How to plan and throw a big event

Planning a large professional event takes a little more than just adding a few more bottles to your liquor store run. Thinking through a few essentials details upfront will ensure that your party goes smoothly and your guests leave thoroughly impressed.

Picking the right venue

 

Image: The Venue Report

 

In real estate, as in life, it’s all about location, location, location—but not for the reason you think. Your venue should be the first thing you consider. It’s ultimately the box you’re going to put everything in—so you need to pick one that suits the size and style of your crowd. Lucky for you, we are living in the golden age of event spaces. Think beyond restaurants and ballrooms: companies like AirBnB, Appear Here, Venue Report, or Peerspace  consolidate offbeat spaces to make it easy to find one that fits your brand or organization’s vibe and budget.

Making a space your own

 

Image: Patina Rentals

 

It turns out you can force a little chemistry. Make your party the kind of place where people are interacting in the way you want. (This should factor into your venue-picking, but there’s a lot you can “build out” after the fact.) Not sure what we mean? Consider these examples:


For an event with a signing, product sale, or meet-and-greet: consider the receiving line at a wedding. You want a clear path for guests to file through, interact at the designated spot, and exit. You’ll also want an associate or two to act as ushers.

 

For an event where you want to encourage mingling: build out nooks, tables, seated areas, or something similarly hospitable and slightly removed from the party throng to give people places to talk.

 

For a workshop, lecture, or presentation: do the exact opposite! Make sure to rent a good AV system, test it (!!!), and rent enough chairs to seat everyone comfortably. While standing room may look impressive, it is actually not all that fun to experience.

Rent anything

 

Use rentals to inject your space with personality and bring in anything your venue might be missing. We’re not just talking about gold Chiavari chairs and polyester tablecloths. Did you know you can rent a margarita machine (clearly a necessity), a confetti cannon, teepees, vintage glassware, or entire lounge setups? Check for venders in your area, but we love Patina Rentals in New York, Yeah! Rentals in California, and 12th Table in Nashville. Consider a larger nationwide company like Classic Party Rentals and Casa de Perrin for basics and smaller boutique firms for specialty items to stretch your budget further.  

Building in a surprise (and delight)

 

 

Parties are by definition delightful. And what guests increasingly want are ways to share their joy. So, try to build in a moment that’s a bit interactive and, yes, well-suited to social media. Some ideas we’ve seen that are really cool:

 

Images: Instagram (@gryphandivyrose, @thelondonmummy)

 

A flower wall or similarly inspiring backdrop: do it for the ‘grams.

A photo booth: where the ‘grams never stop—and a built-in party favor.

Play with scale: think an unexpectedly large punch bowl or exceptionally tiny burgers.  

Practicing your party makes perfect

This one is short but so important that it needs its own section: rehearse your event. Walk through your event before set-up, during, and right before launch. Put together a “run of show” to feel out the space. Assign a point person that will solve any issues that arise once the party kicks into high gear.

Ready, steady, go

If you can make it through a dry run of your party, then you are well ahead of 90% of hosts. With that warm glow, we want to pass off a few last tips:

Pack a first aid kit (really!).

Take more photos than you think necessary.

Plan a post-mortem with your co-hosts (or just yourself) for the next event.

Get some rest. You earned it.

How we can help

Saint-Preux – Black” by Paperless Post, “Ocean Wave” by Gray Malin

 

At the risk of total obviousness (and having done this in the past ourselves): don’t forget celebrations that might not be on your radar, like graduation season and religious holidays that you might not practice.

 

For more formal events, consider making it official with a save the date. (They’re not just for weddings!) It’s a thoughtful way to test the scheduling waters, and it’ll also give guests time to suss out logistics.

 

Flyer is the way to go if you want to share the invitation using your own email service, text, or social media. Style is something unique to you—and we think you’ll find a Vibe to suit any occasion. Cheers!

 

On your marks, get set, host! Start planning your big do with an event save the date or with Paperless Post Flyer.

 

Hero Image: Creative Edge