Updated: Aug 14, 2020
When you're just starting out planning your event, it can feel like there's a million things to do. You need to choose a venue, decide on a guest list, pick vendors, are you having a DJ, playlist or choir? What's the theme, is it going to be cocktail or sit down, what's the colour palette?
The more you think about the event, the more questions usually come to mind. Quickly it can appear to change from a great idea, to you becoming overwhlemed and feeling more stressed than you could have imagined.
It doesn't have to be this overwhelming! An event is just like a project. It has a defined beginning and end point, and a series of tasks to be completed in between the start and finish. However, unlike most projects, instead of receiving a pat on the back from your boss, or sitting back and looking at your tidy kitchen, these projects end in a Party! A celebration for all your hard work and effort in the weeks, months or years leading up to completing your project.
Just like a project, it can seem impossible at the beginning. Until you begin to break it down into managable pieces. As the old saying goes, how do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.
At Forever A Moment, we like to start our projects by getting our clients to answer 3 simple questions. As we begin thinking about our answers to these questions, we automatically start answering other questions that we haven't even considered yet. We go through these questions with each of our clients in their initial 30 minute consultation as it helps us to understand their vision.
1. What is the purpose of the event?
This one seems obvious, but when you really delve into the answer, it can help set out your vision and answer a lot of questions. Is your event for your grandmothers 80th? If so you would be considering sit down options, probably an earlier start and finish time, a more accessible venue and quieter music?
Or, is it your son's 21st? Then, depending on the venue, you may wish to consider a bar tab, food options and a DJ with lots of room for dancing and a stand up cocktail theme is often the 'go to' for a younger crowd.
2. What is your budget?
This question is always overlooked in the beginning. Many of our clients tell us they'll figure that out later. We want to focus on the event first. Little do they know, the budget dictates every aspect of the event. There's nothing worse than having a client fall in love with a venue, only to find out it's double, or even three times their budget.
Your budget will dictate how many flowers you can have, can the Band stay for 3 or 6 hours, and can you have that balloon arch you have been eyeing off. It's important to be realistic with yourself here. If you know you can only afford a budget of $5000, don't begin pulling together a supplier list that will cost you $10,000 thinking you'll cut out the rest later. Trust me, everything on your list will become a MUST HAVE, very quickly and all of a sudden, you're well over budget, and you will then have to decide what items you need to cut out, in order to bring the cost down. Have you ever tried doing this? It always feels impossible.
3. What are the non negotiables?
I cannot stress how important this question is! Especially if you find yourself planning an event on a smaller budget. To answer this question, I want you to think of your top 5 non negotiable suppliers and write them down. These are the ones you're going to allocate some more budget to, and are absolutely non negotaible. This will depend on your own taste. For some people, flowers are a must. Others aren't too fussed on flowers but need a good DJ, and some could sit in an empty room, as long as they've got a good bottle of Champagne to drink.
Once you have your list of non negotiables, you need to be strong and stick to this list. Writing the list at the beginning is pointless if you end up continuing to add suppliers to your list. At each financial decision you have to make, whether it be comparing quotes or paying an invoice. Stop and consider if the quote is for a non negotiable. If it is, go ahead and splurge a little. But don't forget, if it didn't make it to the list, don't be tempted to splurge!