Event Planning Checklist

What Is an Event Planning Checklist?

What is event planning? It refers to the systematic process of handling projects (e.g., meetings, tradeshows, parties, conventions, and more). These plans deal with a lot of factorssuch as budgeting, finding a venue, getting a permit, preparing food, arranging equipment or facilities, and so much more. Meanwhile, a checklist refers to your reliable guide in finishing tasks. Instead of remembering every detail inside your head, you can simply depend on the list. This tool will remind you of what to do and what you have accomplished, based on the checkmarks you placed on the boxes. Combine these terms, and you form the event planning checklist. Thus, it is a dependable guide in completing all the necessary errands to manage an occasion.

Did you know that the budget spent on special events reached $500 billion worldwide annually?

According to Statista, there were approximately 250 convention centers in the U.S. back in 2017.

Moreover, Statista confirmed that the average cost per attendee among American conferences or shows was $534.

Event Planning: Then vs. Now

Some people who are fond of surprises might ask, “why is planning for an event essential?” Aside from the obvious answer, which is increasing the success rate of operations, you should know that planning and hosting events even apply to the olden times before technology advances. For example, Cleopatra was known as an event planner. Based on historical accounts, Cleopatra organized a special occasion in the Nile River with a boat embellished in candles and scents. It was all for the sake of impressing Mark Anthony. Other parties can be traced back to the Medieval French Royalty. Music and costumes often filled these events. By this period, aristocratic women dominated event management. And some famous names of planners include Madame Pompadour and Marie Antoine.

If people from the past succeeded in organizing parties successfully, how much more now that technology is continually developing to help keep things more efficient? Before, registration had to depend on the handwritten approach. Nowadays, one can fill out these documents online or via email. With the Internet, it gets hassle-free to locate specific destinations for gatherings, too, due to online maps. And probably the best invention is how easy it is to contact people. Gone are those days where people have to meet first or send snail mails in sharing a message since social media and phones helped improve communication. With such contributions, individuals can take advantage of using innovative ways for planning events.

How Do Event Planning Checklists Help?

birthday party, wedding ceremony, concert, or a small business conference—each program comes in different forms. But one thing in common is that you can manage them efficiently with event planning checklists. So how can a checklist save a gathering? It is all down to the details. In preparing, part of the process is to monitor or keep an eye on the progress. Details also matter from the smallest things. In fact, both who are new and experienced in event planning should not underestimate a checklist’s power.

Furthermore, checklists prevent unforeseen accidents and mistakes. American surgeon/writer Atul Gawande even iterated that these lists are known as crucial productivity tools, according to his book called The Checklist Manifesto. With a lot of ideas, maybe you get unsure of what to prioritize. Therefore, lists help in providing a detailed sequence about everything you and your team need to comply with. When every task gets finished and checked, that signifies that you are done with the plan. And, the event is finally ready.

What Are the Elements of an Event Planning Checklist?

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, research by Dr. Joe Goldblatt (CSEP) showed that the annual budget spent on special events is around $500 billion globally. With that many projects, imagine how many different plans were associated with organizing every event. But what does a standard event planning checklist contain? Here are the typical elements to include in the sheet:

