Event planning can get hectic, complicated and just plain stressful. With so many thing to think about over the weeks and months leading up to your event (never mind what you have to worry about on the day), it can be hard to keep track. And that’s when an event planning checklist comes in handy.
Having a robust checklist in place will help you keep on track and ensure that you haven’t forgotten to do something important. It’s also a great way to track your progress and know exactly what you have left to do at a glance. Though it may sound so simple, a checklist is a vital part of event management, so much so that even the best event management companies in Sydney still use them religiously.
So how should you go about writing your event planning checklist?
Split it into different stages
Good events take months to plan. So don’t try and cram everything in last minute. Give yourself some breathing room and split the work into different stages. Doing this on your checklist will also help you to visualize what needs to be done when. It will also prevent you from getting overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done.
The timeline for each event may differ, but generally speaking we advise that you split your checklist into the following categories:
- 6 months before the event
- 3 months before the event
- 1-2 months before the event
- 1 week before the event
- The day before the event
- Event day (before the event)
- Event day (during the event)
- Immediately after the event (the get-out)
- After the event (following up with guests, media, donors and the venue)
6 months before the event
This stage of planning is key to the success of your event. This is where you the lay all the foundations for your planning. If you rush this process or cut corners, you’ll pay for it further down the line. So at this point, take a step back and think about the following:
- What are your main objectives? (E.g How many attendees? Do you have a fundraising goal?)
- Pick a date (Make sure it doesn’t clash with other major industry or local events.)
- Pick a venue (Make sure you negotiate everything right down to insurance before committing.)
- Make a budget (This should include guest speakers, food, venue – EVERYTHING!)
- Confirm guest speakers or entertainers
- Contact sponsors or partners for the event
- Create a name, brand and logo for the event
- Create a publicity plan
- Write up a master plan for the event
- Establish a planning committee for the event and outline responsibilities & expectations
Hire an event planner
Don’t be tempted by the idea of saving money and doing it yourself. Although it may cost you more upfront, having an experienced team on hand will actually save you money in the long run. It will also save you an extraordinary amount of stress!
When selecting an event planner, make sure you find someone local who can get good deals from the vendors, venues and caterers. Event managers work with these types of suppliers all the time so they’ll have far more negotiating power than you.
Experienced event managers also know exactly what they’re doing. They know what questions to ask and how things work. And let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably never organised an event before. So why put yourself through the stress? Hire an event manager and reap the benefits of their tried and tested methods.
Event management involves a huge amount of work and a detailed checklist would take far more than the seven hundred words we have in this article. The key to a good checklist however is planning. Take your time at the beginning and write down every single task you can think of. Split it into different stages so that you don’t get too overwhelmed.
If you’re planning your first event, we strongly suggest that you hire an event manager. That way, you can depend on their expertise and experience. And then if you do fancy taking on an event yourself in future, you’ll have a strong template to work from!