What to do when your event doesn’t go to plan…


We’ve all been there. You’ve spent countless hours designing the perfect event, with fingers crossed that it will all go according to plan. On the day, you find yourself putting out spot fires here and there, but nothing too drastic happens…until it does.

Your caterer calls and says they haven’t got enough staff for the event. The audio-visual technology you need for music and speeches just won’t seem to work. Your keynote speaker calls and says they can’t make it on time.

Or, my personal favourite – you’re hosting an outdoor event and despite sunny forecasts, the sky looks like lightning will strike at any moment.

When it comes to orchestrating an event that relies on so many other people to do their part (and the goodwill of mother nature!), there’s always a high likelihood that at least something will go wrong.

The value of backup plans

Over the years, I have learned how to deal with unexpected issues, and prepare extensively beforehand to ensure I have a plan B. C. and D.

If a certain element is critical to your success, you need to find a way to minimise the impact if that element fails to work out. Creating a Contingency and Risk Assessment Plan is crucial for your event’s success.

In the lead up to your event, make a list of everything that is:

  1. Super important – High Risk
  2. Reasonably important – Medium Risk
  3. Not too important – Low Risk

Then, go through your list and write down an alternative (plan B) to everything that is super important and reasonably important, to ensure you minimise risk in case of a worst-case scenario. Your alternative needs to be something that you can draw on instantly, on the day of your event, if the worst should happen.

This could mean asking someone to prepare a speech as a backup keynote speaker, putting a small holding deposit down on a backup indoor venue, or sussing out local restaurants that could prepare food quickly if your caterer doesn’t come through.

When people create problems

If you’ve been following the FIFA World Cup, you may have seen Robbie Williams make a rude gesture during the opening ceremony. The event organisers had to come out and apologise for his actions afterward, as the ceremony was being shown live on TV.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do when people cause problems at events. If you expect issues (i.e. if you’re organising a dance party for young adults), it’s essential to plan for safety by ensuring adequate security on the night.

If, however, someone says or does something that raises eyebrows during your event, the best way to handle it is to simply get on with the show! People will quickly forget a silly incident if you give them a reason to bring their attention back to the celebration.

Perhaps you can lead them with some great music, humour, entertainment, or even a great speech. Being able to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” is the trademark of a great event organiser.

But you make it look so easy!

People always tell me that I make events look so easy. Trust me, they are not easy, they just appear that way! But, that is exactly how I want people to feel at an End2End Event.

Nobody has to know that you’re under stress, or that something has gone wrong behind the scenes. As an experienced event planner, it’s your job to make it all appear perfect so that your guests can focus on their event and enjoy a seamless experience.

At the end of the day, it’s not about what goes wrong. It’s about what people know about what goes wrong. And if you prepare in advance, stitch up silly incidents with great entertainment and a good attitude, whilst keeping everything flowing beautifully with a happy smile, your guests will be able to enjoy the experience they set out to have when they decided to attend and engage you in the first place.

At End2End we’re here to ensure you too get to enjoy your special event and leave all the planning, design, styling and execution details on us!

For help creating a seamless and perfectly executed special event experience, call End2End Events on 0415 523 159 or complete the contact form by clicking here.