5 Event Planning Mistakes to Avoid in 2014

At Guastavino’s, we have learned a lot from our over 40 years of event planning experience. We know what the key to a great event is, what details can put it over the top and what mistakes can send an otherwise wonderful private, corporate or nonprofit event into a tailspin. For first time event planners, here are:

Guastavino’s 5 Event Planning Mistakes to Avoid in 2014

1) Choosing Friends Over Professionals

Your cousin swears that her son is a great DJ and that, while he doesn’t have much experience, he is willing to work your event for a fraction of the cost of a professional. How much of a risk could it be? These days there’s little more to DJing than setting up an iPod playlist, right? Whether you’re hiring DJs, bartenders, comedians or valet parking attendants, always go with professionals. In the best-case scenario, a pro has the experience and knowledge to make sure that things run smoothly and all of your guests enjoy the event. In the worst-case scenario, professionals carry the necessary insurance to cover emergencies and event-ruining disasters.

2) Saving on an Open Bar

When planning an event on a budget, many would-be event planners are quick to cut corners on non-essentials, like decorations and entertainment. One place to never cut corners is the open bar. Remember, you are inviting your guests to relax with you and join in on your celebration. You wouldn’t invite someone into your home and then ask him or her to pay for what they ate and drank. If you want your guests to feel at home and truly enjoy your event, an open bar is a must. While your open bar doesn’t necessarily need to offer top shelf libations, a little bit of spending can go a long way.

3) Bringing Outside Caterers to an Established Event Venue

There are some venues where bringing in outside catering is a must. However, at an established venue like Guastavino’s that offers top-level cuisine in-house, it is best to stick with the home team. Any chef will tell you what a difference being comfortable with a kitchen and a staff can make. By trusting your cuisine to the venue staff you are not only protecting yourself from unexpected mishaps, but also allowing an experienced and elite chef to work in their own environment. Your guests’ taste buds will thank you. Bonus Tip:  Religious or cultural dietary restriction may require outside catering. If this is the case, check with the venue beforehand as may have a recommended vendor who has strong track record of work in the space.

4) Do-It-Yourself Flowers

We all desire perfection from each and every event. This desire for perfection can lead many amateur event planners to attempt to be as hands on as possible, handling everything themselves down to the smallest detail. While it’s fine to obsess over the invitations and seating charts, there are some details that are best left to professionals. While you may have a green thumb and a great eye for style, never try to be your own florist. There are just too many issues that can arise on the day of the event that will take your attention away from what’s really important. There is nothing worse than watching the bride–to-be sweat over her floral arrangements minutes before the guests arrive. Leave it to the pros and relax on your big day.

5) Mistiming Your New York Event

When planning a big event, timing is everything. Not only will the date of your event affect the overall cost, it can also make a huge difference in the enjoyment of your guests. When booking a date consider things like weather, travel arrangements, holidays and other potential conflicts. Bonus Tip: Consider hosting your weekend event on a weeknight instead. Not only will you be able to save on nearly everything, a weeknight may actually be more convenient for many of your guests. Another issue to consider is the length of your event. Don’t let it go on forever! While you may feel like you could dance all night, few guests have ever left an event saying, “I wish it was two hours longer.” Let your guests enjoy the event, but don’t give them time to get tired or bored. Send your guests go home at an appropriate time and, if necessary, host a separate after-party for close friends who want to keep going all night long.

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