The most important thing to do when starting to plan an event is know what you are planning. There is no point starting without a clear understanding of how you want it to end. This means understanding why you are running the event, who you are running the event for and how you want it to happen. Answer the following questions as detailed as possible and you will have a basic event brief that you can refer back to when you run into dilemmas along the way.

Why are you having the event? It is a…
Christmas party – to thank staff members
Awards night – to recognize greatness and inspire others to achieve
Product Launch – to promote a new product
Incentive Event – to promote your company to suppliers and clients
Conference – to educate staff on new products
Expo – to educate and promote your company to suppliers and potential clients
Cocktail Function – to entertainment guests

There are a millions reasons to have an event, knowing the reason for your event will allow you to stay focused on the important stuff.

How many people?
Knowing how many guests you are inviting and expect will directly impact the venue you choose. But before you start cutting venues off the list, if you want a specific venue but it is too small there may be a way to increase capacity by adding a marquee or changing from a sit down to a cocktail function. Likewise if the venue is too big, you can use drapes and theme to create a more intimate feel.

Sponsors / VIP’s – What do they expect from your event?
Are you answering to anyone? Have you got sponsors who are expecting a certain amount of exposure? Have you got VIP guests who will need a little extra attention on the night? Do you need to include additional services for them such as a private entrance or extra security? Perhaps its something before the event, such as a limo pickup service or hand delivered invitations.

What type of Event are you working towards?
There are many different types of events, is yours;
A Sit-Down Gala Dinner
An Intimate Formal Dinner
A Cocktail Function
An Elegant Outdoor BBQ  
Conference with Stand-Up Working Lunch
Incentive Weekend
The list is endless…. You know what sort of event it is, make sure you tell everyone else!

What is your total budget?
Work it out! This should be one of the first things you sit down and nut through. How much do you have in total? Estimate how much you have for every element of your event – Venue, Entertainment, Theme etc. Sure, you will probably get this split wrong, but at least you’ve got a starting point and you can keep adjusting it along the way.

Everyone will want to know what your budget it, and it is good to be able to give suppliers a starting point to work from (just make sure you under-estimate to suppliers and over-estimate on your paperwork!). Telling suppliers a budget is not a bad thing. It means they will work within this budget to create the best possible outcome. There is no point getting a quote from a supplier with your wish list, without giving them some parameters. If you told an Audio Visual Supplier you wanted a quote for equipment to service a lecture with microphones, screens and laptop connection for PowerPoint Display plus full stage and dance floor lighting and PA for a 5 piece band, but knew you only were on a limited budget, you are just wasting time by not disclosing this as they will quote the best of the best, and perhaps you need something a little less extravagant.

But don’t forget, you can always negotiate!

6. More, More, More
There are a number of things to think about at the very early planning stages of an event. Such as: Do you want a theme? Should you arrange transport? Do you need to generate sponsorship? Plus much more!


If you want more advice, please look through some of the other lessons that have been posted but if you are still feeling overwhelmed or simply just don’t have the time to dedicate to organize the event yourself, please contact Event-ism to arrange a meeting to discuss all this and more.