The Event Planning Checklist Used By Top Event Planners (2023)

Are you new to planning events and want a little help?

Or are you looking for an easy process for your team to follow while planning an event?

Whether you’re running an in-person, hybrid or virtual event, you’re in the right place. This blog post will help you figure out everything you need to plan and execute for your next event.

You’ll learn:

- What an Event Planning Checklist Includes
- The 10 Steps to Planning an Event
- What to Include in Your Event Planning Checklist:

- 4-6 Months Ahead of Event
- 3-4 Months Ahead of Event
- 1-2 Months Prior To Event
- 1 Week Prior to the Event
- 1 Day Before the Event
- The Day of the Event

- How to do a Post-Event Follow-Up and Post-Event Analysis
- The Event Registration Software You Need To Try

(And if you want to learn how to plan an event from start to finish, check out our entire guide here.)

Want a printable copy of this checklist? Fill in the form below!

Download Your Copy of the Event Planning Checklist
(Excel, Word, PDF)

The Event Planning Checklist Used By Top Event Planners (1)

What does an event checklist include?

When you create your event checklist, it should cover the essentials. That includes:

  • Date

  • Location

  • Type of event

    (Video) How to Create an Event Planning Checklist

  • Goals

  • Budget

Of course, there’ll be some parts of your event that won’t fall exactly into these categories, but these must-haves are an important jumping off point. Which leads us to my next point…

What are the 10 steps to plan an event?

The Event Planning Checklist Used By Top Event Planners (2)

The top ten most important steps in planning any event are:

  1. Establish your event goals and objectives.

  1. Select your event's date.

  1. Develop an event master plan.

  1. Create an event budget.

  1. Brand your event and begin publicity.

  1. Arrange sponsorships and speakers for your event.

  1. Launch ticket sales.

  1. Coordinate with event suppliers (catering, equipment, etc).

  1. Manage event day set up and execution.

  1. Conduct a thorough evaluation of your event.

To help you out every step of the way, I've broken down these steps into a few different sections by date, which you can see in the table of contents to the side. This will help you figure out when to do certain tasks. Of course, the earlier you can start working on your event, the better — that way you'll be as prepared as possible when any issues come up (as they probably will).

(Video) Event Planning Checklist

And remember: your event can range from a small workshop to a gala fundraising event. Whatever your event may be, this checklist is the perfect place to start your event planning.


The First Steps in Your Event Checklist: 4-6 Months Ahead of Event

The further in advance you can start planning, the better — but I've noticed that most organizations we work with start planning their big events like galas and fundraisers about 6 months in advance.

Here's what you need to do to get started:

  • Establish your event goals and objectives.Did you want to raise money or awareness? How many attendees are you hoping to get? Establishing it up front will make it easier to gauge the success of your event. (For tips on getting more event attendees, click here.)
  • Select the date.And make sure it doesn't conflict with any other events taking place in your area, or any major holidays.
  • Identify venue and negotiate details.What kind of insurance does the venue require? Can you serve alcohol? Determine the requirements before committing.
  • Develop an event master plan.Ironing out every detail will help ensure you don't miss a thing.
  • Get cost estimates.Some costs you might need to consider are:
    • Room rental
    • Food and beverages
    • Equipment
    • Speaker fees
    • Travel for staff
    • Insurance
  • Create an event budget.Based on the costs above, you'll be able to determine how much your event will cost — and if you'll need to reduce any of them!
  • Recruit an event committee. This includes selecting an event manager or chair, and establishing sub-committee chairs.
  • Brand your event.
    • Start building out an event website or pages on your website that describe the event.
    • Develop an event logo and tagline.
  • Create and launch publicity plan. This includes ensuring staff and/or volunteers are identified to manage specific tasks – e.g., media relations, VIP coordination, printed material design & printing coordination, signage, online /social media, etc.
  • Identify and confirm speakers/presenters/entertainers. Who will you need on hand during the event?
  • Identify and contact sponsors/partners.Getting event sponsorship can be a huge boost. Start looking within your network first. Contact your existing supporters and contacts. Then use tools to find potential sponsors.
  • Determine if you need event registration software to make the process easier.There are a variety of different software tools that can help streamline the event process.
  • Determine if you need other event management software.It’s worth looking into an all-in one solution, like WildApricot, that can keep everything organized in one place. This kind of software can tackle everything including event marketing, relationship management, project management, and more.
  • Release early-bird tickets.Early-bird registration is a great way to pique interest and get people excited ahead of the event!
  • Ensure registration forms are accessible.Make sure that your forms are inclusive. Allow space for preferred pronouns and preferred names.


