06 Feb Event Planning Checklist: 5 Forgotten Essentials
Event planning can be like balancing 20 spinning plates on your head while trying to run a half marathon hopping on one leg. It’s hard work, and it takes a special type of organized person to pull it all off. At In The Event, we’ve planned almost every type of production; corporate events, weddings, private parties, live television shows, concerts and more. Through our combined experience we feel we’ve developed a pretty comprehensive event planning checklist, which includes everything from budgeting advice to some event planning essentials which can easily be forgotten.
We built this list to help us make sure we nail every event and put our best foot forward with every new client. It’s helped us keep our best clients and saved us some gray hairs in the process. You can download it at the bottom of our Forgotten 5 list.
The Forgotten 5
You’ll definitely want to make sure you don’t forget the five must-have event planning checklist items.
• Define Your Event Goals
This may seem like a given, but oftentimes we ask our client their event goals but forget to note our company goals. Clearly outlining your client’s goals, as well as internally discussing what your desired return from the event is, will assist in minimizing stress and increasing customer satisfaction. Begin your event planning process this way to ensure you’ll be able to create a fantastic event for your client without sacrificing short or long-term company objectives. For example, if your company goal is to stay below a certain cost threshold, be sure to stick to that constraint or check with the client before adding cost and expanding the budget.
• Double Check the Contract
Maybe you stick to the same vendor list and think you know everyone’s cancellation policy inside and out. Regardless, you should always double check the contract! You want everything to run as smoothly as possible, and the best way to do that is to prevent any last minute surprises. Ask yourself the following questions, and if you can’t say yes to every one of these, double check the contract before moving on to the next item on your event planning checklist.
• Does your venue have non-approved vendor fees?
• How many hours does the venue include in their fee? Is that sufficient time for set up and tear down?
• Do your vendors have special requirements or need extra storage space?
• What is the cancellation policy?
• What is the deposit structure?
• What are the insurance requirements?
• Signage and Venue Layout
Between walk throughs and familiarity with the city in general, you should know the venue inside and out. Don’t forget to include appropriate navigational cues for someone who has never been there. A couple things to contemplate when ticking off items on your event planning checklist:
• Do you need to provide guests with directions?
• Is it easy to navigate there with GPS? If not, do you need weatherproof outdoor signage?
• Consider providing way-finding tools for all guest’s needs, such as check-in location, restroom signs, charging stations, wi-fi areas etc.
A definitive floor plan confirmed 4 weeks in advance will help get everyone on the same page and allow sufficient time for any necessary signage to be created based on where everything is located in the space. Eliminate last minute guessing by clarifying the layout and signage with the client, the venue and delivery personnel well in advance.
Another often-missed signage opportunity is the ability to provide branding or event enhancements. Consider using directional cues as an opportunity to engage attendees, as we often do with our LED video towers. If budget permits, signage can be used to brand the space, highlight team achievements or even loop a video.
• Parking – For Your Guest and Vendors
Depending on location, parking can be one of the most important, though often overlooked, aspects. You’ll need to find out if there is sufficient guest parking at the venue, and if not, determine if you’ll need to contract a transportation company. If parking isn’t free, work with your client to determine if parking costs need to be factored into the budget so attendees don’t get stuck with the bill.
Lastly, but equally as important, consider vendor parking. Will large vendor trucks be able to fit in the structure, as well as be able to park for the duration of the event or do you need to find alternative vendor parking space? Also, make sure you have a clear understanding of the venue’s load in route. Determine any obstacles your team or vendors may face when unloading and come up with any necessary solutions prior to the day of the production.
• Evaluation and Post Event Communication
It can be hectic leading up to the event and easy to move right along to the next one. Be sure to add evaluation to the end of your event planning checklist. Determine what you can do better next time or what worked well that can be implemented for similar events in the future. Ask for client feedback and reviews to continue to improve your level of service and help boost your online brand presence.
Make sure to download In The Event’s furniture guide to really wow at your next big event. Our guide covers everything from the basics to tricks we’ve learned through the years.