Planning a great event is no easy task. A lot goes on behind-the-scenes to create the perfect experience. Everything from the venue, the date, the food and the guestlist is all deliberately selected and planned. But even when these things are decided and organised, the devil is in the detail.
At Action PR, we create and host several events on behalf of and for our clients from intimate industry dinners like our Supper Series in partnership with Leisure DB to multifaceted leisure centre launches that involve management of talent, young people and thousands of the general public. While the events differ vastly, there are some rules that run true for any event you organise! The secret? There’s no such thing as a seamless event – just great planning.
Plan for the worst
For any event, it’s important to have a backup plan on every level, especially if the event is weather dependent. Consider all the major components that will make the event a success, like the food and the venue and have a proper contingency plan in case things don’t go according to plan. Imagine your chef fell sick? Could you still feed your guests? Do you have a network of chefs who could step in if needed?
Work with Experts
As much as you might think you can, you cannot do everything yourself. You need outside help to make the event what it is. Chefs, venues, florists and caterers are all important people to know. Make sure you meet people face-to-face before working with them to ensure you have good rapport and your vision is aligned. Establish a personal connection because if things go wrong, it’s good to have people in your corner who will help you problem solve.
And, remember to trust your gut. If someone is slow to come back to you on things, and you have to chase them, it’s likely they will be unreliable on the day of your event too. Read reviews and try to get recommendations from trusted contacts.
On the night of the event, make sure that anyone who’s helping you has a defined role. If their task is to greet people at the door, make sure they stay at the door.
Investigate the space
Before you decide on a venue, make sure you investigate it thoroughly – not just the inside but the outside as well. Go to the venue at multiple different times, via multiple different routes. This way, you can help direct people who might be lost on the day, and you will know where local shops are in the area in case you run out of something important, like ice.
When inside the venue, do a walkthrough in the same pattern in which you envision people flowing through the room. Consider where they’ll put coats and where there might be possible bottlenecks and plan the layout of your space accordingly.
Always Have a Contingency Box
It can be helpful to prepare one box of supplies that you can bring to the venue on the night of the event. This “contingency box” contains things like string, scissors, tape, command strips, paper, sharpies, phone chargers, and anything else that might be useful on the day of the event. The box should also have a physical piece of paper with the telephone numbers of all people involved – just in case! You may think this sounds unnecessary but you would amazed how difficult it is to find a pair of scissors when you need them most!
Atmosphere: Dress the Room
Decide on a theme and do some research in advance. You don’t need to spend a fortune on bespoke décor. Lighting especially can have a dramatic effect on a space so don’t overlook this important element. It doesn’t need to be expensive but it’s amazing what can be done with simple uplighters, tealights, jars and fairy lights along with some simple flowers.
Be Adaptable and Resourceful
The key thing to remember is that no event is ever seamless. That’s just the way it is. The key, however, is to be flexible and understand that last minute changes will need to be made. Also, ensure that the experts you work with are also adaptable and resourceful too. For example, what if someone informs you of a severe allergy the day before the event? Could your chef accommodate their needs? The trick is staying calm and solutions-focused no matter what challenges may come your way.
Interested in learning more about our Supper Series networking events? The unique combination of fabulous food, a surprising venue and a relaxed environment has led to many commercial deals and fruitful partnerships. Get in touch. We’d love to tell you more about them.