How can I plan a successful event & Where in Northern NJ

By Vivian Colon

Trying to coordinate a conference or event can be extremely overwhelming. “Where do I start? How can I make this a successful event?” These are just a few questions you’re overloading your mind with. The truth is, it’s not that difficult to plan a successful event as long as you outline a Strategic Plan. Like anything you have ever accomplished in life, there was thought behind the why and how which is the same with event planning.

Step One: Create SMART GOALS

Specific-specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Outline what type of event your looking to host and the purpose behind it.. What do you want to accomplish from it?

Measurableestablish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. Measurable event objectives may include attendance, the amount of money raised, or executing information effectively.

Attainable-when you identify goals that are most important, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. What is the budget?

Realistica goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. Make sure the purpose for the special event is important enough to merit the time and expense needed to properly stage, publicize and evaluate the event.

Timelya goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. Give your goals deadline. As you start to outline your event , write down dates .. example; I need to find & book the meeting space no later than 08/25/2012 and so on…. Start planning at least four months, and in some cases, a year ahead of time depending on the scale of the event.

Step Two: Make a checklist

A checklist provides a step-by-step guide to organizing and executing a special event. Example;

____ Select a planning committee to help you.

____ Develop a master plan and set the event date.

____Formulate a publicity plan. Decide when/how media should be contacted.

____Prepare copy for program and printed materials.

____ Setup Group Blocks at hotels near event for attendees

And so on ……………….

Step Three: Create a budget

The objective is to have a financial blueprint. The budget should be specific, and include revenue opportunities if any (sponsorship, ticket sales, donations. concession sales) as well as expenses printing, permits, insurance, speakers, food. Supplies, security).

Step Four: Consider logistics

With many activities going on simultaneously, there are many details to be checked. Major areas to consider and plan for include: size of space or building used, utility support needed, setup (tables and chairs. tents, portable toilets, parking, signage) coordination, cleanup, emergency plans. Transportation, and public services such as police and fire departments. (Please view list of spaces available in Northern NJ at end of this article)

Step Five: Plan publicity 

Brainstorm all the available media in including marquees, school newsletters, church announcements, commercial televised or radio stations. Make a detailed list with names of whom to contact and when.

  • Are you trying to inform, educate or entertain?
  • Increase awareness or attendance of the event?
  • Build a base support from a specific audience?
  • Facilitate good community relations?

Step Six: Evaluate the event


Take time to evaluate right after the event while the details are fresh. You may want to consider having a questionnaire for participants to fill out. Ask yourself

  • Did the event fulfill its goals and objectives? Why or why not?
  • Identify what worked and what needs fine-tuning. Which vendors should be used again? Budget?
  • What items were missing on the checklist that you should have added?
  • Was the event well attended and did it get back positive feedback?

Also, it is important to remember to celebrate your successes and to thank all those who contributed.

Finally …. List of Event Spaces in Northern NJ

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

149 Polito Ave

Lyndhurst, New Jersey 07071

(201) 933-2220

Contact: Robert Medina

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts) 

If you think the corporate world is competitive-wait until you see our Knights in action! Time to trade in your office routine for a KNIGHT out your group won’t forget. Here are just some of our great features:

▪    Meeting space with flexible setup options and presentation capabilities

▪    Pre-show/Post-show reception area with dance floor and lighting

▪    Full array of gourmet hors d’oeuvres  (breakfast and break-out options available)

▪    Full Service Bar-discounted drink prices available for groups of 10+ when pre-purchased

▪    Knighting Ceremonies to recognize any outstanding person in your group

▪    Awards Ceremonies can take place in our Grand Ceremonial Arena (seating up to 1350 people!)

Ask about discounted group pricing for group photos, Dungeon Tours, drinks, commemorative party favors and more!

Pole Position Raceway

(Great place for Team Building Events)
99 Caven Point Road,  Jersey City, NJ 07305

(201) 333-7223

Contact: Karen

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts) 

Pole Position Raceway offers several racing options. The most-popular racing format is our Arrive & Drive program that allows customers to show up individually or in small groups and race in standard races. These races last approximately 10 minutes and drivers are separated into two categories. In addition to the adult karts (56″ minimum height required) we have kid’s karts for racers who are at least 48″ tall and can safely drive. We also offer group events and party packages that provide private racing and reserved time slots. These packages are available in two, three and four-race formats and include items to make the occasion extra special. For larger groups Pole Position Raceway also offers full facility rentals. This has become a popular option for corporate team building events, company parties, new product launches, family reunions, and groups who want completely private racing. Additionally, full facility rentals provide guests with the opportunity to run different race formats such as Ironman, Team Endurance or Elimination races. We also have special monthly events that are open to the public. The events include Ironman Races, Team Endurance Races, Youth Racing Camps and Driving Clinics.