3-4 Months Ahead of Event: Starting to Ramp Up

Now that you have some of the foundational parts of your event figured out, it's time to start executing!

If your event is coming up in a few months, you'll need to start communicating with all the stakeholders outside your organization and continue coordinating with them.

Here’s everything you need covered at this point:

  • Build out required documents for your team.
    • General to-do lists
    • Event goals, objectives, and KPIs
    • Budget docs
    • Design requirements
  • Speaker/presenter/entertainer liaison:
    • Finalize presentation/speech topics
    • Get bio information, photo
    • Travel & accommodation arrangements
    • Have contracts signed if appropriate
    • Ask speakers to start promoting and sharing it with their network
  • Financial/Administration:
    • Determine registration fees
    • Set up and enable online registration
    • Finalize sponsor levels and amounts
    • Identify items to be underwritten and accounting tracking details
  • Venue and logistics planning:
    • Determine and arrange all details re menu, A/V equipment, registration set-up, parking, signage, etc.If virtual, check registration pages, do tech check-ins with speakers, test virtual experiences, etc.
    • Review security needs/plan for the event with venue manager
    • Investigate need for any special permits, licenses, insurance, etc.
    • Assess accessibility requirements (e.g. all-gender restrooms, wheelchair accessibility, etc).If virtual, this may include live captioning, platforms that work with assistive technology, inclusive design on pages, etc.
    • Communicate accessibility requirements to staff.
  • Follow publicity plan:
    • Develop draft program
    • Create draft event script (e.g., MC, speaker introductions, thanks, closing, etc.)
    • Develop publicity pieces --e.g., newsletter articles and/or ads, radio spots, print blog posts articles for submission to other publications and/or ads, etc.
    • Request logos from corporate sponsors for online and printed materials
    • Develop and produce invitations, programs, posters, tickets, etc.
    • Develop media list & prepare News Release, Media Advisory, Backgrounder and all media kit materials (e.g., speaker info, photos, etc.)
    • Create event pageon your website
    • Enable/create emailevent notifications
    • Create a Facebook event page
    • Develop a promo video and post on YouTube and your Facebook page
    • Register your event on a variety of online event calendars
    • Create some buzz on your blog or member forums
    • Determine VIPs and create invitation & tracking document (e.g., spreadsheet)
    • Order any desired event swag

Want a printable copy of this checklist? Download it here.

1-2 Months Prior To Event: Keep on Going

You're getting there! At this point, you're probably spending more and more time focusing on the event and finalizing some details.

  • Send reminders to your contact list regarding registration and participation.
    • Schedule email reminders the week before, day before, and day of registration closing and event day
    • Schedule social media posts promoting registration and participation (frequency may vary depending on channel and audience)
  • Reach out again to presenters/speakers regarding:
    • Confirming travel and accommodation details
    • Request copy of speeches and/or presentations
    • Make sure they have key promotion dates in place
  • Sponsorship finalization:
    • Follow up to confirm sponsorships and underwriting
    • Get any promotional materials you'll be sharing at the event
    • Ask sponsors to share event on their promotional channels
  • Continue executing on your publicity plan:
    • Release press announcements about keynote speakers, celebrities, VIPs attending, honourees, etc.
    • Post your initial event news release on your website and circulate to all partners, affiliated organizations, etc.
    • Post more details about your event on social media
  • Close early-bird tickets
    • Release standard pricing on your event management platform.
  • Finalize and proofread printed materials.
    • Check for copy errors including spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Look out for any brand discrepancies.

Event planning isn't easy — check out this event planning checklist to save yourself some time!

1 Week Prior to the Event: The Home Stretch

You're getting so close!

(Video) How To Create The Perfect Event Planning Checklist

By this point, the majority of the event details should be confirmed and all that's left will be final touches, such as:

  • Have all committee chairs meet and confirm all details against Master Plan.
    • You should also ensure back-up plans are developed for any situation (e.g., back-up volunteers as VIP greeters, additional volunteers for registration or set-up, etc).
  • Finalize event script.
    • Assign practice sessions for anyone who has a speaking slot.
  • Brief any/all hosts, greeters, volunteers about their event duties and timelines.
  • Finalize your seating plan.
    • Ensure it includes wheelchair-accessible areas and has clear paths through the venue.
  • Provide final registration numbers to caterer.
  • Make print and online copies of any speeches, videos, and presentations.
  • Do a final registration check, including name badges & registration list.
    • Depending on when your registration closes, this may not be possible until a few days in advance, but try to finish it as early as possible.
  • Determine photo op and interview opportunities with any presenters and VIPs.
  • Confirm details with media attendees.

