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How to Plan an Unforgettable Gala Event – ID Events Planning 101

how to run a gala event image

With the Silly Season upon us, many businesses are busy planning their end of year and Christmas functions. Words like entertaining, memorable, celebration and fun come to mind when we think about gala events. There are so many aspects to bring together to ensure a successful night that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start! We’ve put together a quick guide to planning a fantastic gala event that your guests will never forget.

Failure to plan is a plan to fail

First things first, you need a plan. Think about what you want to achieve and how you want your guests to feel, then start at the very beginning. Concept, logistics, design and work you way through to execution. Set yourself timelines for each aspect to ensure nothing gets forgotten or left too late.

Show me the money!

Set your budget. Know exactly how much you have to spend and make sure you include every single little thing to avoid any last minute unexpected costs! Having a contingency line item with a little bit set aside just in case is a great back-up plan.

How do you organize a Space party? You planet!

Before making any decisions on venue, catering, décor and entertainment, decided if your gala event will have a theme, as this will influence all of your decisions. You also need to determine how heavily themed your event will be. Will it just be a hint here and there or are you transporting guests to a whole new world? For some great theme inspiration look no further than our Pinterest! 

Location, location, location

The venue for your gala event is one of the most important factors. It must meet your needs in capacity, facility, access and cost. If you’re having a themed event you need to consider if the venue suits your theme. You can’t have a sophisticated Gatsbyesque soiree in a funky hipster bar.

Stuck in the middle with you

Centrepieces are a major part of your event décor for seated gala events. They are often the first thing guests notice and will definitely be a talking point for the evening, good or bad. 2 simple things to remember for centrepiece success; does it match my theme and can guests see each other and hold a conversation, either over or under it. Also consider if you have a large number of tables you will need a large number of centrepieces and these can quickly escalate costs. Think about your budget and remember things like fresh florals can get quite expensive, so if you have budget constraints, try and get creative with cheaper options.

A little party never hurt nobody

The entertainment you select for the evening can make or break your gala event. Be sure to choose entertainment that isn’t the right fit for your event and your crowd. From professional speakers to comedians, cover bands to DJ’s, you’ll need to consider your budget, the duration of the event and if you have any formalities and your guests. Remember, the event should be fun and memorable, so pick exciting entertainers and get your guests up and busting a groove!

Bring in the big guns

Gala events have a lot of moving parts. Venue, caterer, stylist, AV, entertainment, just to name a few! Hire a professional event organiser to help you bring every piece of the puzzle together and achieve the outcome you’re after. Event organisers often have great industry relationships you can lean on to get better rates and ensure you have quality, experienced vendors involved. Having an experienced coordinator run the event also means you can enjoy the night you’ve created and spend time with your guests!