For the entertainment world, Awards season is a winter affair, with the Academy Awards serving as the last of the more notable awards ceremonies. For many other industries, however, the end of the entertainment industry's awards unofficially marks the beginning of what I like to call "Gala Season."
Various organizations look to the Spring to hold their annual affair, or to ramp up the planning for their Fall fetes. Whether you're in the beginning stages of planning, or are finalizing the last few details before your upcoming event, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Remember it's Purpose
Why are you holding the event? Is it to honor your colleagues or a few standout supporters? Are you trying to fundraise or bring awareness to a cause? Maybe you're just wanting to cultivate a few relationships by wining and dining your corporate partners. Whatever the reason, be sure to keep the purpose in mind while planning.
Know Your Audience
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the key when planning any event is to remember who your guests are. Often times, we get so wrapped up in the details of an event that we forget who the event is for. You may like the idea of a formal dinner with a high priced ticket, but if the majority of your audience is made up of young adults, then you may be better off going with a less formal, less expensive cocktail party.
Another example: I sometimes see clients wanting to do an auction or contest at their event. Sometimes this is done for the sake of fundraising, other times it's done to promote a sponsor's product or service. It's great if you have a few fun items to give away, but make sure the items appeal to your group. There's nothing worse than agreeing to promote an item and then getting a lackluster response from your guests.
Ask Yourself, "Does this Make Sense?"
When thinking through the theme, decor, and entertainment options for your event, always ask yourself if your choices make sense. Have you ever received an invitation that didn't match the theme or decor of the event you attended? Or been to an event where the emcee or guest speaker didn't seem to resonate with the audience at all? Those little details may be things that you don't notice or are genuinely excited about, but don't fit in with any other elements of the event. It may all make perfect sense to you, but it should also make sense to your guests.
The above are just a few basic points to remember when planning a gala, banquet, dinner, or any other event for that matter. When in doubt - and in every step of the planning process - always come back to these tips for clarity.