Home . Tips to help you plan your event
Tips to help you plan your event

Answering the Where, When, Why and How questions of Event Planning.

A well-designed and well-orchestrated event is analogous to a good stage production. It’s all about getting your act together and performing the right show for the right audience.

The following are some tips that zero in on the nitty gritty elements which can help earn your efforts glowing reviews. As you begin each planning program, a key question to ask yourself is “how can each activity engage the participant’s interest?”

Decide When To Stage Your Event

Timing is everything. The decision about when to hold your event is determined in large part by what type of event it is. Ask yourself, is the event better suited for the day or evening? Do you want to hold it during the week or on a weekend? If your event doesn’t have a deadline, would it be best to hold it during a specific season or time of year? Make sure to check that your event doesn’t overlap with any religious holidays and it’s often best to avoid scheduling during major sporting events.

These sites can help:

Australian reference sites


Australian Rules Football

Rugby League

Rugby Union



Horse racing



Brisbane Events Guide

Sydney Events Guide

Canberra Events Guide

Melbourne Events Guide

Adelaide Events Guide

Perth Events Guide



New Zealand reference sites


Rugby Union news

Rugby League




Horse racing



Auckland Events Guide

Wellington Events Guide

Christchurch Events Guide



Find the right Location and Venue

Are you going to hold your event indoors or outdoors? Outdoor events can be a nice change but have several major considerations, the weather being number one on the list. Think tents/marquees, portable flooring, electric generators and space heaters in addition to a well thought out contingency plan. Also, be aware that speeches and audio visual presentations are notoriously difficult to stage outdoors. Catering may be better placed in the hands of caterers normally used for film sets as they have portable trucks fully furnished with warmers and kitchen appliances.

Keep in mind when you're looking outside a larger city's CBD the ease of travelling for guests to and from the venue. Is there parking available? Is Hotel accommodation for your out of town guests close by? Is it easy to find or are you best to include a map in your invitation?

On line street maps you can print for Australia and New Zealand

Consider Unique Environments

Hotel meeting rooms can feel rather unoriginal and the thought of a unique environment can immediately add interest and excitement. Consider retreat centres, cruise ships or yachts, museums, stately homes, sporting venues and theatres. Realize that many of these venues work well for special functions, but they don’t necessarily have adequate meeting facilities and equipment. Make sure you do your homework beforehand and abide by the “Meeting Planner’s Golden Rule” ... never select a venue without having seen it in person! This can be crucial, particularly if you want to book your venue over the internet. Photos shown may not necessarily represent the end result. They may show you one room which is renovated more recently than others or may have had professional lighting added for the photo session.


Setting The Stage and Planning your Entertainment

The program plan you choose stems from the purpose and participants. Your four main considerations include:

  1. What is the main emphasis of the program – educational, business or social?
  2. What is your financial criteria – generate revenue, break even or is it a company expense?
  3. What are your participants’ expectations?
  4. What is the optimum ratio of education and business to social programming?


Create The Right Atmosphere

One key to a successful special event is to seek out entertainment or decorations that are unique and fun to spark excitement and add the right ambiance. Think outside the box and consider all sorts of amusements –strolling musicians, magicians, chefs’ demonstrations, palm readers…anything out of the ordinary. Novelty is the key to your success. Keep in mind that entertainment to rave about can also come in the form of an elaborate coffee bar or startlingly beautiful champagne fountain. Remember to check all decorating plans with the venue in advance because many have restrictions on what they allow. For example some establishments forbid helium balloons, others have fire, height and noise restrictions.


Create A Memorable Theme

Creating a theme for your event helps make it easier to organize food, dcor, and other accessories, such as giveaway items. Select a theme that fits your participants and the purpose of your event. Consider choosing from the following categories:

• Fashion: The Roaring Twenties or The psychedelic 60’s

• History: The Garden of Eden or A Renaissance Fair

• Cultural: All the glamour Bollywood, Arabian Nights or a Hawaiian theme.

• Popular culture: Current popular movies and trends

• The arts: A Night at the Oscars, Broadway theatre

• Futuristic: Outer space, hi Technology or your favourite Sci-Fi Movie/TV show.


Integrate The Theme

Don’t consider a theme unless you are prepared to follow it through your entire event. Don’t limit it to a few posters on the walls, which just add lip service rather than real ambiance. For the most impact, integrate it before, during and after the event. Reflect your theme in your invitations and in any party packs guests take home. Your theme should complement the tone and content of your event. Advise speakers and discuss with them how they can incorporate, but not overuse the theme in their remarks.

A few extras to consider when integrating your theme:

• Make sure the theme is general enough that it is unlikely to offend anyone and is meaningful to your group.

• Develop a slogan or message to go along with the theme to add a little extra when you promote the event.

• Consider having a special logo designed to enhance the theme and its possible message.


