Planning a party to celebrate a milestone with family and friends is a special time. But in the midst of so much excitement, it can be easy to overlook some important details that may seem small now but can have a big (and not good!) impact on you and your guests when it’s time for the big day.
During my nearly 25 years working in corporate, non-profit, and social events, I’ve noticed patterns when it comes to common party planning pitfalls—and I work with my clients through event planning, training, and coaching to help them prevent them.
Here’s my take on the top 3 mistakes to avoid:
Choosing the wrong venue
Select the venue that matches the vibe of the event you want to create. Do you want it to be casual? Perhaps a restaurant or a tented backyard party is the right fit. Do you want it to be edgy and cool? Maybe rent a nightclub at an off-peak time. Whatever you choose, be sure the location is convenient for your guests to get to and is accessible to those who may need any special accommodations such as the use of a ramp or elevator vs. steps. Also, let them know in advance how to dress for the venue, where to park, etc.
Not thinking about the experience
Many people are focused on the visuals of an event. What will it look like? What will make for a great social media moment? Also, think about the experience of the event. I often hear from clients that they want their parties to be fun. Think about what evokes fun for you: Is it great music, dancing, good food, or no lines at the bar? Make a list and outline how to execute everything on it to strive to provide the best guest experience.
Planning only for yourself—and not for your guests
You will have many guests at your party and while, as the host, you will be inclined to make decisions based on things you like, consider that you need to represent the likes and interests of a cross-section of people who will be attending. For example, if you don’t drink alcohol, other guests may be disappointed in a “dry event” without alcohol service. If you want to accommodate yourself and your guests, have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options. The same goes for food. You may love meat, but don’t forget about guests who may be vegetarian or vegan.
Shari Zatman is an event producer with more than two decades of experience. She owns two companies: Perfectly Planned by Shari, which focuses on luxury events (like weddings and mitzvahs), and Eventful Event Producers, which focuses on corporate and non-profit events. Her latest venture is event training, coaching, and consulting for event and hospitality professionals. She created a handbook and seminars to work with them to identify problem areas, create solutions and share best practices.