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The Flavours Catering + Events Event Planning Checklist

Planning an event can be a challenging task, especially if you’ve not done it before. Here are a few tips to help settle the nerves when planning an event of any size.

Have a look at our other checklists on our website here.

6 – 12 months before the event

  • Decide on your desired event purpose and outcomes (raise funds, visibility, celebration, networking with new clients etc.)
  • Choose a theme and style of the event
  • Establish a budget
  • Research and visit potential venues and sites
  • Check proposed date for potential conflicts with major holidays, other events or observed dates
  • Research/appoint an Event Coordinator or Manager (this may also be your catering company)
  • Research/Select committees/chairpersons. Anyone who should have input into the event planning and decisions
  • Get cost estimates (venue / site hire, food, drinks, sound/lights, equipment hire, staffing, etc.)
  • Get recommendations for entertainment; ask for sample clips of past performances
  • Organise quotes for entertainment
  • Obtain quotations for decorations and styling elements
  • Obtain quotes for design/printing of any event related collateral
  • Receive quotes for other major items (eg. audio visual, furniture)
  • Decide on admission cost (if any)
  • Create sponsorship amounts/levels/inclusions (if applicable)
  • List items to be insured and obtain quotes for relevant insurances
  • Research/approach speakers/presenters/MC
  • Compile database of invitees (individuals/businesses)
  • Get written contacts for site, entertainment, caterer, hire etc.
  • Contingency Plan – If outdoors, have a plan B for inclement weather
  • Invite/confirm VIPs
  • Begin invitation design with your selected graphic designer
  • Create a logo for the event (if applicable)
  • Send out save the dates or share event announcement
  • Set marketing/public relations schedule
  • Develop press release and calendar listings
  • Select photographer/videographer; arrange for photos of VIPs, guests of honour
  • Get biographical information on VIPs, celebrities, guests of honour
  • Investigate need for special permits, licenses, insurances, etc.

3 to 6 months ahead

  • Begin monthly committee meetings 
  • Write/send requests for funding or underwriting to major donors, corporations, sponsors 
  • Request logos from corporate sponsors for relevant collateral printing
  • Review with graphic designer invitations, programs, posters, other event related collateral
  • Prepare final copy for invitations, RSVP card, posters
  • Prepare final copy for tickets and complete mailing lists for invitations
  • Sign contract with entertainment provider
  • Finalise mailing lists and invited guests details
  • Obtains lists from honourees, VIPs and get written confirmation of celebrity participation/special needs
  • Obtain radio/TV sponsors, public service announcements, promotions
  • Plan menu with caterer for food and beverages and sign contract to ensure that the date is secured
  • Secure permits and insurances
  • Finalise audio/visual contract
  • Select/order any trophies/awards/gifts for guests

2 months ahead

  • Hold preview party to coincide with mailing of invitations; invite media
  • Assemble/address invitations (with personal notes when possible)
  • Mail invitations
  • Finalise transportation, transfers and hotel accommodations for staff, VIPs, honourees
  • Obtain contracts for decorations and rental items Confirm TV/radio participation
  • Release press announcements about celebrities. VIPs honourees
  • Follow up to confirm sponsorships and speakers
  • Review needs for signs at registration, directional, etc.
  • All major chairpersons to finalise plans
  • Hold walk through of event with responsible committee members, audio visual, catering and relevant venue staff
  • Review and finalise budget, task sheets and tasks timeline
  • Start phone follow-up for table sponsors (corporate, VIP, committee)

1 month ahead

  • Phone follow-up of mailing list (ticket sales)
  • Place newspaper ads, follow up with news media, on-air announcements
  • Confirm staff for registration, hosting, other
  • Write to VIPs, celebrities, program participants, confirm participation
  • Complete list of contents for welcome packs/bags
  • Get enlarged site plan/floor plan, assign seats/tables
  • Give estimate of guest numbers to caterer/food service
  • Meet with all external vendors, consultants to coordinate event
  • Review script and event order
  • Continue phone follow-ups for ticket/table sales
  • Continue assigning seats; set head/VIP table, speaker’s platform
  • Confirm transportation schedules: airlines, trains, buses, cars, limos, hire cars, transfers
  • Confirm accommodation bookings
  • Prepare transportation and accommodations (include arrival time, flight number, airline, person assigned to meet arrivals)
  • Confirm special security needed for VIPs at the event
  • Prepare welcome packet for VIPs and key staff
  • Schedule deliveries of special equipment, rentals, gifts, collateral etc arriving to venue
  • Confirm bump in, setup and pack down schedule with venue / location
  • Finalise plans with event stylist
  • Provide caterer revised numbers
  • Meet with chairpersons, key staff to finalise any of the above

1 week ahead

  • Meet with all committees for last-minute details
  • Finish phone follow-ups
  • Confirm number of guests attending and advise caterers
  • Finalise seating/table arrangements
  • Hold briefing session with volunteers’ and finalise their assignments
  • Confirm healthy and safety and emergency plans with venue / site
  • Finalise registration staff
  • Distribute seating chart, assignments to hosts/hostesses
  • Schedule pickup or delivery of any rented or loaned equipment
  • Double-check arrival time and delivery times with suppliers
  • Reconfirm event site, hotel, transportation
  • Deliver final scripts/timelines to all program participants
  • Finalise catering requirements
  • Ensure catering and refreshments for volunteers and staff are arranged
  • Confirm number of volunteers
  • Make follow-up calls to new media for advance and event coverage
  • Final walk-through of site with all relevant personnel
  • Schedule rehearsals
  • Schedule volunteer assignments for day of event
  • Establish amount of petty cash needed (if relevant) for tips and emergencies
  • Ensure all accounts are paid (where required pre event)

Day before the event

  • Lay out all clothes you will need on the day of the event including outfit for bump in/set up and then for the event duration
  • Recheck all equipment and supplies to be brought to the event

Event Day

  • Arrive early (with your change of clothes)
  • Unpack equipment, supplies and make sure nothing is missing
  • Be sure all VIPs are in place and have scripts
  • Reconfirm refreshments/meal schedule for volunteers
  • Go over all the final details with caterer and setup staff
  • Check with volunteers to make sure all tasks are covered
  • Setup registration area
  • Check sound/light equipment and staging before rehearsal
  • Hold final rehearsal
  • BREATHE!!!!

 

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