Event planning: back to basics

It’s been a long couple of years and maybe it’s been a while since you’ve planned an in-person event. Whether you’re a seasoned planner or you’re hosting an event for the first time, here’s what you need to consider before you get started:

1. First thing’s first

Be prepared. That’s the scout’s motto, and it should be your event planning motto, too. When beginning to flesh out the details of your event, it can be helpful to write down everything you will need to begin executing on your perfect wedding, meeting, conference, or trade show.

During your first few meetings with your team, you will likely need to know details such as:

  • your goals and objectives
  • preferred location
  • date of event
  • guest list size
  • special entertainment
  • theme and décor ideas
  • food and drink ideas, etc.

The more you’ve begun to think out ahead of time, the better! So, get brainstorming!

2. Legalities to consider

When it comes to event planning, contracts are your friend. In other words, be sure to consider all of the permits and licences you might need:

Location permits – Is your venue safe and accessible? Do you need a permit for your event location? When planning an event, it is critical that you book a room or event space that is up to code with safety regulations and that you are legally permitted to use the space.

Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) – AGCO is responsible for regulating Ontario’s alcohol, gaming and horse racing sectors, and cannabis retail stores. When planning an event, you must meet the guidelines set forth by the commission, such as obtaining a Special Occasion Permit or a Liquor Sales License.

Event insurance – Special Event Insurance helps to protect you when planning a wedding, conference, festival, or other large event. Quotes are based on event size, if liquor is being served, the location, and more. Some public institutions, such as those run by a municipality, require you to have insurance to book your event.

a person signing a contract

3. Budgeting

Having a budget is necessary, but sticking to it can be hard. Be sure to outline and map out all of the things you will need to set money aside for. You may need to negotiate and make some hard decisions as to which items on your dream list are “wants” vs. “needs.”

Our best tip is that once you’ve picked a budget, track everything that you spend money on. It’s Murphy’s Law that something will go wrong during the planning or executing of your event. Therefore, we suggest that you also save money for hidden and unexpected fees that may come up before, during, or even after your event.

4. Booking equipment

What type of technology will your event require? Will you need a projector screen? Will you need a stage? A dance floor? Will you need special lighting such as a spotlight? Will you need an advanced speaker system? Microphones? Be sure to build these things into your venue contract, or reserve them with a rental agency if required.

5. Assembling a team

Planning a big event alone isn’t possible (or enjoyable). In addition to your venue and events co-ordinator, assemble a team of people you can trust and depend on. Some roles to consider filling include:

  • event manager
  • event marketing
  • EMCEE or event host
  • accounting professional
  • volunteers (i.e. set up, tear down, registration, errands, etc.)
  • head of sponsorship
A photography student adjusting camera lighting to capture a photograph

When you can delegate some of the work to others who are also dedicated to your goal, your event will become much less stressful, and much more fulfilling for all involved!

Are you ready to book your event venue? Call us or visit us on-location to take a tour of our venues. We look forward to helping you coordinate your next event!

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