If you are in the process of planning an event for your company and find yourself overwhelmed, unorganized or not knowing where to begin, you have come to the right place! All great event planners follow a timeline of sorts to plan and execute a successful event. We want to let you in on ours just in case you may need a jumpstart on planning.
3 – 6 Months Prior to Your Event
Your initial planning is largely impacted by your guest count and the type of event in which you are coordinating. This will dictate where you are able to host your event, your budget for the event, and many other factors that make up of the entire planning process.
- Determine the event budget.
- Determine your guest count.
- Choose a venue.
- Determine a date and time of event.
- Establish a theme.
- Create a marketing/communication plan.
- Contact the necessary vendors such as speakers, entertainers, and caterers to confirm availability and pricing.
- Complete and sign all event venue and vendor contracts to lock in your date.
- Send your deposits.
- Block hotel rooms for out of town attendees.
1 – 2 Months Prior to Your Event
It is crucial that during this time you begin heavily promoting your event. Of course, the type of communications you do is dependent on if this is an event for employees (and perhaps their families) only; or if this event will be open to people outside of your company. This can be done through many different platforms, and if applicable, you should encourage your partners, speakers, and vendors to do the same.
- Establish a marketing/communication plan for promoting your event.
- Update website, social media, and all marketing materials.
- Outline logistics: decorations, dress code, parking, etc.
- Distribute personal invitations or promotional materials.
- Begin ticket sales (if applicable).
- Send out a press release or newsletter regularly reminding your audience of the event.
- Confirm catering and vendor arrangements.
1 Week Prior to Your Event
This is the time where all the fine tuning begins. Your last-minute details begin to fall into place. This confirmation verifies that all the moving parts will run smoothly the day of the event.
- Finalize and confirm the number of attendees with venue and number of ticket sales.
- Confirm set up style with venue.
- Finalize and confirm any catering or vendor arrangements.
- Send out final email confirmation with any special event instructions to guests who have already RSVP’d.
- Encourage guests to bring a friend or knock down ticket prices if not sold out.
- Print any handouts, name tags, or registration materials.
Day of Your Event
Following the steps and timeline above will help your event to run smoothly and be a success. It is important that someone arrives early to the venue to ensure that setup is complete and accurate.
- Test the AV or technology.
- Meet with vendors and caterers on-site to go over last-minute details or requests.
- Greet speakers and volunteers.
- Set up registration table and/or any promotional items, gift bags or favors.
3-5 Days After Your Event
It is crucial to acknowledge your event and thank guests for their attendance. This is a great time to measure the success of the event and decide whether it is reasonable to begin planning another.
- Thank speakers, vendors, caterers, and volunteers.
- Measure the event’s success by sending out an evaluation to attendees.
- Pay any remaining balances.
- Share photos of the event on social media platforms.
- Send out personal thank you cards to the attendees or publish a press release, if appropriate.