Creative Event Planning Ideas for Planning a Memorable Event

Add These Personal Touches for a One-of-a-Kind Event

Businesswoman using tablet computer in dining room
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As any professional event planner knows, no two events are the same. Nor should they be. One of the reasons your clients decided to hire an event planner in the first place is the desire for a personalized, original event. Taking a unique approach to each event is also an aspect of event planning that appeals to many planners as it presents the opportunity to unleash your creativity and imagination in delivering a one-of-a-kind event.

So relax, get your creative thinking cap on, and consider these different, creative event planning ideas.

Creative Event Planning Ideas 

Don’t Let the Event Budget Stand in Your Way

It goes without saying that a large event budget affords greater opportunities to go that extra mile in securing the very best venue for your event, the best caterer or the best entertainment. But that does not mean that those events with smaller budgets have to fall by the wayside into the realm of mediocrity. It simply means that you need to use your creativity to work around the budgetary restrictions.

Select an Event Theme and Title

Selecting a theme for your event is the first step in setting your event apart from the rest. This theme drives many other components of your event, from the venue, invitation, décor, entertainment and more. So don’t skip this crucial part -- resist the temptation to select something simple to just get the ball rolling on the event planning process.

When you consider a theme, make a list of all the different ways that theme can be incorporated into other elements of the event.

Creative Ways to Incorporate Your Theme

Naturally, if the theme of your corporate event is a beach party, it would be appropriate to host your event at a beach venue. However, budgets and geographic location can put a quick end to that notion.

That does not mean you need to select a different theme! It means you need to think creatively to explore ways in which you can incorporate this theme in other, more affordable or logistically manageable, ways. Here are a few creative event planning ideas.

Venue

If your guests can’t get to the white sand beaches for this event, then bring it to them. If the venue allows, have a section of the event space cordoned off and fill it with sand. Add a beach volleyball net if your theme is more “fun in the sun” and encourage guests to stick their toes in the sand. Or add a large beach backdrop, rent a tiki bar, and have the sounds of softly crashing waves in the background.

Entertainment

Hiring the right entertainment can really carry your event theme to the next level. If you are planning an event milestone party, whether that be corporate or personal, then consider hiring a DJ who will only play music pertaining to a certain era. If the mood of your event is quieter, explore hiring a few instrumentalists to play appropriate music off to the side. To really personalize your event, hire an a capella group to perform songs that have been written for the guest, whether that is a person or an organization.

If the budget allowance for entertainment is an issue, reach out to local schools in the area and inquire whether they have any student musicians who are available.

Décor

The first thing your guests will see when they arrive at your event is the décor. Decorations make a strong impression that your guests will carry with them into your event so make sure whatever elements you choose have that “wow” factor. Consider a large inflatable set outside the entryway or colorful lighting inside the venue instead of standard white lights. Don’t forget the centerpieces – your guests sit for quite some time looking at what you select so use colorful table toppers that add energy and a festive element, potted plants that can be taken home, or go with small games that guests can play, encouraging them to interact.

Food and Beverage

Nothing lends itself to creativity quite like the kitchen. Teriyaki grilled chicken with fresh pineapple slices is far more flavorful and memorable to a beach themed party than standard grilled chicken. If your event is a barbeque, feature a bar with assorted BBQ sauces that guests can add on to their plates, and large paper bibs for digging into the feast. Large cookies that feature the company logo, school emblem, or milestone birthday year are far more interesting than your standard fare cookie platter. A homemade sodas bar featuring flavored syrups where guests can follow instructions to create their own is more fun than pouring from a 64 oz. bottle. Not sure how much food to order for your event, here's a quick guide to help.

Staffing

Hiring event staff is an important part of event planning as these individuals will interact with guests and impact their overall experience. Consider your event theme and vibe when you are hiring event staff to ensure that they are a good fit and can complement that theme. Attire is important here, too, as it adds another creative element. Event staff can wear referee shirts for a sports party, sunglasses and beach visors for a beach party, or simply bright colored button down shirts to add a splash of color to the scene.

Small Touches Can Have a Big Impact

As an event planner, you may fall into the trap of thinking that in order to have a successful, memorable event, you have to splurge on the biggest and best of everything. This is not the case. Instead of thinking big, think small. Photographs of the guest of honor that line the wall along the bar area provide the opportunity for guests to peruse, comment, and connect, whether that be at a retirement luncheon or a graduation party. Blank notecards set beside a colorful box allow guests to write personal well wishes to the guest of honor. Disposable cameras encourage guests to record special moments from the event, to be shared later by the event host. The key to creative event planning is to inject personalized touches into the various aspects of your event, to take them from the ordinary to the extraordinary.