Your Event Planning Checklist

Event Planning

Event planning is a job that has always seemed fantastic. As a child, I always wanted to be a wedding planner. It seemed fun, creative and exciting. But one thing I did not consider as a child is the stress factor.

Recently, I found myself planning my first real event: my dad’s retirement party. The complexity and stressfulness of planning an event quickly became apparent. As recreation professional, it is probably within the realm of your job to plan events, whether it is for your staff, for students and for outside groups using the recreation center.

To help, here is a quick checklist of everything you need to consider.

Develop a budget

With event planning, it is very easy to get carried away. Therefore, it is crucial to outline a budget. How much can you afford to spend? What will you need? Some of these things might include renting a space, food, décor, labor, etc. Then try your hardest to stick to it.

Create a guest list

Who do you want to invite? Start gathering names, email address and even addresses in case you want to mail invitations. Will you allow guest to bring a plus one?

Select a space

Now you have an idea of how many people to expect, you can start looking for a location. Think about the theme or feel of the event. Is it business focused, for fun, a celebration, a retreat? Select a location that will embody this theme. What does the space come with? Do they offer food and beverage service, Internet access, etc. And of course, is the space in your budget.

Pick a date

Once you have the space selected, think about when you want the event to be. Select a few dates that might work well and make sure to consider upcoming holidays that might impact attendees. Ask the venue which of these days is available and select the best one.

Create a schedule

Once you have the space reserved, it is time to get really organized. Set dates for when certain tasks need to be accomplished. When do you need to mail the invitations? When do you need to finalize the guest list?

Other items to consider:

Food and Drink — If you plan to provide food at your event, you will also need to pick a caterer. Or maybe the location can provide one. Then you need to decide what to offer, a full meal and h’orderves. Will there be an open bar? If so, what types of beverages will be available: beer and wine or hard liquor as well?

Invitations — Do you want to send invitations in the mail or by email? While sending invitations by mail is always a nice touch, it can be a little more laborious. Plus sending them by email is not only cheaper; it is also more environmentally friendly. There are great websites, like where you can design really great invitations.

Theme — What type of event is it? What are some activities you can do around that theme? For example, since my dad’s party is a retirement party, we will have a memory jar where all his co-workers can leave fun memories and notes. I suggest looking at Pintrest for fun and creative ideas that will enhance your event.


Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Allen Alison

    January 30, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Your list is definitely a golden rule I should say. First of all, it’s all about the budget to be honest. While it is true that you budget is not a reason to have a wonderful event, at the end of the story, the financial factor plays a big part for every event since it will dictate how much details we are investing.

    As for event planners, they can only give so much. If that make sense.

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