Organising events

Everyone likes events. It often means food and wine, turning up to listen to an interesting person, catching up with old friends and meeting new people. But what about the people and effort that goes into organising an event? It is all about detail.

Why is the event happening?

Ask yourself why you are organising this event, and what you are wanting to achieve? Is an event the best way to launch a new service or product? Who are you trying to reach? It is critical to set KPIs so you can evaluate properly at the end of the event.

Develop a budget

All events – large and small – need a budget. It should be specific and broken into logical sections. Food and drink, furniture hire, wait staff, entertainment, venue hire, invitations, and collateral that you may need to produce. Include a miscellaneous item as well, events always cost more than one anticipates.

Detail mania

Will the event be informal, a party, a think tank? What will the event look and feel like? How many guests will be invited? Will there be welcoming drinks, is it a cocktail party or sit-down affair? Will the event be inside or outdoors?

Will you use an event space or a private home with a marquee? Will it be themed? Choosing the right venue is critical for the event to work but it always comes at a cost.

What makes and breaks an event is the catering. Too much and people complain about wastage, too little and people go home hungry. What drinks will be available and will it be self-service or wait-service? Will the food be canapes or buffet? If a sit-down affair, will it be plated or will the food be placed in the middle of the table for sharing?  

Speakers and entertainment require technical support, they may also need transport and accommodation. These have an impact on the budget.

Write a checklist

Write a checklist of things so that you can tick items off the list, add if needed. A checklist of what a venue needs to offer is vital as it will help to create a shortlist.


It is not enough just to get prices of venue hire. You must do venue inspections. Ahead of any visit, prepare a list of questions so that you are prepared and receive the answers you want.

We always ask about what the hire fee includes:

  • Staffing, catering, furniture?
  • How many people does the room or venue fit?
  • If you need a stage or technical requirements, is this included or do you have to source elsewhere?
  • How much does catering cost per head? Is there extra for guests with special dietary requirements? Can you have a tasting beforehand?
  • What about bump in and bump out? What time can you start setting the venue up, and when do you have everything out?

Events MediaWise has organised:

  • The opening of McAuley House, December 2016
  • Launch of Homeless Campaign on Parliament House steps, 2015
  • Good Shepherd 150th Anniversary Festival, 2013
  • Count Me In – the launch of Good Shepherd Microfinance