The Ultimate Checklist for Event Planning

Photo: Suzy Hazelwood

Are you trying to plan an event for the first time?

While people might make it look easy, planning a perfect event is a challenge. You have a lot to do before the big day, and not as much time as you think.

Whether this is a leisure event, a corporate event, or a convention, you’re going to need a checklist for event planning if you want it to go off without a hitch. We want to help you out.

Keep reading to learn all about making an event planning checklist for corporate events, fun events, and more.

What’s Your Budget?

You can’t plan an event without knowing your budget. Your budget will determine everything about your event from your venue to your guest list.

If this is a corporate event, take a look at your business budget. Where can you afford to spend money on an event? Corporate events often count as marketing efforts, so you can dip into your marketing budget.

Make sure that you leave room for all features of your event. You’ll need food, entertainment, a venue, decorations, vendors, and more.

It’s a good idea to leave some wiggle room in your budget. Going over budget will be a disaster.

What Are Your Goals?

First, why are you planning the event in the first place? An event without a goal is just a gathering, and it’s far harder to structure.

If this is a corporate or professional event, goals are simple. You want people to gather, network, and potentially buy each other’s products. For leisure events, you want people to have fun while gathering with like-minded peers and friends.

Your goals will determine the rest of your event planning checklist. They’ll help you find the right vendors, pick the right location, and more.

Work with your team to make a goal checklist so you can stay organized.

Start With the Basics

All events start with the same few factors. You’re going to need to determine a good location, an appropriate time, and some details about your event attendees.

Here’s a brief rundown of your pre-event checklist.

Location

Where are you going to host your event? Choosing an event venue isn’t easy, especially if you’re on a budget or if you’ve waited until the last minute.

Make sure that you choose a location that can comfortably fit everyone on your guest list. It’s helpful to pick venues that have built-in event planners and vendors if you want to make the planning process easier.

Make sure that the location has everything that you need. Do you need a green room or a dressing area? What about a room for meetings? Don’t commit to a venue before ensuring that it meets your needs.

Time and Date

When are you hosting the event?

Many professional events span several days. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to put the event over a weekend so people don’t have to take time off of work or school in order to attend.

Is your event going to be at night or during the day? What about both? Will there be event-related activities after-hours?

Your choice of venue may also determine your available times and dates. If you love a venue that’s only available at specific times, you’re going to have to compromise.

Attendees

Who is coming to your event?

If this event isn’t invitation-only, make sure that you still know the max number of people that can attend. You’ll need to make arrangements to ensure that no more people will be able to enter once the limit has been reached.

If it is invitation-only, make a list. Keep in mind that not everyone on your list will be able to attend, and decide whether or not they can bring a +1.

Gather Helpers

No one should try to plan an event alone. Make sure that you have a strong team behind you to ensure that your event is a success.

If possible, start with an event planner. A good event planner can be your entire team in one package. They know how to find vendors, negotiate with venue owners, and more.

If not, work together with colleagues and peers. Learn how to delegate tasks and keep everyone on track.

Pick the Right Vendors

Vendors are everything when it comes to having a successful event. What do you need?

It’s likely that you’re going to need food vendors of some kind. Do you need an open bar? Are you going to offer meals or snacks?

What do you need when it comes to entertainment? Are you going to hire a professional speaker? What about musicians?

Are you in need of a photographer?

As we mentioned before, many venues come pre-equipped with their approved vendors. Take advantage of them if that’s the case.

Send Out Invitations or Promotional Material

It’s time to invite people to your event.

If it’s a large-scale event, it’s often enough to make an event page on Facebook. People can RSVP and keep all of the information at their fingertips. It’s also free to make an event page.

Make sure that you request RSVPs. You want to have an accurate headcount before the day of your event so you know what to expect (especially if you’re serving food).

If the event isn’t invitation-only, start compiling marketing materials. Send out emails to everyone who’s on your email list and market your event on social media.

Use This Brief Checklist for Event Planning

Next time you have an event to plan, keep this brief checklist for event planning in mind.

Planning an event takes a lot of time and a lot of work. If you’re diligent and you start early enough, you’re sure to plan an event that impresses all of your attendees.

Good luck!

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