Thursday, 4 August 2011

Successful Event Setup Requires Detailed Planning

Here's yet another event planning post from yours truly :)

Today I am going to discuss event setup. For those who do not know, setup pertains to putting together an event before it opens. Setup items can include the following:
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Signage
  • Audio/Visual
  • Catering
  • Lights
  • Linens/Drapes
  • Decorations
  • Marketing Materials
The setup time and details varies depending on the size and complexity of the event. Regardless of the size of your event, it is important to properly plan your setup. Without proper planning, you won't be prepared for the unexpected and your event won't have a smooth execution.

Here are some guidelines to follow when planning your event setup:
  •  Make sure you have enough time. It's important to allot enough time to setup your event. To determine how much time you would need I would go through everything that you need to setup and estimate how long each setup item will take and then add everything up. Once you have determined the approximate setup time, add another half hour to an hour - it's better to have more than enough time than not enough. You really don't want to have to rush through everything and delay the opening of an event because you didn't allot enough time for setup.
  • Determine what items you need to setup. Make a list of all the items you need to setup and the equipment/supplies (tape, scissors, ladder, dollies etc.) that will help you setup those items. This list will establish exactly what you need for setup.
  • Create a setup schedule. This is connected to the above two points because when you determine the setup length and items you can then create a setup schedule. A schedule gives you a visual of everything that needs to get done and will help you get everything setup in time. Not all event planners do this (everyone has their own way) but I would suggest that all the items be listed in order of priority. Each item should have a specific time that you want to start and complete them by, this will create the order of priority.
  • Create a floor plan. To determine where all your items need to be, you should create a floor plan. If you can, get the basic floor plan from the venue so you have something to start from. Indicate on the floor plan where all the items need to be setup. 
  • Determine how much help you need. This relates back to my past post about volunteers. When you have determined the setup items and how long the setup will take, you can then figure out how many people need to help with setup. As I said before, it's important to have more than enough people than not enough. You want the setup to be as smooth as possible and if you don't have enough help, things will most likely go wrong.
The underlining message I'm really giving in all my event planning posts is that an event planner should always be prepared and plan, plan and then plan some more. Preparedness and proper planning are the keys to event success.

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