Planning an event successfully requires careful calculation of timeand resources. Most timelines for larger eventsbegin at least six months before the event date. Regardless of the size of your festivity, it’s best to begin preparing early. Follow this general timeline and keep an eye on your key milestones to ensure your event plays out without a hitch!
- Establish goals and objectives
- Select the date
- Identify the venue
- Create a budget and gather cost estimates
- Visualize the number of guests
- Launch publicity – or send out invitations
- Confirm entertainment or speakers
This is the time where you begin to narrow down your visualizations regarding the event, creating concrete action plans, and specific task lists. Of course you’ll want to start with the “objectives” (are you getting married or having a baby shower?) and the date. From there you can find a place to host the event, a caterer, a florist (if need be), entertainers, etc., formulate a budget, and then determine how many guests your budget will allow.
- Finalize the guest list
- Arrange travel and accommodations for out of town guests
- Sign any contracts with vendors
- Select a menu
Now that you know how much money you can spend, the cost of the vendors you’ve chosen, and approximately how many guests will be attending your event, you can sign and seal your contracts and select your food menu and even flowers. This is the fun part! You’ll also need to begin working closely with your venue and the event coordinator, etc., to discuss all the logistics of your event. Along the way, ask for recommendations for vendors, as this can make a world of difference in the overall success of the plan. Seek out vendors who are familiar and experienced in working with each other, as team work is critical for any successful event…and more fun too!
- Send reminder notes to guests
- Double confirm speakers, entertainment, etc.
- Confirm seating arrangements and check in logistics
- Check in with all vendors to ensure everyone is on the same page
This really is just the “check in” phase, where you will be making contact with all necessary parties to make sure everyone is on track.
One Week Prior
- Finalize your plans with the venue
- Finalize your script
- Provide the final guest list to the venue
- Finalize signage
- Plan your attire
Just as the checklist indicates, this is the finalization period, where you’re making sure everything is just so. Your vision, the words you’ll say, your friends, family, and colleagues that will attend, your directional signage and announcements, printed menus, and even what you’ll be wearing. If you’re the bride, your wedding dress really should have been selected months ago, but I think you know that!
- Have fun!
You’ve been working hard, planning this event for months. Sit back, relax, and leave it to the pros.
One Week Following
- Thank you cards
While you accomplished much of the planning work for your event, you were not alone. Be sure to send hand-written thank you notes to those who helped you the most, those who provided gifts, and also to those whose presence was most greatly appreciated.
By following this generalized timeline and checking off your list, your event is bound to be a success!