Don’t plan your next event until you’ve checked this helpful, comprehensive list!
Understand the objective.
Before the hands-on planning actually begins, your first step is to understand your client’s goals and identify their metrics for a successful event.
Finalize the budget.
Once your event has taken shape, your next step is to plan and finalize a budget. Having a firm budget is extremely helpful in guiding all of your decision making from this point on.
Determine the date.
This obvious but critical step lets you know exactly how much time you have to plan your event and how far out to book your vendors.
Build your team.
Which personnel will best help you execute your event? Whether it’s staff, volunteers or vendors, identify your essential people and enlist them now.
Finalize the guest list.
Know how many guests to expect so that you can scale your venue, catering and other planning needs.
Book the venue.
Now that you have a budget, guest list and date, it is time to book your venue. Your venue should match your client’s goals (intimate space for a networking event, auditorium space for a presentation, etc.). The best venues are always in demand… so book early!
Book your food & alcohol.
Your catering and bartending are the next priority. If your venue has an in-house option, then you’ve probably already had this conversation. However, if you’re sourcing outside vendors (even food trucks) then you should book early.
Book the entertainment.
If you’re featuring a music act, DJ or any other live entertainment, book them now. Make sure to plan their transportation, hotel and meals if needed.
Contact a sponsor.
Sponsors are a convenient, inexpensive way to enrich your event and offer your guests a more unique experience. Put a list together of companies that align with your brand, create a plan that purposes multiple sponsor options and make sure it is all about that individual sponsor.
Understand your tech needs and room set-up.
Now that you know the scope of your event and its entertainment options, be sure to map out your room set-up. Identify your tech needs and plan with the appropriate vendors.
Book your decorator.
If a decorator is needed to help bring your client’s vision to life, be sure to book them asap. You’ll want plenty of time to coordinate your decorator with your other vendors for better synergy.
Set up your social platforms.
Acquire any necessary permits.
Your event may need permits, including food, alcohol, outdoor space, sound, sanitation, sales, fundraising, security and more. The last thing you want are surprises on event day, so understand what’s needed beforehand.
Plan your invitations.
Give your guests plenty of time to clear their schedule for your event (ideally 6-8 weeks). If you’re using email you’ll have more flexibility, but if you choose print invitations, know your printer’s deadlines.
Plan any in-event print assets or signage.
Plan your in-event signage and merchandising, but be sure to understand your timeline. Printed handouts, branded swag, multimedia displays and others typically require working with vendors in advance.
Create a shopping list.
Some last minute needs will fall to you and your team. Create a list of useful items to have on hand (like batteries, water bottles or other specific requests) and stock up before the event.
Confirm all of your vendors.
One last round of correspondence with all of your vendors to confirm dates, times, addresses, headcounts and deliverables is always a MUST!
Gameplan with your team.
Gather your team before the event for a final walk-through. Make sure that everyone understands roles, responsibilities, timelines, communication channels and more.
Arrive early for set-up.
On the day of the event, be the first one there to meet your client, your vendors, your performers, your staff and all other key players.
Follow up with your guests.
After the event, email your guests with a thank you, a questionnaire or any other call to action that best suits you or your client. To stay top of mind, aim for within 24-48 hours of the event.
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