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Basics of Event Planning

Deejay Mash has been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. He is also an experienced event organizer and entertainment consult

A pool party in full swing

A pool party in full swing

The plan

Ever attended a party, concert or event and shortly after regretted the decision? The crowd, music, ambience,and venue made you feel uncomfortable and out-of-place? While at a previous party, you had so much fun, lost track of time and when the curtains came down, disappointment crept in and you were left begging for more?

The two different scenarios, clearly show the two most probable outcomes directly linked to event planning.

Whether it is an adult or kid's birthday party, baby shower, pool party, club event, corporate function, concert, graduation party, trade show, get-together or bachelor/bachelorette party, meticulous planning and implementation, is crucial to achieve objectives. The final result should be an event people will not forget in a hurry- for all the right reasons.

A large majority of experienced and successful event planners work with the 5W rule;

  1. Who - represents the target audience. What type of crowd does your event intend to attract?
  2. What - this covers the main objective of the event down to specifics such as guest benefits, amenities, event duration, schedule, among others
  3. When - should pinpoint exact time of year, weather considerations, anticipated event frequency, guest schedules at the time and availability of the preferred venue
  4. Where - deals with venue logistics, convenience of access to the venue, guest accommodation and transport, if it applies, and proximity to the event venue.
  5. Why - this is the purpose and theme of the event. For example, why a pool party and not a single's party? It also clearly spells out the overall goal of the event.

Once the 5W's are exhaustively covered, a crystal clear picture of the planned event begins to take shape.

Let data be your guide

There is a misguided perception that data only works for large corporations and massive events. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Collection and the ability to translate event data can go a long way even when planning a simple house party. The study of a group of people or individuals provides valuable insight that enables you to come up with customized and tailor-made products, to create an event that leaves a lasting impression. Also, data enables you to avoid under or over-valuing event costs, considerably reducing risks.

Learn to quantify, collect, translate and store event related information to assist in making informed decisions based on available data; you will never go wrong in your estimations and subsequent planning.

Data empowers you to identify trends, patterns, practical and impractical ideas, and spot what needs to be improved, modified, included or done away with to deliver a successful event. It is the most powerful weapon in event planning.

A group of friends have fun at a bachelors party

A group of friends have fun at a bachelors party

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Be creative

Creativity in event planning acts as a solid foundation to a memorable event. The decor, set-up, entertainment, venue presentation, timing of event and incorporating engaging activities for attendees is crucial to the success of an event. Try to be creative, original, unique and have an eye for detail. Luckily, you do not have to do it alone. The various event service providers need to chip in, and you should demand the very best from them. Also encourage them to activate their creative juices.

Hold brainstorming sessions with your team and service providers and jot down all the suggested proposals. Never dismiss an idea no matter how crazy it sounds; keep an open-mind. Later, go through the list and identify the feasible ideas, and how they can be implemented to inject some fun and excitement into an event.

To achieve this, you need to take risks which may or may not work out. If they do not, you end up learning valuable lesson(s) which come in handy in future. But never let the fear of failure take precedence and discourage you from taking more risks. A risk that puns out is what talk-of-the-town kind of events are made of. Do not just create an event, transform it into memories.

Research, involve and consult widely

Event planning can take you to any corner of the world. When this happens, take the time to get familiar with your new surroundings. The local community, traditions, traffic and weather patterns, venue, including any other important information you can lay your hands on.

Involve the local community in your preparations, source various items locally, and create employment as well. Consult with them when unsure of certain issues. Once you bring the local community on board, you benefit from a treasure trove of information. Which is vital in the delivery of a great event.

Ciara's all-white-themed baby shower

Ciara's all-white-themed baby shower

Unique settings

Strive to have unique settings dotted around the event area. This encourages guests to take photos, and upload them on social media to share with the world. The hallmark of a successful event is when guests snap away with reckless abandon. Unique backgrounds do not have to be costly, they can be simply made designs, yet attractive. Stretch your imagination, pull all the stops, until it all comes together. You never know, your next event might just originate from the current one.

Parting shot

The quickest way to learn event planning is through hands-on experience. Watch, listen and master the art of thinking on your feet. Never take criticism personally; it comes with the job. In the process of event planning, grow your network of contacts, people are the most valuable asset in the world.

It is a difficult journey, and even the best laid plans sometimes head south. How you react makes all the difference. Keep a cool head at all times especially when under pressure - never panic, it only makes things worse. If you encounter an unexpected turn of events, the right attitude and frame of mind ensures you come out on top, regardless of the situation.

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