Evading Event Mishaps: Three Quick Tips

Events can be tricky. Executing a successful event depends on many variables, but whether you’re the host or participating as a vendor, you can employ a few “tricks” of your own to keep things running smoothly.

Check it off your list. Checklists are a must-have tool for any and every event. They allow you to collect all of your ideas and to-dos in one place. With a checklist, it is easy to see what needs to be done by when and whom, and prioritize your tasks. Each item on your checklist should have the date it should be completed, the owner of the task and the current status of the task.





Finalize menu with client



Completed – 5/1

Meet with client for venue walk-thru



In progress

Having everything in one place also provides an opportunity for you to “walk” yourself through the event to see if you’re missing any key steps. For example, you may see items on your list that reflect the preparation of the menu at your restaurant and the set-up at the venue; but in reviewing the list, you realize you’ve missed the transportation of the food and the tools/staff you’ll need for that task. Think of your checklist as the mental preparation before the physical preparation.

 Line up your A-team. This tip applies to the people you hire externally as well as the internal team you depend on to execute the event. Establishing strong relationships early and communicating frequently with vendors you employ are vitally important. For example, you’d want a good relationship with the vendor supplying electricity to your event; that way, you know where the outlets are in advance for buffet table or speaker system set-up, and if you need an extra outlet day-of, it’s no problem to give the electrician a quick call. Equally important is enlisting waitstaff and employees you know you can count on to deliver positive results. Utilizing experienced waitstaff ensures efficiency: they will be able to quickly anticipate what is needed, when it is needed. Lining up a solid team you can rely on enables delegation, as appropriate, so you can shift focus to other items that may need your attention, or at a minimum, maintain your sanity.

Don’t forget the dress rehearsal. Dress rehearsals aren’t just for ballerinas. This step is especially important if you’re relatively new to events or if you’re testing a new technique (i.e. new menu item, new table arrangement). A dry-run (either at the venue or at your restaurant) can help you identify any potential problems that may arise and navigate them in advance–the fewer surprises on event day, the better! Doing a quick run-through of how the event will play out also gives you an opportunity to connect with your team: perhaps about their roles in executing the event schedule or the service you expect for your client and guests. Creating and operating from a master run-of-show document can be immensely helpful. It should contain all important contact information, the venue address, and time stamps for each event-day movement (i.e. arrival at venue, set-up, table service times, load-out). This organizational tool, along with a quick physical run-through, will save you from having to remember everything by yourself. The brain can only take so much!

Don’t let event-day insanity drive you crazy. Utilize these quick tricks to stay organized and breathing easily!