Planning an event can be a daunting task, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
But with careful progression, steady work and a checklist on hand, the impossible becomes possible. Here’s what you’ll need for your planning an event checklist:
Start It Right With The Right Template
There are plenty of checklist resources available on the internet, i.e., free apps such as Podio or Asana, a template from a professional coordination book or an event checklist sample in Microsoft Word. From there, you can craft a task timeline and set deadlines for every important detail.
Some of the most important questions that need to be addressed ASAP include the following:
– What’s the type of event?
– Where will it be held?
– What’s the date and time?
You can drill down further and set audience, objectives and event goal, which can be filled out later.
Setting The Budget
Estimating the budget for the event is a whole other concern that needs to be dealt with accurately. You can use an Excel spreadsheet and put down major categories, i.e., rentals, decor, catering, then a breakdown under each category as necessary.
Minute details may include cost of research or money saved via possible discounts. Keep in mind that your event planning checklist isn’t set in stone and that even those that seem solid can be changed any time.
Imagine The Event Design
A good pre-planning checklist should involve rough sketches of event design. It’s one of the most important aspects of an event as it has a direct impact on guests and attendees.
Program. The program sets the tone for the event objective and goals. It has to be flowing, with story elements leading to the next one, building up until it reaches a climax. The peak should be able to leave quite the impression on your guests and participants. Have an event checklist for breaking down the timeline into easier, more manageable chunks.
Layout. Here, you maximize the space allocation, including the seating arrangement. Believe it or not, incorrect placement of rigging or electrical cords can make or break the whole experience. You will need a clear visual of what goes where. For this reason you’ll need a visual map that you can reference later.
Theme. Picking out a theme is important as it represents the event’s message. A good theme creates buzz among the guests and adds up to overall event anticipation. It’s fine to list up several themes if you’re unable to decide on one right away, but the general rule is that the sooner, the better.
Decor. Decor may seem small but don’t underestimate the impact it can bring to your event. Cover all your bases and add items such as florals, accent pieces, tablecloths and rentals. Decor is what the attendees will touch, taste, smell, hear and see; the more senses you engage, the more immersive it will be.
Food and Drink
Be prepared to spend a lot of time planning out this particular item in your event checklist. Food and drinks convey thoughtful hospitality, and your chosen menu will speak volumes in this regard.
Start by creating a shortlist of vendors to interview and speak with. Consider your guest demographic, cultural sensitivity, restrictions and dietary preferences. Once you get the process going you’ll have selected the perfect menu, hired the best caterer and be confident that your guests will love the food and drinks that will be served during the event.
Entertainers and Speakers
Don’t forget to add speakers and entertainers when planning your event checklist. Among the most important details include labor unions, contracts, honorariums and VIP green rooms.
This is the part of the checklist that deals with interim entertainment such as photo booths, guest engagement pieces, relaxation areas and the like. This should allow you to see the bigger picture while still having the ability to micromanage the experiences down to the letter.
You’ll need a marketing plan to create a buzz that sets up the stage before the event goes live. You’ll have access to a wide variety of channels, such as social media, event emails and printed flyers, as well as teams such as social media managers or graphic designers to really jazz it up. Remember that an online marketing channel will have its own budget, analytics and deadlines, which can be wrapped into a neat package using an online project management tool.
Round Out The Small, Minute Details
You will want to cover all your bases and come up with a shortlist of all the little details that may come up during the event. Think about how the event proceeds and the things that could ruin the experience. For example, instead of having only one registration table, you can set up several to break up long lines. Establish clear directions and have a guest Wi-Fi connection at the ready. Don’t forget to have a plan for when medical emergencies happen.
Chart Your Event Day Logistics
A minute-by-minute timeline is of absolute importance as it serves as your guide to everything that will happen, from vendor arrival to post-event breakdown.
Event day will have many different moving parts, and a day of event checklist will allow you to stay on track from beginning to end.
Post-Event Follow Up
Touch base with your guests after the event is completed. Here, you can reinforce the message and get invaluable feedback as well as get the guests to take action regarding event objectives.
This part doesn’t have to be an interview-type thing. You’ll have several communication methods to use, i.e., social media posts, links to event material, an appreciation note and shared event photos work just as well. You’ll have an easier time managing post-tasks and get to track the results much faster.
Do an analysis with your team and discuss the things that went right and areas of improvement. On your checklist you can write down the criteria to consider for future event goals. Useful information such as investment reports and post-event analysis can determine whether the event was a success and that the goals and objectives were met.