How To Handle Event Planning (When You're Not a Pro)

Never thought I’d be one to offer help in stressful situations, but lately I have been feeling more confident when it comes to this arena.

To get everyone on the same page of what my current career life is like, I am a full-time Social Media Manager by day and fashion-lifestyle influencer by night (and weekend). With both of these things, there are plenty of opportunities for me to be overwhelmed by stress daily, simply because I’m juggling two careers that have no real “off button.”

What I’ve learned, especially over the last few months, is the need to create boundaries in anything we do. You need a boundary for work and a boundary for play. But in between all of that, self-care, doesn’t need to take a break. That should be baked into each day because it’s a necessity for living and being your best self. You need to make room for an off-button or you’ll implode.

I’m sure you’re wondering “okay, but what does this have to do with event planning”? It actually has everything to do with it. Events are stressful, no matter if they are for us, for work or someone we love, there is a level of planning that is involved and somewhat time-sensitive. When you have the ideal vision of how it will turn out but something comes up that you didn’t plan for, that is usually when most people lose it. I’ve been there before and it’s not fun. The reason I found myself having breakdowns before, during, after events is because I didn’t know how to handle the stress. I didn’t realize I had to take breaks and give myself some extra care ESPECIALLY around these times.

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After these last few months, I had to put together two events for work and as a Social Media Manager, it’s not usually a part of the day to day, but it is something we are coming across more in the field. So here are my keepsake tips, whether it’s for your job or it’s for your birthday party, to handle event planning like it’s your motherf*cking purpose:

1. Write up a plan of attack.

It can be hand written, on a google doc, a note in your phone, whatever works for you. You need something that you can reference over and over again that has all the basics. Even though you know your event inside and out, sometimes it helps just to have all information in one place like the time, location, people involved with contact information etc. This information should be helpful for you and others and you need to keep it all in one place like its a map to the fountain of youth. I made mine in a Google Doc so I could screenshot it, email it, share it, with anyone that needed to be inside my brain so that I didn’t have to re-explain anything.

2. Be realistic with your goals in the event.

This is part of the reason people say to “over invite” the amount of people to any event. The reality of expecting your guests to do everything they are supposed to, even if you laid it out perfectly before hand, is slim. People are human, they make mistakes. They have shit that comes up last minute and you have to be accepting of it, especially when it comes to event planning or you’'ll be consistently disappointed. You can have your perfect version of your event in your head, but have a more toned down version of it just in case something changes like the weather of the day of the event. If your goal is too time-sensitive or really too much of anything, you may need to change some of the expectations and be flexible.

3. Talk to anyone and everyone that is involved to clear the air.

I say clear the air because even though you may be able to handle stress in a certain way, other people may not. When you’re leading an event, you sort of have to think about what everyone else isn’t thinking about. Do they know where to park? Do they know it will be cold so bring a jacket? For real, you need to go through every thing that you are assuming even if it seems like common knowledge to you. I made this mistake for one of my events and realized that had I not assumed, I would have saved myself a ton of stress. I recommend that you get on a ground level with anyone that may be involved for the big day. This kind of planning will save you LOTS OF STRESS. When the day arrives, you’ll at least know what’s expected of those who are there to help and so will they.

4. Take deep breaths.

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped what I’m doing no matter where I am to take a deep breath by myself. This is a tip for any real life scenario just as much as it is in event planning. Sometimes taking a break (even while it’s happening), to walk outside, sit down somewhere quiet for one minute and just gather yourself can make all the difference. You can even practice deep breathing techniques that force your body to calm down. I find this particular tip extra helpful while prepping for the event because that’s when things can seem to pile up and your ego gets the best of you (that voice that says it’s not going to work out). Just stay positive and keep going, but remember to give yourself time to BREATH through it all.

5. Know that something will go wrong and it’s okay.

Yes— no matter how well you plan, prep, and focus, something will evidently go wrong. Now depending on how well you planned and prepared will determine the size of that error, but usually it’s something that just ticks us off in the worst way. The flowers didn’t arrive, the catering brought the wrong food, someone forgot the the placement cards. The best part of these things happening is that no one showing up to your event will even notice the difference if these things happened correctly or not. Just you. So why spend all the energy you will need to get you through on something no else even knew in the first place? I hope for the sake of your event, it's about the important things, like raising money for a charity you care about or building up excitement for a new product launch in which case, people will be focused on these positive things. It’s less about the small things.

If you were wondering how my events went, they went well! Mainly because I had really great support, but also because I practiced a good balance of self-care, de-stressing, and knowing that it will all work out if I try my best. And that’s what really important at the end of the day. I now realize it is a major skill that I have and I’m glad my friends look up to me as the go-to event planning even if it’s for a girls night out.

Let me know if these tips help you on the next big event in your life,

xox Soho Mini