A family portrait session, senior portrait or head shot and even a session with a pet are all, in a way, photographing 'events'. But when we talk about "small events" we usually talk about a celebration which involves more people, more activities and lasts longer.
The first time I was asked for a (somewhat bigger) event, I photographed a Bat Mitzvah. There were a lot more people attending than what I was anticipating! A good tip is to always ask about the number of guests attending the event so you know what to expect. Discuss with your client what planned activities they have in store for the day/evening. Do they want specific shots? Certain people that cannot be missed? The photo where the girl gets lifted up in her chair high above the crowd (the Hora) for example, is a must-have shot during a Bat Mitzvah.
Ask yourself if you need to bring an assistance. Is there a lot going on all at once? Too much for one photographer to cover by herself? Or, do you want to document certain activities from two different angles?
Shooting with two cameras is a no-brainer as well. Changing lenses every couple minutes is very time consuming and leaves you frustrated. Not to mention you are likely to miss some important moments while doing so. Have a longer lens ready to go on one camera and something like a 24-70mm on the other camera body. If you're just starting out and own just one camera, you can always rent a camera for a day or two at a local camera store.
Carrying two cameras around gets a little tricky but there are special harnesses around that let your screw in both cameras for easy transport.
Small events are a little stressful but also super fun. They can be fast-paced at times. The part where you are creating lasting memories for your clients is the best! We, photographers, have to keep that in mind! No matter if it's a milestone birthday (sweet 16 or 100/ centenary birthday), a religious or cultural celebration, a baby shower or doing headshots and team pictures for a sports team. We are here to document for others!