When you’re planning an event, whether that’s a wedding, a birthday party or your annual Christmas do, it’s easy forget things and miss them out. Make sure that you and your guests have the best possible time with our ultimate event planning checklist. (For a more wedding-specific checklist, see our last-minute wedding checklist.) After all, Forbes didn’t name ‘Event Co-ordinator’ the fifth most stressful job for nothing!
Determine what you want and what you have to work with
Obviously, before you start planning any event you need a goal. It could be a conference, charity event or workshop. Decide what you want to achieve with this event and how this is going to happen.
Put together a comprehensive budget which shows how much you have to spend and roughly how much you want to contribute towards each aspect. If you have any sponsors, ensure you have established these in plenty of time so you can include sponsorships whilst in the planning stage. Some sponsors will have conditions which you must follow so it’s better to have these known from the offset, for example logos on promotional materials or a display.
Next on the event planning checklist is where and when
Set a date plenty of time in advance so you can get the guests invites or tickets out. The more time people have to organise themselves, the better the turnout you will receive. Consider carefully when in the year you’d like to have your event. For example, anywhere around the Christmas period won’t be a good idea as people tend to be booked up. Small details of an event really make or break it so be mindful when planning them.
A flexible venue with modern amenities is important for a successful event. It’s always a good idea to visit the venue before booking anything to get a feel for the place. This also means you can speak to staff and ensure they will be friendly and helpful. Having a good team behind you for an event is vital. At Milton Hill House in Oxfordshire, we have 20 modern event spaces for you to hold your event and our planners have years of experience so can help you plan for success. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or browse our venue hire Oxford page.
Get excited about a themed event
If your event has a theme, you need to plan out the decor and layout of the room. If you’re planning a party, a theme is normally a big deal and any party planning checklist will include this. Other events might not rely so heavily on a theme but you can always include themed food for some fun. Do plenty of research and you will be able to find a way to get it right. You may even be able to find some tech or software to help! For a workshop, you might need a U-shaped layout so everyone can see the speaker. Consider providing notepads, pens, and remember that delegates will want refreshments throughout the day. If your budget extends, a buffet at lunchtime is a nice touch and will fuel guests for the rest of the event. If you’re having food, contact your vendor to make sure that they can do exactly what you want prior to the event and they have paperwork to prove they meet all health and safety standards.
Get people enthusiastic about your event by using social media to advertise. If there are surprise special guest speakers, tease about these on your socials to excite your delegates and get them thinking. Follow up for your event is almost as important as the planning stage. Create a hashtag and encourage delegates to use it so everyone can see what happened. If this is an annual thing, it means users can view all the photos of a particular event, in one place. Ask people to provide feedback after the event so you can make improvements for your next one.
Make sure everything (and everyone) is ready
Keep track of your planning using a spreadsheet. This is a very important point on any event managing checklist. A collaborative one is perfect so team members can see live updates of what’s been done. Make sure everything is finalised with time to spare for any changes. Having a “plan B” is always a good idea in case any aspects fall through. For example, if you’re having an outdoor event, a tent or marquee is always a good idea. Get all contracts signed by your suppliers and make sure that you have responses from your attendees as early as possible in your timeline.
Send out reminders to guests via email or text, to maximise turnout. This is particularly important if invites went out early. Reminders also provide a certain amount of hype and excitement for your event, so guests are anticipating it.
Hopefully the tips in our event planning checklist will be enough to help your event run smoothly. If you’re looking for an event space in Oxfordshire, get in touch with our team today.