It can be easy to lose yourself in the process of planning an event. There’s a ton of things you need to remember and keep track of at the same time.
That’s why it’s good to have a framework to help keep you focused. With an outline of what needs to be done, you always have something to return to if you get lost.
See it as your map in the planning wilderness.
We’ve put together an event planning template you can use if you lose your way. Every event is different so this template will not be specifically tailored to yours.
Yet all events have common elements. And those components tend to be the most important ones.
Follow this event planning template to make sure you don’t miss any steps.
Early preparation for the event
You should begin to plan your event as soon as possible. There is no such thing as having too much time to prepare.
Big events are planned a year (or more) in advance. Small or medium events can still benefit from a good six-month run-up.
Unless you’re throwing a party for the sake of throwing a party, there will be a theme. It can be a fancy dress-up party or a political conference. Start with the reason for putting on the event.
Once you’re crystal clear about why you’re organising the event, you should define your audience. Who will be interested in this kind of event? Why would they attend? Where do they live online?
3. Decide on a date and time
Choose the date and time of your event wisely. Make sure that it doesn’t clash with bank holidays, seasonal holidays, or popular vacation times. Also, keep an eye on similar events, so you’re not competing for the same audience.
You know your audience and the approximate date of the event. Now it’s time to find a venue. If your event will be outdoors, you need to obtain the proper permits. If it’s indoors, it’s time to shortlist some spaces and get quotes.
Now is also a good time to think about the menu for the event. Is it an outdoor picnic where people bring their own food? Or is the food the central part of your dinner party? Begin shortlisting some local catering companies and get quotes for your budget.
If you’re only organising a small event, you might be able to pull it off on your own. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to see if you can recruit a team. Write a to-do list of tasks you want to be done, then start delegating.
You’ll want the money side of things out of the way as well. How much will it cost to hire the venue? What about the food? Are you paying your team? Your budget will also depend on whether or not you’re charging entry or trying to make a profit.
A few months before the event
You can begin looking more at specific aspects of your event a month or two before it kicks off.
It’s a good idea to have a programme, regardless of whether you’re throwing a party or business conference. Allow for guests to arrive 30–60 minutes late. But ensure there’s entertainment for those who arrive on the dot. Put together a rough schedule for the whole event.
2. Decide on a venue
You’ve already done some research, shortlisted venues, and collected quotes. Now is the time to lock one of them in. Make the booking and sign the contract. Make sure you know what’s included in the price.
3. Secure food and drinks
As with securing the venue, you need to decide on what food and drinks you’re ordering. Are you making it yourself? Will you hire a caterer? Remember to negotiate the delivery of the food, as well as any additional decoration.
If you plan on providing entertainment, you’ll need equipment. Research and book sound systems, microphones, projectors, and anything else you might need.
Create a page or website for your event and set up social media profiles. Include a countdown timer for the date of the event as well.
If your event is private (or you have a guest list), you should also begin sending out personalised invitations.
Now is also the time to start with the promotion. Set up social media ads, print out flyers, and start an email campaign.
If your event is ticketed, you need somewhere to sell tickets from. Find a ticketing platform that integrates with your event website and social media.
A few weeks before the event
With a few weeks to go before your event, you need to make sure everything is in order.
1. Confirm attendees
If you’ve sent out personal invitations, then confirm their attendance. It will help you plan the logistics of the event.
Think about where people will park and which way they’ll enter the venue. Where will they leave their coats once inside? Does the seating arrangement fit the stage set up? Is the stage even set up?
Depending on the venue, you might have to carry out health and safety checks yourself. Make sure there are no fire risks or other health hazards.
4. Confirm catering and equipment
Confirm that catering, AV equipment, and any other suppliers you’re working with are all in order.
5. Do last-minute shopping
Are there any bits and bobs you haven’t been able to get hold off until now? Then make sure you buy them a few weeks in advance.
A couple of days before the event
The last few days before the event will be your busiest. Make the most of it and do some last-minute checks.
1. Set up the venue
Decorate the interior and exterior of the venue. Arrange the seating and set up a selfie wall if you need one.
2. Test the equipment
Make sure that all sound, lighting, and visuals are working properly. Check if the WiFi connection is good.
3. Do a run-through
Get out your event programme and run through everything that is going to happen. Account for delays and plan what to do if and when they happen.
Let the festivities commence
That’s it! You’ve successfully gone through all the steps required to plan your event. But your work is far from over…
Now you need to execute the event. The planning stage takes a lot of effort, but anything can happen once the guests arrive.
Hopefully, this event planning template has helped you prepare for any scenario.