I think we can all agree that planning an event can be a source of stress, and can seem complicated and overwhelming. Chances are, you are probably wondering how you are going to get everything done that you need to do before the event date. Take a step back and a big deep breath, though — planning is a lot easier if you are organized, and can break it down into steps or tasks. Then you can just do one thing at a time, cross one item off your to do list every day, and before you know it you’ll be ready and the big day will be here!
Getting organized really isn’t that difficult if you have a few tools to help you out. Software can track your to do list, when each item needs to be done by, your guest list, budget, and so on. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Outlook – The motto here is “Use what you’ve got,” or in other words, use the tools you already have at your fingertips. Outlook has several features that help to make planning an event easier. First of all is the task list, which allows you to set reminders and due dates for items in your to do list. This will ensure that the planning gets done in time. In addition, you also have the calendar feature, which allows you to send notifications to the attendees.
- Facebook – Facebook is an excellent tool for planning an event. It allows you to place your event on the calendar, send out invitations to the friends you want to invite, and creates a page for your event where you and your invitees can leave messages for one another, discuss planning, and either accept or decline the invitation. Best of all, it’s free — no expensive planning software to buy!
- Google Calendar – Google’s Calendar feature is free to use and has tons of features that make it an excellent choice for helping you with planning your event. For instance, in addition to your personal calendar and task list, you can create shared calendars that those attending the event, or even just those helping you plan it, can access on their own Google Calendar. In addition, Google Calendar allows you to sync to your mobile device, making it even easier to stay organized.
- Google Maps – Calendar isn’t the only tool Google offers that can help you plan your event. Google Maps is another great free tool that offers a variety of features to help you get organized. In addition to the most commonly used functionalities — mapping addresses and searching local businesses — Google Maps also lets you create a custom map with multiple locations. You can use this feature to direct guests (for example, if your wedding will have a ceremony and reception in two separate places), or to put all the planning information in one place for you and your helpers (for instance, if someone is helping you to pick up flowers, go to fittings, etc.).
- Event planning software – If you will be planning a lot of events, as an independent event planner or perhaps planning company events as part of your job, you may want to invest in event planning software. There are many options available, and you will want to do some research before making a purchase. Try to find a comprehensive program that will store all of the information for your event in one place: guest list, task lists, budget, and so on. If you are just planning a single event, there are also many inexpensive or free phone apps that can help you. After scoping out the social tools you want to use at your event, don’t forget the décor! Many corporate events choose flameless candles for centerpieces and supply pens, pencils and paper for note taking.