Planning an event is a specific skill that takes attention to the detail.
In order to be successful you must be organized, have good communication skills, and be able to follow up with vendors. Without these traits you are very likely to miss some of the important aspects needed when planning a major event.
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If you are planning your own event, here is a checklist:
Event Planning Timeline and Checklist
Three Weeks Before Event
- Decide on a location for your party or celebration – think about whether the guests will be adults or children
- Make an invitation list
- Decide on a theme if appropriate
- Send out invitations – email, evite, snail mail and phone calls are all acceptable
- Plan a menu
- Ask people for help – think about any help you will need with pre and post-party setup and tear down; bartenders; caterers; appetizers; cooks; etc
Two Weeks Before Event
- Get plates, eating utensils, tables and linens ready.
- Decide on music – you can use your own stereo, ipod and laptop; or you can hire a DJ.
- Make a list of shopping items you may need to buy – go purchase the items that will not go bad.
One Week Before Event
- Clean thoroughly! – if event is at your home, be sure to clean thoroughly. If you are renting a venue, then skip this step.
- Set the furniture – arrange the furniture in the way you want it and double check that it allows for comfortable walk-ways and sitting. Check on bar, coffee, appetizer and food areas.
- Double check your cookware and dishes – make sure you have enough for all your guests.
- Stock the bar
Three Days Before Event
- Decorate the venue
- Set up garbage cans in convenient locations
- Designate an area for coats and jackets – buy hangers if you need it
- Grocery shopping – purchase everything you need for the meal (disregard if at restaurant)
One Day Before Event
- Set the tables and seating areas
- Buy flowers and set up final decorations
- Start cooking and preparing food that can sit overnight
- Put away all valuables – if party is at your home, put valuables in a safe place
Day of Your Event
- Set up chairs and seating
- Finish last minute cooking – you will probably start cooking first thing in the morning
- Place food on tables or buffet area
- Welcome and greet guests as they arrive – create a warm and welcoming entrance for your guests
- Enjoy the party!
Choosing the right venue is an important part of event planning. The correct venue can really make or break your event. If you select a venue that is too small there will not be enough room for all of your guests to enjoy your event they way that you intended. If the venue is too large you risk the chance of paying too much money and unnecessarily increasing your costs. The size of your group will help determine what type of venue you will need for your event. If you are planning a small birthday party for a dozen or so guests a restaurant might be your best option as many locations are able to offer you a private room to use for your party, while utilizing the cooking staff they have on hand for the meal. However, if you are planning a large corporate event you may want to rent out a meeting room in a hotel or convention center, where you will be able to hire a catering service to handle all of your cooking needs.
When it comes to planning a great event you will want to keep many different things in mind when making the preparations such as number of people attending, food that will be served, decorations, and entertainment. If you keep these four main aspects of a large event in mind when starting your planning you will quickly see just what needs to be included to make your event a success.