Event Planning Tips

By Martha Stickner, Sales Manager 

Many of you most likely know me as the wedding planner and event coordinator at the Bayfront Convention Center; however, I started the New Year in a new position!  I am very excited to share that I have recently been promoted to Sales Manager.  With that said, my roles are still very similar and I am focusing on the social market.  The goal for me is booking and cooking, as they call it.  So from start to finish, I am the contact person, which makes the planning experience a little more personal.

What I am really here to talk about in my blog this month is sharing some event planning tips!  I was recently on a planning committee for a local nonprofit organization and helped put on a dinner banquet outside of my work place.  It’s kind of funny because what I was helping with is what I do on a daily basis.  This time I was on the other end of things, which helped me look at planning in a different prospective: the clients!  I put together a small list of advice to keep in consideration when working with a large committee!

  1. Major decisions should start off being made by one key person in charge (that has the time to be in charge, because I see this happen a lot because people are busy with life)!  The more people giving input, the harder it is to finalize things!  This helps when communicating with a venue/caterer and keeps all the opinions to a minimum.
  2. Sometimes less is more in a lot of areas! Consider how many ‘materials’ you’re gathering, whether it be in donations, centerpieces, auction items, etc.  The more you have, the more you have to keep track of — before and even after the event!
  3. Reiterate to your invited guests in a positive way that RSVP is necessary and by a certain date. Receiving late responses causes a lot of stress for the committee AND the venue!
  4. Prioritize and delegate! Make sure that duties are clear to volunteers and split up evenly!  You want to make sure that volunteers get to enjoy the event as well so they are not too overwhelmed with duties during the celebration.
  5. When fundraising, make things affordable for the attendees! Consider the ticket price, and how much you think people are willing to give on auction items. Sometimes you have to compromise in this area.  As a professional, I don’t recommend skimping on the food, but try not to rely on the ticket price too much for revenue.  Then, don’t forget when it’s a cash bar, guests are spending there was well!  The more they spend on beverages, the less they have for other areas!
  6. Lastly is know your audience!! Each event, group or fundraiser is unique, but the person putting on an event should really understand what the outcome and goal is.  The people attending make or break the vision, so make sure it makes sense for them.  That way they spend more, give positive feedback and ultimately, they come back the next year and bring their friends!