even if they don't eat everything, but still offer them the children's menu (courtesy of their parents) if they don't appear. attracted to the normal menu. Teenagers aged 13-18 often ask for the same food as younger ones like a burger and fries instead of more formal meals and so it makes more sense to call the children's menu 'alternative menu' so as not to upset them. Talk to your customers to find out what will be most appropriate for younger or older guests.
    • Plan a special room for mothers with young children so that they can change, breastfeed or put them to bed.
    901058 32

    Step 4. Know how to deal with rowdy or soulful guests, uninvited guests, and other problem guests

    This kind of drama almost always happens at an event (and you don't notice it when you're just a guest), so be prepared.

    • Ask customers or key guests the likelihood of such events. This way, you can make sure people are seated where they won't cause a problem. Ask your staff to discreetly monitor these people and intervene when necessary. Your duty is to ensure that the event goes smoothly and to intervene only when necessary and not a private matter. Therefore, you need to know the people who can help you avoid conflict.
    • It can be difficult to refuse alcohol to a drunken customer or to react to someone who is violent and angry, so lean on one of the guests and only use force if there is a problem. 'extreme necessity, after consulting the participants. Even though this is a small event and alcohol is available to guests, always be vigilant.
    • Trespassers are difficult to deal with. Discreetly evict them and consult with your key guests to verify that they are not invited. Your duty is to protect your guests and therefore to call security or the police if these people do not leave the premises after being politely led out by you or your guests.
    • Guests often shuffle the cards in order to sit where they want. Check with your customers to see if they accept these changes. As a general rule, you should have arranged seating plans in advance and received approval from your major customers. If you have to stick to this plan, don't let guests into the dining room early. Often times the lobby or bar serves precisely this purpose and if the plan must be adhered to due to family issues, it is wise to group the guests together and seat them at their tables in groups using your staff..
    901058 33

    Step 5. Learn to deal with inclement weather

    Rain or snow is common in some parts of the world. Likewise, a heat wave or a cold wave can also be a problem. While weather conditions are usually not a problem if you are indoors, an outdoor event can make things difficult. If the weather forecast is not good, you may consider relocating the venue. If the event cannot be moved or rescheduled, rent a large tent or pavilion, but it can be expensive if you do it at the last minute. Always keep an eye on the changing weather and even if you have little money to save an evening affected by unfavorable weather conditions, do the best you can.

    Many countries offer insurance if the event is affected by severe weather conditions.If you are in an area affected by this type of problem, it is recommended that you order insurance in case you need to shift the day, as this will at a minimum cover the rental costs of equipment, site and personnel


    • Keep a small, easily accessible space for towels, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, etc. If all goes well, you won't need it, but it's best to plan for the worst.
    • For tired, jet-lagged, mentally exhausted guests and guest speakers, it is wise to check with themselves or their assistant what you can do to ensure their well-being, such as booking a spa and massage day, etc. You can also send them some food if they haven't eaten for a while or medicine if they are not feeling well (theft can indeed cause headaches or pain in the stomach. stomach). Call a doctor if necessary, as guests in bad shape can ruin your event.
    • Make sure everyone can see and hear what is happening on stage, the music and the speeches.
    • Remember that it is a real privilege to deal with someone's event, although it can be stressful and complicated at times. Your job can really make people happy, give them an extraordinary experience, and give you skills that you can use in your daily life.
    • As the organizer, you will sometimes have to act as an impromptu host or even a dance partner to ensure the mood for your event. Work on your eloquence and a few dancing moves and delegate the management role to another member of the team when necessary. The goal is to ensure that no one is seated at a table that is too quiet.

Popular by topic