18 Actionable Event Planning Tips from New Zealand’s Top Event Management Companies
Event planning isn’t a walk in the park.
Remember, you’re in charge of orchestrating memories that your clients would want to relive for years to come.
Any self-respecting professional in the event planning industry would never settle for anything less.
That’s why event coordinators are ranked as having one of the most stressful jobs in the United States.These are professionals who are in charge of making sure any event — from weddings to large expos — goes as smooth as butter.
To put things in perspective, a police officer has a stress score of 51.68, whereas an event coordinator has a stress score of 51.15. In comparison, a senior corporate executive only has a stress score of 48.56.
Sounds intimidating, right?
Don’t worry. As unforgiving the competition is, nobody expects you to master the art of event planning.What you can do, however, is assimilate the wisdom of experienced event planners and let them mold your decision-making, workflow, and planning habits.
Without further ado, here is a roundup of the best event planning tips from some of New Zealand’s top event planners:
Our first featured event planner comes from Lime & Soda — an event management company with a culture that embraces flexibility and the courage to try new ideas every single time.
Her first tip is straightforward yet bold:
It may sound like a generic, pseudo-profound piece of advice, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
If you want your event planning brand to stand out and retain a loyal clientele, you need to keep exploring ways to do certain aspects more uniquely and impactfully.
That’s why Debra and the rest of the Lime & Soda team believe that innovation is a key ingredient in successful event planning.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to visualize the event from the eyes of guests. This leads to Debra’s second tip:
“Do a mental walk through of the entire event from the eyes of the attendee/guest/delegate.” Click To Tweet
If the event involves a lot of walking, will they appreciate chair massage booth? Are there any popular local dance group that could present guests with a relatable performance?
Think outside the box, but be sure it’s something the crowd can appreciate.
Do you look up to event planners who respect their craft as much as they love it? Then Leah Stevens from Encore Event Coordination is your gal.
“When planning an event, you are always aiming to be as efficient and productive with both your own time and the time of your clients. This will ensure you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s to make each and every event a successful one.” Click To Tweet
While creativity and passion are indeed critical in building an event planning brand, you can’t ignore the business side of things if you want to thrive.
How to know if your plan is made as efficient as possible? Perhaps you should take another page from Leah’s book:
“It’s very important when planning an event to confirm the total budget. Not only will this allow you to plan ahead with realistic expectations, it will also give your clients peace of mind and minimize the chance that costs would overrun.” Click To Tweet
Wild & Whim is a full-service wedding planning company that’s all about the streamlined and efficient execution of event plans.
According to W&W owner and principal planner Alina:
“Figure out your budget and stick to it — it can be easy to stray and get swept away with the added costs that come with your event.” Click To Tweet
This advice synergizes well with the previous one from Encore Event Coordination.
Once you manage to cut the costs down and maximize your margins, see to it that you don’t overspend. That’s how your event planning business will keep growing.
Alina’s next tip goes out to clients who may be worried about the cleanup after the event.
Remember, everything — from the beginning to the end of an event — is the event planner’s responsibility.
“Of course, no one likes the boring, tedious task of setting and cleaning up. Hire someone like an event planner who will handle all the setup and teardown, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. “ Click To Tweet
Independent marriage/civil union celebrant and wedding planner, Hannah of Alare Weddings, has a handful of recommendations that can make weddings feel more memorable:
“Always start the planning process by figuring out 3 things that are most important to you for your big day, and don’t stress out about the rest. Is it the food, the photographer, the dress, the music, the flowers, the cake, etc.” Click To Tweet
Although event planners must have a keen eye for details, it’s generally more cost-effective — time and money-wise — to focus on up to three cornerstones that are inspiring enough by themselves.
If you have no idea what these elements would be, here’s another piece of advice that you can learn from Hannah:
“Always choose things that make you happy. Don’t choose things because you think you should, choose what you want!” Click To Tweet
Our next professional is expert florist and event stylist, Kim Chan of Kim Chan Events.
