The Ultimate Guide To Social Event Planning

By Davina Applewhite
Are you looking to throw a fun-filled birthday bash for a momentous milestone? Or maybe you’re in charge of getting your family together for the next reunion. Is it your responsibility to host a networking event for a major company?
Regardless of the details, planning a social event is no easy feat. This guide will help aid in that planning process so that you can feel less overwhelmed and more excited to host and attend your special event!

Identify Event Goals

First thing’s first when planning your social event: identify your event goals. Every event will have a different purpose: networking, celebrating, or bonding. This will help set the mood and themes for your event. Are your guests going to be dressed casually or formally? Will there be dancing? Will there be speeches? The rest of your event planning will fall into place by initially identifying what you would like to accomplish during this event.

The Guest List

The next essential step to planning your social event is deciding who will be in attendance. Identifying your guests will inevitably shape how you prepare for the rest of your event. Certain factors, such as how your guest will receive their invites (e-mail, mail, in-person) or what activities will take place (dancing, games, presentations), all depend on the demographic of your guests. Most importantly, you want your guests to feel comfortable, welcomed, and as though their wants and needs are being met during your event.


Budgeting is another vital step in your guide to planning your event. Mapping out just how much you are willing to spend on food, drinks, entertainment, and decorations will be one of the most essential parts of your event planning process. Identify which aspects you are willing to splurge on and which ones you can adjust to save a bit of money. This will ultimately help you determine which parts of your events are most important to you and your guests.

Choosing the Event Venue

Now that you have established these three steps in planning your event, you can use those decisions to help you find an event space that will meet all of your needs.
There are some essential questions to consider when looking for an ideal venue. This includes:
  • Will this venue accommodate your number of guests?
  • Is this venue within your budget?
  • Is there enough space to accommodate your activities?
  • Will this space aid in helping you to achieve your event goals?
Once you have answered these questions and have chosen a venue that meets your requirements, you can move forward with the event planning process.

Food & Beverage Options

Most venues offer on-site catering options, which will help you with your next step in the event planning process: food and beverages. If this is a company event, it may be best to avoid alcohol and opt for coffee and soft drinks instead. If you are celebrating a birthday party, consider alcoholic beverages as an option.
The same goes for meal options. Will there be a need for vegetarian options? Will you be serving complete courses or just hors d’oeuvres? Also, take into account what time your event will start and what foods can appropriately be served at that time. The truth is, there are many options to choose from when picking foods and beverages that your guests will enjoy. When in doubt, ask around, but always remember to be mindful of the people you are inviting.

Event Entertainment

If you are looking to host an event where everyone is raving about how much fun they’ve had, entertainment is essential to your planning. Consider hiring a band or a DJ to get everyone on the dance floor. Entertainment may not be at the top of your list for events such as ceremonies or company conferences, and that’s okay! Every event is different. So, if you’re in doubt about what aspects should be your top priority, review your audience (guests) and your event goals.

Event Décor

Decorations help to set the mood for your event. Not every event will need an extravagant amount of decorations. However, if you decide that your event calls for it, it’s important to stick to an appropriate theme. Some events may only require a few signs or tablecloths to make the space look more cohesive. However, for example, if you’re planning a birthday party, you may want to consider other décor items, such as balloons, streamers, or bright, eye-catching colors.

Event Time

Finally, your last step in planning your perfect social event is to create a timeline. A timeline is integral for whatever type of event you are planning. Take the time to outline a sequential order of activities for the day of your event. This timeline will be essential to ensuring that your event runs smoothly and that there is enough time to get through each activity before the end of the day.
Hosting and planning a social event isn’t always the easiest task, but you can alleviate some of that stress by following these steps and ensuring that you have a venue that meets your needs. For instance, The Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront in Suffolk is an excellent place for hosting social events. With accommodating spaces, this venue is ideal for any occasion, from birthday parties to business meetings. Whether your event goals, audience, or budget, The Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront has all, you need to make your social event special!