Planning a successful event can quickly turn into a moment of pride (for you, and for your client). Nothing beats the feeling when an event comes together without a hitch. But, let’s be honest, not all events go exactly as planned. So, while you’re aiming for that perfectly executed event, here are five tips to ensure that after the final guest has departed and the last box is packed up, you did everything to create that “wow factor” on behalf of your client.

  1. Say hello to your new best friend. The “war book.” Ask any event planner—this is the single most important item to create before walking into an event. Do yourself a favor and grab a fresh binder and begin to flood it with all the information you need for the event. Comprised of different tabs like important contact numbers, vendor materials, media materials and travel information, hanging onto this handy binder at all times will keep you organized. And no one will judge you if it’s color-coded.
  2. Prepare an event flow. It sounds obvious, but it’s critical. The closer the event becomes, the more hectic it gets. That’s why creating a schedule of events—down to the last minute—will keep you polished and prepared. Know when your photographer is due to arrive. Double check that the client is prepped for their interview. Checking boxes along the way will give you a sense of accomplishment and ensure you’re not missing anything on the big day.
  3. Expect surprises. Remember Murphy’s Law. Despite having the big items accounted for, other elements like weather, travel or attendance are out of your control. Be ready to think on your feet. I once managed media for a high-profile charity event and the night before (I mean, less than 12 hours) the celebrity couple who were co-hosting the event announced they were separating. Bombshell! Needless to say, that night was spent drafting new key messages and media-training all key spokespeople.

    Point being, be prepared. Be flexible. Be ready. Even the littlest things like knowing where the closest Fed-Ex is in case you need to reprint something, or where to rent a tent if your rain dance doesn’t cut it, are important. You’ve got this.

  4. Use social media to create buzz. Whether it’s live tweeting or creating an event hashtag for guests to use, make sure to capture the spirit of the occasion. The media landscape has become increasingly video- and photo-driven, making it imperative to capture the magic. So, grab those VIPs, snap images of the décor and bring all your team’s hard work to life in real time, or close to it.
  5. Get ready to recap. You just had what feels like the longest day of your life and you just want to nose-dive into your pillow. However, hold off on the siesta and get started on an event recap for your client. Not only will it give them peace of mind, it’s important to share the excitement and successes while they’re fresh. Send initial results, highlights and pictures. Tidbit: Format the recap so that it’s easy for your client to leverage the wins internally to their own leadership teams.