• The Do’s and Don’ts of Event Planning: Mistakes to Avoid

    Name the most stressful career in America. Did you say law enforcement? Legal services? Nursing? You’d be right — they all make the majority of the ‘most stressful job’ lists. But right up there with those life-or-death careers, you’ll also find event planning.

    Why is event planning so stressful? Because there’s not much flexibility. If something goes wrong, you don’t get more time or a second chance to deliver… the show must go on. Your clients are relying on you for their event to be flawless. It takes a lot to deliver that. 

    So when you inevitably make your first event planning mistake, it feels catastrophic. Especially if it’s a mistake that you could have avoided. Not every event planning challenge can be prevented, but it helps to know which ones can. And how to make sure they never happen. 

    Discover 6 common event planning mistakes to avoid before you plan your next event:

    DON’T: Try to remember everything yourself, or dig forever for the info you need. Being disorganized is a surefire way to forget something critical. If you have to-do lists across notebooks, planners, and sticky notes, something is bound to slip through the cracks. You’ll be halfway through a wedding and realize you forgot the cake knife. 

    And if contact information and documents are buried in long email threads — you can say goodbye to them. They may as well be gone. Good luck finding the DJ’s phone number when the conference starts in an hour and they haven’t arrived. 

    DO: Keep a packing list, notes, and important info in one central location.
    Keep it all in one place (or platform) that’s easy to navigate. Many planners use event management software to track timelines, vendor information, and event tasks. planning hub is an event software platform for planners. It was made for you and everything your role requires. 

    DON’T: Expect everything to go smoothly. Rain, snow, cancellations, traffic, no-shows, last-minute requests, client stress… it will all happen to you as an event planner at some point. The only thing in events that’s guaranteed is the fact that nothing is guaranteed.

    DO: Create a contingency plan for all the possible scenarios. 
    Prepare for common event challenges in advance:

    • Make sure all vendors are properly insured (don’t assume it).
    • Create a “rain plan” or inclement weather plan with your client.
    • Know where a venue’s first aid kit is or bring your own to events.
    • Have back-up vendors on speed dial in case someone no-shows.
    • Ask if your AV rental company includes backup sound equipment.
    • Build buffers into the timeline in case of delays or activities going over.
    • Know your contracts, including cancellation policies and force majeure clauses.

    DON’T: Communicate solely through phone calls or long email chains. Sifting through your inbox and remembering what was said on a call is hard for you. It’s even harder for vendors who work multiple events in a weekend. 

    And it’s easy to drop the ball when you don’t have an effective communicationsystem. You might forget to loop everyone in on conversations about minor (or major) changes. That’s how you end up with vendors accidentally setting up in the ballroom instead of on the lawn.

    DO: Create a single source of truth for your event.
    Putting on a successful event takes a lot of communication. Often with people and companies you’ve never worked with before. 

    Create a space where everyone involved can reference event information, leading up to and during the event. Google Drive, project management tools, or event management software platforms help with this.

    DON’T: Forget to account for loading and set-up times in your event timeline. There’s nothing more awkward than seeing guests arrive when the venue isn’t ready. This common event challenge is nightmare fuel, but we’ve all faced it. Poor scheduling can lead to delays, messy set-ups, or imperfect layouts

    Don’t underestimate how long it will take your vendors to unload and set up. Especially when multiple companies, heavy furniture, and complex equipment are involved.

    … And especially when the venue has only one dock space. With only one dock, it could take your furniture vendor twice as long to unload using their liftgate from the street. Overloading a dock is an easy way to put everyone behind schedule. (And to annoy your vendors!) 

    DO: Create a separate loading schedule and share it with vendors. 
    Why have a loading schedule that’s separate from your event timeline? So you can make sure all loading activities are accounted for. Ask vendors to share their arrival and set-up schedule with you beforehand, so everything gets set up on time and correctly.

    Take it a step further and share information about the venue and its loading area with vendors. This will help you cut down on day-of phone calls from delivery drivers. You can do both — create loading schedules and share venue information with vendors — on planning hub.

    DON’T: Wait until just before the event to confirm important details. Last-minute hiccups are a recipe for disaster. But they’re more likely to happen when you don’t confirm, double-check, and cross-reference things ahead of time. Leaving these for the eleventh hour isn’t good for anyone:

    • Confirming the final catering headcount
    • Reviewing and distributing the event timeline
    • Checking insurance requirements and endorsements

    DO: Set a standard operating procedure to make sure double-checks and confirmations happen.
    Or make the process easier with technology. Use an event management tool to automatically check and confirm the critical details. For example…

    When you plan an event on planning hub, you can see insurance information and requirements in the event dashboard. As you add vendors, their insurance info is populated automatically. If a venue requires additional coverage, that will be flagged and the system will notify vendors for you.

    DON’T: Blow the event budget.  Budget management is an intricate process. It’s easy to lose track of invoice statuses when you’re paying multiple vendors and venues. You need to stay on top of who has been paid, who hasn’t, and what’s due. 

    Don’t forget to account for your own expenses. Early event planners sometimes end up cutting their profits to offset costs — you don’t need to do this. Include the investment for your services (and staffing and decor costs) in the budget from the start.

    DO: Make all payments through one event management platform.
    Paying your vendors, venues, and yourself within one tool keeps you organized. You won’t need to create spreadsheets to stay on top of your payments. You’ll be able to see them all on one dashboard.

    Wondering how planning hub’s event management system can help you avoid common event planning mistakes? With planning hub, you can:

    • Stay organized on one event dashboard
    • Communicate with vendors and venues
    • Manage timelines and loading schedules
    • Automatically cross-check to prevent issues
    • Track the budget, invoices, and proposals

    Plan your first event for free. No credit card required. 

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    What are the major five problems of an event?

    5 major problems event planners face include: last-minute changes, delays to the event, broken or missing equipment, inclement weather, and vendor cancellations.

    What is the common mistake usually made by the event managers?
    6 common mistakes often made by beginner event managers: 

    • Lack of organization
    • Forgetting a contingency plan
    • Poor vendor communication
    • Underestimating setup time
    • Forgetting to double-check
    • Going over the event budget
    The Do’s and Don’ts of Event Planning: Mistakes to Avoid
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