Top Ten Elements to Ensure a Successful Event

While some people feel flustered, overwhelmed and break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of planning an event, I love it! I thrive on all the little details, calendar reminders, meetings with vendors and planning. My two favorite parts of planning an event are A. Right before the event starts, I look around and think I helped to create this and B. When I see the guests enjoying themselves it makes me happy.

Should you decide to plan an event yourself, below are some helpful tips I wanted to share with you.

1. Know the purpose of your event. Why are you holding an event? Whether it is a business or social event, there is usually an overall goal. Knowing the purpose of your event enables you to implement ways to successfully reach that goal.

2. Who are you inviting?

Depending on the type of event you are holding, you’ll want to carefully consider who should be invited. Defining your target audience specifically for your event is one of the keys to a good turnout.

3. Begin Early

Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should realistically begin planning it four to six months in advance. Smaller events need at least one month to plan. Use the date one week prior to the event as your deadline date. This will give you “wiggle room” if things are not completed by your deadline date. Start with our deadline date and plan backwards.

4. Remain Flexible

Over the course of planning the event, things are going to change. Whether it is event times, locations or number of guests, you need to ensure that you’re flexible and flow with the changes.

5. Negotiate

Determine your budget before meeting with vendors. Despite what you may think about the price’s vendors provide you, everything is negotiable.

6. Anticipate something going wrong

Even when you do a perfect job, something could always go wrong. Being in the mindset to expect this is half the battle. It keeps you on your toes and when/if something does go wrong you are ready to act. There could be inclement weather or an important person arrives late. Be prepared with a backup plan for possible mishaps that are out of your control.

7. Do a Run Through

Ten days before the event, do a run through of the even with all the vendors involved. Start with the initial set up through to the end of the event. If an issue comes up, you will have time to address it. Three days before the event, do a second run through on site.

8. Giveaways

Providing your guests with some kind of giveaway is a nice way to thank them for attending. I always try and come up with something that they will continue to use after the event is over to remind them of the experience. For a small Board of Directors meeting I produced, we took a group photo at the farewell party. Two weeks later, I mailed each guest a framed copy of the photo.

9. Document your event

Pictures paint a thousand words, and posting positive photos online is an excellent way to demonstrate the success of your event. I recommend hiring a photographer. They will be aware of the best approach to capture the moment. Ask for a number of shots to ensure you cover all bases; full room prior to guests arriving, guests of honor or key attendees at event and lots of candid shots throughout the event.

10. Debrief and review

Always debrief and review with vendors after the event. Find out what worked and what didn’t in your event planning so you can improve for your next event!

If after reading the above you decide there’s no way you want to take on the event planning, I’m happy to help. Feel free to email me at [email protected] to schedule a free 15 minute consultation to see if we are a good fit to work together.


  • Donna M McGovern

    Events and Lifestyle Management

    Donna has over 15 years experience as an Event Planner and Lifestyle Manager working with UHNW individuals, celebrities and corporations. Her work has provided her the opportunity to travel the world. She loves to travel and share her fabulous experiences through her writing and Instagram @awaywithdonna. Donna has also written for The Hedonist Magazine. Contact information: or email [email protected]