Event Planning Checklist

Event Planning Checklist

Are you thinking about planning a large party or event sometime over the next several months?

Do you want a simple event planning checklist to help you get started with your planning?

If you’re interested in organizing an event be forewarned: planning an event is a lot of work!

From setting a budget, to selecting a venue, to making refreshment selections, there’s many different items that need to be considered…long before your first guest sets foot at the door of your event!

Fortunately, the event planning process can be a whole lot easier when you have a practical checklist in hand.

All you have to do is work your way through each checklist item, one by one, and…ta-da!

You’re off to a great event planning start.

In this post, you’ll find a basic event planning checklist to help you begin your planning for a party or event.

You can use this checklist to plan a variety of parties, events, or gatherings.

Before we begin, let’s review several general event planning checklist pointers to keep you well-prepared and on track.

As you’ll soon see, these event planning checklist pointers will help you keep your lists neat and trim as you plan your event.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time working on your event, so you might as well keep things as organized as possible!


Event Planning Checklist General Pointers

Make sure you cover the basics.

Before you get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of event planning, make sure you complete basic event planning checklist items first.

You want to set a strong and sturdy foundation for your event planning work. While these basic items may not initially seem all that appealing, they are absolutely key if you want to plan a successful event.

Rest assured, there will be plenty of time for you to go deeper in your planning. But in the meantime, take care of those basic planning items first.

Feel free to add items to your checklist.

This event planning checklist is meant as a basic guide for you to follow in your event planning adventures. The checklist gives you enough of a firm base to start with when it comes to planning your event, but is flexible enough for you to modify as needed.

Once you get into the groove of event planning, you’ll most likely come up with your own unique lists of tasks and to-dos. Feel free to add items to this checklist as you see fit.

Create your own sub-checklists as needed.

As mentioned earlier, this event planning checklist is to be used as a launching pad for your planning. As you progress in your planning, you’ll probably come up with a series of more detailed tasks and to-dos.

When this happens, feel free to create sub-checklists, or smaller checklists, for you to track your work, and keep your focus.

For example, you might decide to come up with a refreshment preparation checklist or a checklist to help you keep track of your event materials.

Check off items as soon as you complete them.

A checklist is only as good as the last item checked. Make sure you check or cross items off your checklists as soon as you complete them.

This will give you a more accurate reflection of your progress in your planning, and will let you know which tasks need to be completed.

What’s more, checking off items from your list will motivate you to keep crossing off items on your list.

So, check off those items with confidence!

Review your checklists on a regular basis.

Checklists are meant to be checked. Do what you must to review your checklists on a regular basis.

Depending on the  lead time you have for your event, this could be anywhere from every week, every day, every hour, to every couple of minutes.

Make sure your checklists are accurately completed and updated.

If you need to, you may find it helpful to write yourself notes along with your checklist items so you can keep track of your thoughts, ideas, and plans.

Keep your checklists in a secure location.

Whether you decide to use plain old paper and pencil, or a digital app for your checklists, be sure to keep your checklists in a secure location.

The last thing you want to worry about when planning a party or event is trying to hunt down your planning lists!

Do yourself a big favor and take care to store your lists in a secure location, be it a desk drawer, filing cabinet, or digital folder.

Now that you’ve some practical event planning checklist pointers under your belt, it’s time to dive into the event planning checklist!

We’ve divided our checklist into five convenient sections. Be sure to read the summary that follows each checklist header for some useful pointers.

Let’s now move onto the event planning checklist!

Setting a Foundation for Your Event

It is paramount to set a solid foundation for your event. Even though your event probably won’t last longer than several hours, and at the most, a full day, you’ll want to do everything you possibly can to make sure your planning is both practical and efficient.

In some ways, you can think of setting a foundation for your event just like if you were to build a new house or building. You’d want to choose a solid location on which to build, and use sound materials so that the building would stay upright for years to come.

Remember, your event planning foundation must be solid and strong as the rest of your event planning activities will be built on top of this base. Take the time you need to construct a solid foundation for your event…you’ll thank yourself later!

Cross-off each of these tasks when you start to plan your event:

Setting a Foundation for Your Event Tasks

  • Choose party or event type
  • Determine event goals
  • Prepare event budget
  • Identify date and time
  • Figure out your preferred event venue type
  • Determine number of event attendees
  • Identify food and beverages to be served
  • Brainstorm different types of event vendors
  • Brainstorm event handouts, gifts, signage, and/or decorations
  • Brainstorm event activities

Selecting an Event Venue and Vendors

Some of the most important pieces in your event planning work involve selecting your event venue and event vendors. And for good reason!

