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The 5 Biggest Event Planning Mistakes

March 15, 2014

Event planning mistakes happen. Sometimes everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Some mistakes can be avoided, and after 30 years in the event planning industry, we’ve developed a solution to just about every conceivable event problem. These common mistakes are easy to avoid are potential dangers to your event and your profits if you fail to plan for these.

Read on to find the best solutions to the biggest mistakes in the biz!

Failing to Develop and Finalize a Floor Plan

Failing to develop a floor plan can have huge consequences on event day. The set up process will take much longer than necessary, as you’ll need to figure out where to place everything. You may not end up with the best layout since you’re working in a limited time frame. Particularly with larger events, the issue is further magnified.

Brown Leather Furniture

The Fix: Mistakes like this can be avoided by finalizing a detailed floor plan at least a week prior to the event date. This will make the unloading and set up process as easy as possible. You’ll save valuable time, as you’ll know exactly where to unload items based on their placement in the floor plan. A couple things to keep in mind during the creation process:

  • If you’re working off venue floor plans make sure they’re to scale
  • Share your final floor plans with everyone involved in the event
  • Pay attention to fire codes! Don’t ever block doorways or hallways – even if the venue says, “we do it all the time”
  • Ask your vendors for their space requirements so you can allocate enough room for them

Failing to Schedule a Walk Through with Clients and Vendors

Failing to schedule a walk through with clients and vendors essentially leaves everyone in the dark. Failing to share this information with your client and key event personnel could result in mass chaos and a very unhappy client.


The Fix: Including this step in your planning process every time will make your client satisfaction rates shoot through the roof! They’ll know exactly what they’re getting on the day of the event, and if they’re not happy with something you can easily make adjustments based on feedback from the walk through. Including vendors and any necessary event staff will make for seamless communication and execution.  An additional step we take with clients to really guarantee they know exactly what they’re paying for is 3D renderings.

Not Using a Packing List 

Failing to use some kind of packing checklist will almost always result in forgotten items, leading to compromises or wasted time spent retrieving the pieces left behind. You’ve spent months planning and don’t want to miss an opportunity to impress your client with efficient and thorough service!


The Fix: Develop a packing list a week before the event and review with your team to make sure nothing is forgotten.  It’s helpful to keep a box of the basics (pens, paper, tape, etc.) to bring along to every event. Once all items for your event have been pulled, always have someone who did not pull the order review it and check it off. This serves as a second check and is almost foolproof for preventing forgotten items.

Not Allowing Sufficient Set Up and Load Out Time

This is one of the biggest event planning mistakes, as there is little you can do to resolve the issue, apart from calling in more staff.  Nothing looks worse than your team running around last minute to desperately tie everything together.

Beaded Chandelier- Event Mistakes

The Fix: Avoid the unnecessary stress, and fees (if you have to bring in additional set up staff) of this mistake by allowing plenty of time for event set up. Develop a detailed production schedule assigning all tasks to your staff, including who, what, when, and where. This schedule should give you a pretty accurate time frame required for set up. However, you should always build in a 30-minute buffer, before the scheduled start time, so that any surprises or issues can be handled without holding up doors. Also, keep in mind that it takes just as much time to safely load out as it does to load in. So, use the same time frame for striking your event.

Unmarked Entrance

We mentioned the importance of signage in our event-planning checklist.  You don’t want to start an event with disgruntled guests who had a difficult time finding the event location.

Teva Arch - Event Mistakes

The Fix: Set the tone for the evening with a clearly marked entrance. You want to welcome guests and start the event on a high note.  Some things we use with our clients include custom signage, spandex arches, LED video walls – all designed in conjunction with the rest of the event décor to develop a grand entrance and memorable start. Consider the guest entrance path and be sure to provide any necessary signage, or staff, to guide them to your clearly marked entrance.

Avoid mistakes, check out how In The Event™ can plan the perfect event for you!

What are some other solutions you have developed for common event planning mistakes? Tell us in the comments below!

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