How to Plan a Successful Event

Planning an event can be stressful, especially if there is a lot riding on its success. Maybe it’s your end of year work Christmas party? Or perhaps your first public event for a local festival? It could even be the biggest day at all – your own wedding day!

No matter what the occasion, the secret to success is in the planning. Being organised is every perfect party planner’s secret weapon. And that means starting early, always having a back-up plan and delegating responsibilities wherever possible.

At Australian Entertainment Services we have been delivering quality entertainment for every type of event for more than 30 years. And in that time we have learned a few things about planning and running events successfully. Regardless of whether you are planning a private function for 20 people or a public event for 2000 – there are some key steps you need to consider.

Define the Goal & Format of Your Event

Why are you organising this event and what do you want your guests to do? Are you trying to raise money? Is this a team-building exercise? Or are you simply trying to give your guests a fun and entertaining evening? The format of the event will depend on what you are trying to achieve and can help inform details like venue, entertainment and catering.

Set Your Budget

This is probably the most critical part of the planning process but is often not given sufficient attention. Critical expenses to take into consideration are venue hire, catering and entertainment. You may also need to consider décor, AV equipment and marketing costs depending on the scale of your event. Setting a realistic budget is crucial – the last thing you want is a beautifully themed event with terrible food. Or a five-star venue – with 2-star entertainment! It is important to get the balance right.

Book Your Venue

It’s hard to know what to organise first but the venue is usually your best bet. The venue will determine the capacity of the event and whether you will need to hire a separate catering company, AV equipment or staff.

Select Your Entertainment

Whether you are looking for a live band, keynote speaker, DJ, classical music trio or a group of roving jugglers – you want to make sure the people you book are professional, reliable and are not going to let you down. When thinking about the right entertainment for your event it is important to keep in mind the size of the venue, how long it will take the performers to bump-in and bump-out and whether they will require any specialist equipment.

Promote Your Event

Never underestimate the time it takes to promote an event. Even if it’s a private function or a wedding you need to make sure your guests have the date free. If you have not yet organised a venue you can always send out a “Save the Date” invite so they know to keep your special day free. For larger audiences make sure you are reaching out through the most relevant channels – whether this be print, radio or social media (or all of the above!). For private events always set an RSVP date and follow up as best you can – having a realistic idea of final numbers is critical in ensuring everyone is catered for on the day.

Create a Run Sheet

There are many different levels of complexities for event run sheets but the simplest will at the very least tell you what should be occurring, at what time and who is responsible. A copy of your running sheet should be given to the venue, celebrant, photographer and anyone else who is involved in ensuring the day runs smoothly. A run sheet means everyone is on the same page about the order of events and knows where they need to be at what time.

And if you’re not confident in creating a great run sheet for your event, don’t worry! At AES we have running sheet templates compiled from more than 30 years’ experience that we can share with you!

Enjoy Your Event!

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself – even if you are the host! Hopefully at this stage all your planning and organisation will have paid off and you will feel relaxed and confident. But even if you are anxious, it’s important to put on a brave face and make sure guests see you as calm and in control. Having a good team around you on the day means you don’t have to take care of every single detail yourself – so surround yourself with professionals who know what they are doing.

Assess, Evaluate and Improve

No matter how well things have gone you will always find something that could have been improved. If you have the opportunity, ask your guests or audiences for feedback (especially if you have planned a corporate or public event) and make a note of the things they think you did brilliantly….and those that could be done better. This will ensure your next event is even more of a success!