Both your venue and vendors will have a direct impact on your guests’ event experience. Take care when choosing your event venue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, address your concerns, and seek answers.

The same thing goes when it comes to your event vendors. Learn as much as you possibly can about potential vendors and don’t hesitate to speak up. You’ve got questions and your vendors have answers when it comes to all the potential arrangements for your event.

Check these basic tasks off when it comes to your event venue and vendors:

Selecting an Event Venue and Vendors Tasks

  • Brainstorm potential event venues
  • Research event venues
  • Contact event venues
  • Select an event venue
  • Brainstorm potential event vendors
  • Research event vendors
  • Contact event vendors
  • Choose event vendors

Handling Invitations, Dining, and Decorations

Now’s the time to let your event planning creativity shine! You’re going to be tackling items that will have a big impact on your event invitees and guests come event day.

Putting in the hours now to take care of these planning items will save you a whole lot of time and headaches in future. You’re organizing your event for your guests’ comfort and delight, so make sure to infuse your planning with both caring and concern.

Which items or special touches would make your guests’ event experience that much more special?

Take care to check off these invitation, dining, and decoration tasks:

Handling Invitation, Dining, and Decoration Tasks

  • Create event attendee list
  • Make list of special event attendees, guests, and presenters
  • Determine event invitation RSVP date
  • Draft invitation information
  • Create event invitations
  • Send event invitations
  • Track event invitation RSVPs
  • Review dining items with venue/vendors or create event food and beverage menus
  • Finalize event food and beverage menus
  • Plan general venue room arrangements
  • Brainstorm event decorations
  • Discuss event decorations with vendor or shop for decorations

Dealing with Event Details

You’ve set a foundation for your event, selected your venue and vendors, and have gone over invitation, dining, and decoration tasks. The next section of your event planning work will focus on key details that will help your event run like a well-oiled machine.

While it may seem like you can take things easy and slow down your event planning work, don’t be fooled!

These event details are not to be missed or ignored if you want your guests to have memorable handouts or gifts, or if you want your event helpers, venue, and vendor contacts to stay in the loop when it comes to your planning arrangements.

Be sure to take care of these event detail items:

Dealing with Event Detail Tasks

  • Draft event materials, including any handouts, gifts, or signage
  • Review and finalize event materials, including any handouts, gifts, or signage
  • Brainstorm potential event helpers
  • Contact potential event helpers
  • Finalize list of event helpers
  • Create event helper tasks
  • Stay in close contact with your venue and vendors

The Final Countdown

Get ready…your event is just a few weeks away! Now’s the time for you to finalize planning arrangements and prepare for the big day itself.

It’s extremely important for you to review and update your event planning checklists frequently. It may be difficult to believe, but at this point in time, arrangements, setups, schedules, and more can truly change in an instant!

Don’t be afraid to check list items once, twice, or even thrice, until you are satisfied and confident with your plans.

You owe it to yourself to do everything you possibly can to ensure all of your arrangements are in place.

Check off these items in the last few weeks leading up to your event:

The Final Countdown Tasks

  • Review all event arrangements
  • Organize event supplies
  • Check-in with your venue and vendors on a regular basis
  • Do a one-week pre-event check
  • Do a three-day pre-event check
  • Contact venue/vendor about final food and beverage menus or shop for food
  • Prepare event items the day before
  • Hold your event

After Your Event

Think your work is over once the final song of the evening has played or the last bit of confetti has been swept up? Think again!

Sure, your event may be finished, but there’s still a bit more work that needs to be done.

Tidying up loose ends after your event is crucial for several reasons: 1) you’ll want to return your workspace and files to their pre-event state, 2) you’ll want to finalize arrangements with your event venue and vendors, 3) you’ll want to solidify your relationship with event helpers, attendees, and others, and 4) you’ll want to celebrate your hard work.

Make sure you follow these steps soon after your event has finished.

After Your Event Tasks

  • Celebrate your hard work!
  • Finalize business with venue and vendors
  • Say “thank you” to helpers and others
  • Clean up items post-event
How about you? Which of these event planning checklist sections did you find to be most helpful? What to-dos are you most looking forward to checking off from your event planning checklist? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Event Planning Checklist Bonus Resources

Looking for even more help planning your event? Be sure to check out these helpful blog posts:

Want help planning your party or event? I have an eBook that can help you plan everything, from to start to finish. Click here to learn more! 

Event Planning Checklist

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.
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