Ask an Expert: Laurea Irving

Laurea Irving (Photo by Michael Clements)How can you plan a successful special event?

Everyone has special events and occasions in their lives that need planning, especially around the holiday season. Laurea Irving ('99 M.Ed. ), director of special events for the Office of the President at UNT, has a few tips and tricks to help make planning your event fun and easy. She says that whether the event is big or small, planners and coordinators can easily make it run smoothly with a well-defined concept and attention to detail.

"Event planning can be challenging with all of the details involved," Irving says. "But thorough preparation ensures a successful outcome."

Start with the basics

  • Identify the event's purpose. This can be anything from announcing a baby to celebrating a promotion.
  • Determine the vision. Once a central idea or theme is chosen, other decisions become easier.
  • Be imaginative. Think of what your perfect event would include regardless of a budget, then drop the impossible and unaffordable. Use the challenge to spark your ingenuity.
  • Decide on a budget. Setting a limit will keep spending under control. Use flowers, food and décor in season for optimal cost effectiveness.

Make your list and check it twice

  • Make a checklist. It helps to ensure that nothing is forgotten and provides a concise way to show your plans to others.
  • Plan for the worst but expect the best. Anything from a cold room to fire ants can ruin an event. Be ready with your backup plan.

Send that special message

  • Pay attention to the little things to send a big message. For example, if your honored guest loves dark chocolate, incorporate it creatively into a special mocktail, dessert, gift, etc. This expresses that you value the guest of honor in a fun but thoughtful way.
  • Make sure your purpose is achieved and vision met. Does the event communicate what you are trying to convey? If not, tweak until clear.

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