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Blog · August 14, 2018

5 Things to Ask When Planning a Large-Scale Event

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Large-scale events are fun and exciting, however, making them happen means juggling many moving parts. Planning is not for the faint of heart—it's easy to get overwhelmed by the many (but oh-so-important) details. Want to make sure your event is the talk of the town? Ask these five questions before and during the planning process.

1. Can you work within my budget? It helps to have a rough budget and guest count before you start planning your event and communicate that to whomever you are working with. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a vision and realizing you can’t afford most of it. According to Linda Rajsavong, Gourmondo senior event planner, “In addition to budget information, give your planner a general breakdown of services you need and don't need. This will aid your planner in meeting event and budget expectations,” she says. “We like to have pre-event discussions with clients to cover every aspect of the event to make sure there are no unwelcome money surprises.”

2. What’s your communication style? Communication is key to executing a flawless event. It is important to work with a team that will communicate in the channel and frequency that works best for you; after all, you are the client. A big event has many details, menu updates and other modifications throughout the planning process; ensure you are working with someone you feel truly understands you. According to Gourmondo event planner Shannon Pfile, “We find out how a client likes to communicate and modify our approach accordingly. Some clients want weekly calls, others like to handle most details through email.” Shannon adds that Gourmondo planners also have weekly meetings with the chef and operations teams to make sure everyone understands the client’s vision for guest experience from beginning to end.

3. Have you worked with this venue before? Knowing how familiar your planner is with your host venue will give you a sense of how well they will work with the space. Virtually every event will have last-minute changes. If your planner has a positive, collaborative relationship with the venue, it will help to make the “fixes” less stressful. You can expect your planner to handle the venue's physical location details as well as the food. Site visits are important to map out timing, space usage, decor/lighting -- basically to be able to view the event from a guest's perspective and make sure all elements are in place.

4. Do you have vendor contacts? An event is rarely just food. You need a partner who can tap into talent that fits your vision and budget. Whether you want them to contract, or just provide recommendations, this can save you a lot of time. Typical services needed are DJs, florists, decor specialists and lighting & equipment pros. When asked, event planner, Kristen Lynn lets clients know, “We know people. And if we don’t know them, we will meet them. She explained, with long-standing roots in this area, Gourmondo has relationships within the community that can provide options to fit virtually any need.”

5. How flexible are your chefs -- and you? You have a vision. That vision may not fit with a caterer’s published menu. Ask questions to feel comfortable that the chefs are open to bringing the vision to life and that your planner will approach your event as unique and not cookie cutter. Linda says, “At Gourmondo, flexibility is an essential part of our service. For example, if you have a theme or favorite food, our team will craft a specialty menu. And we don’t stop there. We collaborate with clients to design specialty cocktail/mocktail menus, to choose appropriate linens and decor, even down to menu card design.”