Your Next Company Event: How Far in Advance Should You Plan?

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We get this question a lot. Since a corporate event shouldn’t be thrown together at the last minute, it’s really helpful to have as much time as possible to plan. The number of considerations that need to be accounted for from budget to guest list to transportation to security to food and beverage – it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Of course, that’s why you hire an event design team, but even pros like us still need time to make magic happen. Our typical lead time for company events is eight to twelve months. A year is ideal in most cases for a number of reasons:

planning your company event

More time = more options

The further in advance you can start planning an event, the more flexibility you’ll have in terms of venue, entertainment, and décor. For example, say you’re planning a holiday event for 1,000 employees in San Francisco. There are only so many venues in the city that can hold that many people, and you only have so many dates on which you can reasonably set your event. (No one wants to go to a holiday party in March).

Some of the largest and most popular venues fill up years in advance, so it’s always a good idea to think ahead. The more time you give yourself to plan, the more doors will be open to you and the less compromises you’ll need to make.

More time = more savings

Along those same lines, giving yourself about a year to plan a large event helps ensure that your budget stays under control. You’ll secure the most important elements like the venue followed by the talent first, and then you’ll have time to fill in the details. Also with enough planning time, you can plan around the seasonality of Food and Floral. The less time you have, the fewer services will be available. A crunched deadline could also mean that you have to rush-order equipment or décor, and those extra shipping costs can have a major impact on your budget.

More time = more control

Whenever you’re planning a big event, there are always things that you can’t control. Maybe the performer will get laryngitis or the caterer will double-book. Something will always go wrong – it’s just the way the world works. But with enough time, you can develop contingency plans and backups for all your most important event elements. Having time lets you prepare for the things you can’t prepare for by giving you flexibility and perspective.

Here are a few other considerations to keep in mind:

  •        Remember that after the budget, the venue is the first thing you should set. Once the venue is reserved, everything else can start to fall into place (from Aesthetics, Budget, Food & Beverage, Entertainment, Audio Visual, etc.).
  •        If your event has (or needs) a sponsor, twelve to eighteen months of planning time is ideal. Remember that a lot of the decisions you make will need to be doubly approved by the sponsor, which can slow things down substantially.
  •        Remember that events have busy seasons. If you’re planning around a particular holiday, you may need to expand your timeline to help account for added competition for the best venues, caterers, etc.

If you’re planning a corporate event – or planning to plan an event – give us a call to learn how we can help with your event strategy. Whether you need a few extra hands or want to hand the entire production over to us, Next Level Event Design can partner with you to create unforgettable experiences.