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Knowing what you don’t know

Knowing what you don’t know

I like being right. I think that is a common trait in most people. Admit it, it is a little ego boost every time you see the successes of what you have said or done.

I am however, no stranger to my limitations. I am well aware of what I don’t know.

One of the stresses of being an event planner is you are essentially hired to be right about everything surrounding the event – how to appropriately estimate food and beverage consumption based on number of attendees, what setup is best for traffic flow, how to optimize A/V setup, knowing what permits are required, etc. Any event planner worth their salt knows what they don’t know.

Event planning requires bringing together diverse expertise and no single person can be an expert in everything (although we have all met people that think they are).
One of my favorite aspects of planning an event is the opportunity to work with several experts. I get a rush seeing the conglomeration of each person’s skillset pulled into one single event, and my stress level is greatly reduced – all good things.
The following are a few experts every event planner should have available as a resource:
• Attorney: Common sense here – you need an attorney to make sure your event is legal. Each city has different licensing and permit requirements when it comes to noise, parking, alcohol, street closures, etc. You have to work closely with the City to ensure you obtain all proper documentation but an attorney provides that additional peace of mind to make sure you as the event planner are protected.
• Insurance Rep: Events are a huge liability. Your rep can make sure you are protected and frequently the scale of event has different insurance requirements.

• CPA: A CPA is a great resource to have, particularly when working with nonprofits. They can help you determine what percentage of ticket costs, sponsorships, etc. are tax deductible.

• Engineer: An engineer is a great resource particularly when it comes to event setup. They can help with determining structural limitations, electrical issues, traffic flow, etc. The last thing you want is your setup collapsing!

• Sound/Lighting Technician: A/V is a standard event requirement. Even most house parties have some type of music or specialty lighting. An A/V expert can help determine speaker and lighting set-up, volume control and balance, electrical requirements, etc.

• Interior Designer: An interior designer should be your go-to creative expert. Their entire profession is customizing spaces and their fresh perspective can do wonders for event design.

• Chef/Caterer: When planning an event, you have to plan for the masses. A chef/caterer you trust is key for developing a balanced, delicious, and artistic event menu.

• Graphic Designer: Graphic designers are a great resource for helping design custom invitations, programs, advertisements, etc.

• Landscape Architect: If you are holding an event at an outdoor venue (particularly, a formal event), you will want a landscape architect to help you coordinate maintenance, setup (no one wants to set up where it might pool with water if it rains) and general overall aesthetics.

• HR Specialist: An HR Specialist is a must if you hire event staff to address state and federal staffing and liability requirements.

For more party planning advice, read Kari’s other blog posts.


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