Budget: You cannot deny that extravagant ideas with zero budget would not succeed. Costs even cover every attendee of certain projects. According to Statista’s report, the average amount for each attendee of a conference or show in the U.S. is up to $534. More so, a checklist should cover the specific amount for the whole bash. Besides the total amount, divide the costs according to their functions. That way, it gets easy to determine where the money goes or if the business budget got evenly distributed.Venue: Next, decide where the gathering takes place. Preparing the venue is one of the important details in planning. Otherwise, the party would not happen. Will it be at a convention center? Statista stated that around 250 American convention centers were present in 2017. Note that visiting the location should be part of your list too. Moreover, identify the full address of that place to ensure precise information is covered. Even the invitations need such details.Equipment: Events may make use of tools and equipment. For example, a concert would need big speakers, mic stands, musical instruments, and lights. In team building programs, using sports equipment could be applicable. No matter what item is needed, be sure to enumerate everything on the checklist. When all stuff is present, then you are good to go.Permit: Some venues, tools, and facilities to borrow require permits. Indeed, signing particular documents will accomplish this. However, some may require other requirements, and every stipulation must be on the checklist. Without completing these requirements, an event may have to cancel so better yet fix this early.Food: What is even a party without food? In a luxurious birthday party and even a formal corporate event, feeding the guests is often necessary. That naturally applies to events that take many hours where people eventually go hungry. Hire a catering service, perhaps, if your organizers do not have time to prepare all the meals.Theme: Most parties observe a particular theme as a creative factor in the entire program. Birthdays, weddings, and any other similar gathering often require this. Themes set the tone to a gathering, like if people should dress up in Victorian fashion, Hawaiian attire, or Coachella vibes. As much as possible, inform the guests about this so they can also prepare. On your list, enumerate the needed decorations and other stuff that help shape that theme to your event.Transportation: Some events, particularly those involving faraway locations or hard-to-reach areas, include transportation services to handle guests. Lists may mention the contact numbers of these transportation companies. Or perhaps, share the instructions of which spots to go first until everyone gets accommodated.Backup: Any event requires a contingency plan. Otherwise, how can you prepare for unexpected circumstances? Include a risk management plan wherein all preparations to handle such risks are enumerated in the document. Consequently, the outcome least likely ends in jeopardy, thanks to the prepared backup plans stipulated in that checklist.

How to Ace an Event Planning Checklist

Now that you know a checklist contains a series of tasks with boxes, circles, or lines to check, it is not the only instruction you should do to make that list. Expect a bunch of tips to help you create the best event planning checklist for your next project. How do you conduct this? Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: List Down Every Particular Errand in a Draft

First of all, do not aimlessly enumerate the tasks to fulfill for your list. A project plan is a basic step to take for this. After coming up with the plan along with other organizers, enlist the things to do in a sheet as your draft. Why come up with a draft first? This approach is to avoid mistakes on your final checklist. Your only concern now is to prevent forgetting every activity to complete in managing the event.

Step 2: Group the Tasks into Categories

Did you finish your draft already? Great, proceed to group tasks into specific categories. Grouping is useful to keep errands well-organized. To establish this, segregate the activities according to the elements of an event planning checklist, as discussed earlier. One category may involve all the tasks relating to the venue, another for the equipment, and so forth. This way, there will be lesser confusion when you need to look after particular elements. Hence, you only track specific tasks according to their group.

Step 3: Timeline the Set of Activities

Providing a sequence on what to accomplish first, second, and so forth is possible when you schedule activities. For this, you have to input the time and date of when to perform a specific task. In case you are not fond of a particular schedule since the time to finish certain activities is unsure, just arrange these tasks in order. Maybe the first on the list is meeting with a client while the second is to pay for the workshop venue. How the arrangement goes is up to you as long as you make it doable. By that, it means processes undergo a smooth run since you arranged errands in the right order.

Step 4: Design the Checklist for Inspiration

How can you incorporate that inspirational factor in the checklist without adding some creativity into it? Do not forget that we have different event planning checklist templates available to download, edit, and print. Therefore, make the most out of these templates by enhancing the design. With its easily modifiable features, changing the appearance by adding more tables, shapes, and artistic designs can happen. Or perhaps, add motivational quotes inside the document to help you get through with your project earnestly with these inspirational event planning quotes. If there is any way for a design to help you finish tasks quickly and effectively, then apply it.


What are the stages needed in the event planning process?

A standard event planning process generally comes in five steps. These are feasibility, design, operations, on-site execution, and evaluation. And these steps must go in order. In the absence of one step, the process might not go according to plan.

What qualities do event planners need?

A good event planner must have organizational skills, resilience, creativity, and wisdom in planning. Moreover, he or she should be network savvy, dedicated to clients, and in full understanding of the event. With the right qualities and tools to use for event planning, you are on the right track.

How much do event planners usually earn?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the annual median salary earned by event planners was around $47,350 back in 2016. Also, it had approximately 116,700 employees to boot.

Despite being new or experienced in the event management business, there is nothing wrong with asking a little bit of help from event planning checklists. Indeed, stress and mishaps could occur in planning. But not doing anything to avoid such issues is much worse. Hence, complete all tasks successfully and quickly by involving inspirational aspects to your list. This sheet is even every planner’s best friend. And maybe what you think is a tad help from a checklist might bring a huge difference when things run smoothly in the end.