Event Planning Made Easy/(er)
This guide is provided by Chelsey Buggie, Common Ground Event Coordinator, and Mica McCurdy of FreeForm Events.
Whether you are planning an event for five or for fifty, it can be a stressful ordeal! Luckily for you, we can help you channel that nervous energy into putting off the perfect event at Common Ground with the following Event Planning Guide.
Ready to get started? Fill our our Event Booking Form to receive a rental quote.
Once you have established a budget for your event you can start dreaming. Who do you want to invite (make a preliminary guest list) and what do you want to feed them?
Some great catering options close to Common Ground include Olio Pizza and Soul Azteka (Mexican food). If you're looking for healthy options, LunchIn has several great choices they can bring right to the door. Consider any accessibility needs -- Common Ground at Harvey Road is at the top of two flights of stairs.
Time to let everyone know what you're planning! If it is a private event, now is a great time to get out your invitations. Hosting a public event may mean creating an event on Facebook or Eventbrite. If you're looking for a visually appealing poster to promote your event, Canva is a great free tool you can use.
Every vegetarian has shown up to an event where their meal has been little more than a bowl of steamed vegetables and rice. Let's change that! When inviting your guests, ask them for their dietary information. Offer a contact email, or if you have more information you're looking to create, Google Forms is a great tool for getting this info through a survey. Even if no one speaks up as a vegan / vegetarian, you can never go wrong with diversity in food options. You will also want to ensure that there are non-alcoholic beverages available.
With your guests' information in mind, get in touch with your caterer again to finalize your order.
Create a checklist for yourself to ease your stress for the week leading up to and the day of the event. What do you need to do? Make sure to include notes about your caterer's arrival time. Another way to avoid unexpected surprises is to schedule a dry run of your tech before the event.
It's been three weeks since you invited your guests, so send a little reminder about your event and track down any missing RSVPs. Once you know how many people you are expecting, update the caterer and the venue with the final head count.
Make sure your guests have all the information they need to arrive without a question. If food is being served, let them know -- so that they don't eat a full dinner on their way!
Let your guests know about their parking options. Here at Common Ground, the parking is metered Monday to Friday, 7am-6pm at a rate of $1.50 / hour. Parking on the side of the street adjacent to CG allows parking up to four hours before refilling the meter, while the opposite side allows for up to two hours. Alternatively, you can rent parking spaces from us for $20/day. Email us beforehand to request these spots.
A few hours before the event, think of some of your guests who can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. This will come in handy later.
Arrive at Common Ground at least a half an hour before your event. You will want to make sure that the room is set up properly, your technology is functioning, and that you know how to work the door bell system.
As your guests start arriving, it is a nice touch to personally welcome them. As the event progresses you may noticed people who are shy or stand offish - this is where those social butterflies will come in handy! Facilitate connections by introducing those people.
Throughout the event, keep an eye on your supply levels, and don't forget to take a few pictures!
As your event dwindles down, thank your guests for coming and ensure people have a safe ride home. Newfound Cabs (709-744-4444) offers accessible taxis for those with mobility impairments and the drivers are trained by CNIB to accommodate those with visual impairments. They also openly display the names of the driver on the dash in case of any unexpected issues.
A great host will leave the venue as they found it. Depending on the size of the event, plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour after your event clearing tables, putting the room back together and taking out any trash.
Immediately after your event you will most likely want to throw your feet up and relax. Within the next day or two (when the relaxing phase has ceased), it is follow up time. Thanking your guests for attending will make them feel valued and they will be more likely to attend your future events. You can send them a personal email or for a larger event you may want to post a Thank You on your social media feed. It is also nice to thank your venue and caterer for their assistance in pulling off your event!
Go through your invoices from your event and request any that you may be missing. It is great business etiquette to pay these invoices right away.
Thank you for reading! We hope this helps & we look forward to hosting your next event!