Event Checklist: How to Plan an Event

There’s no successful planning without drafting an agenda. Sure, you can plan an event with a loose organisation, but something is bound to go wrong that way and you shouldn’t let these details compromise the execution of your planned event. Better to be safe than sorry – draft an event plan and prepare a checklist so you can keep track of all the separate aspects before you can tie a bow on your project and launch it. Whether it’s your first event or your hundredth, the level of stress you will be under will be notably reduced if you have a thorough checklist to keep note of your accomplishments and things that are left to complete prior to the actual event.

Depending on the type of the event, the checklist may be different. For example, if you’re setting up a bachelorette party you probably won’t need to include a list of speakers, something you will probably have to deal with if you’re organising a corporate event, a sponsorship party or something of the sort. On this page, we offer you a universal event checklist that you are free to expand on according to the requirements of the specific event you are planning.

1. Start Preparations Early

Starting the preparations a few months ahead of the event is high-level planning. The sooner you can get crackin’, the better. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself right from the get-go, but it would be good to establish the goals and objectives of the upcoming event and have some things roughly established in time. This way, you will have enough time to make adjustments, changes, address any problems and finally keep everything nice and tight on event day. Depending on the scale of the event, three to two months ahead should be a good time to start working out the logistics and some financial administration.

2. Identify the Venue

In the early stages of planning, you need to identify the venue where the event will take place. You should select the location according to the approximate number of attendees, with the appropriate infrastructure, and according to what your budget allows at that point. Again, depending on the type of the event, you may need to consider transportation and easy access to the facilities, as well as parking possibilities. Needless to say, the venue should be available on the date you are planning to hold the event, so it’s better to check that early and give yourself time to look for alternatives if need be.

3. Estimate the Costs and Set Up a Budget

If you haven’t organised an event before, you should ask around and create a baseline by pulling the figures from past events. That should give you a general idea about how much everything will cost. You can also make a few educated guesses about the expenses, but the point is to keep the figures written down so that they don’t fade away in your mind. You should always monitor your spending and try to negotiate good prices with the caterers and performers, making the event cost-effective if possible. Include space and party room rental, food and beverages, equipment, speaker fees, travel fees, promotion material and other aspects within the budget.

4. Establish the Event Agenda

At one point, you need to develop the event timeline and see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit in so far. Having an agenda helps a lot to visualise the various sections of the event and see how much has already been done, and what is missing. With everything sketched out, it also becomes easier to update the budget with further estimates and continue with the next stage of addressing the specifics.

5. Book the Entertainment

Most events are planned with some sort of entertainment, chosen in accordance with the age and profile of the guests/clients/attendees. Whether if it is performers, dance troupes, magicians, clowns or a live band, they need to be booked ahead of time, so make sure you work on it diligently and when you have the entertainment picked out you should finalise the booking and submit a deposit for their services if they require it.

6. Create a Marketing Plan if Necessary

Certain events need to be promoted in order to attract a better turnout. Even if you have a predetermined number of guests, some promotion will create a buzz and build anticipation. Marketing for your event can adopt various forms of promotions, from event e-mails to printed flyers or Facebook events. You can choose one or more, and start spreading the word around. If your event is not dependent on the number of attendees, but is more of a party or a celebration, then you should send out the invitations and have them printed out in time.

7. Backup, Little Details and the Unexpected

Each event planning checklist should contain items that address details such as access to a Wi-Fi network, emergency protocols, security, first aid (if needed), signage and permits. Yes, you might need to acquire a noise permit to cover the music or a food permit to cover the menu. Also, have contingency plans on standby for such situations like low attendance or bad weather. You will probably need to add various other items to your checklist that refer to a particular event, but before you can dive in deep you will be happy to know how to arrange the basics.

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