Do I require an event planner? Perhaps you don’t. It all depends on what type of event your business wants to stage, the number of guests, and the kind of event – cocktail reception, food stations, buffet or sit-down dinner, daytime or evening, with or without entertainment and or special activities – and, importantly, your budget.
Let me discuss in order:
The type of event you want to stage.
Let me say that this is an annual holiday party for your employees. What have you done in the past? Did your employees celebrate the season and the past year at an in-office reception after work hours? Or at a restaurant? Or at a rented venue space? Or at the boss’ house? You have to ask what we did last year and how successful it was. You can repeat an event well received by your employees a second year but not a third year or a fourth year.
An employee awards event is a very different event from a VIP guest cocktail reception and different again from an employee holiday party.
The number of guests.
Another critical factor in deciding what type of event you want is the number of guests expected. If less than fifty employees will be attending, then an event planner is optional. The event will likely be held in the office or at a restaurant. Many restaurants have private rooms these days, making them very attractive for these smaller events, giving your employees some privacy and a sense of being unique. The employee in charge of organizing this event can work either with a caterer for an in-office event or with the restaurant events person. These people can assist you with food and beverage requirements and other needs such as décor, entertainment, etc.
Suppose your event is expecting numbers in the hundreds. In that case, an event planner can be a worthwhile expense, from securing an exciting venue to securing caterers, staff, props and décor, rentals, entertainment, etc. The larger the event, the more planning required.
The type of event.
The type of event can determine whether or not an event planner can be invaluable. They can guide you in choosing the style best suited to your firm. Some employee events do not require a dance floor, while others insist on a DJ and dancing.
A sit-down dinner requires different planning from a stand-up cocktail party with food stations. Each event’s furniture rentals, staffing, and food and beverage requirements differ.
Is your event a themed one? It will require props and décor that relay the theme. Again, this is where an event planner can prove invaluable.
Entertainment? Is a “show” mid-way through your event the way to go, or is simply having background music – a jazz trio or a DJ- the appropriate approach? How do I hire entertainers? Again, this is where your event planner comes into play.
The budget is the first and most crucial decision you should make. An event with a $5,000 budget does not require and cannot afford an event planner. An event with a $75,000+ budget almost certainly requires an event planner. Only ask for what you can afford. You cannot get a champagne and caviar style reception on a beer & pretzel budget, to paraphrase an old saying. There is nothing wrong with a small budget! It does not mean you cannot have a fun party. It may be more appropriate to stage a more straightforward affair, depending on the circumstances.
An event planner’s job is to ensure that your company’s goals in staging a party are met. I hope this assessment is of some aid in helping you to decide whether or not to hire an event planner.