Whether it’s your best friend’s bridal shower or closing a deal with a client, hosting a group event can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together our event planning checklist from how to pick your venue, to important guest management, and essential post-event follow up. We’ve got you.
Know your audience. There are a myriad of venues to choose from, but the place where you’ll take your clients to lunch is likely different from the venue you’d choose to celebrate your birthday party, so make sure you’re choosing the appropriate place for the occasion.
Unless it’s on my calendar, it’s not happening. Once you’ve chosen the venue, make sure to send out an invitation (through something like Paperless Post or a simple calendar invite) to hold the date and serve as a reminder. This will help ensure that your invitees will attend and they have a place to refer to for the date, location, and time.
Vegan is the new black. Dietary preferences and restrictions are trending. Most venues in major cities now have a least one option for the vegan-gluten free-no dairy-macrobiotic person in your life, but it’s important to make sure you are aware of any preferences before you choose your venue, and choose the menu accordingly.
If there’s one VIP in your group that you really want to be there, pick a venue closer to that person’s work or home (it’s ok to do some light stalking, just call it a happy coincidence).
Location location location. People’s proximity to the venue can have a huge impact on someone’s decision to make the effort to attend, especially day-of and in inclement weather. Do your best to pick a location that is central for most people attending, or, if there’s one VIP in your group that you really want to be there, pick a venue closer to that person’s work or home (it’s ok to do some light stalking, just call it a happy coincidence).
If you’re the host, fashionably late is not in fashion. As the host, you set the tone for the evening, and after organizing the event, the first chance you’ll have to do that is to greet people as they arrive. It’s particularly important if some attendees don’t know anyone else; you’ll want to take the time to make your guests feel welcomed and comfortable going into the evening. Plus, one final check in the bathroom could be the difference between effortlessly glamorous, and an embarrassing lipstick-on-tooth situation. That’s not good for anyone involved.
Before you go into your event, make sure you’ve spent some time learning about your attendees’ backgrounds so you can make introductions with context.
Connect Four. People will always appreciate when you’ve taken the time to make a meaningful connection. Before you go into your event, make sure you’ve spent some time learning about your attendees’ backgrounds so you can make introductions with context. This will do wonders for your long-term social karma.
Hot topics. Depending on your group, you may want to come prepared with some interesting topics to jumpstart the conversation. If you really need the help, placing conversation cards on everyone’s seat as an ice-breaker is a fun option. It might feel strange at first, but people will warm up to it.
Using email is certainly appropriate, but a hand-written thank-you note will never go out of style.
Follow Up. After your event has completed, take the time to follow up with your attendees to thank them for coming or to get feedback on the venue, menu, and overall event. Using email is certainly appropriate, but a hand-written thank-you note will never go out of style.