BellaNaija is pleased to announce a new column for our special readers – Ask FVO! Funmi Victor-Okigbo (FVO) is an expert in Event planning & management, and is now a BellaNaija contributor.
FVO is the Chief Executive and Lead Production Designer of No Surprises Events. Her
corporate client base spans industries as diverse as technology, entertainment, banking, government and consumer goods across sub-Saharan Africa.
Need help planning a family dinner, birthday party, seminar, wedding, board meeting, concert or just curious about how the professionals do some of their amazing tricks? If you have a burning question, just Ask FVO and get a focused, clear, no-nonsense answer!
I’m planning my first event, a 50th birthday party, and I’m unsure how to go about it. The celebrant wants a different type of birthday party and not the usual. Thing is, I’m not even sure what the usual is! I’m just breaking out into the event planning industry and I happened upon this event. I’ve been trusted to plan a mature but interesting birthday party for a male. What tips can you give me to make it a memorable party, and how do I make sure everything is organized and works out well? How do I handle vendors and make sure they come on time, deliver, and perform accordingly?
You sound a bit anxious which is not unusual even for some of us that have been doing this for a while, so what you are going through is normal.
First thing is you have to do is ask your client a lot of questions. Try to find out his personality, what he likes, or doesn’t like, events he has attended in the past and his most memorable moments, this will help determine his personality.
Do some research, you may go online to search for similar events to inspire you, try to put together options, maybe two so he has choices.
Present your ideas in a visual format in a mood board or a story board, something you can share with your client to get a better idea of what he likes.
After the ‘ideas stage’ you now have to work with your vendors to get a quote to support your ideas, this may take a while as this is usually the negotiation stage as you have to balance between what your client can afford and the quality of what will be delivered.
Next stage is to put together an agreement of what is to be delivered with other details like set up times and ‘pull down’ time etc. Please include everything in the contract, colours, numbers everything! Ensure you meet with your vendors as much as possible to ensure you’re all in sync. Let your vendors know there is a consequence for not honouring the contract.
Create a checklist and a work plan to make sure all deliverables and timelines are met and you don’t forget anything.
Ensure you communicate with your client as much as possible as things may change from time to time. You will have to communicate these changes to your vendors well in advance.
Finally, relax, take a deep breath and do your thing, be ready to improvise as anything can happen!
Please send me photos or share your experience with me afterwards I’d love to hear how it went….and good luck!
Send your questions for FVO to askFVO(at)nosurprisesevents.com stating your name and where you are writing from. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for content brevity and clarity. We regret that we cannot provide individual answers to questions sent in and cannot state at which exact date answers would be published.
We look forward to reading your emails and tweets with questions.