Planning a large event for a group of friends, family, or associates? Arranging all aspects of a trip for a family reunion, destination wedding, business meeting, sporting event, or other large group gathering can take an extraordinary amount of effort. Understanding ways to stay organized, overcome key obstacles, and find quality resources before starting out can help make this a much easier process:
Planning a Destination Event
Start with a budget.
Seasoned event planners agree that creating the right budget is a critical part of planning. Determine how much to spend and then
stick to the overall budget as you research and bookaccommodations, activities, entertainment, food (buffet or table service?), beverages (no-host bar?), equipment rental, and decorations.
Set aside an extra 10%just for unforeseen extra costs like additional equipment, extra food, or incidentals.
Create a budget spreadsheetclearly listing all of your expenses and keep it up-to-date. Also, if in charge of taking deposits or payments from invitees, you will need to maintain a list who will be attending, their contact information, amount due, deposit dates, and total paid to date. Inform the invitees as soon as possible about what they owe (or will owe) and important deadlines. Note: if more than one person is responsible for updating the spreadsheet, you might want to import your Excel file to Google Spreadsheet (or a similar online application) and grant others the ability to edit it.
Create a planning committee.
Collaboratewith a few, organized friends
and delegatesome of the planning tasks. Triporama's
Take into account special needs.
When setting up your event, it's smart to plan (or poll the group) for special food needs such as vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and potential food allergies and to provide appropriate choices so no one goes hungry. You should also determine if handicapped seating, wheelchairs, required ramps, and special transportation or handling is needed.
Promote social interaction and fun for all events.
The success of events ultimately is based on the social interactions that ensue. This is also true for business meetings, where success can come from an engaging speaker, great entertainment, or structured social time. Get a sense of what type of
group activitieswould be appropriate to help the group come together before and during the event. Schedule a fun game, a group lunch, a welcome party, and/or a group shuttle from the airport to encourage interaction between invitees. Schedule
unstructured down timeso your guests can explore or just take a break.
Utilize event planning tools and resources.
There are increasingly more resources available online to help you with event planning. Triporama recommends
Above all, stay organized. Make a plan for your event and stick to it. Everyone on the planning team should stay informed of the progress and don't look back once you've booked. With a little effort and good planning early on, you'll be able to enjoy your event all the more when it all comes together!