Eight tips for planning a large corporate gala

Galas have many different features that can add to the stress of planning the event such as sponsors, auctions and entertainment. In addition, dealing with vendors, meals, special accommodations, etc. can be a challenge as well. Here are some areas to think about that can make your event less stressful:
Tips for planning a large corporate gala

  • You need to plan early! If you plan on renting a popular venue, make sure to secure it far in advance. Most places that are extremely unique can book up to a year in advance. By booking a venue early, you can put down your deposit and ensure that venue for the event.
  • Always plan a very strict budget – though you must set extra cash outside your budget for unexpected expenses that may occur.
  • Always make extra copies of everything. These can be of contracts, lists, seating charts, etc. You never know when one of these important documents could go missing.
  • If you are sending out invitations, make sure to send them roughly eight weeks in advance. If the event is in high demand, or during a holiday, you may want to also send “Save the Date” cards up to six months in advance.
  • Create a seating chart. Putting together a seating chart will be the best possible scenario to avoid faux pas in your seating choices.
  • If you would like good attendance at your event, try to schedule it for earlier in the week and away from major holidays. Most people have plans during the weekends and travel during the holidays.
  • Make sure to put together a list of all the equipment you will need, such as microphones, projectors, speakers, video, etc. Make sure to have a technology professional onsite who can fix any technical issues that may arise with any of the equipment.
  • When planning any type of event, you should always have an emergency or contingency plan in case of a disaster: rain with an outdoor event, illness, or any other type of emergency that may come about.

Good luck with your corporate event gala! Few events instill such pride and excitement as these corporate functions, and they can have a positive impact on the moral of your clients for months to come.

About the author:

Andy McNeill, CEO of AMI, is a veteran of the meetings and event industries, with more than 25 years of experience in the profession. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice. After graduation from Florida State with a degree in marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm. Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually across the globe. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded $40 million a year. In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually. The firm has managed programs in more than 20 industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot. Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. He is a member of MPI, Site, and the American Marketing Association. He volunteers as a chair of the Human Rights Campaign. Andy's day-to-day responsibilities include client acquisition, consulting and overall company strategy.

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