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People love getting together — especially when food, drink, and entertainment are on offer. Events give attendees the opportunity to socialize for a common cause, whether it’s a corporate dinner, a nonprofit fundraiser, or even a wedding.

However, before the decorations go up and the punch starts flowing, a lot must happen behind the scenes. Fortunately, an experienced event planner can help you pull off a truly memorable get-together with minimal effort on your part.

To find the right person to execute your vision, here are five questions to ask when hiring an event planner.

#1: Can You Show Me Events You’ve Planned in the Past?

A prospective event planner’s portfolio will convey in a few seconds what could take 1,000 words to explain verbally. Asking right away to see a digital or physical copy of their portfolio will give you an idea of their style and the scope of their past events.

If you’re trying to throw a business formal mixer, you’ll want to hire an event planner with a proven track record of organizing corporate events. Likewise for a themed anniversary party. A portfolio is the strongest indicator that a prospective hire’s style and skillset meets your needs.

#2: What’s Your Strategy for Creating a Budget and Sticking to It?

When the last guest has gone home, you’ll still be holding the bill. Asking an event planner about their budgeting strategy will help you avoid any nasty surprises to the tune of thousands of dollars above the original estimates.

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#3: Do You Carry Event Insurance — and What’s You Policy Limit?

Everyone was thrilled to see your grandparents out on the dance floor. That is until Grandpa slipped on the runoff from the rapidly melting ice sculpture and needed an ambulance ride to the ER.

Fingers crossed your event will go off without a hitch. But if an accident does occur, you’ll be glad you hired a planner with event insurance — specifically General Liability insurance, which covers costs related to third-party bodily injury and property damage.

Some commercial venues require a certain amount of liability coverage, which is why you should also inquire about the nature of your event planner’s policy. A good rule of thumb is to work with people carrying at least $1 million in liability protection.

#4: How Have You Handled Last-Minute Changes in the Past?

It could rain on your wedding day. The power could cut out in the middle of a big speech. The refrigerated catering van carrying 250 filet mignons could break down on the side of the highway. The DJ you booked months ago could come down with a fever the day of your event. An event planner must be able to handle the stress of these sudden changes — and come up with an alternative plan on the spot.

#5: Which Vendors and Venues Do You Have a Working Relationship With?

One of the advantages of working with an experienced event planner is that they’ll have pre-existing relationships with vendors and venues around town. This will help you get the best rates and availability for your event — plus it’ll reduce the amount of legwork your team has to do.

Ask these five questions before signing the contract when hiring an event planner to manage the logistics of your next gathering,