Event Planning Made Simple: Design, Delegate, and Dazzle

Original Photo - RJ's WeddingEvent planning can be simplified when you design to budget, design to delegate, and design to dazzle. From planning milestone birthday celebrations to corporate events, SmartDraw can meet your event planning needs.  I’ve created diagrams that were not only used to design, they played an integral role in the coordination of a very important event in my life, my wedding day.

Previously, we took a look at a basic floor plan that was used when my husband and I were planning a bathroom renovation.  Now, that you have an understanding of some of the basic features used in creating floor plans, I thought we’d explore a more advanced floor plan design.  This week, I’ll share with you some of the floor plans from my wedding to demonstrate how you’ll be able to use ONE diagram to:

  • DESIGN and present ideas to your decision makers as well as vendors
  • BALANCE your budget against products and services
  • IDENTIFY the access and flow of the layout for your guests
  • DETERMINE logistic (access, staging, audio/visual, limitations)
  • COMMUNICATE your expectations effectively and efficient to vendors
  • INCREASE your ability to work collaboratively with your vendors


Whenever we met with a vendor, there was always at least 1 or 2 diagrams in hand.  From a project chart of appointments and payments to design ideas that functioned as a starting point for discussion.  When we walked through the Design Brainstorm Diagram (below) with our florist, we discussed a number of factors from table sizes and number of guests to colors of flowers and linens.  Of course, each of the design ideas came with a price.   Fortunately, with a printed version of our design ideas we were able to easily note the details of the changes directly in the floor plan during the appointment.

Decision making was tough at times.  But updating our diagrams was easy.  When we got home from the florist’s design studio, I opened up SmartDraw to make the changes that we discussed on the drive home. With the new diagram on the screen we could both see and agree upon the changes.  With one click of the Email Quick Access button, SmartDraw automatically opened up a new MS Outlook email, dropped our floor plan design into the body and was prompted for an email address.  It’s that easy to share any diagram in SmartDraw.

Sending the updated diagram including our understanding of the change in price, made the turn-around of an updated invoice easy for our florist.  Emailing a re-cap of our appointments on the same day, was the same approach we took with all of our vendors.  As you can see, it took no time at all.

Design Brainstorm Diagram

2_creative designs

Audience: Florist

Items to include:

  • Reasonable number (approx. 3 to 4) of designs to review with your vendors and decision makers
  • Symbols representing locations of activities to ensure space is available at the time of the activity
  • Symbols designed to scale to demonstrate the access and movement of guests
  • Theme and color scheme function as a starting point of discussion

SmartDraw Tip: Ideally, you would recreate the floor plan in SmartDraw to leverage the to scale features as you design your event.  Review how to create a floor plan.  The other option is to import a pdf of the venue’s floor plan.   Simply navigate to the Insert Ribbon and select Picture.  Locate the file on your computer, click Open.  Assuming the pdf is drawn to scale, simply use the Measure Distance control in the SmartPanel.  Discover how to use measure distance and area.  Use the actual measurement of one of the walls, then simply re-size the object by clicking and dragging one of the object’s handles. You’ll notice that not 1 but 4 designs compose the diagram above.  This can easily be done by using the align, rotate, and group functionality.  Receive an overview of how to align, rotate, and group symbols or objects in a diagram.


We’re done with designing, now it’s time to delegate using diagrams.  It’s all about working smarter, not harder.  I simply took the floor plan of our reception (above), copied and pasted it, then tailored it for our vendors to create the Wedding Reception Floor Plan and the Venue Services: Linens and Place Card Arrangement diagrams (below).  In many cases, there was cross-over in the type of information that we needed to share with several vendors.  That meant less work for me. I simply shared the same diagram.

Although we chose not to hire a professional event planner, we were very fortunate to have a relative volunteer to be our day-of coordinator.  A day-of coordinator is responsible for coordinating the logistics of the day to make sure that everything that the bride and groom has spent months planning runs exactly how they had envisioned.  Prior to the day of our wedding our day-of coordinator along with all of our vendors received final diagrams, email introductions to one another, as well as each other’s contact information.  Even though our wedding day would be the first time our day-of coordinator would meet our vendors and see the venue, she was well aware of what the day entailed and orchestrated the day beautifully.

Here are two of the diagrams that were used to coordinate our wedding reception:

Wedding Reception Floor Plan Diagram

2_Design Floor Plan Design

Audience: Day-of Coordinator, Florist, Linens Rental, Staging & Draping, Cocktail Reception Entertainment, Photo Booth Rental, DJ and Emcee

Items to Include: Color, location, numbers, exits, dimensions, color key for reference

SmartDraw Tip: Use Ctrl+C to copy the design you’ve chosen for the event and Ctrl+V to paste the design into a new diagram.  Navigate to the Symbol Library or the Home Ribbon for the shapes you need.  Learn more about adding symbols to a floor plan.  

Venue Services: Linens & Place Card Arrangement Diagram

2_table 12 seating floor plan

Audience: Hotel Coordinator, Hotel Banquet Captain, Hotel Event Manager,  Hotel A/V Department, Day-of Coordinator, Photographers (Note: We provided a list and location of special guests we wanted our photographers to photograph).

Items to Include: Color, location, exits, dimensions, color key for reference, place card chart

SmartDraw Tip: The main difference between the two floor plans (above)  is we now have letters in place of chair symbols.  The reason is the same diagram is now being used as the seating chart.  Since a number of hotel staff members and our day-of coordinator were involved in the placement of the place cards multiple diagrams were created.  Each of the tables in the ballroom had it’s own diagram along with a Ziploc bag containing the place cards for the respective reception table.  Discover how the Tables feature was used to document the seating arrangements in the diagram. In addition to the tables feature, color as well as thickness of lines were used to bring attention to important information.  Explore how you can add shapes and lines with ease.


Even without a professional event planner to orchestrate the day, we were able to design as well as execute the wedding of our dreams, thanks to the use of our SmartDraw diagrams.  The diagrams allowed us to effectively and efficiency communicate to our talented team of vendors, the dedicated hotel staff, and our amazing day-of coordinator everything we had envisioned.   Our wedding was exactly what we had hoped it would be, simple yet elegant.

Our guests as well as the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Hotel were so dazzled by our unique floor plan of varying table sizes, linens, and overall design that the Hyatt approached us for permission to use our photos for PR purposes.   To view additional photos go to the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego’s Google+ social media page or a vendor spotlight on the Manchester Grand Hyatt in the San Diego Style Wedding Magazine.  wedreception