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If you’re embarking on planning your first celebration, it can perhaps seem like a daunting task. There is a whole industry worth over £40billion dedicated to organising events, so if you’ve chosen to manage this yourself, it’s important that you have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, to ensure that your soirée is the success you deserve!


This month we’re bringing you a beginner’s guide to planning your own event, with a handy checklist to make sure all those important tasks are ticked off in a timely fashion, so you can kick back and relax when it comes to the day itself!


  1. PLAN AHEAD – In event planning, the early bird catches the worm so it’s never too early to get organised! Weddings are often booked up to two years in advance, so to make sure you have the pick of the pops when it comes to venues, entertainment, food and drink… plan ahead!


2. CHOOSE YOUR THEMEWhat are you celebrating? What does this mean to you? From start to finish; be it vintage chic or the industrial look, your event should ooze personality. From invites to décor, ensure your idea flows throughout.


3. STICK TO A BUDGET! – Be it big or small, most events will have an amount of money assigned to it. When in the throws of planning an outstanding celebration, it is all too easy to get carried away by tempting treats. Set your budget from the beginning, and break it down to venue, food & drink, entertainment, décor to help you manage each factor, step-by-step.


4. PLAN YOUR GUESTLIST – Once the budget has been set, it is easier to have an idea of how many people you can invite, and what the spend per head can be. Have an A and B list – it may sound brutal, but you can expect between 60-70% of guests invited to attend, which allows you to work through your back-up list to make sure as many people as possible are there to celebrate with you.


5. SOURCE A VENUE – Budget set, guest numbers estimated. Now it’s time to find a space to hold your party! Getting ahead here will serve you well as popular venues get booked up far in advance. Check whether the venue provides catering or whether you will need to source this yourself. It is also worth asking if they recommend suppliers as the venue may well be able to suggest trustworthy local partners.


6. FOOD AND DRINK – Will you be having a sit-down meal or bowl food? Canapes or silver service? The vibe of food and drink also needs to be in keeping with your theme, so think about how you want your guests to feel… relaxed and social, wandering around with nibbles, or decadent and dressed-up ready for a five-course dining experience?


7. SOURCE ENTERTAINMENT – Entertainment adds another dimension to an event and helps create the perfect atmosphere for guests to enjoy themselves. Are you looking for background music to ease guests into the event, or an in-your-face welcome act to throw ‘em in at the deep end? Perhaps a big band to get the dancefloor filled after dinner, or maybe even a bandaoke act to get the guests involved in singing their favourite tunes?! Whatever you desire, speak to a trustworthy agent who knows their acts and can advise you on the best options within budget.


8. DÉCOR – Think about your theme and venue – does it need additional dressing? Can the venue provide this or does it require you to source your own? There are professionals who specialise in dressing an event, or hire out props which are always worth investigating. You will be amazed at what some careful thought and attention in decorating can do for a guest’s first impression of the party so spend a bit of time on this!


9.  MAKE A FINAL CHECK – It may be that some elements of the occasion have been booked more than 12 months ago… It is essential that you make a final check with each supplier to make sure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet (as it were), and the event goes smoothly on the day. Do you know when suppliers are dropping off/picking up equipment? Are the entertainers booked to eat and drink, with a room to change in? Does the venue have final guest numbers for food? It’s advisable to do this at least a week in advance to avoid any last minute panics!


10. HAVE A TOOLKIT FOR THE DAY! – Even the best-laid plans can face hiccups on the day, so as a planner, it is important to have an emergency toolkit to cover as many eventualities as possible! From spare pens to post-it notes, a first aid kit to phone chargers; Rule Number 1: there is almost nothing that gaffa tape can’t temporarily fix!


11. CHECKLIST – So you’ve given our tips a read-through, now grab a pen and paper, and write your own checklist to take the first step to a smooth-running event!  

R Date chosen

R    Theme chosen

R    Budget agreed (split this into venue/food/drink/entertainment/décor)

R    Guest list drawn up

R    Venue sourced

R    Entertainment booked

R    Food and drink finalised 

R    Invites sent

R    Décor sourced

R    Final checks made and contact numbers stored for the day

R    Final numbers sent to venue

R    Toolkit finalised

R    Arrive at venue and enjoy!


Lots of Love,


Ella x

Ellevate Entertainment is a small agency with a big heart, passionate about working with clients looking for high quality, live acts with the wow factor. Search here to see what we can offer or  contact us here with more info about your event and let us use our expertise to recommend the perfect acts for you.