The Beginner's Guide to Event Planning

So you're planning your first event? Fear not! There is a streamlined and sensible process to producing and planning events that will become second-nature once you plan your first, and they are applicable to a variety of event styles, from parties to readings, conventions to screenings, and more. Here is a beginner's guide to event planning that will have you calling yourself a pro in no time.

1. Develop Your Event

What kind of event are you planning? Is it a gathering of fiction authors at a local cafe, or a multi-day music show on a mainstage? Fine-tuning your intentions for the event is critical, as it will dictate everything else that follows, including organizing a team, budgeting, booking venues, hiring talent, and more. The more you know about the event you are planning, the easier it will be to refine what and who you are looking for to take the team.

2. Organize a Team

While small-scale event planning can certainly be a solitary pursuit, chances are that even if the planning stages are in your hands, the execution stage will require additional people. Do you need a host? Someone to keep track of the talent's preparation and performance time? Someone in charge of food? Make a list of the roles that need to be filled and start reaching out to people with the proper experience.

3. Make a Budget

Budgeting the event will perhaps be the single most important step, to assure you know what you're in for and aren't getting in over your head. Allocating funds to the proper areas for space and hiring talent are critical, as is realizing there are other expenses like food, drinks, clean up, etc. Be generous in terms of spill-over allotment, since unexpected costs like having to hire last-minute personnel and covering venue damages arise sometimes.

4. Choose Date and Time, Book the Venue

Choosing a date and time is fairly easy, but booking the venue is a tricky task. You want to make sure that there is enough space for attendees and performers, that the venue offers the right equipment and has the technical specs to accommodate what you intend to put on, and that the venue has met the proper safety guidelines and laws of their region.

5. Hire Entertainment

By the time you get to this stage, you know what kind of act you are looking for, but may be struggling with where to look. When it comes to booked talent, social media and talent-for-hire websites are your best bet for experienced, affordable, and quality entertainment.

6. Create a Promotional Plan

While this won't apply to every event and certainly not for private ones, the marketing side of event planning is a tricky but absolutely necessary investment. This can range from something as simple as home made flyers and a Facebook event page, to a commercial spot that runs during the local news. While the marketing strategies for events have changed drastically in the digital age, it is still pertinent that you take the time to let people know that it is happening in any way that fits.

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