Updated: May 16
While it may be tempting to start looking at venues and crafting a custom bar menu, getting a clear picture of your event specifics from the very beginning is crucial. The effort you put into nailing down the details now will save you time, frustration, and money down the line. So before you plan a single thing, grab a pen and paper and jot down the answer to these 5 questions:
1. What is the goal for this event?
Are you planning a fundraiser to raise a specific dollar amount, helping a local artist get exposure, launching a new product, etc.? Understanding what you hope to achieve with your event will help guide your planning and execution. Think of this goal as your North Star and come back to it whenever you are unsure what direction to go next.
2. What is the budget for this event?
It's important to have a clear limit in place before planning so you can allocate an appropriate dollar amount to each aspect of your event. The goal you set above can also help you decide what aspects you splurge and save on. Some high ticket items you want to make sure you have in the budget include:
Food and Beverage
3. How many guests do you need to accommodate?
Your guest count will help you determine how far you can stretch your budget. For example: a $10,000 budget for 100 people is a lot different than a $10,000 budget for 500 people. Get an accurate estimate of the guest count before you begin planning, and you'll easily be able to narrow down your options for everything from the venue to event staffing and catering options.
4. What are your non-negotiables?
Is your heart set on a specific venue, caterer, or band for the reception? These specifics may bring certain restrictions and logistics that will need to be considered from the beginning. Lay everything out ahead of time, so you don't end up problem-solving on event day.
5. How much time do you have to plan your event?
Just like budget, timing is crucial. In general, the closer you get to an event date, the fewer options you have. So to ensure you get your first choice in vendors, start planning as early as possible. Some of the most in-demand event professionals take bookings years in advance, but to be safe, try and give yourself at least 3-6 months of lead time at the very minimum.
While it may take some time to come up with accurate answers to the questions above, it will save you frustration (and sometimes money) in the end. From our 30+ years in the industry, we've seen time and time again that it's easier to plan things right the first time around than to go back and try to fix an oversight at the last minute. And if you get down to the details and realize you need a little help, our team at Avant-Garde event services is here to support you with your event production, staffing, and mobile bartending needs.