1 Day Before the Event: Almost There

Here are a few last-minute details you might want to remember:

  • Confirm media attendance.
  • Ensure all signage is in place
    • Both around the venue and any other areas in which it's needed.
  • Ensure registration and media tables are prepared
    • Stock with necessary items (such as blank name badges, paper, pens, tape, stapler, etc.)
    • Ensure there are enough outlets. If not, consider bringing power bars for attendees and your team.
  • Ensure all promo items, gifts, plaques, trophies, etc. are on-site.
  • Ensure all A/V equipment is set up and working properly.
  • Get a good night's sleep!You'll need the rest before the exciting day to come.

Event Day: Your Time to Shine

The Event Planning Checklist Used By Top Event Planners (5)

The big day has arrived! Here's what you have to remember:

  • Take a few deep breaths — you got this!
    • Schedule time for self care before event starts, whether that be going for a run, getting some quiet time or meditating
  • Ensure you have copies of all important materials.
    • Instructions, directions, phone numbers, keys, extra parking permits for VIP guests, seating charts and guest lists with you
  • Check in with each Committee Chair to ensure their team is on track.
    • Also check in with catering and any sponsor teams that are attending.
  • Assist sponsors, speakers, and other teams as needed.
  • Greet new attendees.

Immediately Following Event:

Post-Event Follow-Up

While you should conduct a thorough evaluation and update your budget, there are other post-event items you should take care of. This includes publicity, fundraising and member development opportunities that you can take advantage of with just a little pre-event planning.

Here’s all the activities you should complete after the event is over:

  • Check in with venue.Ensure nothing important was left behind and maintain your relationship with the venue!
  • Financial status:
    • Gather all receipts and documentation, final registration data, etc.
    • Update budget
  • Send thank-you’s and acknowledgement letters to:
    • Sponsors
    • Volunteers
    • Speakers/presenters
    • Donors
    • The media

In your thank-you notes, be sure to remind the recipientsof the event’s success – and how they contributed (e.g., dollars raised, awareness - number of participants, etc.

  • Post-event publicity:
    • Send out an email to your subscriber base with highlights from the event
    • Make a publicity reel video to share how it went (and as a bonus, you can use it as publicity next year!)
    • Share highlights on social media
    • Update website page to reflect that it's a past event.
  • Reach out to event participants. Thank them for participating and promote your ongoing programs and how they can support you throughout the year by joining, volunteering or making a sustaining donation.

Post-Event Analysis

While it’s still fresh in your mind, it’s time to get all the information you can from your event. That includes data from your attendees and your team. There’s a lot you can learn that can help you for your next event.

  • Conduct a post-event survey.
    • Learn what people enjoyed about your event
    • Identify what elements attendees didn't like
  • Conduct a team debrief to learn their thoughts
  • Conduct a thorough evaluation of the event.
    • What went well?

    • What could you do better next time?

    • Did you hit your goals, objectives, and KPIs?

The Event Registration Software You Need To Try

Sick of processing event registrations and payments by hand? There's software that can completely automate the process for you online.

Membership Management Software lets you:

  • Instantly create online registration forms

  • Put a calendar of events on your website

  • Automatically update your website with upcoming events

  • Deposit event payments directly into your account

  • Dump event attendee data directly into your contact base

  • Send automatic invoices and event reminders

Membership Management Software takes care of all event logistics AND makes running any sort of membership organization easier. It automates administrative tasks such as managing your contacts, website, finances, and email communication

If you'd like to see if this kind of software is right for your organization, try WildApricot, the #1 Membership Management Software on the market. The best part is that WildApricot is free to try for 30 days. Click here to start your free trial now.

The Event Planning Checklist Used By Top Event Planners (7)As a small non-profit, this software has made organizing and communicating with our membership SO much easier. Membership is now automatic and registering for our events is easy for our guests and much less work for us.

-DeeDee LaBaron, Oregon Employment and Training Association

(Video) The Ultimate Event Planning Checklist

Planning Your Event Sets You Up For Success

I hope you found this checklist helpful in getting started with event planning! Use this as a starting point to identify or assign activities to various volunteers or staff, or print this off so you can literally check off items as they are assigned or accomplished.

(Video) Event Planning Checklist Event Planner Toolkit Review Guide

And if you're planning a virtual event rather than a traditional in-person one, we have a downloadable Virtual Event Checklist, as well!

FAQs

What is event planning checklist? ›

The key aspects of an event checklist are the essential components of your event so get those squared away first: date, location, type of event, goals, and budget. Once those are in place, the rest of the details can be built to accommodate the major components.

