Whatever new adventure you set out on, you’re going to make some beginner mistakes, and event planning is no different! There are a lot of moving pieces that take foresight, careful planning, and a deep understanding of your ideal guest.
You can certainly learn how to successfully do these things with practice. But to give you a little boost as you begin, here are five beginner mistakes to avoid—so you can have fun making your own!
Budgeting without research
We tell you all the time that setting a budget should be your first priority. But do you really know if that budget is enough? Having a well-researched budget is crucial to your event. It means that, as the planning and advertising comes to an end, you don’t have to skip components that are too expensive.
For example: If you need paper plates and napkins for everyone, did you price check online or at a local bulk store—or did you just guess? Beginner mistakes set an unrealistic budget that hurts the event in the end.
The wrong kind of advertising
This beginner mistake is all about not knowing your audience. Consider what the best way to reach your guest list is; this results in higher attendance, and overall, a more successful event.
For example: If you’re planning an office party, hanging flyers on bathroom doors isn’t going to be enough. Email site managers, and ask that they forward the invite to their departments. Even consider visiting the departments to personally hand out flyers and invite coworkers.
Not checking surrounding events
One thing you never want to do is compete for guests. Even if you have a perfect budget and confirmed every RSVP, no one will come if there’s a bigger event happening at the same time. If there’s a major sporting event or festival at the same time, you won’t win that fight.
The good news for you is that large-scale events are typically scheduled well in advance, so it should be easy to see what’s happening nearby. Don’t forget to check local theaters and venues, too. And as always, keep your guests in mind.
For example: If you’re inviting mostly parents, make sure there isn’t a school play or break happening. Ask around, and once again—do your research!
Make sure your guests know where to go! This includes signs for parking, for entrances, and signs at the road if the venue isn’t visible from the street. Certain locations will have their own signs—which is great for you! But walk or drive through before the event and make sure at every point, guests know where to go.
Balloons are a fun way to mark an entrance, as are signs on trees. We don’t recommend signs on the ground unless their big and bright—and above all, make sure they’re weather-proof.
Bonus Tip: Go a step beyond, and include parking directions on your invitations. Guests always feel better when they know what to expect.
Expecting the event to start on time
We know—this one sounds strange. While yes, it’s possible for an event to start promptly, don’t bank on it. A casual “doors open at five” usually ensures a timely beginning. But don’t have the same expectations for more specific events, like a baby shower or, yes, even a wedding.
Of course, you don’t want to delay long, but don’t plan a schedule so tight you can’t be delayed by a few minutes, either. Include a little breathing room, for your sake and the sake of your guests. Feeling rushed at the very beginning can put a damper on any event.
Bonus Tip: If you’re handing out a schedule, list a few breaks so guests know when they can check their emails and take a bathroom break.
Are you confident that you can avoid these beginner mistakes? Take the next step and download our free party planning eBook. It’s packed with stats from our customers, and gives you all the planning advice you need to get started—from budgeting to party games.