4 mistakes every event planner makes at least once


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We can all relate to these common event faux pas. Here's what to do when things don't quite go as planned.

This article was originally published on Eventbrite by Katie Sawyer. 

Mistakes happen — even to the most organised event planners.

It’s hard to be perfect when you’re juggling endless details and deadlines, corresponding with dozens of caterers, and trying to woo sponsors.

After all, you’re only human.

Take a look at some of these common event planner fails to see if you can relate. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid these mistakes so far, follow the bonus strategies to keep your error-free streak going.

Mistake 1: You included the wrong person on your email

Your venue is really being a pain in the you-know-what, and in a moment of weakness, you decided to air your grievances with your partner — or so you thought. Instead, you actually sent the email to your venue contact.

You’ve probably been guilty of texting or emailing an unfortunate message to the wrong person at one point or another. Don’t stress – it happens to the best of us. Just keep your fingers crossed you never accidentally send a rant to your head sponsor!

How to fix it: You’ll have to do a “mea culpa” here and apologise for sending the email. Use the opportunity to ask for feedback about how to work better together moving forward. For the future, remember: If you feel the urge to vent, don’t do it in writing.

Mistake 2: You went over budget

Maybe you didn’t think about permit costs, or neglected to read the fine print on a contract and ended up paying extra for items not included. Or, bad weather occurred, and you had to spring for tents and other coverings at the last minute.

Whatever the reason, you underestimated how much your event would cost — and now you’re left with nothing to spend on vital elements like food and AV. You’re left trying to return table settings and scrambling to find more sponsors.

How to fix it: What’s done is done once you’ve overspent. But analysing your expenses can be an invaluable lesson as you move forward. Use this event budget template, and set aside 10-15 per cent of your budget for wiggle room. You can always spend it on a last-minute marketing push if you don’t need the funds for other line items.

Mistake 3: You didn’t order enough food and drinks

Taco festivals that run out of tacos. Multi-day conferences that run out of coffee. Music festivals that run out of water.

You under-estimated the amount of inventory you’d need — and you’re paying the price. Especially when your hangry attendees head to social media to complain.

How to fix it: In the moment, you’ll have to think on your feet. First things first: Apologise to attendees. Then call your caterer or local eateries to send emergency rations. Or send an intern to the closest grocery store. Next time, overestimate what you’ll need — and have a backup plan.

Mistake 4: You wore the wrong shoes

You love the new shoes you just bought and they seemed comfortable enough, but an hour into your event, you were in physical pain.

Your arches ached, and shoe bites were forming. Why didn’t you go with your old reliable, broken-in flats?

How to fix it: One lesson everyone has to learn the hard way: don’t wear brand new shoes to an event. Choose something with lots of support, and wear them out a few times to break them in. Always carry bandaids or adhesive cushion inserts (available from supermarkets and pharmacies) in your event bag just in case. And if you know it’s going to be a super long day, it won’t hurt to stick a pair of sneakers or flats in your bag so you can switch toward the end of the day.

Hot tip: Avoid common event mishaps by booking trusted suppliers and venues on the A LIST Guide!

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