Liberty Science Center

(Outdoor Events No permit needed)

222 Jersey City Boulevard  , Jersey City, New Jersey 07305

(201) 200-1000

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts)

Liberty Science Center’s unique atmosphere offers meeting rooms, theaters, exhibitions and conference rooms that can easily accommodate any size group for fantastic:

  • Meetings, conferences, product launches, team building and trade shows
  • Weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs and sweet 16 parties
  • Concerts, award ceremonies and graduations
  • Family reunions, barbeques and anniversaries
  • Fundraisers, casino nights and more!

Combined with awe-inspiring views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, and onsite catering by Restaurant Associates, our expert event planning staff can help make your event one to remember. Whether you’re planning an elegant sit-down dinner or a fun-filled evening of dancing and activities, magnificent special event experiences await you at Liberty Science Center!

Smooth Sailing Celebrations … NJ/NY

973 – 409 – 4456

Contact: Camille Cerria

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts) 

Your guests can enjoy a cruise event on the Hudson River with a spectacular ever-changing view of the city skyline. Smooth Sailing Celebrations provides the perfect ambiance to accommodate a wide range of events, including breakfast meetings, luncheons, dinner meetings, unique fund-raisers, formal corporate events, class or family reunions, spectacular weddings, vendor fairs, awards banquets or milestone celebrations.

Whether you’re planning a large corporate event or a school outing, you can count on Smooth Sailing Celebrations to make it successful. And for the convenience of your guests – boarding takes place from New Jersey and New York. Or guests from one party can be picked up at both New Jersey and New York! A great convenience for your guests.


317 Washington Avenue, Carlstadt , NJ 07072

Contact: Douglas Palsi

201 933-0015

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts) 

  • Spacious event floor accommodates 30-400 guests
  • 2,000 sq ft balcony overlooking the New Meadowlands Stadium
  • On-site liquor license and event catering
  • Private outdoor patio
  • Handicapped accessibility
  • On-site parking
  • Perfect for wedding receptions, birthdays, corporate events and more.

Garden Vista Ballroom

29-31 Howe Avenue ,Passaic , NJ 07055

Contact: James H. Robbins


(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts) 

After four years of skillful restoration, the Garden Vista Ballroom has returned to the atop the apex of Passaic County’s fine catering map, thanks to the edgy creativity of its owner, Jim Robbins, who continues to push the redevelopment envelope.  The Garden Vista Ballroom is the perfect venue for a sophisticated private event that Manhattan would be proud to call its own.

The Garden Vista Building was originally opened in 1922 as the home of the Passaic Elks Lodge.  With its Grand Ballroom, from 1920’s through the 1950’s, this visually stunning room was the centerpiece for social events.  Such much so, that in 2005, the Garden Vista Building was named to the National Register of Historic Places with its gold leaf trim, crystal chandeliers, marble lobby, wooden floors and vaulted ceilings.

If you are considering a private affair, wedding, sweet sixteen or other special event, elevate your experience to The Garden Vista Ballroom.

Meadowlands Exposition Center

(Great for tradeshows, larger events)
355 Plaza Dr  ,Secaucus, New Jersey 07094

(201) 330-7773

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts)

  • 61,000 square feet of contiguous, obstruction-free, dedicated exhibition space with 20-foot high ceiling
  • 3,578 square feet of carpeted meeting space
  • Capacity: 348 10′ x 10′ booths; 398 8′ x 10′ booths; 3,500 seating – banquet; 5,000 seating – sports events; 6,000 seating – concert/theater style
  • Large multi-functional lobby may be used for registration, exhibit space or banquet area
  • Two drive-in doors and four loading docks on street level for easy access
  • Unique “flown from the air” electric simplifies floor plan and eliminates the need to carpet aisles to cover floor wires

MetLife Stadium

One MetLife Stadium ,East Rutherford , NJ 07073

Contact:  Ms. Lauren Jacobi .. 201.559.1562

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts)

Several Rooms to choose from.


700 Palisadium Drive ,Cliffside Park , NJ 07010

Contact: Bill Heitmann … 201-224-2211

Landmark II

26 Route 17 South, East Rutherford , NJ 07073

Contact: Nella Cicchino … 201 438-3939


Meadowlands Environment Center

Lyndhurst, NJ


Contact : Mimi Sabatino

(Mention Candlewood Suites Hotel & Article for possible Group discounts)

About candlewoodste

Director of Sales for the Candlewood Suites located in Secaucus, NJ.
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