Event Planning Tips: 8 overlooked details that can ruin your event
Through our 20 years+ event planning in Seattle, we have found that these 8 items are overlooked by some event planners. These elements can truly make or break your event – either by ruining the guest experience, delaying the timeline, or causing other major issues.
This list is not comprehensive but is a great start as you’re looking to plan your next corporate event in Seattle (or anywhere), so make sure that you don’t overlook the following:
1. Be aware of other events in the area – This could include:
- Community events or concerts (SeaFair, Bumbershoot, Food & Wine Festival)
- Sporting events like the Seattle Seahawks, Sounders, Mariners, or Kraken
- Road closures or construction (Seattle is always under construction like most major cities!)
- Holidays + holiday-related events
- Anything else that could impact your attendance or that could lead to traffic issues, limit parking, or other headaches for your event vendors and guests.
Visit Seattle has a helpful calendar of annual events and festivals, which is a great place to start to check for events and potential conflicts.
2. Catering bottlenecks – You put so much time into perfectly curating your menu selections, so don’t forget about flow especially with buffets. Make sure your buffet line doesn’t impede other areas, and that it’s easy for guests to get from the buffet and back to their seat.
The same goes for plated meals, especially for offsite events where the space may have not necessarily been built with catering service in mind. You’ll often need ample prep and access space.
3. Bar Service – Work with your caterer and venue (or work with us!) to ensure you have the proper number of bars for the attendees, as well as have them strategically and conveniently placed. No one wants to wait in a long line for their cocktail or have a difficult time finding the bar at larger events.
4. Garbage – Thinking about garbage is not glamorous, but it could ruin an event if not planned for properly. Have staff designated to bus tables, empty trash cans and recycling, and have a plan for where the garbage goes post event. We also highly recommend making a plan to compost and recycle as much as possible, and proper and creative planning can help cut down on the amount of waste generated from your event in the first place.
5. Restrooms – Are there enough for your headcount, are they in a good location, and who will make sure they are adequately stocked and maintained throughout the event. Go the extra mile and have mini toiletries available should your guests need them. At hotels or other indoor venues this may not be a factor to worry about, but is definitely something to consider at outdoor events like company picnics.
6. Access points for Vendors– Consider load in and out at your venue and think ahead for any obstacles for you or your vendors. For example, if vendors are rolling heavy items in, do they have a smooth surface or rolling over gravel or grass? Is the loading dock super far away from the event space?
Access points that are difficult to find or utilize can really slow down setup and cause other issues, so think ahead.
7. Electrical Power – Know where it is when you create your layout – which is always a great item to look for during site inspections. Verify that the outlets are the appropriate amp/outlet type for what you and your vendors need, or make a plan to run power to where it is needed. Plus, don’t assume all is in working order – check with the venue to confirm outlets are working to avoid any last-minute headaches and stress.
8. Sound – Sound is a critical component of every event. Whether you are having a DJ, Live band, or speeches, making sure the sound is clear and not overbearing could really make or break an event. The type of equipment used is critical to ensure high-quality sound, so make sure that you are working with professionals who have quality equipment.
Running through this list of event planning tips can really help your next event. Some items may not be an issue at all, and others could be major obstacles – so it’s always helpful to think through each element to ensure a great experience for you and your guests.
At Event Experience we pride ourselves in being the Seattle event planning experts. We would love to help if you’re looking for assistance with your next event in Seattle or the Pacific Northwest region. Contact us for a no-obligation discovery call and proposal.
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