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Making event planning checklists can seem boring and dull, but having them can really save you time by improving efficiency and minimizing mistakes.


A checklist is a list of items you need to verify, check or inspect. Checklists are used in every imaginable field from building inspections to complex medical surgeries. Using a checklist enables the user to ensure that he/she does not forget any important steps.

Let us have this serving as a general example; a person going on a trip may need to check if he has everything he may need for the trip to be successful. Hikers need a checklist of all the equipment they will use along the hiking journey, such as, map, food, gloves and so on. Ensuring that everything has been packed in their luggage, they need to inspect that using a checklist.

Gwande offered an explanation from Daniel Boorman, Boeing Company in Seattle: “Good checklists are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”


Make each item clear and concise.

It is significant that each item on your checklist is simply understood by the person using the checklist. What is a checklist if no one can understand it? Each item on the checklist should be clear to ensure readability.

Group your items by category.

Short checklists don’t need categories, but longer ones can quickly get out of hand. By organising your items in groups, you can swiftly direct to the portion of the checklist that you are working on. Don’t over organize use simple category names to ensure you can quickly find the checklist item you are looking for.

Importance of having an event planning checklist

Saves time.
Since you don’t have to remember all the steps you need to take, you can use your brain power for something more creative. You don’t need to spend time remembering the steps, so you can devote the entire time on doing the task.

Improves Memory

Feeling forgetful? Nobody is capable of remembering everything at all times.

Every time people look at the checklist it is much less likely that they will forget significant tasks for the event to be a success. Caterers are often encouraged to use checklists to remember all the things they will need to plan an event.


If people record all their tasks in a checklist, they can easily review the list and prioritize the most important tasks. Why waste time on unimportant doings when there are important matters that need your attention?

One study, conducted by the Harvard Business Review, showed that 90% of managers wasted valuable time through poor time management. Your checklist will help you focus your attention on the most important task of the moment.


Event Planning Checklist

Once You Set A Date You Can:

  • Determine time
  • Determine and book location (get confirmation or contract)
  • Determine event concept, theme, etc.
  • Establish a budget
  • Send a save the date announcement
  • Outline logistics: rentals, furniture, parking, security, housekeeping

2 or More Months Out:

  • Set menu, decorations, musicians and A/V needs – book all vendors and services
  • Performer needs: microphone, podium, stage, props
  • Design invitations or announcement
  • Invitation list
  • Ticket sales process or RSVP database
  • Directional signage
  • Draft a production schedule
  • Write scripts; include introductions of VIPs
  • Establish a publicity game plan
  • Decorations/theme development
  • Entertainment
  • Rain plan
  • Sponsorship
  • Ticketing/registration
  • Track expenses and update budget

Four Weeks Out:

  • Photographer
  • Mail invitations
  • Track ticket sales/RSVPs
  • Walk through every step of the event including the venue

Three Weeks Out:

  • Schedule briefings with VIPs
  • Call all vendors to confirm
  • Solicit volunteers
  • Walk through every step of the event

One Week Out:

  • Finalize production schedule. Include all telephone numbers
  • Finalize scripts
  • Create and distribute staff/volunteer assignments
  • Walk through every step of the event
  • Three Days Out:
  • Give caterer final guarantee. Confirm delivery and set-up times
  • Nametags and registration/check-in materials
  • Head table/seat assignments
  • Walk through every step of the event
  • Day Before:
  • Prepare an event bin: nametags in alpha order, office supplies, blank nametags, production schedule, scripts, guest list, giveaways, and signage
  • Reconfirm: Venue, catering, valet, musicians, florist, A/V
  • Walk through every step of the event

Day of Event:

  • Check venue: temperature, cleanliness, furniture arrangement, signage, restrooms, mic check
  • Confirm arrival of flowers, musicians and photographer
  • As unconfirmed guests arrive, make them a nametag and write their names on something to keep track.
  • Check names of VIPs for script/introductions
  • Get feedback

Day after Event:

  • Use nametags to establish attendance
  • Send appropriate thank-yous; include photos
  • Final budget review
  • Update the checklist
  • Determine how to “extend” event to those who could not attend; update web

Photo: StartupStockPhotos


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