Where to invest your time and money

When Planning Your Next Event

Event planning involves putting together a lot of important puzzle pieces—and time and money are two big ones.

When I work on an event, I begin by breaking it down categorically for planning and budget purposes. This allows me to see how and where money will be allocated. It also allows me to plan for each aspect of the event in an organized, thoughtful manner.

Here’s a glimpse into my process:

First, I analyze the venue. I look at what the costs are and what comes included with the rental fee or within the space. This allows me to see what elements we can use that are already being paid for and what we need to add or bring into the venue in order to execute the event.

Many times, clients commit to a venue before beginning their work with me and, therefore, are unprepared or didn’t realize they’ve committed to a venue that doesn’t have certain items included. Having to bring in these needed items will then increase the bottom line from the beginning, resulting in unforeseen costs for the client. Pro tip: Make a wise, calculated decision on where you are holding your event because it can have a very impactful effect on the overall budget.

Next, I look at food and beverage. This may likely be the single largest categorical event expense, so the time and attention paid to it is important. Additionally, providing quality and tasty offerings that are plentiful and properly served leave a lasting impression on the overall guest experience. Think about your own experiences: Don’t you remember if you attended an event that had bad food and bad service? You may not always remember when something was great, but I find that people always recall if something was bad—so you want to GET IT RIGHT.

Additionally, I create a timeline to detail proper event flow. Quite often, people make the mistake of asking guests to quiet down and focus their attention at several different points throughout the event. That can feel like an interruption if not properly timed and orchestrated. Instead of calling for group attention multiple times, I suggest clustering together elements when you want guests to be quiet and focused.


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.


Stephen | Wedding Testimonial
Shari was extremely professional and a valuable resource throughout our wedding planning process. When we first started planning, we were living outside of Pittsburgh and Shari helped us navigate all ...
Ben R. | Wedding Testimonial
Shari and her team did a fantastic job planning our wedding with us and allowed us to fully enjoy the weekend without any stress at all. After postponing our wedding ...
Amy B. | Bat Mitzvah Testimonial
I can’t say enough wonderful things about my experience working with Shari while planning my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I contacted Shari to work with her as a consultant, because I ...
Annie H. | Wedding Testimonial
Shari was organized and made sure all of the boxes were checked. She managed multiple inputs from different people in order to ensure the best outcome for the wedding, and ...
Maura M. | Wedding Testimonial
Shari is a complete professional and created a dream wedding for our daughter overseeing and organizing every aspect of the day to the minute. She communicates effectively on every level ...