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How to: Finding a Perfect Event Planner

img of How to: Finding a Perfect Event Planner

Hiring an outside event planner doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You need to source the best event planners for your needs and screen them carefully before committing to one. But first, you should know exactly what you’re asking them to do.

Determine Your Objective

Before you start your search, you need to work out the event's objective, the budget you're working with, and your reason for hiring externally. Once you've done that, ideas will begin to emerge about the theme and message you want to convey. Now you'll want to determine the budget you have for a planner and what they will be expected to do. An event planner can select the venue, recommend food and beverage options, source speakers and entertainment. If you can't handle all of the above on your own, you definitely need to start your search for the perfect planner.

Find Your Event Planner

Regardless of whether it's a party or a corporate meeting, the rules of hiring an event planner remain the same: you want to hire someone who has expertise in creating your type of event. Word of mouth is one way to find an event planner, but it's not always the most effective approach. Look for a manager with experience and a strong reputation within the community. Check with specific forums or Humans.Net. Chances are, you’ll stumble upon your guy at the first click.

Interview Applicants

Most event planners will be eager to hear about your event. Give them brief details at first, and focus on their expertise in the initial round of interviews. Don’t forget to check their references, too.

Then, reduce your list of candidates to the three strongest applicants. You should ask each finalist about their business, their experience with past events, and how they plan for contingencies. A good planner will walk you through a discussion about your event’s overall objectives, timeline, budget, guest count, and personal preferences, and also ask questions about your organization. The one who is eager to learn about your objectives and your event will stand out from the rest.

Make Your Selection

Narrow down your selection to one. Once you've made the hire, the event planner should be able to share a detailed plan for the event with you. It's the time to toss around creative ideas and toss out the ideas that don't work.

Hammer Out the Budget

Many people who organize an event for the first time want a champagne event on a beer budget. Your event planner can make the most of your budget but may have to bring your vision down to earth a bit.

Don’t forget to find out about the fees that will be charged by the event planner, and how they will be incorporated into the budget. You will be asked to provide deposits, paperwork, and contracts to the event planner as well as the event venues and the services they offer. As always, you should have an attorney review any contracts before you sign them.

Follow Up

Most bad things that happen related to event planning are a result of a lack of follow-through. Event planning requires the effective coordination of logistics. In other words, stay on top of the project and don't force the event planner to make major decisions without your input.

If everything goes as planned, the party will go off without a hitch and you’ll have added an excellent event planner to your network for future needs.

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