Planning an event, whether it is a party, a wedding, or a business event, can be extremely stressful. What’s the best way to beat the stress? Get organized! Here are a few tips for planning your event without all the stress that usually comes with it.
- Plan ahead. Leaving everything till the last minute is a surefire way to add lots of stress to your life! Start planning early if you want to avoid getting stressed out, especially as the date draws closer. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve still got plenty of time. Who cares? No one ever got stressed out for getting things done in plenty of time! That way, if something comes up at the last minute, you will have plenty of time and energy to focus on getting it taken care of, rather than stressing out about handling an emergency on top of everything else you still have to do.
- Make a list. One of the first things you should do once a date is in place, is to make a list of everything that needs to be done between now and the big day. Try to organize your list in some fashion: high priority to low priority, in order of what needs to be done, or grouped in categories. Once you have made your list, you will feel better organized, and you will know exactly what you need to get done before the date of the event. You can also break your list down into smaller items, and resolve to cross at least one item off the list every day, to help you stay on track and get everything done in time.
- Delegate. Once your list is made, figure out what you can delegate to other people to do. Even if it’s your wedding or party, even if planning the business event is your job, part of being a good manager (or party planner) is knowing when to do things yourself and when to pass them off on somebody else! When you are looking at a long list of things to do, it’ll take a lot of weight off your shoulders even if you only delegate a few items. Getting married? Have your groom and your bridesmaids all pitch in. Having a party? Get your best friend to help with the planning. Planning a corporate event? Assign a part of the work to each of the people who work under you, or set up a planning committee to help you out.
- Mind the budget. One of the biggest sources of stress when you are planning an event is usually money-related. As a result, it is important to find out as soon as possible what your budget for the event will be, and to keep it in mind as you knock off the items on your to-do list. If there is a way to save money on something, always take it. It’s better to come in under budget, than to realize toward the end of the planning period that you don’t have enough money left to finish planning the event!
- Round up. Another common source of stress is not having enough of something to go around. Maybe you realized you left a guest off the list, or maybe you found out at the last minute that someone extra was coming (or a few someones). This is one of the best ways for an already-stressed event planner to lose her cool. The best way to avoid this scenario is to always round up! Make sure that you always have a few extra place settings and chairs, or enough food to feed a few extra people, or enough liquor to accommodate a few unexpected guests. As long as you always round up, you shouldn’t have to worry about these last-minute surprises.
- Have fun! Don’t forget, planning an event should be FUN. Even if you are planning a business event, there are plenty of ways to put your personality into the planning process. If you are having fun with the planning, usually you will be less likely to get stressed out if something doesn’t go your way, not to mention you will be less likely to be running behind (and therefore stressed out) if you are having fun with your job as event planner!
Planning an event, whether it’s a kids birthday party or a big corporate event, doesn’t have to be stressful. If you give yourself plenty of time to get everything ready, keep a list and delegate tasks, be conservative with the budget, and remember to round up on everything, you will avoid most of the major sources of stress that event planners encounter.
Kara Taylor is a freelance writer who loves to write about weddings. Lately her posts have focused mostly on invitations, planning, and wedding centerpieces.