A few years ago a popular writer published a book called "Fear and Trembling in Las Vegas" Well, that same title might be applied to anyone who suddenly finds themselves given the job of planning a big banquet event. So the more we do ahead of time to identify the key steps, the more we take the terror as well as the fear and trembling out of planning a big banquet.
The best way to take the fear out of preparing for any big event you have to face is to get an understanding of what you need to think about and then begin to itemize what it will take to get that part planned. In other words, start making some lists. Even if you have never planned a banquet before, you have been to one so you know the basic things that have to be right to make that banquet a success. They are…
. The food,
. The seating - tables and chairs,
. The banquet hall,
. The service,
. The facilities - bathrooms and parking,
. The entertainment,
. The guests.
For any banquet to be a success, people have to know about it. So before you do any other planning, having some meetings with the organizers of the event about the theme and the goals of the banquet is essential. Is this banquet being put on for a focused group such as a club like the Rotary or is it being put on for the public such as a fund raiser? How you plan the event and what will happen during the course of the evening will all hinge on the purpose of the event and on who must be there to make it a success.
Advertising and promotion must be part of your planning even if that just means having an announcement made at the next meeting of the group or club involved. But you have to have an idea of how many to expect at the event to begin making plans for the hall, the seating, the food and the service. If you find that the event is going to be open to the public, the best way to estimate how many to expect is to work from past experience with the event.
If its an annual event, the banquet planner from last year can help you get a feel for what to expect. Having that resource of being able to tap the knowledge of previous banquet organizers will be a huge value to you so be nice to them! Not only can they help you with making big decisions like how many people to expect and other variables that only experience can address, they may have references for caterers, facilities where the event has been successful, etc.
The more far in advance of the event you can get in your planning, the more success you will have. Many events begin the planning stage immediately upon the conclusion of the previous annual event. So get moving as soon as you know that its your job to make the banquet a success. By starting fast and knowing the right questions, you vastly improve your chances of success.