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Advance Event Techniques: Pitfalls to Avoid

While there are excellent practices to put into place which will enhance the seamless nature of your event there are also common difficulties to avoid. These pitfalls can hinder you as an event professional and the majority happen during the planning phase.

Here are some to avoid:

  • Not reading or understanding the contractual information about cancelations or postponements. To reiterate:

    • You need to actually read the contract

    • You need to specifically understand the repercussion of cancelation or postponement related to COVID-19.

  • Not building a contingency fund in your budget. Budget needs to include 10 - 15% contingency. The percentage should be 10 - 15% calculated off the entire budget. This is for items you failed to anticipate or suddenly are required (i.e. black car service for a VIP, a reprint of materials, ponchos for a rain concerns, etc.).

  • Not hiring a professional when you need one. This goes for the industry at large, not just event planners. For example: If client's priority is a social media ready moment with their wedding cake, you go to a specialty cake store, armed with photos, look at what they've made in the past and contract them after sampling. Then you vet and hire a photographer. Yes, it will cost more, but your client will get what they want and value. If you, as a professional, recommend a less experienced option or person, you risk your client being disappointed.

  • Alternatively, paying for low priority items, just because it's standard to have them. Not to pick on weddings, but does anyone enjoy the "favors"? Encourage your client to place that budget towards a high priority item.

  • Forgetting petty cash to tip staff (bartender, valet, coat check, servers, etc.). Tips may be built in your venue contract (see point 1).

  • Not planning or budgeting for staff training time. For staff to appropriately manage the role assigned to them they need to be trained. Allocate budget to ensure that staff, at the very least staff leads, can be trained onsite prior to the event day. If you cannot afford to pay staff or cannot access the venue, ensure you create and distribute a comprehensive event manual related to their specific role and send well before the event. In this case, budget time and money on event day with an early start to ensure your staff understands their role and has all they need to succeed.

  • Not giving yourself enough time on event day. You do not want to feel or be rushed on event day, leave early.

What pitfalls have you encountered?

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