How important is checklist in preparing an event? ›

A checklist will allow you to enjoy your event

You'll be able to enjoy your event without having to worry if you mistakenly forgot to take care of something. Your event will run smoothly and the attendees will be able to have a great time because everything will be taken care of.

What is event checklist definition? ›

Here is where an event checklist comes in. It is your guide to staying organized and on -- or ahead -- of schedule when juggling the myriad of responsibilities and assorted details in planning a successful event. And it is particularly useful when managing multiple events.

What should a checklist include? ›

A typical checklist should have the following items:
  • Give a name to your checklist. The name of the checklist represents the purpose and use of creating it.
  • Date / Date range. ...
  • Add tasks in your checklist. ...
  • Continue repeating for every task.

What are the parts of a checklist? ›

A “Checklist” has the following properties.
  • Label. In other words your question.
  • Orientation. This property defines how the list will be be presented on the form and can either vertical or horizontal. ...
  • Items. ...
  • Minimum number of selected items. ...
  • Maximum number of selected items.

How effective is a checklist? ›

Checklists Keeps Things Organised

Simple and easy to use and very effective in ensuring you complete all the steps. Check off the items as you do them to see progress and identify items missed or falling behind on. Helps you stay on top of your priority tasks.

What is a checklist used for? ›

A checklist is a type of job aid used in repetitive tasks to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task.

What is a checklist and why is it important? ›

A checklist is a simple list of to-do items. It serves as a reminder to complete the task 100 percent as well as helps improve the delivered work quality. Why do you need checklists at work? A checklist is a simple to-do list that the person responsible has to run through before delivering work.

What are the top 5 most important aspects of organizing an event? ›

5 things to consider when organising an event
  • Timings. When writing your event brief you need to include all details relevant to the event. ...
  • Attendance. Your event brief will outline who your event's target audience is. ...
  • Venue and entertainment. ...
  • Budget. ...
  • Evaluation. ...
  • Good luck!
4 Aug 2017

How many types of checklist are there? ›

Essentially there are three types of checklist. Procedural checklists list steps that must be followed in order; communication checklists encourage communication in organizations; and project checklists list tasks that must be completed.

What is simple checklist method? ›

Under checklist method, a checklist is forwarded to the rater regarding the performance and behaviour of the employees. The rater on analysing the question and the employees, rates the employees. Such questions carry score which is given by the HR manager.

What is simple checklist? ›

What is a simple checklist template? A simple checklist template is any kind of process or list of tasks arranged in the form of a checklist; in other words, it's a to-do list where the order of tasks is usually important.

What is checklist analysis method? ›

Checklist analysis (CLA) is a technique that can be used to identify and manage risk. The checklist is developed by listing items, steps, or tasks and is then analyzed against criteria to determine if the procedure is completed correctly.

What is quality checklist? ›

A quality control checklist is basically a written guide for your products' contents, packaging, color, barcodes, appearance, possible defects, functions, and special requirements. It's also sometimes called an “inspection criteria sheet” or inspection checklist.

How do you make a checklist look good? ›

5 Tips for Creating Great Checklists
  1. Structure it logically. A good quality checklist guides the user. ...
  2. Make questions simple and unbiased. Every question in a checklist needs to be understood by its user. ...
  3. Clarify the objective. ...
  4. Provide help and guidance. ...
  5. Emphasise the right questions.
18 May 2021

What is sample checklist? ›

The sampling checklist is a contract specific report showing material samples and tests required to satisfy Sampling and testing requirements. There are certain selections that need to be made correctly on a sample record that must exactly match what is shown in the sampling checklist.

What were the benefits of keeping a checklist? ›

Productivity: By having a checklist you can complete repetitive tasks more quickly and efficiently, and with fewer mistakes. This gives you more time in the day and assures fewer “fire drills.” You become more productive and accomplish more each day.

Do checklists improve productivity? ›

A foolproof step-by-step guide will make handing over tasks easier as you won't have to worry about something not being done right. It will improve productivity: Having a checklist on hand will ensure you complete your task quickly and efficiently, allowing you to accomplish more things with your time.

Is checklist a quality tool? ›

While a valuable tool in itself, a checklist is just that – a 'check' the 'list' of items/processes that need to be done. Key items of a process can be documented and used to ensure the repetitive quality of the operation.

Why is checklist important in assessment? ›

Advantages of Checklists

Align closely with tasks. Effective for self and peer assessment. Make learners aware of task requirements, allowing them to self-monitor progress. Useful for sharing information with parents and other stakeholders.

