A Beginner's Guide To Hosting A Great Event
Hosting an event involves meticulous planning and execution. From invitations and guest lists to venues and catering, there are a ton of decisions to make. To help you host a memorable event, we have formulated a beginner’s guide to hosting for a variety of occasions. By following this guide, you can be sure that your event will be stress-free, enjoyable for both you and your guests, and an unforgettable celebration.
Getting Started: Event Planning Basics
Once you’ve decided to host an event, you’ll need to start with the basics. To help you manage each of these tasks, it’s helpful to create task lists. Break down areas such as shopping for supplies, what rentals are required, and where to find each item. As you work through planning, create a checklist to follow as you accomplish or obtain items required for your event.
- The guest list. Who and how many people will you be inviting?
- The venue. Where and when will you host your event? Finalise a venue that is suitable to host the number of guests you expect to attend your event. However, before finalizing, ensure that the venue has adequate facilities needed to accommodate everything you require, for example, a wheelchair accessible venue or minimal stairs.
- Entertainment. Will you need a DJ or band? Do you want to wow your guests with a special guest or performance? Depending on the type of event and your budget, your options are almost limitless.
- Decor. Though not necessary, flowers and decorations can help create the ambiance for an event. Do you want table centerpieces, flowers, balloons, or extra mood lighting? A little decor can go a long way to creating a beautiful space for your event.
- Food and beverages. One of the biggest components of hosting an event is organizing the food. Will there be a sit-down dinner service, food stations, buffets, or bar?
Hosting a Successful Event: Details, Details, Details!
There’s a lot that goes into hosting a successful event. Follow these steps to ensure each small detail is taken care of with the utmost care.
1. Consider professional help. As you ponder each of these components, it’s important to consider hiring a professional to help you manage one or more aspects of your event. One of the biggest advantages of hiring a professional is that they usually have many years of experience behind them to help troubleshoot when problems arise. They also have the benefit of their experience to know what works and what doesn’t, based on your type of event and your guests.
2. Create an event budget. While it’s easy to set up a playlist for music or pick up fresh flowers from your local supermarket on the day-of, one of the best uses of your event budget can be allocated to the food and drink for your guests. Not only will a caterer help you serve a delicious meal whether it’s a buffet or sit-down meal, a catering service ensures you will not be burdened with food prep before the event and serving during the event.
3. Choose the right caterer. Hire a caterer and choose a menu depending on the type of event that you've selected whether it will be a walk-around appetizer, cocktail party or a full sit-down meal. If you are hiring a catering service, be sure to let them know what amenities are available on-site such as ovens and stovetops or refrigeration, as a professional catering company will require equipment at the venue. If this equipment is lacking, ensure they will bring what they need. If your caterer will be cooking on site, running water and a place to cook are something to take note of.
4. Consider equipment rentals. If your event requires rental equipment, make sure that you are within a delivery area of a party rental store, or else you could be charged extra fees. Also, ensure that there will be someone available on site to receive any rentals like tables, chairs, or any catering equipment that will be delivered.
5. Outline your entertainment expectations. Prepare your DJ for your unique event by laying out the parameters of what music you expect them to bring with them and play during the event, and what you do not want to be played.
6. Plan your decor. Keep in mind that decorations, unless you’ve hired an event planner, are usually the client’s responsibility. If you’re going ahead with decoration, make sure that you get into your venue to decorate before guests start arriving and take up your time. Get it done early as you want your guest to see your completed project not a work in progress.
7. Organise and distribute the event schedule. Discuss and provide the event schedule to each vendor so they understand what is happening at what times. Create a plan with the caterers early on so they know how much time they need to set up and adequately prepare everything that you want ready. Ensure that you tell them the times you expect service to begin and the length of time you wish service to be.
8. Decide on alcohol and bar service. If you require a bar service, inform them whether it is going to be alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages and what options are available to you. They may require a special occasion permit if they are going to serve alcohol depending on the venue.
9. Don’t overlook extra fees. One aspect a client should keep in mind is details such as gratuities for hired DJs, caterers, MCs, entertainment, etc. Have it ready and label their payments.
10. Get insured. Lastly, and most importantly ensure that any caterers you hire have the proper Insurance food handler's certification. If you have a bar, you are required to have a Smart Serve Bartender on site serving the alcohol to remove themselves from any liability that may occur.
Crisis Averted: Avoid this Major Event Planning Mistake
Set a reasonable budget. Without a real understanding of how much hosting an event costs, you could find yourself disappointed. Your budget should include real costs for any professionals you want to hire, the venue fees, decor, food, drinks, and entertainment. Set your expectations at a realistic level according to your budget and plan within your budget, especially when it comes to food. You cannot expect a caterer that you've given a budget of $15 a person to make a meal that will cost him $20 a person to buy. Keep in mind that food is very expensive.
The Bottom Line: Enjoy Yourself!
Breakdown the areas of the event that you require such as decorating, purchasing, set up, rental requirements. Decide which of these tasks you are going to take on yourself and which tasks would be best left to an experienced professional.
As professional caterers with years of event experience under our belts, our advice to someone planning an event for the first time is to hire professionals for the job. Hiring a caterer allows you to relax and enjoy your time with your friends and family. Let the professionals do the job that you hired them to do, while you have the peace of mind to enjoy the event.
Having successfully catered to several events, Burlington Catering specializes in bespoke catering services. We are the premier catering service Ontario, and we provide our clients with a unique, sensory experience with quality food and personalized service. To learn more our catering services, please click here, or get in touch with us by clicking here.
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