Event planning is often considered a laid-back, fun job for an upper-class socialite. In fact, many people don’t even think of it as a job, but more as an extra-curricular activity. Well, I am here to tell you, event planning is a job!
In the last nine months, I have been prepping for what I like to call “The Big Show” or in other words, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mike Bellotti Dinner Auction and Golf Classic. Yes, nine months is a long preparing period, but here is the catch with event planning: It doesn’t matter how much you “prep” for the eight months before; the big explosion of stress will still hit about a month out from the event, and that explosion will only get bigger. Due to the nature of spontaneity, event planning can turn a laid-back person into an uptight worrywart. According to a blog post titled “Event Management High Jinx” by Paull Young, the planning and scheduling for an event is an important piece to the puzzle, but things will always change. Young says, “When working an event you need to be able to think on your feet and respond to situations as they come out.” In my case, this will be the 16th annual MDA Mike Bellotti event; however, every year, things change and adapt with the evolution of media, technology and the economy (or in this year’s case, the de-evolution of the economy). Although this event occurs every year, it still presents many challenges for the event planners.
One challenge may be the client. For an event to run smoothly, full attention and cooperation from the client is necessary. An event planner cannot do his or her job if the client doesn’t provide the necessary materials or information to do so. In my case, a major challenge has been dealing with last-minute additions, or “maybe” additions to the live auction. I understand this has to do with the involvement of the donating businesses, but it also has to do with a lack of communication with the client. According to a blog post from Kent State’s PRSSA Chapter, it is imperative that you, as the event planner, always check and double check the details of the event as it gets closer. Lately, I have found myself calling my client’s office daily to check in on auction items or sponsor changes. Communication is key in event planning.
Another challenge may be the event itself. As I said before, you can do all the planning in the world, and surprise will still ensue on the day of the event. Whether it’s something minor, like a missing tablecloth; or major, like a $3,000 missing auction item, these missteps will occur. As the event planner, you are the go-to person to fix these missteps. It is important to give yourself extra time on the day of an event to fix any mistakes or cover up a blunder.
With less than a week until the MDA Mike Bellotti Dinner Auction and Golf Classic, I am feeling the heat from the event planning stress. Although everything seems to be in place, I am not accustomed to last-minute decisions or tasks; something I have learned is inevitable in this industry. I guess that’s just the worry-wart life of an event planner!
Wish me luck as I dive headfirst into the event planning pool!