It does not matter if this is the first or the hundredth event you are hosting if you wish to do your best, you will have to ask a million questions. This is not an exaggeration, for the entire process of preparation of the event and the event itself cannot be properly conducted if the right questions are not asked during all development and execution phases.
Naturally, there will be questions brought up by the currently ongoing activities and unexpected situations. As their name says, they cannot be predicted and you will have to adapt to the spirit of the moment. However, if the list of activities you began preparing when you found out you will host the upcoming event contained these 14 questions, there is a high chance that the road to the successful event that stretched ahead you will be easily freed from any major obstacles.
Am I the right person for this task?
This is surely one of the questions that will pop up several times, particularly when you encounter obstacles that seem impossible to pass. Things are very simple here, yes, you are. Answer positively every single time if you wish to overcome any of the issues that you come across along the way and end up completing the task successfully. Since there is a number of services needed for the event that you will hire other people to provide, everyone involved see you as an assertive host and someone who knows what needs to be done at all times and a person that will not tolerate delays and unprofessionalism. As a consequence, the services they provide will be even more fluent and prompt.
Where should I begin?
Hosting an event is an ongoing process that lasts from the moment you find out you will be the host and at least until the moment the last of your guests leaves the venue. It is a process that requires dedication and meticulousness, which is why a to-do list is obligatory for keeping everything under control as closely as possible. Therefore, composing a comprehensive sheet of things that need to be taken care of for the event to come should be both the starting point and a point that you will return to numerous times during the process.
Who will be attending the event?
Your guests' profile will have a strong impact on several other factors related to the nature of the event. For example, senior-level attendees will require a different approach from the junior one. Also, if the majority of guests belong to a younger generation, the choice of venue and any additional activities surrounding it will be different from those more suitable to older generation guests. This also applies to catering, the choice of music and the event hours, which is why having as much information about your guests as possible proves to be a helpful hosting asset.
An indoor or outdoor venue?
An easy dilemma, one would think. During late spring and summer opt for an outdoor venue, otherwise, host an indoor event. This would be true if only you were the one that can control the weather. However, just remember how many times the sky opened up during summers and everything became soaking wet in a matter of minutes. In addition, the weather forecast, regardless of how precise, is not something that you can rely on for this occasion since you will have to book the venue at least a couple of weeks before the event. In summary, opting for a well heated and conditioned venue throughout the year is a much safer option. On the other hand, if it must be an outdoor space, make sure you pick up a venue that has an indoor space as well. In the worst case scenario, it could be used as a backup if the weather suddenly changes.
The answer to the question of whether your event should include catering and what kind would be most suitable for it primarily depends on the nature of the event, its duration and agenda and of course the budget available. If the answer is positive, you will know which type of catering after carefully studying the guest list and make a decision based on the taste of the majority of people that are coming. The best way to go about this is to ask your guests about their menu preferences and possible food intolerance. Naturally, it is impossible to accommodate every individual's taste, but the data you gather will surely give you a general idea in which direction to go.
How much time it takes to prepare everything?
The only answer here is to use all the time you have available. A fixed timeline for every individual entry on your to-do list is impossible to determine. This is because every host works at an individual pace and will probably encounter unexpected problems and delays, which are thus impossible to be calculated at the beginning. Therefore, start your activities as soon as possible and do them in the order you arranged them on your to-do list. Skipping entries and going back to them later is something that you should avoid since it will surely lead to significant time loss, which is one of the things that are not allowed when hosting is concerned.
Should I ask for help?
Just like it is the case in any other area of work, or life for that matter, seeking advice and asking for help when you find yourself in a situation you cannot handle on your own is the most natural thing to do. It is a far better option than to keep pushing until you end up in dire straits. Getting back on the right track from there would require a substantially greater effort than asking for help the moment you realized it was necessary. If the work you need to do is overwhelming or the time you have to prepare the event is insufficient, think about delegating some of the work to the people you are certain will be of assistance and do it on time.
How will the guests arrive?
Giving your guests information on how to arrive at the venue in the most convenient manner is something that is highly appreciated and one of the features that separate an ordinary from an exceptional host. Cover all the means of reaching the venue in as much detail as possible and include precise information on the number of available car and bike parking spots. If you plan on taking them to additional activities prior to or after the event, taking care of some means of group transportation would be most convenient, if the budget allows it. This way you can make sure that everyone gets to where you want them to be conveniently and on time.
If the budget allows it, providing some additional activities to your guests is always a rewarding idea. For example, a visit to local cultural and historical sites, a game of pool or darts at the nearby facility or an afternoon at the swimming pool before lunch or dinner and the actual event will give a special touch and surely help it become even more memorable. However, if you plan additional activities before the event, do not overdo it. The guests need to have enough energy and stay focused for the entire duration of the event, after all, that is the primary reason they arrived in the first place.
If you happen to have guests arriving in town especially for the occasion, some of them will surely spend the night after the event and head back home the next morning. They or their personal assistants are usually responsible for arranging everything related to accommodation. However, it would be seen as a nice gesture and a sign of additional hospitability if you offered help in finding the best place to spend the night. This is particularly the case if you are hosting an event in a large city where getting around and going to and from the venue might present a problem for the newcomers.
Once again, the nature of the event and the guests will determine whether you need a band and what type of music they should be playing. Once you are positive you need one and start discussing conditions for the performance of a particular band, do not forget to check whether they or the venue provide the technical support needed. This could mean significant budget-saving, particularly if the venue is spacious, and as a result, expand a possible list of bands you can afford. One important notion, keep the loudness at an optimal level. The best atmosphere is achieved if the music is loud enough to enjoy it and at the same time be able to have a conversation with the guests. Therefore, let the bend and the venue know that you are not hosting a concert and they will surely adapt.
When should the event start?
The most suitable hours for a particular event depend on several reasons. Primarily, it is the nature of the event that dictates the proper timing, as well as whether you planned any additional activities prior to or after the main event. If the latter is the case, allow sufficient time between individual activities and always add some extra time there, just in case anything does not go exactly according to the plan. This will allow you to get back on track without any noticeable delays. Also worth notice, early in the morning and late in the evening should also be avoided, particularly if you have guests coming from out of town. If you start too early, there is a high probability that some of the guests will not make it on time, while if you opt for a late start, some people will surely leave the event earlier than they would if it was scheduled earlier in the evening.
Can I afford it?
This is another question that will continually reoccur, particularly at the end of each stage of event preparation. It is very rarely the case that you will have an unlimited budget available, which means that continual balancing is needed to cover all the aspects of the event in a satisfactory manner. Therefore, do ask yourself this question whenever you are about to start dealing with a new entry on your to-do list. This is the only way to stay within the financial limits you are bound by. Also, bear in mind that the prices of the vast majority of services you will potentially hire for the event are negotiable. Use your management abilities and achieve a better price wherever possible.
What are the best venues available?
The only way to be certain that you picked the best possible venue for your event is to check all the available information you can find. Online reviews, forums, social networks, magazines, everything you can think of will be helpful. Therefore, prepare a list of things that interest you and carefully study all the data you gathered. Finally, if you are lucky to find a person who attended an event at a venue that interests you, take the opportunity and ask about anything that would be useful for making the right choice.
Providing timely and precise answers to these 14 questions will be immensely helpful in hosting any type of event. However, do not limit yourself solely to them. If anything else comes to mind, feel free to ask additional questions to clarify any occurring issues. As long as you are finding answers to the questions you asked instead of questioning the moves and decisions you made, you are on the right track.
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