How to Plan the “Perfect” Special Event

Over my last 21 years, I have attended a number of special events. Some small and intimate, like birthday celebrations, and events that were large and upscale, like conferences and concerts. Though a birthday celebration is on the different end of the spectrum as a concert, they both include considerable amount of planning.

In public relations, special event planning is a large aspect of the field. Prior to a becoming a public relations major, I would attend a special event just hoping to have an enjoyable experience. Now, as a senior public relations student, I walk into an event and analyze everything – from lighting to décor, and every other little detail that was considered during the planning process.

Though special events planning might be high on the most stressful jobs list, it is an awarding and satisfying experience. Following are some tips to plan a perfect special event.

  1. Make a checklist.

Organization is key in special event planning. Prior to the start of the planning process, it is important to make a detailed checklist. A checklist will not only make it easier to ensure everything gets completed, it will also give you, the event planner, motivation to keep moving forward.

  1. Set a budget.

Setting a budget is critical for special event planning. A budget, in other words, in the financial blueprint for a special event. It should include revenue opportunities and expected expenditures. Throughout the planning stage, keep records of income and expenses. Also, remember to expect the unexpected, so set the budget accordingly to be safe.

  1. Determine the mood.

What is the mood of the special event you are planning? Is it causal and laidback, or classy and formal? Consistency is key in a special event. Once you determined the mood of the event, every detail should help establish that feeling you want your attendees to get as soon as they arrive.

  1. Consider everything.

A special event planner knows that it essential to look at every detail when planning an event. If one little thing does not get considered, it will be evident during the event. To avoid these issues, make sure to do a run-through prior to the event to make sure everything looks good and ready to go. Also, always be prepared just in case a problem arises during the event.

5. Evaluation

One of the most important, and yet overlooked aspects of special events planning, is evaluation. By seeking feedback from the attendees and personally reflecting back on the entire planning process, it will help you improve the next time you plan a special event.

  1. No special event is perfect.

As a special event planner you will find out that it is nearly impossible to plan a “perfect event.”  If you do your job correctly, and follow the planning process accordingly, the attendees of the event will have a wonderful experience and feel as if they attended a “perfect event;” and that is what a special events planner strives to accomplish.


Taylor White is a senior studying public relations and minoring in journalism at Waynesburg University. Taylor serves as the special events coordinator for the Waynesburg University Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America. Follow Taylor on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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