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Basic Event Planning Checklist



  • Ask yourself what type of event you’re organising, what size it will be and what atmosphere you want. Do a short write-up or mood board which can be distributed to vendors in order to get them on the same page.
  • Set up a record-keeping process and invest in an event binder.
  • Start scouting for a location and planning the logistics. Consider things like room setup, lighting, sound, amenities, kitchen facilities accessibility for the disabled guests and so forth and deciding what needs to be added.
  • Next, work out the budget, timeline (for booking photographers, etc.) and the event agenda. This will give you the basic structure within which to plan your event.
  • If necessary, recruit and secure the relevant sponsors for the event. Remember: They only need to see the basic idea for the event, so not everything has to be planned and in place by the time you approach them.
  • Identify and invite the relevant guests of honour and necessary speakers.
  • Make a list of materials and services that will be required from external vendors. The most important general requirements are food and beverages, room setup staff, tables and chairs, cutlery and glassware, the photographer, necessary signs and banners, decoration, lighting and entertainment.


  • Contact your potential speakers to confirm whether they will be able to attend after all.
  • Get in touch with the sponsors to update them on your progress and inform them of how and where their brand will be represented.
  • Choose a caterer and start compiling the menu for the event. Also remember to provide your caterers with a head count by the set deadline.
  • Make sure that all medical kits, staff and fire exits are organised and in place.
  • If necessary, make the necessary arrangements for guest transportation.
  • Finalise all art work, stationery, invitations and other print material.
  • Decide whether to invite the media and make a list of the various media channels or members you’d like to extend an invitation to.
  • Send out the invitations.
  • Finalise all your audio visual requirements and make arrangements with the relevant vendors and venue manager.

Two Weeks Before the Event

  • Conduct a site walk-through with the venue manager.
  • Contact the various media representatives and encourage them to attend.
  • Finalise and print the agenda and participant list.
  • Contact the speakers and/or entertainers and make sure that they are aware of the exact date, time and location of the event. Also supply the speakers with the name of the person who will be greeting them at the door.
  • Send off all boxed and packaged materials to the venue.
  • If necessary, print the name tags of the final guest list.
  • Write a press release that discusses the event.

The Day Before the Event

  • Make sure that all the necessary materials have arrived at the venue in one piece.
  • Compile a little kit with random materials that you might need, such as sticky tape, presstik, scissors, stapler, pens, pencils, extra paper, contact numbers of speakers and vendors, etc.

On the Day

  • Arrive at the break of dawn and ensure that the location is set up correctly. Double check equipment and audio visual materials, such as microphones, projectors, audio equipment and computer connections, to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.
  • Ensure that the registration area is set up with name tags and supplies.
  • Make sure that all staff is in the correct places and that the various areas are covered.
  • Do quick run-throughs with your speakers or others participating in the event, if needed. This can also take place the day before.
  • Double check that all directional signs are pointing in the right directions to avoid confusion.
  • Issue the press release!
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