Most people feel they can plan and manage their own function. And, maybe you can. However, wouldn’t you rather spend the time enjoying your event with the people you took the time to invite? Ask a person if they’ve considered hiring an event planner and they will usually give you a million reasons why they don’t need one. But often the difference between an OK event and a great one is a professional planner.
Susie is having an event at a banquet facility and she is overseeing all of the planning and day-of management. She has lists and assigned tasks and schedules and invoices. She has organized everything down to a T.
The caterer said they will take care of everything, but she forgot to double check what “everything” means. They ordered the food according to her specifications. The food is cooked and ready to be served. Susie ordered punch. Her first guest asks for water. Wait! She forgot to ask for water. So there is none. Susie rushes to the caterer and though they don’t have bottled water, they can give her tap water. They’ll see if they have enough pitchers for each table.
Now Susie is nervously scanning the room. She asked for roundtables of 12 seats, but these are set at 10. Was she supposed to request salt and pepper? What about butter? This included tableware and tablecloths, right? And now she can see the banquet facility manager heading her way. He wants to know Susie’s plan for post-event cleanup and trash disposal and Susie has five minutes to head into the other room and welcome her accumulating guests.
He’s having a corporate meeting to discuss some very important business with one of his large out of state clients. He had no idea when he booked the space that two doors down DJ’s Dance Troupe was hosting their recital. The music is loud, penetrating the walls, and they refuse to turn it down. After all, they paid for their space like everyone else.
His clients are having a hard time hearing his presentation despite him raising his voice. The louder the music booms, the angrier their facial expressions. An event planner would have made sure that in the contract it is listed that Greg cannot be on the same floor as the recital to ensure quietness.
The venue’s job is to sell space and they will pack in as many events as they can. It is the event planner’s job to be sure Greg gets the best meeting room with no distractions. These are minor details, but minor details can make or break an event. A professional event planner will make sure the night before or hours before your event that everything is in place and will check and double-check again.
Are you starting to get the picture?
What to look for when hiring a professional
Hire a professional event planner, not someone who says that “I plan meetings or events on the side” or a marketing company that added event planning to their business to pick up extra cash. You want someone that is experienced and will not be using your event to test the market.
Would you want to go to a dentist who cleans teeth on the side? No. Your meeting/event planner should have certification. You want someone educated and trained in the craft.
You also should seek out someone who has association memberships. Active association members are often invested in the industry and stay on top of the latest techniques and happenings so they are sharp and at the top of their game. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, event photos and/or a consultation.
You next event should be stress-free and money well spent.
Diane Swanson is owner of Swanson Meetings & Event Planning, LLC, where your meetings and events are handled with the grace of a swan. She is an event planning professional with 25+ years of experience in small to large-scaled events. For more information visit, www.swansonmeetings.com.