The Event Planning Recipe for Success


As you can imagine when I came across this article ( in, I was a little interested in seeing what insight they had to offer. The article was written by The “Staff” at Entrepreneur Media, Inc.” so naturally my expectations where high. Although I have been in entertainment production for over 30 years, the corporate “event” market has been featured on the back end of my career and was something I was kind of thrown into. Because of that, I have always felt a little behind and am constantly looking for direction and ideas specific to that industry.

Remember, success does does not equal knowledge.” (Joe quote)

I certainly prepared myself and paid attention so I was able to take advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves, but I also understood there are reasons people have certifications in the event planning industry.

When I began to read the article, though, I could not help and chuckle a bit to myself because I felt like I was reading one of my Nonna’s recipes. It had all the list of ingredients but was quite light when it came to depth and specifics. How much of this do I use? When do I add it? Do I bake it or fry it? Good luck in figuring that out.

With that in mind, I wanted to share my take and at least help you grab the right pan.

Misunderstanding your client’s requirements:


Surprise! The first thing I’m going to tell you to do is LISTEN, and I don’t mean to your client telling you about how they want to see the CEO zip line down the high rise into a volcano as it explodes once he comes out! Listen to WHY the CEO is there, WHAT she/he is wanting to accomplish with the big ta-da. I can assure you, even if the event goes off, if the desired results of the client are not met the call may not be made again.

This goes for social events, too. There are times you can be the life saver for a bride and groom to remind everyone else who the day is really for. It’s not for the 15 layer cake and how it’s lit!

There’s always a balance, and ultimately you are in service to your client. I try and create relationships with my clients where they come to know that I believe it to be a disservice not to be honest with them, execute their vision, and then exceed their expectation.

Poor choice of vendors or site:

True as stated but there a few specific points worth expanding on:

For large productions, safety is so often forgotten. Make sure, for example, that for power and rigging you have an independent expert review before you sign off on the plan.

ALWAYS HAVE A BACK UP FOR OUTDOOR EVENTS, ALWAYS! I don’t care that you have sunshine 363 days a year, guess which day it’s going to rain?

The points that follow can be applied to any business — and if you have failed repeatedly in any of them it would probably be hard to maintain your business long term.

The article was most on point with “Stay Calm”. Stay calm doesn’t necessarily mean easy going, rainbows and unicorns mentality. Most of the time you are dealing with something that means a lot to someone and usually very personal. In business to business transactions, if someone takes something “personal” you may sometimes be surprised because you were just doing business. Event Planning in most cases is personal, so you must be the one to always remember the ultimate goal; so when you have challenges that arise (and they will), you know whether to dodge, weave, or duck — or all of the above — all the while everyone around you is still enjoying and heading to the destination. Remember, you are creating a memory for them, so you must be at the helm guiding the ship through the clouds.

It is the greatest reward we get in the entertainment/event industry; we get the opportunity to create memoryies… moments for people that have the ability to last for ever! The kind of memories that they share around boardrooms, holiday dinner tables, and other potential clients. That’s powerful, don’t forget that.

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