Saturday, June 7, 2014

The 5 stages of event planning

Whether its a giant fundraising gala, a business conference, or a wedding in your parent's backyard, event planning can be incredibly stressful. Last month, I was involved in planning three big events, and let me tell you: I'm exhausted.

If you've done any event planning yourself, you know it isn't all about the big day. There are months and months of preparation that go into planning that one three-hour meeting or that one two-day trip. I've discovered that I experience several stages of emotion during the months leading up to and following a big event. In fact, they share some similarities with the five stages of grief described by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross. (I'm kidding! Kind of...)

1. Denial

Commonly characterized by: "My event is still nine months away. I don't need to start planning for it yet." Or, it's still two months before the big event and you still haven't sent in the required site permits. You'd rather drain your phone's battery on Pinterest than figure out which vendor to work with. Sometimes, the list of to-do's is so long that you don't know where to start. But it's OK. You've still got time.

2. Anger

Your event planning committee is driving you nuts. Your volunteers are driving you nuts. Your boss is driving you nuts. Your boyfriend is driving you nuts. The person who messed up the floral arrangements is driving you nuts. Basically, everyone including your dog is driving you nuts!!!

3. Bargaining

You find yourself asking everyone and their second cousin for a favor. "If you buy a ticket to my event I'll buy you a drink!" "If you sign up to volunteer I'll be forever in your debt!" "If you print 100 color copies I'll take you out for coffee!" "If you help me make these centerpieces I'll sell you my soul for half price!"

4. Depression

A few days after the event, it hits you like a brick: Now that your event is over, there is no meaning in life. What is the point of breathing if you don't need to micromanage a team of 12 volunteers anymore? You're totally burnt out from working a 16-hour shift on Saturday. Oh, and you'd rather not have to think about all those thank you notes you still need to write.

5. Acceptance

Now that it's been a month or two since your event, the whole event planning process doesn't seem so bad. Looking back at the photos, you give yourself a little pat on the back. Maybe you won't mind doing the whole thing over again next year...

Fellow event planners: Can you relate?


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