Although I often focus on weddings and parties here on my blog, we also love creating unique event experiences for corporate clients. From simple lunch or dinner meetings to large galas, corporate event planning requires the same creativity and organizational panache as a wedding does. But of course, it’s different in many ways too!
Today I wanted to share ten of my biggest corporate event planning dos and don’ts, to help you pull off your next event in style!
DO start planning early. Give yourself enough time to plan your corporate event – the sooner you can start, the better. Often companies have many cooks in the kitchen to make decisions and this can take time. Avoid delays by simply starting earlier. This also allows you to encourage attendance by giving guests plenty of notice.
DON’T choose a date near major holidays, events or industry happenings. If you want to avoid low attendance and high prices, try to allow a buffer between important dates on the calendar and your event. Summer can also be a tricky time as many people are away on vacation.
DO choose a venue that has everything you need. When choosing your venue don’t let price be the only deciding factor. Make sure that the venue can accommodate all your needs, including audio/visual capabilities, connectivity, catering, transport and number of guests. Even if your office is a great event space, consider a fresh environment to engage and excite your guests (if they are employees).
DON’T skip the venue walkthrough. Never book a venue site unseen. An in-person walkthrough is the best way to make sure your prospective venue has everything you need and to start getting ideas for decor and layout.
DO allow for plenty of setup time. Skimping on setup time is a common mistake. Make sure you allow plenty of time for all vendors to set up long before the event begins, otherwise you may find yourself scrambling to finish just as guests arrive. It’s stressful, unprofessional and (with good planning) unneccessary.
DON’T neglect your communication with vendors. Good communication is key to a flawless event, so make sure you keep all vendors in the loop. After the event, continue to communicate and build your network by following up with vendors (as well as guests) and thanking them for their hard work.
DO focus on the details. While it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind when planning, it’s also essential that you don’t lose sight of the details. For example, ensuring that your tech and audio/visual needs are in place. Pay attention to the layout of the space and ensure there is a good flow. And have fun with it too! Just because it’s not a wedding doesn’t mean you can’t excite and delight your guests with visual beauty, gifts and fun!
DON’T let your guests get bored. Great entertainment can elevate the whole experience of an event. It’s often the most memorable aspect for attendees. Get creative and find something new, instead of booking the same thing year after year.
DO get organized. When planning a big event, using (and maintaining) lists is mission critical. Checklists, timelines, vendor lists, etc. will all help you keep track of the moving parts and communicate effectively. It’s also important to create a budget and track expenditure.
DON’T try to plan everything yourself. This is perhaps my most important tip of all! Keep your sanity intact by delegating and enlisting the help of others. Or better yet, by partnering with an experienced corporate event planner, who can bring your vision to life without the stress!
Top image by Dennis Kwan