Event Planning 101

August 10, 2017

From weddings to birthdays to special events (i.e. holidays, anniversaries, graduation), planning events are no easy feat. In fact, event planning requires time, creativity, and constant organization…and I am sure you have been a part of coordinating an event at some point throughout the year.

 

Photo: The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash 

 

For some, planning an event is frustrating and time-consuming; for others, organizing special celebrations signal joy and excitement. Whether you are the one coordinating every detail or are content with serving as an attendee, event planning comes in various forms and responsibilities.

 

Sure, I am just getting my career as an event coordinator started, but from experience, here are three basic phases to think about when planning the next special event.

 

1) Concept

It is important to consider and solidify the concept of the event in order to establish its strong purpose or theme. Usually, I like to brainstorm possible concepts based on ideas and suggestions from the client or committee as the first step to coordinating an event. When thinking of a concept, I think it’s crucial to take into consideration the 5 W’s: who, what, where, when, why. The answers to these questions will lend itself to a concept. After solidifying a concept, the next phase of planning can take place.

 

2) Design

The design for an event, I would say, intertwines with the concept. In this regard, designing an event highlights seasonal décor, appropriate decorations, lighting, performers and entertainers, and most importantly, a well-matched color palette to maintain cohesiveness and unity in all aspects of the event. In other words, I like to think of event design as a supporting element of the concept because without the aspects of design, the concept cannot come to life.  

 

3) Layout

Finally, I think layout ties both the concept and design together. In the layout phase, it is important to draw out the venue and figure out where all the elements will be placed. I, for example, have taken this phase to think about seating arrangements, stage setting, and lighting directions. Of course, it is also best to think about how each design element will be incorporated into the event so you can plan to buy decorations and supplies accordingly.

 

These three phases of event planning have helped me coordinate a variety of events with detail and attention. And throughout the event planning process, you should not forget the smaller elements like guest lists, catering, and invitations. The next time you are organizing an event, no matter how big or small, I highly recommend starting off with a budget to keep you on track with spending, especially when working events for a student organization.

 

My name is Sara Kim, a recent graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. I majored in journalism with a double minor in Health Policy & Management and Asian American Studies. In my free time, I enjoy working out, reading books, watching movies, and cooking. Fun fact: I am a foodie and love to try out new places and recipes. 

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