In order to be the exemplary event planner you always hoped you would be, you need to be organized.

The events world is about being a great social host, an excellent organiser and a firm but approachable venue manager while possessing a keen eye for detail. What do you mean you can’t be in 8 places at once, answer the phone, take an alcohol delivery, prepare the audio visual cue sheet, set up the tables, contact the printer to see what happened to the dinner menus and brief the staff all at the same time?

Ok, unless you are super human, it is not possible but there is a method in all the madness that will help to lessen the load or at least contain it to manageable proportions.

While appearance counts, it is the preparation that has gone on behind the scenes that will ultimately determine the success of that appearance. While we don’t like to judge a book by its cover, we do. Human nature is all about the first impression whether it is another person, the cleanliness of a hotel room or the customer service you receive in a shop. It is this first impression that will often determine if a repeat visit is worth the time, money and effort.

Behind all the window-shopping will always be an office full of paperwork, schedules and sometimes utter chaos but it is important that this doesn’t have the nasty habit of seeping out under the office door.

Consider yourself to be the office mum or dad (I don’t want to appear sexist) but you will need to ensure that paper work is organised, schedules for venue teams have been finished, the staff have adhered to the dress code, the last minute details have been taken care of and nobody forgot the floral table decorations. The Event Manager is ultimately responsible for the running of the whole event. He/she is the one who needs to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, the one who needs to tie up all loose ends and produce a product that is neat and tidy wrapped in an appealing, value-for-money financial package and delivered with a smile…..get the picture?

Spread The Load!

Do not believe for a minute that you can always do it better yourself otherwise you will run yourself into the ground and loose your staff. Give clear instructions on how you want things done and I’m sure you will get good results.

The best way is delegate responsibility to the other managers in your team: the Bar Manager, F&B Manager, C&B Manager and other supervisory positions. Creating a spreadsheet of who is in charge of what will prove to be your daily bible! This spreadsheet can be updated as and when things get completed and there is always room to add in columns for pick up times, deadlines and pending tasks. You could always make this available on a shared computer drive to the other managers, so they can make their own amendments.

Sharing the responsibility in this way, takes the pressure of you to be in a zillion places at once. If something is not how it should be, the Managers then have to take ownership and resolve the problem rather than it always landing on your shoulders.

Budget Spreadsheets

Create a budget spreadsheet for each event and take the extra time to set up some formulas that will help you keep track of expenditure, sales and profit margins. It will save a lot more time in the long run.

Take 10 minutes each day to update this spreadsheet rather than having a folder full of receipts that you could loose or forget what they were for. 10 minutes each day is worth saving yourself a massive headache after the event. Don’t leave anything to your mental arithmetic (as good as you may claim it to be), there are always hidden costs that that most likely will have forgotten or not taken into consideration, oh and did I also mention the possibility of human error, the accumulation of which could leave you facing quite a surprise and an empty pocket.

Making use of the formulas will allow you to make changes to the guest list or the services enlisted and will always give an immediate updated running total….the perfect time saver!

Vendor Spreadsheets

Keep a spreadsheet to hand of delivery and set up times for your confirmed event vendors. Having one list with names, contact numbers, load in times and what is being delivered, will enable you and your staff to check them off one by one accordingly without the fear of forgetting something or someone.

Share the master document with your team so everyone knows what is happening and when. Even go as far to as include a responsibility column so it is clear to all, who is in charge of what. Your team will surely appreciate this type of organisation.

The Guest List

It is definitely easier to keep track of your guests with a simple excel spreadsheet. Including columns for contact details and even food allergies, company names and job titles where possible and if necessary, will help keep all info together in an easy-to-access file. Updating this is easy and key to keeping organised even when on-the-day panic has set in.

Google Docs

If you are running events far and wide and need everyone involved, both in head office and out in the field, to be on the same page (literally) it is a great practice to create a Google docs spreadsheet that can be shared around. This a great tool that allows you to see who is working on the document at the same time, allow multiple updates and doesn’t crash if 3 or more people open it at once. It saves regularly and can’t get deleted by that honorary member of the office called “it wasn’t me”.

Having an easy-to-follow spreadsheet of things such as decorations, table menus, guest lists and event signage will also help you keep track of what has and hasn’t been done. Never leave these small details to the last minute, they can be deceiving and take longer than you thought. Make use of spreadsheet features such as formulas, colours and drop down boxes to pin point what still needs attention and what has been completed.

Keeping these spreadsheets on the computer, I-pad or I-pod, make for easy-to-update living documents. There is nothing wrong with finding new ways to work smart and replacing the mounting pile of to-do-lists, scribbled notes of running orders and daily reminders with a well-organised spreadsheet is efficiency at its best.

Why not jump at this opportunity to clear your path of forgotten-about post it notes, telephone messages and one check sheet after another. It may sound like a lot of spreadsheets but if you are really up for improving your efficiency and cutting down on the run around, create one spreadsheet per event and make use of the multiple worksheet function. There are also plenty of online templates for the taking so why not make the hindsight of others, the foundation of your work ethic and forward-thinking event company.


Following a University degree and a drastic career move, Fiona Warren-Bassett soon found herself rapidly moving forward in the events and PR world. Enjoying the change of direction, Fiona went on to further her Event Management experience, spending 6 years working for a renowned cruise line company. Having travelled extensively and been actively involved in many events and weddings, Fiona has since returned to land and has successfully launched her freelance writing and PR career.
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