They understand that a successful event is the product of team effort. As such, they impart the following message to all aspiring event planners:
“Do your research and choose the professionals to assist you, that you connect with — who understand your vision, what you want to achieve, the message you’re sending, and who your target audience is.” Click To Tweet
Based on her experiences, Chan also has a couple of tips for specific events and situations:
“Use loads of greenery to soften the venue and create warmth. For gala dinners, feature big, impactful centerpieces — one or two big statements are much better than little things scattered around!” Click To Tweet
Nicolle Hannah is a wedding and event specialist whose missions are to achieve the client’s goals and exceed their expectations.
While she is a firm believer of the importance of a well-designed venue, she advises her followers to avoid getting caught up in the glamour when planning an event.
“Whilst making your venue look beautiful and eye-capturing is a really important part of the day, it is the planning and organization that’s the key in delivering a successful event.” Click To Tweet
Sure, you are encouraged to explore fresh ideas each time you try and visualize an event.
Just make sure your goals are realistic considering the available resources, your skill sets, or any time constraints present.
Apart from being realistic, Hannah also relies on being well-organized to meet the expectations of clients.
“Organization is a key part in any event, whether it be a wedding, corporate function, or private event. Find a system that works for you be it via spreadsheets, Trello boards, or diaries and stick to it.” Click To Tweet
Charlotte Winkel is a wedding blogger by heart and celebrant by profession who runs Your Big Day.
Her role may differ slightly from event planners, but she is definitely more than capable of delivering actionable advice to planners and clients.
Here’s one that clients really need:
By taking some time off together before their big day, couples may be reminded of the reasons why they chose to be married in the first place.
Perhaps, as an event planner, you can also advise your clients to do the same.
You didn’t see that coming, did you?
Although for some this maybe a golden rule, Charlotte actually encourages couples do the opposite.
That way, they’re able to ease their nerves and give them more time with their guests afterwards as they don’t have to rush off for couples photos.
Kate Blundell is the director at Collective Concepts — a company that specializes in event and wedding planning as well as tourism marketing and PR.
To her, effective event planning requires business acumen — not just the ability to envision events that push human creativity to the very limits.
Getting sponsorships from companies, for example, is a skill that competent event planners must hone:
“When you decide to go to any company for sponsorship or any sort of advertising for your event, you should go straight to the top. It’s best to ask for meetings with supervisors who have the authority to make decisions about sponsorship before setting… Click To Tweet
In addition to targeting key decision makers when pitching to a company, Blundell also stresses the importance of having a “secret weapon” in the form of an additional service or a compelling offer that would make prospects think twice about rejecting.
“It’s usually a good idea to have an ace up your sleeve in case your pitches seem to be less effective than planned. Many potential sponsors often come to the edge of accepting, then back out because it does not seem worth it.” Click To Tweet
Lastly, Megan Hutchison of She Said Yes has plenty of proven tips that can help event planners develop blueprints for weddings that are worth remembering.
This one, for instance, is invaluable in today’s hyperconnected world:
This gives you and oversight of what to expect from a certain vendor even before you hire them.
To make sure vendors can truly live up to their promises, be critical of the value propositions on their website and let the wisdom of previous customers be your guide.
For wedding events on a budget, consider the following tip for breathtaking venues without shelling a fortune:
“The DIY/BYO wedding venue option may suit (i.e. backyard weddings), but you also might want to consider local council websites to find public and council-owned spaces.” Click To Tweet
As a bonus, here’s another tip that may come in handy:
“Many beaches do not require a special permit for small informal weddings, though of course you should organize a back-up venue, too.” Click To Tweet
Event Planning doesn’t have to be tedious. With the battle-tested guidance given by these experts, any event from weddings, conferences, parties, catering events etc. can be achieved and properly executed that will sure leave a memorable experience for your guests.
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