The Ultimate Guide to Event Planning
As a lifestyle PR agency, we are often tasked with conceptualizing and executing events. From small scale, intimate editor dinners to large size consumer activations, we work to create memorable, personal experiences that build awareness for our brands. Regardless of the event size, there are so many details that go into creating an immersive environment. Planning ahead and setting deadlines is key. To make the process all the more approachable, here is a checklist to guide your party planning…and making sure nothing falls through the cracks!
1. Establish goals – what are you trying to achieve with this event?
2. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) – how will you measure the success of the event?
3. Know your budget – always leave a little room for unexpected or miscellaneous costs
4. Determine your guest count – a good rule of thumb is to RSVP double the amount of people beyond your capacity as traffic, life, and other things will inevitably prevent some confirmed guests from attending
5. Create a theme – anchor your invite and event experiences around a central message, look and feel
6. Brainstorm all event activities – what are the special moments that are going to draw people to attend your event?
7. Select a date – look at the calendar to make sure you’re not competing against any other big events that day that might draw your audience away
8. Find a venue – pick a central location that is convenient for your guests. The more accoutrement a venue offers, the fewer rentals you’ll need to handle
9. Consider parking and other travel obstacles for your guest – in some cases, you may need to offer car service, valet, validations, and in all cases share parking instructions with your guests
10. Create an invite list – then, keep track of responses in one central place
11. Design an invitation – most invites can be sent via email so a beautiful .jpg graphic that can be attached and embedded in an email is perfect!
12. Select vendors and finalize details– Vendors may be needed for catering (menu selection, fun!), flowers, balloons, signage and printed materials, tables/tablecloths and chairs, step and repeat/photo backdrops, AV equipment and microphones, playlists, lighting needs, and other decorative elements
13. Consider gifting items – Our public relations agency created a signature “Gift Cave” at our events. Rather than a gift bag, we display all items so people can “shop” their presents
14. Hire a photographer – plus, create a shot list so the photographer can capture all the important aspects of the event
15. Prepare a keynote speech – reinforce to guests why you are gathered
16. Create a hashtag for the event – include it in your invite and on display at the event (i.e. on chalkboards, in frames, etc.) for easy snap and share
17. Establish your team’s roles at the event – who is in charge of check in, set up, etc
18. Create a run of show / schedule – establish when your team, clients, vendors and guests will all arrive, include all contact information and map out the cadence and timing of the evening
19. Do a walk through – visit your location in advance of the event to work through all fine details and unexpected surprises
20. Clean up – be sure to have a plan and team in place for clean up, rental returns, etc. so you aren’t charged any extra fees
Finally, get the word out about your successful event by conducting media outreach before and after the event, if appropriate.