How to Plan a Successful Event
You want to hold an event for your organization. Great! But how do you do it? What resources are available to you to make it successful and fun? Student Centers’ Event Services unit has a step-by-step guide to help you host your perfect event! 1. Where Do I Start? Start out by figuring out what you want to do at your event. Do you want to throw a party for your student org or hold an open mic night for anyone to attend? Try to think about your intended date, time, and a location that can best accommodate what you want to do. In addition, try to determine how many people you expect to attend (capacity) and any equipment you might need for your event (tables, chairs, microphones, etc.). Knowing this information at the beginning will help make the event-reservation process easier and help you know who you must contact to get the resources necessary to make your event a success. More information about how to choose a venue and reserve equipment is found in the following steps. Top of Page 2. Request Space Once you know what you want to do at your event, think of the space where you want to hold it. For example, the Johnson Center meeting rooms are most likely a good match for a small student organization meeting, while the SUB I quad is likely a better venue for larger events like concerts. Click here to view different event venues as well as their allotted capacities for the Fairfax campus. Once you’ve picked your venue, go ahead and request it! Visit University Events to learn about the process of requesting and scheduling your event. Or, if you’re already familiar with the process, head straight to 25Live to put in a request. Top of Page 3. Get Your Confirmation After requesting space, (see step 2) you will receive an email, which acknowledges that your request was received. This email is NOT a confirmation of your reservation. The scheduling representatives will contact you with questions and/or scheduling conflicts, and then you will receive a second email from the respective department with your reservation confirmation 3-5 business days after the request was submitted. Only with this email will your event be confirmed. Please take note of your event reference number after your request is processed and approved. This will make it easier for Event Services to assist you in the next steps. Top of Page 4. Request Tables, Chairs, and Other Basic Equipment Now that your event is confirmed, you may need some furniture and equipment to make your event a success. Many event spaces already include tables, chairs, a podium, and/or projector at no additional cost to you, but some spaces may not offer these, or perhaps you need extra equipment. You likely requested what furniture or equipment you need in the process of requesting your space, but if you have questions about what you’ve reserved or need to request extra, you can do so. Please click here to see what equipment you can reserve through Event Services, or go straight to the booking form. Top of Page 5. Request Audio/Visual Equipment Does your event require special audio/visual or lighting equipment that is not included in your room reservation (such as a video camera or microphone)? Student Centers has you covered! Click here to request audiovisual equipment through our booking form! Top of Page
6. Advertise Your EventNow that many of your event details are in place, you want to get the word out about your event! You can promote your event using one (or more) of Student Centers’s various advertising opportunities, such as kiosks, flyers, and MasonAds. Visit our Advertising page to find out about all of our promotional options and respective policies. Top of Page
7. Request Food & Drinks for Your EventIf you need catering services at your event, you can order food and drink through Mason Catering or through any of these approved caterers. If you prefer to use a caterer not currently on the approved caterers list, contact the caterer and have them apply to be on the approved caterers list. Please allow a minimum of two weeks for application processing. Approval is not automatic, so please check to make sure your caterer has been approved prior to your event. Top of Page 8. Final Steps You’re just about ready to hold your event! About three business days before your event, double check with the respective department(s) and representative(s) to make sure that all of your event details are confirmed and ready to go. Make sure you know who to contact if you have last-minute needs the day of your event. If you have questions or need to make any changes to your event details prior to the day of your event, contact University Events and any applicable representatives or departments (such as Events Production or Catering) as soon as possible. Please note charges may be applied for last-minute changes in venue location, venue set up, and equipment needs. Use the following checklist and/or review the steps above to make sure everything is ready:
- Do I have a confirmation for my event space?
- Is the space I’ve chosen still appropriate for what I want to do?
- Do I have a confirmation for the tables, chairs, and basic equipment I’ve requested, if applicable?
- Do I have a confirmation for the audio/visual technology I’ve requested, if applicable?
- Do I have a confirmation for my catering service, if applicable?
- If my chosen caterer was not already approved, have they been added to the approved catering list and are able to provide my food and drinks?
- Do I know who I need to contact the day of my event in case I have questions or need to make changes?