Increasingly event planners are expanding their businesses by offering design services. They do, of course, go together like peanut butter and jelly! Together, good design and coordinated planning come together to make a clients dream event real – from the color scheme to the timeline. However, finding a balance between design, coordination and execution can take some fine-tuning to ensure that the event process runs like a well-oiled machine. Here’s why each step of the proccess is important, and how you can balance your efforts based on the clients you work with.
Typically, we start our events with design – what does the client want? How do they envision the final result? Do they have a theme or a color that they would like to focus on? If you are working with a Pinterest couple, ask them to pull up their wedding board and get a good feel for the vibe that they are after.
The design stage is also a good time to finalize a clients allotted budget and narrow down the vendor options to form a suitable team of professionals that will help turn the couple’s dreams into a reality. I tend to give this phase about three to four month before jumping into planning and production.
Once the vision is in place, we get to start putting it together piece by piece. This stage generally takes longer than design, so we typically factor in seven to eight months to finalize the event, depending on the size.
During this period, it is all about filling in the blanks and making sure everything falls into the right place – from ensuring all vendor deposits are paid and contracts are signed to coordinating the event team so that everyone is on the same page for the big day. Although each vendor is responsible for his or her contributions to the event, it’s up to the planner to touch bases regularly to make sure everyone is on track.
Last but not least, when all the pieces have fallen into place, it’s time for the final stage of the event process: event management. During the week leading up to the big day, the planner and the event team should be tying up loose ends and creating minute-by-minute plans for each person involved. Most of the logistics should already be in place, so this last week is just for checking in and making sure that everyone is prepared and knows their personal game plan for the day of.
Working with Clients
When you’re working with clients on an event from start to finish, chances are you’ll notice that they lean either towards design or planning. Some are all about what the final product will look like, whereas others are more concerned about the timing and coordination of the day. Despite their interests, it’s important to get them involved in all parts of the event. Get an idea of what they’re most interested in and include them in it, but it is just as essential to get their final say on all other decisions even if they’re not as engaged.
We use collaborative planning software that allows us to work with our clients virtually. We are able to share what we’re working in and they are able to send along any input. This tells us quickly what they’re most interested in and it gives them the freedom to contribute as much or as little as they want.
Although each stage of planning an event is unique, bringing them all together is the key to a truly spectacular event.