Event planning involves layers upon layers of details. An event planning checklist is one of the most important pieces of planning any event, and yet most event planners never seem to get it right. Even though there is no “one size fits all” for everyone to follow, there are some basic guidelines one can use when drafting an event planning checklist.
The first thing to do while creating your checklist is to put all the items for your event into a template. To make your work easy, you can download an already customized template from here and include tailor it to fit your event.
After making your template, you can fill in specific to-dos as you think of them. The best thing to do when creating an events checklist is to work backward from the event, creating a timeline for each task. This will not only help you in meeting your deadlines but also ensure that all the details are covered.
Establish the Events Essentials
The next step after filling in your specific to-dos on the template is to determine some of the significant elements of your event such as;
Date and Time: when, and at what time will the event happen? When scheduling your event, it is important to consider the attendee’s schedules to ensure that your timing does not inconvenience them.
Location: when choosing the location and the venue for your event, make sure to look at the most convenient place for your attendees. Create a checklist on what you will be looking at when interviewing the vendors and the signing of the contract. Other things to look at when selecting the best location for your event include:
Check to ensure that the place has necessary licensing for alcohol is needed
Make sure to check on the accommodation for any persons with disabilities
Look into public transportation and parking
Type of Event: Even though you probably know this already, it is important to note down the type of event, is it a party? A fundraiser? A conference? Etc.
Event goal: what is your reason for hosting the event? You should have a good reason for hosting the event if you want to convince people to spare their time to attend the event.
Audience: as the host, you must understand what the attendees are expecting of your event. Failure to meet their expectations, the desired guest action may be unlikely to happen.
Build an Event Badge
One of the most crucial parts of event planning is budgeting. You must be very keen when budgeting. Make sure to cover even the simplest things that may be important for your event such as;
- The cost of researching the rentals
- Deposits to be paid
- Costs to be incurred when contacting vendors for quotes
When creating the budget, it is advisable to start with the main categories, such as catering, décor, and rentals, then proceed to categorize all the expenses.
Create the events’ design
This is the core of event planning as it comprises the elements that impact guests the most. Some of the elements that you should consider when creating and designing your checklist include:
The program is a brief overview of what is to be expected during the event. It is like a story with each element leading to the next story component, which in turn builds anticipation during the event. Creating an event checklist will help you in breaking down the timeline of each element. For you to create a great program, you must:
- Create a plan for the program agenda
- Outline the program’s timeline
- Outline the process of hiring the vendors and entertainers to make your event more lively
How are you planning on using your space? When making a checklist for your event, you should breakdown the list down to the seating arrangement. On your checklist, you can include a task to visualize the seating arrangement to see how to utilize your space better.
Your theme says a lot about your event. Other than representing the events’ message it also serves other essential purposes including;
- Creating a buzz
- Connecting the components of your event
- Making the event memorable
Plan out the Décor
You must ensure that the color, style, and arrangement of all the items for your event are on point. This is very critical for a successful event. When planning an event, it is important to put yourself in the attendee’s shoes and ask yourself the following:
- What type of décor will you use? What visual elements can you use to elevate your event?
- Will there be music? What will the guests be listening to? Will there be any presenters or speakers?
- What spell should the guests smell? Should they smell candles, flowers, food, or something else?
- What will the guest interact with?
- What type of food should be prepared for the event?
After putting all these elements together, add them all to your checklist.
Be creative with the food and drinks
Food and beverage are perhaps the most significant components of any event. This is because sharing a meal brings people together. Food is also associated with nurturing and is usually considered as an opportunity for the host to exemplify thoughtful hospitality.
When planning your event, here are some of the things you could include in your checklist:
- Exploring and interviewing prospective vendors
- Determine the type of service, i.e., seated dinner passed appetizers or food stations
- Consider dietary restrictions when planning the menu
If you are planning on hiring speakers or entertainers, there are a few things that you should include in your list. For example:
- Signing of contracts
- Setting up transportation for VIPs
- Promoting keynote speakers
- Booking hotel rooms for VIPs
- Setting up a green room
Other than the speakers and entertainers, you will also have to organize interim entertainment activities, such as:
- Photo booths
- Relaxation areas
- Meeting stations
Map out a marketing plan
If you are looking for a great turnout, you must consider marketing your event. Marketing not only creates a buzz around your event but also builds anticipation and guarantees a great turnout.
Marketing involves several things, including:
- Branding and logo creation
- Printing fliers
- Social media posts
- Paid advertisements
- Making a marketing budget
- Sending out marketing emails
Creating an event checklist will not only help you in mapping out the pre-event marketing strategy but also help you in determining what to do after the event.
Plan for all the little details and the unforeseen
When planning an event, you must dive deep into the little details as they can make a big difference. You must keep track of every activity that can affect the guest’s experience.
Here are some of the things you should consider when making your checklist:
- If you have an events website and you are planning on putting directions there, make sure that they are accurate
- What are some of the transportation options your guests have?
- Check on the guests’ access to Wi-Fi and electrical outlets
- Will there be signs be directing the guests around the venue?
- Will there be parking?
- Will there be medical personnel on standby in case of an emergency?
- Do you have a security plan?
These are small things, but are very important and need to be added to your checklist to ensure your guests get the best experience possible.
Create a chart of the event-day logistics
Create a detailed timeline for the logistics to help you out with the minute-by-minute plan of everything from vendors and set-up to try-out and post-event breakdown.
After the event, it is important to follow up with the guests and thank them for showing up. You can also send them the event photos, thank you notes, and links to social media pages with the event materials.
The main aspects of an event planning checklist are the essentials components of your event. Set a budget, establish the main objectives, find the right location, design the event, decide on the audience, iron out the logistics, and plan for contingencies.