Hire A Professional Photographer

A photographer is a great addition to almost any event. Guests appreciate a visual reminder of the fun time they had at your affair. Arranging to have family portraits taken at an employee appreciation event shows your employees that you care about them as individuals. Guests at more formal affairs enjoy having their pictures taken while they’re dressed up for a night out. Decide whether you want a photographer to roam among your guests taking candid shots, to set up in a central location to take posed shots, or both.

Adding paparazzi actors to the start of your evening can also create a buzz as your guests arrive. Let them create a bit of havoc so your guests feel like stars pushing through the riff-raff. Smuggle the professional photographer in there during that first 30-60 minutes and then they can upload the photos to a laptop and project the images on an overhead projector later in the evening.


Entertain The Group

Participants look forward to the entertainment segment of a program. They want to have fun, enjoy themselves, and let their hair down, particularly after stressful and demanding sessions. So guess what? Your participants’ stress reliever now becomes your stress maker. You have a true responsibility to choose the right entertainment for your group. Some options include the following:

  • Music: Your choices include a band with or without singers, a soloist (instrumental or vocal), a DJ/VJ Spectacle
  • Roving: Consider hiring a magician, juggler, comedian, mime or hypnotist.
  • Theatre: Arrange a dinner theatre performance, a one-person act, a murder-mystery experience, or corporate theatre (which involves using professional or amateur actors to dramatize a company’s image, a new product, or the history of an organization).
  • Games: Involve your participants by planning individual games, such as a treasure hunt, a casino night with professional tables and croupiers, a Murder Mystery theme.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. For a retirement dinner, consider creating a slide show featuring the guest of honour's accomplishments. For a sales meeting, provide a video demonstration of a new product.


Hire The Right Talent

As you think about hiring your entertainment talent, find out where and for whom they’ve previously performed. Make certain that you view a demo video or check their references with a couple of phone calls.

If you have a large, very important function coming up, try hiring them for a smaller function to see how it goes or ask if they are performing at any public event you can go and watch. Assess for the quality of their performance and the audience reaction. Check out their references and ask some pertinent questions:

• Would you hire them again?

• How flexible, reliable and easy to work with were they?

• How would you rate their act?

• What do they do well?

• What part of their act could use improvement?

Having superb promotional material sent to you can sometimes be a good sign but gives you no true assessment of how reliable they are or how professionally they can handle problems that arise while they're working in your event. (It's like comparing yourself to the professional racing car driver. We could all go down the motorway at 160km/hr but only the professional could handle a blown tyre or a driver from the slow lane suddenly crossing in front of you.)


Use The Services Of An Entertainment Agency

When searching to find the right talent for your event it is important to get it right. That is why going through a reliable Entertainment Agency like Talent On Line is important. We can find you exactly what you are looking for or source what you need saving you time and therefore money. A good agent knows what entertainers are available and can advise on who is most suitable for the style, budget and size of your event.

We can advise you on costs and liaise with the talent on your behalf which leaves you free to do your own job. Just as you are an expert in your field of work we are an expert in ours (yep, we do this all day) and we have a better knowledge of the Entertainment Industry, who's hot, who's reliable and what is available. We at Talent On Line are the only agency with branches in both Australia and New Zealand and we're always on the look out for new and exciting acts to offer you, so let us do the leg work for you.


More about Talent On Line

If possible book well in advance so you have plenty of time to find the right venue and talent. At certain times of the year, especially the Christmas season (mid November to mid December) entertainers are very busy so you need to book early to avoid missing out.


Putting It All Together

Have production meetings or phone meetings with everyone involved in your event. Write up a detailed run sheet of what every person is doing in the event. Make sure everything is put in chronologically and in 24 hour time. Email a copy of this run sheet to ALL suppliers for the night so they know what else is happening around them. This can be particularly important when you get the occasional supplier who will make their own mind up as to how much time they need to do their job but they have no idea how the time changes they create affects others on the team, so make sure you've spoken to everyone about how much time they need to prepare, how long they perform and what else will be affected by these time constraints.




Move into kitchen.



Lay tables and chairs

Lay red carpet at front entrance

Sound and lighting setup


Our staff

Joe Bloggs productions


Set up and sound check

Call time and briefing for paparazzi, showgirls and photographer

Band x 5

Paparazzi x 6

Showgirls x 2



Guests arrive. Cocktails served, CD music, photos

Band meal


Move through to dining room, band begins, photographer and showgirls continue to rove.

Paparazzi finished.



5 minute opening address by boss.

Buffet opens

Showgirls and photographer meal

and so it goes on to the end of the function....

Bring extra copies of the run sheet with you in case your suppliers forget to bring theirs and bring a copy with everyone's mobile phone numbers (or their agents phone number) in case you need to contact them with last minute changes or chase up someone who's late.

So there it is. We help these tips and advice will be useful. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss an upcoming event you have with us.