With the holiday season in full swing, many people will attend celebrations and family gatherings, and maybe even attend local holiday activities like Winterfest Hartford, the Hartford Yard Goats’ Winter FanFest or Channel 3’s Holiday Light Fantasia.

While events like these are fun for the community, they involve significant planning and organization to be well-executed. In the spirit of giving and the holiday season, we’re sharing our top six do’s and don’ts of event planning.

Do: Create a Budget and Event Checklist:

A budget and event checklist are essentials in planning an event, and should be created and reviewed before the event, as well as evaluated after the event.  If properly prepared, a budget and checklist provide a broad perspective on what is needed for an event and help guide teams through the process. Also, staying on (or better yet under) budget and on schedule will earn you kudos from clients.

We’ve created an Event Planning Checklist that can serve as a helpful starting point for planning an event, send us an email at info@gbpr.com and we’ll share it with you.

Don’t: Wait Until the Last Minute:

Many items on your list like signage, advertising and giveaways may require production time. If insufficient time is allocated to produce these items, you might incur rush fees and other charges – impacting your budget.

As you put together your budget and event checklist, do your research and get estimates on costs and production time to avoid unnecessary expense and delays.

Do: Identify Your Target Audience and Communicate with Them: 

You’ve got a great event idea and know who will attend, but how are you going to spread the word?

Each target audience has a unique way in which they consume information. It might be email, personal invitations, direct mail, news media, outdoor media, social media or calendar listings – or a combination of tactics. Once you’ve narrowed down who should attend, establish a communications plan on how the event’s information will be distributed, and include it in the budget and event checklist.

Don’t: Assume Everyone Invited Will Attend:

According to the Emily Post Institute, if an invitation is sent too late guests may already be booked; sent too early and it might be misplaced or forgotten.  While some events don’t need a lot of advance notice, Shutterfly suggests distributing invitations approximately six weeks before the party.

These guidelines are generally used for personal parties and banquets, but they’re also useful tips and information for corporate-sponsored events too. Some attendees like company executives and other key stakeholders have calendars that fill up quickly, so sending invitations 4-6 weeks in advance is a good idea.

Even then, according to Epicurious, “on average, 60 percent of invited guests will show up to a party.” Set your expectations and plan appropriately, and if there’s someone on the list that HAS to be there, be sure to get their invitation or save-the-date out as soon as possible.

Do: Like Santa, Check Your List Twice (or a Dozen Times):

Continually “check-in” with your team and vendors to ensure items are getting completed on-time, and cross them off your list! By establishing weekly meetings, you’ll be able to identify any problems that may come up and deal with them promptly.

Don’t: Do Everything Yourself:

There’s a lot that goes into a great event – logistics, advertising, media outreach, key stakeholder outreach, post-event outreach, social media posting, writing scripts and message points, etc. A well-executed event is an opportunity for your organization to shine, so don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all. Delegate items to your team members or hire professionals to help!

Ready to start planning? Contact us to at info@gbpr.com to receive our GBPR Event Planning Checklist.