Step 1: Objective
Step 2: Budget
Step 3: Venue
Step 4: Date
Step 5: Ask for help
Step 6: Theme and Decor
Step 7: Entertainment
Step 8: Activities and Rentals
Step 9: Catering
Step 10: Committee Meeting
Step 11: Create the Invitation
Step 12: Managing all Details
Step 13: Full Committee meeting
Step 14: Vendor/Volunteer Contacts
Step 15: Last Minute Items
Step 16: Meeting with Committee
Step 17: Emergency Supplies
Step 18: The Day Has Arrived
Step 19: Follow up Meeting
Step 20: Hire an Event Planner!

According to Forbes, Event Planning was named the 5th most stressful job alongside military personnel, police officer and firefighter! So here we are to help alleviate all the stress and anguish from this thankless job.

You might ask yourself, why do I want to punish myself this way? The answer is simple. You are most likely a Type A personality.

The more positive aspects of your personality are ambition, drive, control, perfectionism and awareness of time management. You thrive on event planning checklists and event planning worksheets. Nothing is left to chance.

Let’s create a Master Plan to ensure that your events go off without a glitch.

Step 1: Determine Your Objective Using an Event Planning Worksheet

Hands with pencil on a pink sticky and list

Photo by Marten Bjork

First and foremost, you must decide if this event will be a fundraiser or Corporate Event. For now, let’s decide that this event will be a Children’s Holiday Party for your company.

It’s time to get out the Event Planning Checklist. Below is one example of an event planning checklist template that you can use. Keep in mind that this is a very busy time of the year.

Planning for the event should begin a minimum of 3 to 4 months in advance.

Step 2: Preparing a Budget with Your Event Planning Checklist

Without a budget, it is impossible to start an event planning outline. You must present management with a realistic estimated cost for your event. To proceed with this there are several factors that must be investigated.

  • Location/venue
  • Decor
  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Rentals

Step 3: Finding a Venue Using an Event Planning Checklist

special event checklist

Finding a venue is a difficult task. To make it easier, prepare a special event checklist to make a comparison of venues. You may want to make this into an event planning checklist template for future events. Some of the items you may want to list are:

  • Name of venue
  • Location of venue
  • Accessibility of public transport
  • Capacity of venue
  • Date availability
  • Costing
  • Availability of onsite catering or can you bring in a caterer
  • Any restrictions on what outside vendors you can bring in
  • Square Footage of venue
  • Infrastructure (i.e. ceiling height for bouncy castles)
  • AV Equipment

Venues can be found easily with a web search. Once you have narrowed it down to three venues decide to do site inspections to determine which one will suit your event. Once this has been completed and you have chosen the venue the contract must be written up and approved. Once it is reviewed, signed, sealed and delivered you can cross this off your event checklist as completed!

Step 4: Decide on a Date for the Event Using a Calendar as a Checklist

A group of coworkers scheduling an event with a calendar backgroundWithout a date, you really cannot go much further with sourcing other items for the party.

The date should not interfere with other events going on. For example, you may not want to have your Corporate Children’s Holiday Party on the same day as the Santa Claus Parade. Decide if it will be a morning or afternoon event. Keep in mind that if you are catering the event it may be less expensive to do a morning “Breakfast with Santa” than an afternoon lunch. Once the date is determined, enter this onto your Event Planning Outline.

Step 5: No Man is an Island. Ask for help when making an Event Planning Worksheet

This event is a huge undertaking, and no one expects you to do this yourself. Now is the time to enlist the support of an Event team. Prepare an event planning worksheet and label it volunteers. Interview all volunteers to ensure that they are committed and excited about being part of the committee. Decide on the times and dates of the team meetings and use a shared calendar to send reminders.

On this checklist the following information should be listed:

  • Volunteer name
  • Department they work for
  • Areas of expertise (i.e. graphic arts for invitations)
  • Phone numbers both work, home and mobile
  • Email address
  • Task they are assigned
  • Date task is to be completed

Step 6: Use an Event Planning Checklist to Determine the Theme and Decor of the Party

Theme and Decor

One of the first meetings with your committee should centre on the theme of the party. This is the ideal time to use a special event checklist.

Brainstorm and come up with creative ideas for a Theme and Decor. Use your checklist to keep a record. Hopefully, you can establish this in one meeting. Assign this topic to 2 of the committee members and set a date for the completed task. The items to discuss in this meeting are as follows…

  • Theme
  • Decor and Colours

Step 7: Prepare a Special Event Checklist for Entertainment

Event Toronto Ideas

The Entertainment part of the event can make or break it. Designate this task to people on your team who have had prior experience with entertainment. The team should focus on the following and report back the findings at the next task meeting. On their event checklist, they should include the agency that the quote is coming from, all relevant contact information and costing.

  • Santa and Mrs Claus
  • DJ-preferably interactive
  • Balloon twisting clowns
  • Characters referring to the theme
  • Face painters and tattoo artists
  • The list goes on and on

Step 8: An Event Planning Outline Should be Used for Activities and Rentals at the Party

Activities and Rentals at the Party

The members on the committee who have been assigned the task for activities have a heavy-duty job ahead of them. The gifts must be chosen either in person or online. There is a vast array of activities for a Children’s Christmas Party and a great deal of research will be needed.

Once all this information has been put together, they will report their findings at the general task meeting for affirmation. The same information will be required as above and should be brought forward at the next task meeting. Some ideas for children’s activities are as follows

  • Crafts (i.e. Stuff n Animal or Christmas Ornaments)
  • Bouncy Castles (get dimensions for the venue to make sure they fit)
  • Electronic games and carnival games
  • Food crafts such as cookie decorating
  • Photo Booths

Step 9: Prepare a Special Event Check List for Catering

Food Event Planning

Whether the venue will be handling the food for you or if you will be using an outside source you will need to go over the menu choices. These choices will be determined by your budget.

