Planning an event involves layers upon layers of details. From the pre-planning stage to the day-of-event logistics, there’s a lot to keep track of. If you keep all those details in your head, the event day will undoubtedly be chaotic and stressful.

To say the least, that’s counterproductive.

A checklist for your event can make a huge difference! At the same time, no two events are the same, so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all event planning checklist.

Instead, we suggest creating a customized event planning checklist. This not only keeps you on target, but it will also provide essential information to the event team, who can work with you to execute an amazing event. Just follow these steps to create a checklist that will keep you on track and executing flawlessly.

1. Create an event planning checklist template.

As you create your checklist, put all the items into a template. You can create your own in Microsoft Excel or Google Docs, or find a template online.

Once you have a template, you can fill it in with specific to-dos as you think of them. Work backward from the event and create a timeline of tasks and a schedule of deadlines, which assures that every minute detail gets covered.

2. Establish the event essentials.

Next up is to determine some of the key elements of your event:

  • Date and time: Where will the event happen and what time? Consider how the date fits into attendees’ schedules.
  • Location: Think about where the event is geographically (which city makes the most sense) as well as the venue. Create checklist items: Research, interviewing vendors, signing the contract, etc.
  • Type of event: Is it a conference? A party? You likely already know this, but it’s good to write it down and communicate it clearly.
  • Event goal: The overall reason for hosting an event. For example, it could be fundraising, celebrating employee success, or launching a new product.
  • Event objectives: How will you measure you met the event goal? For instance, if the goal is fundraising, an objective might be to raise $1,000 or receive 50 pledges of support.
  • Audience: You need to clearly understand what expectations attendees have of the event. If you don’t meet their needs, then the desired guest action is less likely to happen.

Make each of these things a to-do item on your checklist to make sure you don’t skip these steps.

3. Build an event budget.

Under this section of your to-do list, you can add smaller tasks like:

When you think about every event expense, creating an event budget seems daunting. With a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, it’s not that complicated. Start with the major categories, such as catering, décor, and rentals. Then, breakdown all the expenses under each category and let Excel do the work for you.

  • Researching costs of rentals
  • Contacting vendors for quotes
  • Negotiating discounts with vendors
  • Paying deposits

All that is to say: The event budget isn’t a single checklist line item that can simply be marked off. Your budget is a living, breathing document, and this format encourages you to keep revisiting all aspects of the event until it is as cost-effective as possible.

4. Create the event design.

This is the heart of event planning because it includes the event components that impact guests the most.

We’ll go over some of the broad elements of event design. As you think about these, consider the specific tasks you need to add to your event checklist.


The program tells the story of the event goal and objectives. Each story element leads to the next story element, which builds anticipation during the event. The peak of that anticipation should be dramatic. It is what you want your guests to remember the most. An event checklist helps layout the story by breaking down the timeline of the event.

On your checklist for event planning, the program comes to life by:

  • Planning the program agenda
  • Mapping out the program timeline
  • Hiring vendors or entertainers to bring the program to life
  • And more


How you’re using your space — all the way down to the seating arrangments — can make all the difference. And we’re not just talking about the seating chart: Consider the placement of electrical cords and bussing stations, for instance.

On your event checklist, include a task to visually laying out the event space. A user-friendly tool like Social Tables’ Diagram can help you map it out and easily share your layout with clients and vendors.

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