The Event Planning Checklist Used By Top Event Planners

Although an event planning business usually finds its niche such as wedding planning or business planning, every successful business needs one thing to succeed and that's organization. Without organization it's hard to start and impossible to succeed.

No matter if you're new to event planning or have a solid number of successful events behind you, a helpful event planning checklist can save precious time and money.

To help out, here's a generic event planning checklist used by planners in any event planning niche.

Step 1: 4 Months Before the Event

Event planning starts long before the event itself. Here's what you need in your step 1 checklist that will create the event's foundation. As you make progress, ensure you checkmark each step:

  • Establish goals
  • Decide on the event's date
  • Decide on venues
  • Create the event plan
  • Estimate budget and cost
  • Brand your event
  • Decide on event management software
  • Contact sponsors
  • Contact speakers and entertainers
  • Launch early bird tickets

You should have these steps done at least four months before the event if not earlier. Otherwise, issues will pile up until it gets too complex to handle.

Months Before the Event
Months Before the Event

Step 2: 3-4 Months Before the Event

Now it's time to focus on the internal aspect of the event where you contact stakeholders, manage team members, and possibly start hiring volunteers.

Here are the steps you should cover:

  • Collect speaker bios, conference materials
  • Sign contracts with speakers and entertainers
  • Manage accommodations
  • Have speakers and entertainers promote the event
  • Flesh out registration fees
  • Enable online registration if needed
  • Finalize venue planning
  • Assess accessibility possibilities (gender toilets, wheelchair access, etc)
  • Design and create posters, tickets, press releases
  • Create event page
  • Start advertising on social media
  • Create a VIP list if you have one

As the event draws nearer, you should zero in on every single event aspect. Remember that depending on the event size, you'll need a responsible team and probably software to help you keep everything in a single place. Although spreadsheets are helpful, usually they aren't enough and you should opt-in for specialized event management software and even an event app.

Step 3: 1-2 Months Before the Event

By now, you should have most of the general things ready to go and all that's left is to patch up any unpredictable issues. The trick is to act before issues happen. This usually means planning free time in advance for issues you know will arise, even though you don't know when.

Here are the things to focus on one to two months prior to the event:

  • Send reminders to registered attendees
  • Confirm with speakers and entertainers
  • Confirm with sponsors
  • Get any additional promotional material from sponsors
  • Ask again sponsors, speakers, and entertainers to promote the event
  • Publish press releases
  • Start publicly circulating event specifics
  • Close early-bird tickets (mention they are sold out)
Months Before the Event
Day Before the Event

Step 4: 1 Day Before the Event

Here you have a single thing to do. Ensure everything is in place. That includes:

  • Media attendance
  • On-site promotion
  • Merchandise
  • Event equipment
  • Everything else you have

After you finish the event successfully, take a deep breath knowing you did a great job.