When you are planning an event—whether it is a part of your job description or you are doing so for a friend or family member—your work doesn’t end right when the guests leave. There is clean-up, time spent making sure vendors are paid and additionally, time spent afterward getting feedback and thanking guests for coming. One of the most important things you can do when getting feedback is to create an event recap.
The Importance of an Event Recap
Whova cites de-briefing after an event as one of the most commonly overlooked parts of event planning. While you spend a large amount of time managing expectations during the planning and design process, you need to take the time afterward to make sure those expectations were met and see where you can improve.
Perhaps you overlooked something when choosing the space. Or, for the first time, you were able to expertly manage your time and things were done ahead of schedule. Whatever the case, reviewing both your successes and failures will help your next event be that much stronger. That goes for whether you are planning a business gala for 500 attendees, or a bridal shower for your best friend and 10 other guests. There is always something to be learned to make that next part or event even better.
Sending out an event recap to clients or meeting in-person to discuss the details—or in the case of a party, sharing photos with your guest of honor—is not only important according to The Buzz Bin, but it is a the great way to wrap the event up in a bow and move on to the next event or party that you get to plan.
Writing Your Event Recap
When it comes to making your event recap, it will be different depending on a few factors—such as event type, objective and if you are working on behalf of a client or were planning a party for a guest of honor. There are a few things you can always include, however: how long you had to plan the event, the location, the number of attendees, what you feel were the wins, what you feel were the losses and any feedback you got from attendees or colleagues. Another important part is ending the recap with a few sentences full of ideas for the next event. The Houston Chronicle explains:
“Finish the report with a series of specific recommendations. These might include inviting better presenters, increasing the time available for training sessions, choosing a venue that is more convenient for participants by rail or air or allocating a higher budget for future events.”
If you are writing an event recap in a professional setting, you will also need to choose how to present the information to a larger audience, as you will often be reporting to a client and sharing feedback with your team so that they have it to reference for the next event, as well. In this day and age, creating a digital recap is the easiest way to share it with others. As is such when creating an event survival kit (another must for any event), the first time you create an event recap it may be time consuming, but once you have the basic outline, it can carry over to future recaps. When it comes to choosing the digital tools you use, it will all be personal preference, but Eventbrite has created a list of tools you may find useful.
If you are writing an event recap in a personal setting, you may choose to do so in a notebook or even in a list on your phone; this can be a lot less formal as you are mostly making it for yourself to reference the next time you plan a party or event for a friend or family member. You’ll still want to make note of any wins or losses—for example, “The flower arrangements by Lee’s Floral were beautiful; I should use them for another party,” or “People preferred the chocolate cupcakes over the vanilla”—so that in the future you have a list of go-to vendors or restaurants that were easy to work with.
Making note of all of these things is all a part of making the next event an even better experience for everyone involved—and will make planning the next event that much easier on you.
No matter how you choose to recap your event, it is important that you make note of favorite vendors, anything you would do differently next time and even how long you want to give yourself to plan the next event to make it bigger and better. Not everything in the event planning process is as easy as finding your venue with Spacesift, so you’ll want to make note of your wins and losses to make the process go even more smoothly next time.