keeping your sanity is as easy as 1,2,3
How To Plan An Event Without Going Insane
Follow these tips and you'll be able to plan your event like a pro!
We get it. Planning events is tough stuff. Whether you’re getting ready for a wedding, planning a quinceañera, sweet 16, or corporate event, you’ve got your work cut out for you. And if you’re anything like us, as the days march on it sometimes seems that everything EXCEPT for the event planning is moving forward. You go to work, come home and something else fills the slot of time you meant to use to select a photographer, videographer, speaker, or event caterer.
Shake Off The Malaise
The biggest issue we come across in assisting with event planning is the apparent need most of us have to do everything at once – which ironically leads to complete stagnation. Shaking off the inactivity is as much about stopping the impulse to do everything perfectly as it is about following through with phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings.
Want to organize your event like a pro? Here’s what we recommend! The following steps all have one thing in common – less is more. If you feel overwhelmed, you’re likely doing too much, too fast. Take a deep breath, and make sure you’re tackling our 3 points with as much sleep and clear thinking as possible.
1. find the bottom line...
The path towards getting the MOST done ironically involves planning the LEAST amount of elements. We call it The Bottom Line. What do we mean? The bottom line for us is simply the minimum amount of work it takes to get the job done. In other words, if we were simply given the task to plan our event without any frills, thrills, or luxury, what minimum requirements would we have to check off our list of things to do in order to get to the finish line.
If you’re planning a wedding, this would likely involve a list including an officiant and a venue. These are the things that matter most. Everything else is completely arbitrary. Whether or not you have a photographer lined up makes no difference as far as the event itself is concerned. Food is always a good idea, but no where is it written in stone that it’s a requirement. And although having a dance may feel expected, it is not a mandatory component of a wedding. Therefore, hiring a band or DJ isn’t part of the bottom line.
2. tackle general items first...
Next, find the most general item on your list and start with that. To use our wedding analogy again, the venue is far more general than the officiant. Why? The officiant is a specific person, and will presumably be able to show up to any venue. But the venue itself, being far more general, will end up defining many other choices based upon the size and place-specific requirements of the venue. So we recommend starting here as it will make a lot of future choices for you. This is the inherent genius of finding your bottom line. One you’ve correctly located and dealt with it, so many of the other things you were hemming and hawing over will fit into place.
Once you get out of the way of yourself, things will start to happen organically.
For example, if you have your heart set on an outside event, you may have outdoor seating and cover on your list of things to do. But the venue itself will, in many cases, either provide event necessities on site or have preferred event equipment companies they regularly work with. So by the simple act of locating the venue and meeting with them in-person, you’ll be able to check off many of the items on your list you may have considered separate and daunting.
3. Set Aside 30 minutes...
It may sound crazy, but we’ve found setting aside just 30 minutes a day for event planning is more than enough to get things done! Why? When you decide to pool all of your event planning time together (say on a Saturday or Sunday), you tend to throw too much time at things that are contingent upon each other in ways you can’t yet anticipate. To illustrate this point, let’s say you decide to find the venue, DJ, caterer, and wedding photographer all in one frenzied six hour session. The problem? If you’d just focused 30 minutes on the venue, you’d likely find after locating the right one that they have many of these components either in-house or on-call. Meaning you’ve literally wasted 5 and 1/2 hours of your life you can never get back. Which, incidentally, is the exact recipe for what we call event planning crazies.
Your sanity is more important than progress...
You need to let go of the idea that in order to get things done you have to go crazy. Counter to popular belief, it is not in anyone’s best interest (yours most of all) if you’ve completely lost your mind by the time your actual event has arrived. The biggest antidote for an impulse to decide everything at once is to decide items from largest to smallest, in the least amount of time possible.
That’s right, you heard it here first. Effective event planning is about getting the most results from the least amount of time. Why? If you’re spending too much time on anything, you’re bound to go a little nuts. It’s perfectly healthy, AND advisable to step back at regular intervals and focus on something completely unrelated to your event. Like a good book, or family and friends. This non-event planning related time is just as important as the time you actually spend planning your event. You’ll make better decisions faster if you have all of your wits about you.
Here’s a good rule of thumb – the more important the event is to you, the less time you should spend on it. See if you can step back and hand the reigns over to professionals who know events better than you. Find the right people, and trust them to get the job done. Be direct in your expectations, but then take a step back so you don’t micromanage yourself into a frenzy.
You've got this!
Perhaps most important of all, believe that you can do this! We believe in you, and so should you!