Select Page

Timeline and Checklist for Event Planning 

Event Details: 

Event Name:
# of Guests:

Three to four months before the event:

ActivityPerson ResponsibleDue Date
Establish planning group and appoint chair
Hold planning meeting and review event goals and details
Establish responsibilities
Determine funding and budget sources
Reserve due date on key attendees' calendars - follow protocol for requesting Chancellor or Provost participation
Determine and reserve venue
Confirm speaker and speaker needs
Block hotel rooms for out of town speaker, VIP guests
Determine guest list, request alumni data

Two to three months before the event:

Person Responsible Due Date
Create and order save-the-date cards, invitations, response cards and related materials (i.e. map, etc), OR meet with the University Marketing & Communications to discuss print materials needed and publicity
Draft program agenda
Determine signage requirements (pedestrian and vehicle)
Determine on-site registration procedures, including ushers
Book event with caterer and establish preliminary menu
Contact parking office to determine a parking plan
Contact the University Police for safety and security assistance
Contact vendors as required for: tent, stage, podium, chairs, tables, AV equipment (sound, lighting, projector, computers, etc), flowers, plants, other decorations
Mail save-the-date cards

Six weeks before the event:

Person ResponsibleDue Date
If alcohol is being served, request necessary approvals. If "Cocktails" are noted on the invitation, complete this step prior to ordering invites
Arrange for photographer
Send print invitations

Four weeks before the event:

Person ResponsibleDue Date
Approve the final program/agenda
Draft script or talking points for speakers
Follow up on all vendors
Consider site preparation (special cleaning, equipment and trash removal) (Contact facilities management for assistance)
Prepare event signage
Send electronic invitations

Two weeks before the event:

Person ResponsibleDue Date
Review staffing assignments for day of event
Meet on-site with operational staff to discuss responsibilities
Meet with the caterer on-site to discuss setup and final menu
Send out attendance update to planning team/key players

One week before the event:

Person ResponsibleDue Date
Send caterer final count
Print programs, name badges, seating charts, place cards, etc.
Confirm arrangements with vendors

24 hours before the event:

Person ResponsibleDue Date
Contact caterer to verify all arrangements
Confirm security requirements

Day of the event:

Person Responsible Due Date
Check location setup to include chairs, tables, podium, food
Arrange printed material, nametags, etc. on registration table
Check sound and lighting equipment
Ensure decorations are in place
Place water at podium

One to five days after the event:

Person Responsible Due Date
Write thank-you notes to speakers, volunteers, staff and others as appropriate
Complete written evaluation of the event with suggestions for future events
Coordinate event story and photographs with University Communications