Any event no matter what size needs to be as detailed and scripted as possible. Budgets and checklists are vital to making every event a success.
The first step in organising a function is deciding the scale of the event.
The two elements that will determine this are budget and objectives.
How much are you able to spend?
The first thing you need to do is decide how much money you are able to set aside for your event. Even the smallest functions require a serious financial commitment. It is always a good idea to draft a rough estimate of costs before anything else. Some of the main costs you might consider are the following: invitations, accommodation, transportation, venue rentals, food, beverages, floral arrangements, décor, music, entertainment, speakers, equipment rental, staging, audio-visual, lighting, special effects, photographer, place cards, menus, gifts, security, promotional material, staffing, and miscellaneous.
Make a "wish list" of all items you would like to include regardless of cost, and then highlight all items that you will definitely require. If you have left over funds after the essentials are taken care of then you can refer back to your wish list, and choose additional items that will add to your event.
What is the primary reason for the event?
The next thing to consider is your goals and intentions for the function. You need to decide what you hope to achieve and set a clear objective. It should be a specific goal such as the launch of a new product, a rewards ceremony or milestone event. These objectives will be the determining factors for how you set up and carry out your function.
So you have decided to organise an event. Once you have calculated your costs and prepared an accurate budget which has been approved by management, you are ready to start planning. At this stage you need to make some key decisions, which include: whether or not you will need outside professional help, who you would like on your internal "event" committee, and layout the timeline of the event from beginning to end, and discuss with all members of the committee.
Many people focus too much on the costs involved when planning functions. You need to know when and where to bring in professional assistance. Some examples of professional services to consider are an expert in public relations, an event coordinator to handle all logistics, a gourmet caterer responsible for all food and drink services, professional lighting and audio visual services, or an event stylist. It is important not to think of consultants as an added expense when they can actually save you money in the long run, especially if they are brought in at the right time. Why do you need these people? A good public relations person can help create press releases to get you media exposure. An event coordinator will help you with a strategic overview of the event design including planning, organizational, logistical and negotiator elements that make things flow. A professional caterer will put all of your food uncertainties to rest, and also have the required licenses and permits for all types of functions. The audio visual team and event stylists will be able to put the "wow" factor in your function by using new, fresh and exciting techniques to that bring your event to life.
Timing is everything. When you are deciding the amount of time you will need to plan your event, make a list of everything you will need and a time frame for each item. It is a good idea to create function sheets which write the script for your event and ensure that everyone is on the same page. The function sheets are an information guide that tells your suppliers exactly how you want your event to be handled. They set out exactly what has been contracted, what is included, the costs agreed upon and how you want the details arranged. Most venues appreciate detail and you can never be too specific. If you want something done on the day of your event no matter how small and seemingly unimportant put it in your function sheet. Make it clear to all suppliers that what you have requested is what you expect to see on the day of the event, anything less is not acceptable. If there is a problem with the proposal you need to know well in advance so that the adjustments can be made. Let all contractors know that you will have a member of the committee overseeing each aspect of the event and will be there prior to set up to make sure everything is going according to your well scripted plan. You should always have a meeting a few days before the event where all suppliers and committee personnel come together and review the final set of function sheets to make sure that there is a clear understanding of what is expected. Functions sheets should always begin with "contact lists" containing contact details for all parties involved in the event. They are used to clarify who is doing what and when, and as you complete them it will help you better understand how many people you will need, their responsibilities and where they should be positioned.
Another key factor to the success of your event is date selection. You need to figure out what else will be going an around the time of your event. If families with children are likely to attend, a school night is not a good idea. Guests will not likely stay late and both parents and children would need to get up early the next day for work and school. Also consider the time of year before you finalise any plans. November and December are peak months for holiday celebrations, so dates should be booked well in advance to make sure your desired venue is available.