By: Maria Mosman

Planning an event, regardless of the occasion, can be equal parts fun and stressful. On the one hand, watching weeks of planning and hard work come together successfully is both gratifying and confidence-boosting. On the other hand, planning an event comes with a multitude of opportunities for things to go wrong at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the risk of a triumphant success turning sour.

Make a list

Countless details go into planning a successful event, any one of which can suddenly go wrong without warning. Because of this, expecting perfection out of any event is simply unrealistic. Rather than drive yourself crazy trying to achieve the impossible, accept that some things are outside your control and take measures to avoid being blindsided. Prior to any event, sit down to brainstorm a list of things that could go wrong. While this approach may sound pessimistic, planning for undesirable outcomes and is the best way to ensure you avoid any unpleasant surprises on the big day.

Develop solutions

After compiling your (stress-inducing!) list of worst-case scenarios, the next step is to apply creative solutions. Work your way down the list and write down at least one way to quickly handle each situation as it happens. Windy day and your banners are flying around? Pack some rope and ground stakes. A/V system glitches and you no longer have functioning mic or speakers? Take a battery-powered speaker and mic setup*. Arriving at your event armed with a developed action plan will help smooth unexpected snags and save you time and sanity.


Although this preparation method certainly helps, it’s unlikely that you’ll capture every possible negative outcome on your list. Working a margin for error into your event and practicing creative problem-solving on the fly is key when all else fails. Moreover, learning how to relax and remain flexible not only helps put out small fires as they come, but it’s also so much more enjoyable than trying to rigidly stick to a plan and panicking at the first sign of trouble.


*You guessed it – these are both real situations and solutions that we have dealt with just in the past month!