After you’ve solidified the Big Picture Details for your event (date, venue, and time), it may be tempting to begin promoting the special occasion to your target audience or guests. A second possibility is that you wish to jump ahead to the decorating phase, depending on what type of event you are hosting. However, while you should definitely have your target market and some aesthetic factors in mind after Step 1, Step 3 is all about securing the event elements for your guests before inviting them.
This third step, which I call the “Security Blanket” stage, should be altered for different types of events. That said, the goal for any event is to ensure that it can be presented to your guests as complete when you decide to send invitations or begin your marketing outreach. I’ve included examples from two contrasting events below.
5K Fun Run
For the sake of continuity, I’d like to start with our 5K example from Part 2 of this blog series. For this large-scale fundraising event, it is important to make sure the “perks” are confirmed before beginning to recruit participants. In my organization, this means choosing an event name, deciding what to charge for entry, securing sponsors, and submitting design ideas to our t-shirt manufacturer. Check out these two advertising pitches below:
“Hey, you should come to my organization’s 5k on April 29th at the intramural track. It’ll be really fun, for a good cause, and it won’t be expensive.”
“Hi! On April 29th, my organization is hosting a charity 5k. If you sign-up, you’ll receive access to door prizes from Aggieland Outfitters, free Jamba Juice smoothies, and a free t-shirt! All that is only $15!”
It’s pretty obvious which spiel will sell more tickets. The more information you have to whip out when advertising, the better chance you have of reaching your goal attendance. That said, you can’t promise to provide perks and then not deliver- whatever you’re advertising must be confirmed, hence the importance of this step.
I’m planning my own wedding right now, and so far I’ve found that I’m following a planning process very similar to the one I use for fundraising events, give or take a few details. In Step 3 for my wedding, I will complete the tasks that need to happen before I can send out Save the Dates to my guests. These include:
- Finalize wedding party
Why? Bridesmaids and groomsmen should officially accept their roles before being sent a regular Save the Date. It’s as simple as that.
- Choose caterer
Why? I need to be able to include the type of meal (hors d’oeuvres or a full dinner?) on my wedding website (see below) so that guests know what to expect. Also, caterers book up quickly, so this task gets priority placement.
- Shoot engagement photos
Why? I would like to use one or two of my engagement photos on both my wedding website and Save the Dates, so they need to be shot and edited early on.
- Complete registry
Why? Again, this all comes down to your wedding website. You should include your registry information on the site so that as soon as your guests receive your Save the Dates, they can purchase your gifts and not worry about remembering them later on.
- Create wedding website
Why? These days, wedding websites are extremely common and convenient. Some brides even handle the RSVPs via their site. A wedding website is a great way to keep all of your event details in one easy-to-access location. Your guests will thank you!*
By the end of Step 3, you should feel ready to begin marketing your event and inviting guests. I hope this post was helpful, and I’d love to hear about any of your event planning experiences in the comments below!