7 Best Event Planning Principles:
How to Organize an Event

See also: Facilitation Skills

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of organizing an unforgettable event?

Whether you’re throwing a small shindig or an international conference, nailing your event planning is crucial for an awe-inspiring experience.

You should invest time and energy into planning your event and developing your event planning skills because each step can make or break it. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of tried-and-true principles that will guide you toward organizing an event that has everyone talking.

Read on for the details!

7 Principles for Planning the Best Event

Getting ready for a Vanity Fair event.

Are you a seasoned pro or a newbie dipping your toes into the world of event planning for the first time?

Whichever it is, these seven principles will benefit both the skilled and the unskilled. Here’s what you must do:

1. Mind the Budget

In event planning, your budget is the bread and butter of the entire operation, and for good reason. So, it’s essential to establish a realistic budget from the get-go and stick to it like your success depends on it. And spoiler alert - it definitely does.

Hosting an event can quickly eat up your wallet, no matter how small your gathering is. To make the most of your budget, spend wisely.

Divide funds into the venue, catering, entertainment, and decorating, while keeping a cushion for unexpected expenses. A well-managed budget means you’ll leave enough wiggle room for when something inevitably goes wrong.

2. Take Notice of the Date

Before you mark the date on your calendar and notify the attendees, consider whether this is a good time. Think about the season and its unique characteristics, as different times of the year bring distinct challenges.

First, make sure the chosen date aligns with your goals, objectives, and the guests’ free time. If you’re planning your event before or during a holiday season, many guests may not attend in favor of other plans. And if you’re planning an international event, consider where your attendees are coming from and whether they can come at that time.

Of course, you can’t accommodate everyone, so it’s still okay if some choose not to attend. You’ll just have to make do with what you’ve got and pivot.

3. Define the Objectives

When you’ve got the first two things out of the way, get crystal clear on what you want to achieve with your event. Defining clear objectives and expectations is like setting waypoints for your journey. Without a destination in mind, you’ll be going around in circles and wasting time and money.

So, ask yourself this:

  • What do you want your event to accomplish?

  • Why are you hosting this event at all?

Although there are no right answers, knowing the “why” behind your event will help you narrow down the “how.” Once you have your objectives in sight, build your event around them and use them as a foundation. Every decision you make after this should align with your goals to ensure you have a cohesive event.

4. Invest in High-Quality Decorations

Event decorations are crucial for the ambiance, so bring your A-game. And here’s one pro tip: invest in good-quality decorations to make all the difference.

But instead of searching for different decor items that mesh well together, opt for a more uniform setting. For example, deck your venue in artificial green walls or lush hanging faux plants. This infuses the space with elegance and also saves you from the hassle of dealing with live plants. You’re already stressed enough as is, you don’t need dead plants adding to the pressure.

Plus, it’s a sustainable choice that you can then reuse for future events. Statement pieces like this provide a stunning backdrop and will have your guests snapping pics left and right.

5. Expect Something to Go Wrong

Let’s face the music: despite your meticulous planning, something will go awry. Murphey’s Law and all that. But preparing for any unexpected twists and turns is a big part of the planning journey.

To stay one step ahead, expect glitches along the way and have a backup plan for when something happens. For example, create a checklist that covers everything from technical bumps in the road to vendor no-shows. And don’t do it alone - assign a troubleshooter that will handle on-the-spot emergencies.

By taking setbacks in stride, you’ll ensure a seamless event experience and your guests’ experience won’t be soiled.

6. Research Your Service Providers

Another critical aspect of event planning is choosing the right service providers. But what does “right” mean? Usually, the perfect service providers are trustworthy, reputable, reliable, and within your budget. From the DJ who’ll get the dance floor shaking to the catering team that will serve up gastronomic delights, each of them can make or break the experience.

Choosing the crème de la crème of service providers will require:

  • Researching like your life depends on it by reading reviews, asking for references, and checking out the provider's portfolio.

  • Getting quotes and comparing with other providers. Never settle for the first option that comes your way because you might be missing out on a much better value.

  • Meeting potential providers in person to gauge their professionalism, creativity, and vision for your event. Ensure you’re both on the same page before you begin.

  • Trusting your gut when things just don’t feel right. If you sense something’s off or you don’t have a good rapport with a provider, cut them off and explore other options.

7. Pick the Right Food

The key to almost anyone’s heart is through their stomach. And the heart of any memorable event is the food. So, serving up a culinary masterpiece can easily become the highlight of the evening.

Consider the theme of your event, your audience’s preferences, and dietary restrictions when curating your menu. Offer a variety of options and cater to different needs, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free variations. This doesn’t mean you need separate menus for each, just include foodstuffs everyone can enjoy.

If you really want to wow your attendees, get creative with interactive food stations or themed food bars. Of course, keep it all within the limitations of your budget.

Finishing Thoughts

By using even some of these event planning principles and skills, you’ll be well on your way to organizing memorable gatherings that will leave a lasting impression. Are you ready to be the talk of the community for a while?

Then roll up your sleeves, get planning, and make your next event one for the books.

About the Author

Mila is an English graduate and an ardent advocate for animal rights. Armed with a passion for the written word, she marries her love of content with her keen eye for everyday observations. When not immersed in research, she enjoys strolling with her dog or indulging in binge-worthy TV shows.