It’s time to bring something new and exciting into your life. You can do so in several ways:
- Start a new relationship.
- Reach the next level at the gym.
- Think about planning an event.
If you’re thinking about planning an event for business or personal reasons, you might need some help with the planning process – and that’s where the ultimate event planning checklist comes in.
Whether you’re hosting a large-scale formal wedding or just throwing a small house party for friends, use this list as your go-to guide when it comes to checking off all the details associated with every type of special occasion.
What is an Event?
Before we get started on the checklist itself, let’s make sure we understand what, exactly, we’re talking about. An event is typically defined as a special occasion that brings together people from different walks of life for a common purpose.
This could be anything from a baby’s christening to a 50th wedding anniversary party. Events can also be business-related, such as product launches or networking mixers.
Some key elements are always essential to a successful event, no matter the occasion. These include:
- Defining the goal or purpose of the event.
- Choosing the right venue.
- Planning the menu and catering.
- Securing entertainment.
- Sending invitations and managing RSVPs.
- Preparing for and troubleshooting the event day.
- Following up with attendees after the event
Define Your Purpose & Goals for the Event
The first step in planning an event is to think about why you’re hosting it. Is there a particular purpose or goal that ties your overall vision together? This might be something like raising awareness of an issue, celebrating a milestone, or looking to expand your social circle.
It’s essential to take some time to think through what you hope to accomplish at this meeting or function before you get started on the checklist itself.
Choose an Appropriate Venue for Your Event
Once you have a firm grasp of what you want your event to do, it’s time to select the perfect venue. A place that can accommodate all of your needs and help you achieve your goals.
For example, if you’re planning a corporate event, you’ll likely want to choose a venue with enough space to accommodate a large crowd. If you’re hosting a private party, on the other hand, you might prefer something more intimate and cosy.
When choosing a venue, be sure to keep in mind the following factors:
- The type of event you’re hosting (business or personal).
- The size of your guest list.
- Your desired theme or aesthetic.
- The venue’s location and how easy it will be to get to guests.
Plan the Menu & Catering for Your Event
Once you’ve secured a venue for your event, it’s time to think about how you’re going to feed all those hungry guests. This may seem like a trivial detail, but catering is one of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of hosting an event. Keeping any dietary restrictions in mind (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) will make this task much more manageable.
After you’ve decided on a menu, it’s also time to start thinking about how you’ll fulfill that menu – meaning: who will be doing the cooking and what type of equipment they’ll need to prepare each dish.
Having catered at large events myself in the past, I can attest that the amount of work that goes into preparing food for hundreds/thousands of people is no small feat, so be sure to start this process as early as possible (at least 2-3 months in advance).
Secure Entertainment for Your Event
The most important piece of entertainment at your event is, of course, you. As the host or organiser, it’s ultimately up to you to kick things off and welcome everyone into the space. After that, though, what will guests do to pass the time? Will they mingle with new people? Entertain themselves by playing games?
Use this time to brainstorm some ideas about great ways guests can stay entertained throughout your event – and then go out and secure those entertainment options ASAP. For large events especially, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan if one of your main entertainment options falls through at the last minute.
Some popular types of event entertainment include:
- A DJ or band.
- Live performances.
- Speakers or panel discussions.
- Games or other interactive activities.
Send Invitations & Manage RSVPs
Once you have a general idea of what your event will entail, it’s time to start sending out invitations. This is often the first real indication to guests that an event is happening and can help set the tone for what they should expect.
When creating invitations, include all relevant details like the date, time, location, and special instructions (like dress code). You’ll also want to make it easy for guests to RSVP, and be sure to send out reminders as the date approaches.
Delegate Responsibilities & Follow Up
When it comes time for your event, you’ll likely have a team of people helping run the show. Whether or not this is your first large-scale undertaking, you will need to delegate tasks and responsibilities to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Assign jobs like collecting RSVPs, decorating the venue space, coordinating food/entertainment options, and making announcements throughout the evening.
Afterward, don’t forget to follow up with any vendors (like caterers) that helped make your event possible. After all, they’re providing a valuable service that you’ll want to continue using in the future.
Manage Any Last Minute Problems & Keep Your Cool
Although you’ve done your best to prepare for every possible contingency, something will likely go wrong at some point throughout your event. If this happens, do your best to stay calm.
Having an idea about how you’ll proceed in advance (i.e., keeping contact information for essential vendors nearby) can be very helpful when it comes time to call on them for help with last-minute problems like broken lights or no sound system. Once all is said and done, don’t forget to send out any necessary thank-you notes!
Revel In Your Success – And Start Planning For The Next One!
And with that, your event is over! Take a few moments to bask in all your hard work (and the compliments from guests, of course), and then start thinking about what you can do to make your next event even better.
The best organisers are always looking for ways to improve their skills, so use this as an opportunity to reflect on what went well and what could use some improvement. No matter what, remember to have fun! After all, planning events should be enjoyable!
Now that you have a general idea of what goes into planning an event, it’s time to get started! By following the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to successfully organising your next shindig. Cheers!