Be mindful of dietary restrictions such as Halal, Kosher, severe allergies etc. The catering checklist should include the following

  • Detailed menu
  • Cost per person including gratuities and taxes
  • Serving times
  • All contact information for the day of the event

Step 10: Committee Meeting to Go Over All Event Planning Worksheets

committee members

This is the main meeting for all committee members to report all their findings and decisions. Once everything is agreed upon each committee head must arrange for contracts to be written up and presented for final approval. The things to review in these contracts are the following…

  • Correct date and start time of the event
  • Correct address and contact information of venue
  • Details pertaining to services performed
  • Costing of all services rendered as per initial agreement.

Step 11: Returning to the Special Event Checklist to Begin to Create the Invitation

Create the Invitation

Assign the committee member(s) who have experience in graphic arts to create an invitation relating to the theme of the event. The most cost-effective solution to distribute invitations is by email or an online program such as e-vite.

Make sure that the invitation includes the date, time, dress code, address of event and any other relevant information. Designate a time on your event planning checklist to review the invitation with the designer(s). Send a reminder of the meeting a day prior.

  • Your Email must have a call to action
  • An RSVP is a must
  • Create a link to drive your guests to register or RSVP for the event
  • Assign a committee member to follow up on RSVP’s

Step 12: Managing all Details with Your Event Planning Checklist

Event Planner Checklist

Things are moving along quickly now and with so many details and people involved in the planning of the event it is possible for things to be forgotten or lost. To keep you organized and on schedule keep a special event planning checklist just for reminders and follow-ups.

Remember, there is no such thing as confirming things too many times. Some examples are as follows

  • Follow up with caterer re menu
  • Confirm task meeting with the entertainment committee
  • Follow up with invitation designers etc.

Step 13: Planning on a Full Committee meeting to go over all Event Checklists

Team Event Review

Two months out from the event call a committee meeting to ensure all is in order. Planning an event is much like a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces must eventually fit together.

The things that need to be confirmed at this time are…

  • All contracts have been received and signed off on ensuring that all dates and times are correct
  • Confirm that invitations will be sent out 6 weeks prior to the event and requesting that RSVP’s be sent in 3 weeks in advance of the event
  • Book a meeting with the venue for a walkthrough of the site to discuss room set up, registration table and placement of equipment etc. You don’t want any surprises on the big day!

Step 14: Create a Vendor/Volunteer Contact Checklist

Vendor/Volunteer Contact Checklist

One month out from the event would be a good time to consolidate all relevant contact information for both Vendors and Volunteers

  • List all your Vendors and suppliers with the name of the agency they work for, their name, agency emergency phone number, entertainers’ phone number.
  • List the Venue with address, managers name, business, mobile and home numbers
  • Make a list of all your volunteers, mobile and home numbers and their task prior to the event and day of.
  • Caterer emergency number for the day of the event
  • Toy supplier emergency number for the day of the event

Step 15: Refer to Your Event Planning Checklist to Confirm Last Minute Items

Event Planning Checklist Last Minute

Two weeks prior to the event confirm all to do lists have been completed. Visit the venue to go over the layout and placement of all installations and make sure there are enough electrical outlets where needed. Other important to do things are as follows…

  • Confirm that all RSVP’s have been received.
  • Any stragglers who have not confirmed attendance must be contacted
  • Confirm final numbers of guests with the caterer
  • Confirm the number of gifts required with the Toy Supplier

Step 16: A Few Days Before the Event Call One Last Meeting with Committee and Their Checklists

Event Call

This is the meeting of all meetings! This is the time to check, check and recheck all details with your team. Vendors, suppliers, caterer, etc should all be contacted to confirm that they are ready for the day of the event.

A final Event Schedule in the form of a checklist should be prepared and copies supplied to all involved. Any loose ends should be tied up now. These are important details to confirm…

  • Confirm the time, date and venue with all suppliers
  • Confirm any last-minute additions with the caterer
  • Confirm last-minute additions with your Toy Supplier

Step 17: Prepare an Event Checklist for Emergency Supplies

Emergency Supplies

Even with all the checking and double-checking things can go wrong. As the Boy Scout motto goes, Be Prepared! Keep this Event Checklist Template for other events. This is an example of what should be in your emergency box for the day of the party…

  • Scotch tape
  • Batteries
  • Masking tape
  • Tylenol
  • First aid kit
  • Scissors
  • Extension cords
  • Office supplies

Step 18: The Day Has Arrived

You are Confident Because You Have Come with All of Your Amazing Event Planning Checklists and Event Planning Worksheets! Treat yourself to a Starbucks and a muffin, take a deep breath and be prepared to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Arrive at the event half an hour before everyone is due to arrive. Greet all with a smile and an encouraging last-minute pep talk. Remember, you have taken care of everything so just have fun!

Step 19: Follow up Meeting

Follow up Meeting

So, folks, you think this is the end. NOT! There is one last thing on the agenda. Call a meeting after the event just to follow up and discuss the pros and cons of the event and make sure that you make a follow-up Event Checklist.

Step 20: Hire an Event Planner!

Hire Event Planner

However, if this all seems like an overwhelming and daunting task to undertake in addition to all your other duties why not consider hiring an Event Planner. An Event Planner will prepare all your Event Worksheets, Checklists etc. Your Event Planner will take care of everything from A to Z! You just sit back and take all the accolades. Let me know how that works for you!