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Event Planners Share Their Top Tips for Great Events



By Great Performances

Our team of event planners – with a cumulative experience of 250 years over tens of thousands of events with millions of guests – recently sat down and shared some of their top tips for planning and hosting a great event. From weddings and mitzvahs to conferences and galas, they’ve handled almost every kind of event, successfully navigating any obstacle and challenge from furniture not showing up to furniture collapsing minutes before guest arrivals; from torrential downpours on a day with a zero percent chance of rain to soaring temperatures resulting in blackouts and no air-conditioning; and from guest counts increasing last minute requiring food to seemingly multiply to a featured dish disappearing hours before service. They’ve seen it all and successfully managed the challenges with such poise and grace that the guests – and often the hosts – didn’t even know that there was a problem.

Food & Beverage Tips

  1. Include fun beverage choices for non-drinkers (and don’t call them mocktails!) We’re coming across more sober-curious guests who want to enjoy fun, beautiful (read: instagram-worthy) drinks without the hangover. Provide a variety of juices and soft beverages and make sure you have at least one specialty zero-proof cocktail for guests to enjoy.
  2. Make sure you have enough ice. There’s a joke with at home parties that the guest who arrives with a bag of ice is a hero – don’t let this happen at your party! Work with your planner to ensure there will be enough ice, especially if there isn’t an ice machine at the venue.
  3. Plan to accommodate multiple dietary preferences and restrictions. Allergies-free, vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan–know who’s eating what. Knowing what dietary preferences and restrictions your guests have and communicating that with your planners ensures that everyone feels included and can enjoy all aspects of the event. We’re encouraging hosts to go a step further and build a menu that already accounts for various diets.

Event Timing Tips

  1. Prepare a timeline for everything from before your event happens, including permit applications and guest count deadlines, to your actual run of show.
  2. Be open to starting events earlier. We’re seeing a lot of events, especially nonprofit events, start earlier than they did during pre-pandemic days.
  3. Have your guests spend less time seated at a table. Keep event energy up and keep people engaged by limiting the amount of time people spend seated at a table. Forgo the first course and move straight from cocktails and hors d’oeuvres into your dinner and dessert, or opt for a butlered dessert.

Event Planning Tips

  1. Spend enough time planning. Engage your planner and review your event details to confirm your event needs. Any changes should be made well in advance of the event. What may seem like a small change may have a domino effect and impact many other factors of your event. Proper planning and consulting with your event planner can save everyone headache and money in the long run.
  2. Be comfortable with your backup plan. This is probably the most emphatically agreed upon tip from all of our planners. It’s important to not just have a backup plan, but be comfortable with it! In fact, the more comfortable you are with your backup plan, the better everything else will be. You’ll be confident going into your originally planned event because you know you have a contingency plan that will work and be wonderful; and if plans go awry, you’ll be ready to act upon your contingency plan quickly and seamlessly.