Here’s this week’s guest post by Josh Marks, director of marketing at American Meetings, Inc.
Corporate galas—even smaller galas for fewer than 100 guests—can be among the most difficult events to plan. Planners have to arrange auctions, entertainment, and meals, as well as working with vendors, sponsors, and those who need special accommodations. Here are eight ways to take some of the stress out of your gala event planning:
1. If you plan on renting a popular venue, make sure to put down a deposit to secure it far in advance—most of the truly unique place can book up to a year in advance.
2. Keep your budget tight, but set aside extra cash outside your budget to use for unexpected expenses.
3. Always make extra copies of everything, from contracts and lists to seating charts. You never know when one of these important documents could go missing.
4. If you are sending out invitations, make sure to send them roughly eight weeks in advance. If the event is in high demand, or being held during a holiday, you also may want to send “Save the Date” cards a up to six months in advance.
5. Create a seating chart in advance. This will help to avoid faux pas in your seating choices.
6. If you would like good attendance at your event, try to schedule it for earlier in the week and away from major holidays. Most people have plans during the weekends and travel during the holidays.
7. Make sure to put together a list of all the equipment you will need, such as microphones, projectors, speakers, screens for video, etc. Make sure to have a technology professional on site who can fix any technical issues that may arise.
8. Always have an emergency or contingency plan in case of a disaster, rain with an outdoor event, illness, or any other type of emergency that may come about.
Good luck with your corporate event gala! Few events instill such pride and excitement as these corporate functions, which can have a positive impact on the moral of your organization for months after the program.