How to Plan a Successful Event?

In News by Bethany Bines

Events come in all shapes and sizes, from children’s parties, to weddings, to breakfast meetings and even conferences. Every event, large or small, needs careful planning to ensure successful, and most importantly of all, stress-free execution.

We appreciate that when tasked with planning an event, the hardest part for our clients is often just knowing where to start.

Here are our top 5 steps for planning a successful event…


  • Ideas

    outlined and brainstorm ideas to the theme and feel of the event. For example, will it be low key and casual or something more formal or corporate? The type of event you are planning will set the tone for everything from the venue, to decorations, catering to the entertainment as well as the added extras like favours and goodie bags.

    At this stage, you need to have a realistic idea on numbers and who you want to invite. This is key for many aspects of the planning, booking and purchasing. If appropriate, gather key ideas for the theme for the décor. Even if you don’t have a theme already in mind such as ‘Hollywood Movies’, having some sort of theme of colour or style will guide you when making decisions about print materials and venue options.

    If you’re stuck on this point, Pinterest can be every Event Manager’s best friend and is great if you’re not feeling overly inspired. It’s a handy tool to use for themes, layouts, venues, promotional materials and of course the added extras that will make your event one to remember such as the decorations or goodie bags.

    Once you have an idea on the basics above and have your ideal date in mind, it’s now time to begin the more formal processed and get those event wheels into motion…

  • Budget

    This one really speaks for itself. It’s really important you have a clear budget (and to stick to it)!

    Sometimes it might seem that the budget stage should follow booking the venue, but actually, if you know you have a limited budget to spend on an event, knowing how much of it you can allocate to the big things, like the venue, means you will have a clearer idea for all the other purchases, like catering and decorations (which, trust us, all do add up very quickly).

  • Venue

    This stage in the process is crucial to your event. Not only will it physically hold your event, but it really sets a tone and a pace for the day – after all, who would want to attend a serious conference in a pub function room in Camden?

    Key things to remember here are:

    • Location – is it convenient for your guests; does it have easy access to public transport; is there parking?
    • Setting – does the venue match the event; will it be big enough / small enough to comfortably fit in your estimated numbers?
    • Facilities – can the venue fulfil your event requirements (e.g. catering, capacity, bathroom facilities, cloakroom etc.)?
    • And, this one’s key, is it in budget?
  • Planning Spreadsheet

    This one acts like DRIVE’s 101 for event planning, every event we have has a dedicated spreadsheet (usually colour coded and conditional formatted – #NerdAlert). The different tabs we use include: costs, invitations, RSVPs, event details, and suppliers.

    It might sound strange that a spreadsheet would make our top 5 list but by creating in-depth spreadsheets we have a clear overview of all the details in one place, this is essential in keeping track on budgets, spending and all deadlines.

  • Schedule

    The planning of the event needs careful development both in front of and behind the scenes. To do this we produce event schedules and production lists.

    By having all the details planned out and prepared we manage every aspect of an event, such as:

    • Logistics – getting everything in the correct place at the correct time. This can include transport for you and your team, the inventory of what to take who needs to be where and when
    • Inventory list – a full list what to bring, when to bring it, and who should bring it
    • Staffing – how many people do you need in your team and what will their duties be
    • Catering – exactly what is expected and all timings
    • Timings – a full and comprehensive breakdown of the event timings and what should be happening at each time
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With events, the devil is in the detail and those details take careful planning. We know it sounds like a lengthy process (and we suppose it is), but once these details have been properly planned, the event will be a huge success!


We hope this helps inspire you to plan great events but if you have any questions or want us to plan your next event, drop us a line: hello@drive-marketing.co.uk