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Event Planning: Details, details, details...

Whether your event is a festival, convention, ceremony, family get-together, party, wedding reception or dinner, the planning can make or break the success of your event. What must be determined is the budgeting, establishing dates, selecting and making the reservations for the event site as well as obtaining permits such as alcohol permits and other needs like insurance.

Planning your event can also include, depending on the event: coordinating transportation, providing parking, addressing electrical and other utility needs and developing a theme or motif for the event. Add to that arranging for speakers or entertainment and coordinating location requirements such as decor, tables, chairs, tents, security and last but certainly not least is the catering.

Planning your event may sound like a daunting experience, but with a little foresight you can assure your guests a delightful experience and yourself a hassle-free day and a successful event.

Beginning: Do it yourself or hire a professional...?

The first step in planning an event is to determine whether you feel capable of taking on the responsibility of planning all the details of your event yourself, or whether you feel that hiring a professional is going to be a better option.

The number of professional special events planners in the industry has grown exponentially in the last ten years. According to recent research conducted by Dr. Joe Goldblatt - a Certified Special Events Professional, spending for special events worldwide has now risen to $500 billion annually. Just a few years ago, says Goldblatt, the average profit margin for an event planner was around 15 percent. However, his most recent studies show that profit margins are now anywhere from 30 to 40 percent. This shows what kind of savings can be realized by planning your own event.

Generally speaking, planning a special event occurs for the following purposes:

  • Celebrations - fairs, parades, weddings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries and family get-togethers.
  • Educational - conferences, meetings and graduations.
  • Promotional - product launches, political rallies and fashion shows.
  • Commemorations - memorials and civic events.

  • Of course, these are not the only purposes, but as theses examples illustrate, special events may be business related, purely social or somewhere in between the two. Professional event planners may handle any or all of the following tasks related to the event:

  • Conducting research
  • Creating an event design
  • Finding a location site for the event
  • Arranging for catering, decor and entertainment
  • Planning transportation to and from the event
  • Designing and sending invitations to attendees
  • Arranging any necessary accommodations for attendees
  • Coordinating the activities of event personnel
  • Supervising at the event site
  • Making evaluations of the event

  • How many of these activities your event planner is involved in will depend on the size and type of your particular event, which will, in turn, predicate the cost that the event planner charges. Some individuals often feel they lack the expertise and time to plan events themselves. Independent professional planners have the experience and abilities to give special events the attention they deserve.

    Go Green: Making your event environmentally friendly...

    A new facet of event planning is sustainable event management - also known as event greening. It is the process used to put together an event with particular concern for environmental, economic and social issues. Sustainability in event management incorporates socially and environmentally responsible decision making into the planning, organization and implementation of, and participation in, the event. It involves including sustainable development principles and practices in all levels of event organization, and aims to ensure that an event is hosted responsibly. Event greening should start at the inception of the project, and should involve all the key role players, such as clients, organizers, venues, sub-contractors and suppliers.

    Some events can be fairly resource-intensive, and can have negative environmental consequences for the area in which they are held. Greening your event should reduce any negative environmental impact and also leave a positive and lasting impression on the guests and the local community.

    The details listed above are the basics of planning your event and most of the rest of the details become self-evident as you enter into the planning process. This is not the definitive guide to planning an event, but rather kind of Event Planning 101 to assist the novice to make the determination whether his own anticpated event is of a size and scope that he can be his own planner or whether using a professional seems like a more prudent option.

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