10 Lessons in Professional Event Planning from a Controversial Source

There is an unspoken rivalry in the planning world.

When I think of Event Planners and Wedding Planners, this is the image that springs to mind:

Event organising and wedding planning are seen as mutually exclusive professions, yet the tips given to wedding planners are often just as applicable to event organisers. With this in mind, we’ve found 10 great wedding planning tips that event organisers should take into account.

1) Brief your speakers on their audience

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The Offbeat Bride featured this tip, warning against scandalous speeches when your conservative Aunt Edna is in the front row. It is the same in professional events; tell your speakers about who will be attending, particularly if there will be high profile influencers in the crowd. They may have a slide condemning Nestlé for human rights issues, while Nestlé’s CEO is going to be in your audience. They may still use the slide, but this way they won’t be shocked when the CEO gets angry while networking.

2) Insurance

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Hitched recommended insurance for weddings, and it applies equally to professional events. If your event is particularly large, having insurance is an absolute necessity that you shouldn’t overlook. You’ve invested in this project; make sure you have a backup plan for if everything goes wrong.

3) Photographers are important

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HowStuffWorks, along with most other wedding sites, stressed the importance of a good photographer. One of the best ways to promote future events is to display photos from previous events. Blurry phone photos are not going to help your cause; hire a photographer, or recruit a friend with photography skills. Your images will look far more professional, and draw more people to the event next time around.

4) Prepare for every eventuality

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Another tip from Hitched says that your backup plans should have backup plans. As an event organiser, you have to plan for every eventuality, no matter how unlikely.

5) Be strict with the guest list

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This tip, courtesy of Really, argues that you should be ruthless with your guest list. If your event is exclusive, and people turn up on the day without tickets, don’t be afraid to send them packing.

6) Take Care of Yourself

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We saw this tip pretty much everywhere. Given that event planning has been recognised as one of the most stressful jobs, you need to make sure you’re still getting the recommended amount of sleep and 3 solids meals a day.

7) Contacts for the Day

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The Wedding Carpet suggests having a list of emergency contacts, so that if anything does go wrong, you know immediately where to turn. There’s not much you can’t find via google, but having a short list of emergency contacts whom you know are reliable and will sort out any issues quickly is a godsend.

8) Accept that you can’t please everyone

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The Bridal Guide states that you can’t please everyone. There will always be a few dissenters at an event; take their critique into account, and bear it in mind for your next event, but don’t let it ruin the current one!

9) Investigate Blackout Dates

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This tip is courtesy of The Knot. There are certain obvious dates that aren’t great for professional events; Christmas, Easter, the evening of big sports events, etc. You may also want to check that your competitors don’t have large events scheduled for that day, as you’ll both end up losing out on revenue.

10) Remember what the day is about

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At a wedding, the day is about love, family, or money. At your conference, the day should be about your attendees. Do everything with them in mind. Remember: the customer is always right.


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Ali Coulson

Photo Credits: Thomas Hawk, David HilowitzSean Molin Photography, bradleygee, dabruins07, PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast, William Hook, ohhector, Mike Rohde via Compfight cc