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Planning Guide

Planning Guide for Meetings and Events

One of the most stressful times for people is planning an event. Whether it is a birthday party for 12, a business meeting for 50 or a wedding for 200, in every instance there are still many details to be worked out, plans to be made and the event needs to be executed – hopefully without any major problems. The key to having a successful meetings and events is proper planning leading up to the event. This guide will help relieve some stress by providing information and resources on event planning.

Selecting the date

When an event occurs is important to the success. Keep in mind what your target audience is. If it is a child’s birthday, you need to select a date that the child’s friends are available. That means a school day is probably not a good choice, nor would a time that transportation would be an issue. If it’s business event, generally during the day is a good time. So, the bottom line would be to select a date that is convenient to your attendees.

Selecting the location

When choosing a venue for an event, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. One would be is it a convenient location for attendees. For example, if you are having a wedding in Hawaii and your guests are mostly in Ohio, due to travel costs you may not have as many people attend the wedding. So a convenient location is important. Another factor to consider is the size of the location. You want to make sure it is the right size for the number of attendees. You don’t want to try and fit 200 business people in a room adequate for 50 people, and vice versa. So, make sure the venue matches the size of the event.


The theme of an event can vary from simple decorations such as nice table cloths and centerpieces to elaborate decorations such as fountains throughout the room. The theme should match the tone of the event. For example, a business meeting should have a professional look and feel to it. A Mardi Gras party should have a festive theme to match the occasion. Keeping your theme in line with the event is a big step in the right direction.


Planning refreshments for an event is another factor that depends on the event. If you are planning a wedding or a dinner event you need to plan a full course meal from drinks to appetizers to main course to dessert. If you are planning a birthday party or business meeting, you don’t need to plan a full meal. Usually cake and ice cream would be good for a birthday party, while a business meeting may require coffee and pastries. Keep your refreshments appropriate with your event.

Budget Concerns

If money were no object, all events would be a success. However, in the real world we all have monetary restraints that we must keep to. The same is true when planning an event. Finding the right budget again depends on the type of event. If it is a business meeting or seminar you need to factor the cost of renting the location (if applicable), any audio visual costs, refreshments and any other incidental costs. If it is an event where you are charging people to attend, these are the factors that will go into determining admission price. For a birthday party, you basically are looking at location rental or facility fee and refreshments. For a wedding, you are looking at a number of factors such as location cost, meals, drinks, wedding cake, decorations, entertainment and wedding favors. To determine a budget you need to talk to the wedding reception coordinator to help come up with a cost for facility, meals and refreshments. This is the biggest wedding budget expense and will help you determine the other items. Depending on the location, meal choices and refreshments, you could be spending more than $200 per person for a wedding reception. Proper budget control can help you keep expenses in line and still have a memorable day.

Event planning can be very stressful. However, with good planning and keeping to details, your event will go off without a hitch. To help plan for your event, here are other useful resources.

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