You’re planning an event, and things are going smoothly until the day of the event arrives and you wake up in a panic because you remember you still have a million things to do.
You could have avoided some of this running around in a tizzy if you’d just come up with a checklist.
Without a checklist, it’s easy for you to get ahead of yourself and do things that don’t have to be done until a week before the event four months before. To help keep you on track, here is a flawless event planning checklist that will work every single time.
1. Four Months Before the Event
Four months before the event is the time you should use to build the skeleton of the event. You’ll sit down and decide what you want out of it—the goals and objectives if you will. Are you trying to persuade your audience to do something or are you trying to raise money?
Once you’ve decided the purpose of the event, you should select a date and start calling around to get price estimations of hotels for guests and venues. You should also contact speakers and any entertainment to get prices for them as well.
2. Three Months Before the Event
Three months from the date is going to be your busiest time because you’ll be taking the time to basically finalize everything.
Speakers and Presenters
Call the speakers and discuss the content for the event and ask them for their bios and pictures to display for the audience. You’ll also need to decide on their accommodations and travel arrangements.
If you have to draw up any legal contracts for them to sign, this will be the time to do that as well.
You need to decide during this time if you’re going to have a registration fee for your audience to pay before they can attend. This should be a fair price but not so cheap you won’t make the money back for what you spent on the event.
You don’t want everyone to have to sign up for or pay at the door when going into the event (if there is a charge for attending). This will cause mass chaos on the actual day with long lines. It’s smart to set up online registration during this time so guests can pay their fees or buy tickets ahead of time.
Some venues have special restrictions and rules you’ll need to investigate for the venue that you’ve chosen.
After you know about the rules and regulations, you can begin planning for other things like food, what AV equipment you’ll need, what kind of signage is allowed for the event, and what parking will look like so you can give instructions to guests.
Lastly, every event needs security. Some venues offer to provide it, but some do not. You’ll have to find this out so you can start planning around it.
Come up with a Publicity Plan
So, you have a great line up of speakers that can draw a crowd, but that does nothing if you don’t publically put it out there. Contact companies to have a logo drawn up that you can put on posters and your website.
You’ll need to get the word around through digital means as well. Come up with a Facebook page and link it with your blog. Also, create an email where you can take questions specifically about the event.
3. Two Months Before the Event
Two months before the event you’ll send out digital reminders to those who have registered. You’ll also finalize any accommodations for your guests that haven’t been established yet and have them send you copies of their speeches and presentations so you can approve them.
If you have any sponsorships, you’ll need to also contact them to confirm with them that they will indeed be sponsoring you. After that’s confirmed and you know that the money situation is handled, go ahead and start advertising the speakers on your site and on posters.
4. One Week Ahead
Things are finally starting to come together. You’ll get together will all community chairs to come up with any backup plans for any given situation. Decide on a final version of the script during this time as well.
Let the hosts and greeters know about their duties so things go by seamlessly. If you wish, you can take them through a trial run. Come up with a seating plan and place name cards around the tables if needed.
Get the final number of attendees to give to the caterers, and purchase name badges that guests can write their names on.
5. One Day Ahead
The day before the event you should make sure all of the signage is in place. Get the tables situated and stock them up with name badges and pens.
If you’re giving out promo items or gifts (which you probably should), you can place them on the table as well.
6. Event Day
The event day is the day of lists. You’ll need a copy of guest names to place on the table for your check-in staff. You should have a seating chart on you to make sure all your guests are seated in their correct places.
Have a set of instructions and print them out for all of your staff and check in with your committee chairs to make sure everything is in place.
Event Planning Checklist to Help Things Go Smoothly
Planning an event can be a stressful time. Without drawing up a proper checklist, it will be easy to forget something in your rush to get things done. Use this event planning checklist to ensure you get the job done.
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