Event Planning Checklist and Timeline

Click here to download a PDF of the event checklist and timeline.

The below checklist and timeline is intended as a guide for planning a university event.  Please note not all items on this list are required for every event.  This checklist and timeline is to be used as a guide, as unique circumstances must be considered when planning your special event.

Four to five months before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date

Choose and set the date making sure it agrees with key attendees’ calendars. Avoid religious and other holidays

   

Initiate event planning and establish responsibilities

   

Reserve date on key attendees’ calendars

   

Determine and reserve venue

   

Determine funding and budget sources

   

Contact The Office of the Chancellor if you would like him to participate

   

Three to four months before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Initiate program discussion    

Determine guest list and create database

   

Design save-the-date cards

   

Determine need for memento

   

Create invitations / RSVP cards; Obtain approvals

   

Reserve parking for VIPS and establish plan for VIP seating at event

   

Block hotel rooms for out-of-town guests

   

Two to three months before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Confirm speakers and find out about presentation needs    

Develop draft of program

   

Determine precise area at venue for stage and seating

   

Determine event signage requirements (pedestrian & vehicle)

   

Determine onsite registration procedures including ushers

   

Book event with caterer & establish preliminary menu and budget

   

Contact Transportation for parking assistance

   

Contact Campus Police for safety and security review

   

Contact a company for bus and car transportation

   

Contact vendors as required for:

   
  • Tent, stage, podium, chairs, tables

   
  • Electronics such as sound system, lighting, LCD projector, DVD, laptop

   
  • Flowers, plants, balloons, other decorations

   
  • Memento(s)

   

Mail save-the-date cards

   

Begin design of memento(s)

   

Six weeks before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
If alcohol is being served, request necessary campus approvals and complete forms    

Place order for invitations and RSVP six to eight weeks prior to the event

   

Send invitations

   

Order memento(s)

   

Four weeks before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Approve final program    

Draft script or talking points for speakers

   

Work with University Communications on copy for internal and external press releases

   

Meet with vendors on site

   

Consider site preparation (special cleaning, equipment, and trash removal) (Contact Facilities Management for assistance)

   

Prepare event signage

   

Two weeks before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Review planning group and staffing assignments for day of event    

Meet on site with operational staff such as transportation officials and ushers to discuss responsibilities

   

Meet with caterer on site to discuss setup and final menu

   

One week before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Send caterer final count (catering deadlines may vary)    

Print programs, name badges, and seating cards

   

Confirm arrangements with vendors

   

24 hours before the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Contact caterer to verify all arrangements    

Confirm security requirements

   

Ensure tent, chairs, tables, stage, podium are in place

   

Day of the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Check location setup to include chairs, tables, podiium, food    

Arrange printed material, nametags, mementos, etc. on registration table

   

Check sound and lighting equipment with vendor(s)

   

Ensure space and hook-ups are available for media

   

Ensure decorations are in place

   

Place water at podium

   

One to five days after the event

Activity Person Responsible Due Date
Write thank you notes and send photos to important guests. Also, send 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