5 Tip Tuesday: How To Plan An Event Without Becoming Overwhelmed, Stressed Out or Broke
In three weeks I'll be getting married...yay! I'm as cool as a cucumber about the wedding event and I've only had three months to plan. Admittedly, we're having a very small wedding and I have an amazing fiancee who is deeply involved in the planning of every detail, so I'm a very lucky lady and a bridezilla is NOT on the horizon.
However small the party there are always details that can be dizzying to figure out especially when you have a short period of time to work with and a budget so small it's almost non-existent! If this is you, don't despair. In my experience there are resources, services and ticks to hack the system of vendors, products and services available so you can host an event without becoming overwhelmed, stressed-out or broke.
1. Negotiate your must-haves
Compromise is not a dirty word. Be honest with yourself about what you must have at your event and what you can let go of. Write down a list of what you would like in your ideal vision then edit it. Highlight what you must keep, which should be much fewer than the elements you are prepared to compromise on. The items on the compromise list are not disappearing, but you will certainly re-examine them every time you're tempted to spend. You might want to give a high-priced gift bag to your next workshop's attendees, but if having an amazing speaker is a higher priority your ideal gift bag might end up on your compromise list. Instead of the premium gift bag you would like perhaps you can supply each of your attendees with one good gift instead of several.
2. Get a venue without a 'minimum spend'
Don't commit to a minimum spend that you can't afford just in case your ticket sales aren't stellar on your event date. This Open Space is an INCREDIBLE resource for finding event venues in Vancouver, New York, Toronto or Ottawa. Visit their website often for new event venues joining every month. Browse for your next pop-up shop, book launch event venue or reception space. You can immediately see the price, photos and any special requirements of your favourite loft, art gallery, restaurant or cool converted warehouse. It's like online dating for event venues and I love it!
3. Don't use the word 'wedding' if you don't need to
I am convinced that when you say that you need the bouquet, restaurant, limousine or anything for a wedding the vendor immediately slaps 20% on the price. Same service, greater price. As much as you can avoid the word 'wedding'. If you are, in fact having a wedding, tell the vendor that you would like your custom bottle opener (for example) for a party you're hosting, not a WEDDING (shhhh).
4. DIY when you should
You can do a few things well or everything poorly. Please don't attempt to do everything yourself. Do attempt to take responsibility for what you are good at. Are you crafty? Do you have some design experience? Is your business skill something you can use for this event. I used Canva to design our wedding invitations and I've spent hours pouring over Pinterest DIY projects before deciding what crafts we wanted to try. Ideas, instructions and FREE tools for your event are everywhere. Think about what you're good at, seek out the right tools and find the DIY projects that are right for you.
5. Call in a favour
Can your cousin make a killer playlist? Does your best friend have the phone numbers of a few great makeup artists? Will your Alma Mater do you a solid and let you take photos inside their halls? If you know anyone who knows anyone who would be helpful in getting your event underway reach out! Ensure you are offering something in exchange for their time and efforts, nothing is free. If you have been actively maintaining a good relationship with these people before you needed help, they should have no problem assisting you when you ask. This is why networking and relationship-building are so important!
Once you have tried these five techniques take a deep breath and don't panic. Your event will always be better than you think it will be and if a small detail goes wrong, most often you're the only person who will notice.
If you know of someone who is planning an event with an extreme time or budget limit or if you are planning an event yourself please share this article and get the conversation going. Many people will certainly have tips and tricks of their own to offer. There is no such thing as too much knowledge. Good luck!