Your Ultimate Event Planning Checklist!

So you’ve done the hustle, you’ve sold your skills and pitched like crazy. And you did it—you landed that next big contract!

Well done…now what?

This one’s bigger than any event you’ve organized before and you’re feeling ever-so-slightly in over your head—you’re more nervous than excited! And you’re not sure where to start.

What you need is an event planning checklist that will ease your fears. 

With all the moving parts involved in planning an event, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t panic—you’re at the very start. The perfect place to be to plan an unforgettable event from the ground up.

But first, you need to get organized.

With this event planning checklist, you can keep track of all those little details and make sure you don’t forget anything.

eSpeakers Ultimate Event Planning Checklist

14 to 18 months prior to the event:

  • Write your event planning checklist!
  • Select and hire your planning committee
  • Delegate tasks and responsibilities
  • Create a preliminary budget
  • Establish objectives, goals, and theme of the event
  • Create a website 
  • Put together a mailing list
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Send an email blast: save the date
  • Venue search/site visits
  • Begin soliciting sponsorship
  • Outline event agenda
  • If you are using one, hire a decorator 
  • Establish satellite events 
  • Establish logistical parameters:
    • Space requirements
    • Number of attendees
  • Send out RFPs for ancillary services (transportation, equipment rentals)

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10 – 16 months before the event:

  • Contract ancillary services
  • Establish rates and pricing/early bird pricing
  • Begin promotion!
  • Launch social media campaign and platforms
  • Build registration platform on the website
  • Finalize contracts with venues and pay deposits
  • Seek out and secure speakers and facilitators
  • Arrange transportation and accommodation for speakers and guests
  • Be sure your website(s) can handle increasing traffic

6 – 10 months before the event:

  • Open registration 
  • Finalize sessions
  • Layout program
  • Plan event logistics with vendors (travel, menus, etc.)
  • Print and send out brochures

3 – 6 months before the event:

  • Confirm menus and ancillary venues
  • Review audio-visual requirements
  • Begin your “Event Day Master List”
  • Determine the final print date
  • Keep the website updated with new information
  • Finalize speakers and agenda

1 – 3 months before the event:

  • Hire and train event staff
  • Order attendee materials and swag (nametags, t-shirts, notebooks etc.)

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6 weeks – 2 months before the event:

  • Finalize decorative details
  • Prepare post-event survey
  • Email and snail mail reminders to speakers

2 – 6 weeks before the event:

  • Print signage, programs, and other literature
  • Finalize attendance numbers
  • Troubleshoot digital/online apps and technologies

1 week before the event:

  • Review Master Plan
  • A/V run-throughs
  • Troubleshoot equipment
  • Event walk-throughs with key personnel
  • Email updates to speakers and other participants
  • Familiarize personnel with logistical details of venues
  • Collect all presentations on USB sticks
  • Prepare check-in materials
  • Close registration, provide final numbers to venues and hotels
  • Prepare gifts for speakers and participants
  • Train event support staff

Day of the event:

  • Meet and greet
  • Oversee smooth functioning, monitor safety and cleanliness put out fires

Week after the event:

  • Email post-event questionnaires
  • Send thank-you letters to VIPs and speakers
  • Post-event breakdown meeting with key personnel
  • Begin planning the next event!

An event planning checklist is essential to keeping organized whether you’re a veteran planner or are brand new to the industry. Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Now, get planning!

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