Anyone who has ever planned a large event knows about Murphy’s Law–if something can go wrong, it usually will. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a DIY event planning pro, a large part of the job is preparing for and preventing the inevitable moment when something doesn’t go as planned. Whether the problems that arise are major or minor, it falls to the person in charge of the event to solve them and get the party back on track–you. So, to keep you from getting anxious at your next event, we’ve prepared a few simple tips to help you take charge of any problematic situation.
Keep Calm and Carry On
This is the most important tip to remember, and perhaps the most obvious, but it bears repeating. Stay calm, and address the issue unemotionally‚ keep a game face on for your client and help them stay calm as well. You may be used to dealing with emergencies, but if your client finds out something has gone awry and you seem unnerved, they’ll play into that emotion and can become panicked themselves.
Work quickly and quietly to mitigate the problem‚ is the cake not coming? Call around and find out which bakeries can deliver sheet cakes or a dummy cake to present the look of the planned cake on very short notice. If the DJ gets sick, make sure you don’t just hire the first available backup plan, since there may be a reason they are available (too many Village People songs at a wedding can be a bad thing).
Create a Game Plan
Before you can do anything to solve the problem, you must first get all of the facts. Find out what the problem is, and why and how it has happened. For planning ahead, you should review a variety of different scenarios, and create contingency plans to deal with any potential problem. For example, consider the following:
No-show or Late Speakers ‚Äö√Ñ√¨Have a back-up speaker waiting in the wings to step in and save the day, but discuss in advance who that speaker should be with the host of the event prior‚ don’t just grab someone who’s attending and hope for the best.
Major Equipment Failure ‚Äö√Ñ√¨Have a plan ready to deploy that does not rely on the any on-site tech or equipment to keep the day’s events moving and your guests occupied and/or entertained. Things like power generators (that should be supplied by the venue) should be considered in the event that there’s a power outage, for instance.
Last Minute Vendor Cancellation ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ If a hired vendor fails to fulfill their contract, you should have a list of back-up vendors who can complete orders on an extreme deadline‚ overnight, even. Be sure to vet these vendors before you decide to rely on them in the final hour, and get it in writing that they can and do fulfill last-minute orders. Linen vendors, for example, may notify you that they don’t have sufficient linen for your event a few days before the event. Be sure to partner with a linen vendor that
has the quantity, selection and capability to get you the right linen on time for your event.
Unexpected Bad Weather ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ If you are planning an outdoor event, the weather can easily turn against you. Put a rain plan in place‚ such as quickly-assembled tents or moving the event indoors so your event can go on without a hitch.
Stay Honest & Professional
Finally, if something does go wrong during the event, don’t waste your energy trying to make excuses. Simply be honest with your host and explain the situation, while explaining how you are working to fix the issue.
As the planner, it is on you to have the know-how for keeping an event afloat, so it’s absolutely essential not to let on when something catastrophic may have happened. Plan ahead, double check with vendors and venues about their plans, and plan some more‚ after all, the best defense is a good offense. In other words, prepare as much as you can for potential issues arising, and you won’t have any shock the day of the event.