What is a process checklist? ›

What is a Process Checklist? A process checklist is a process that include a step-by-step mandatory method application. These processes are usually paper sheets, books, or memorized lists that workers must validate while executing their operations.

What is the most important factor when planning an event? ›

Make sure you get the location, the size of the location, the catering, the entertainment and the date planned first. These are the most essential tasks to having the event be a success. People worry more about what happens at the event than what napkins they're using. Also make sure to check the calendar in advance.

What are the 7 elements of event planning? ›

Event management has 7 key elements: event infrastructure, audience, attendees, organizers, venue, and media. Your event software should be able to manage all of these elements.

What is the most important in event planning? ›

Creating an event-planning checklist is one the most important things you can do to ensure your next big event is a successful one. A detailed and structured checklist will help you stay organized and on task as you plan every aspect of your event.

What kind of tool is a checklist? ›

Checklists are assessment tools that set out specific criteria, which educators and students may use to gauge skill development or progress.

How do you use checklist in a sentence? ›

Make a checklist of the tools and materials you will need. Make a checklist of the tools and materials you will need.

How do you create a checklist for a project? ›

Project Management Checklist
  1. Set the vision, goals, and objectives.
  2. Meet with stakeholders and other project managers.
  3. Gather specs and requirements for the project team.
  4. Make the project plan.
  5. Create the project budget.
  6. Allocate your resources.
  7. Create a schedule.
  8. Set your communication plan.
3 Jun 2022

What means event planning? ›

The process of planning and coordinating the event is usually referred to as event planning and which can include budgeting, scheduling, site selection, acquiring necessary permits, coordinating transportation and parking, arranging for speakers or entertainers, arranging decor, event security, catering, coordinating ...

What is venue checklist? ›

Venue checklists are a simple way to make sure all your event requirements are met before the big day. Before searching for a venue, outline your criteria and make it incredibly detailed. Include room layouts, audio and video, and all your meeting needs to make submitting RFPs quick and easy.

What are the 7 stages of event planning? ›

Planning an Event? Don't Forget These 7 Steps
  • 1) Visualise the event.
  • 2) Draw up a budget.
  • 3) Develop a timeline.
  • 4) Put the plan into action.
  • 5) Double-check the project plan.
  • 7) Evaluate the event.
30 Mar 2015

How do you manage an event? ›

Because every event is different, each one requires a unique approach. To be a great event manager, then, you need to be as flexible as you are organized.
...
  1. Set clear objectives. ...
  2. Start planning now. ...
  3. Negotiate with vendors. ...
  4. Mobilize your networks. ...
  5. Be an early adopter. ...
  6. Do a run through. ...
  7. Listen to participants.

How do you plan an event successfully? ›

Table of contents
  1. Define goals and objectives.
  2. Establish a budget.
  3. Build your team.
  4. Pick your venue and date.
  5. Develop event branding.
  6. Plan your program.
  7. Confirm sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers.
  8. Identify and select tech tools.
29 Jul 2019

How do you make an event plan? ›

Without further ado, here are our 13 steps to creating a comprehensive event plan.
  1. Develop Your Event Goal and Objectives. ...
  2. Organize Your Team. ...
  3. Recruit & Train Volunteers. ...
  4. Establish Your Budget. ...
  5. Set the Date. ...
  6. Create an Event Master Plan. ...
  7. Choose Your Event Software. ...
  8. Book Your Venue.
16 Dec 2021

How do you plan a virtual event checklist? ›

Before the virtual event
  1. Define your event purpose. ...
  2. Identify event goals. ...
  3. Create a virtual event budget. ...
  4. Build an event content plan. ...
  5. Identify your virtual technology needs. ...
  6. Promote your virtual event. ...
  7. Find virtual event sponsors and partners. ...
  8. Prepare attendees for the virtual experience.
21 Sept 2020

How do you plan a school event checklist? ›

When to start planning your event
  1. Set your event objectives. ...
  2. Work out your event budget. ...
  3. Book your venue and date. ...
  4. Create your event marketing strategy. ...
  5. Book vendors and organize collateral. ...
  6. Roster staff and volunteers. ...
  7. Get your event documents ready. ...
  8. Create a contingency plan.
7 Sept 2020

What are the 5 C's of event planning? ›

These are: Concept, Coordination, Control, Culmination, and Closeout.

What are the 3 important components of events planning? ›

Key Elements of Event Planning
  • Event: First, you must have an event of some sort to plan, of course. ...
  • Budget: Estimate all your event costs and create a budget. ...
  • Venue: The event has to take place somewhere, and that involves logistics management, food and beverages as well as the décor.
4 May 2021

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