Your essential event management checklist

Tue 1 Dec 2020

‘Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets planning’

Thomas Edison.


Are you excited by the thought of a fast-moving, multi-faceted, people-oriented career where no two days are the same? Events management certainly ticks all these boxes. In this role, checklists are likely to be your bread and butter and the foundation for every successful function. We’ve put together an essential checklist for the event manager’s arsenal.


Before you start: establish goals and objectives


The first stage of event planning is the preparation stage, during which you will accomplish some or all of the following (depending on the size of the event in question):


  • Assemble a group of key people who will help you.
  • Set clear objectives: what needs to be achieved and why.
  • Define your target audience.
  • Decide how you will measure the success of the event – as well as being paramount from the client’s point of view, this is also key for your own personal growth as an event manager, allowing you to take the aspects that worked and apply them to future events.
  • Decide on channels of communication.
  • Cost the event and identify the budget holder.

Inviting your audience & venue considerations


  • Draw up a guest list, split into A-list and B-list guests if applicable. Send out your invites, leaving plenty of time for responses. Consider the way in which you might contact certain guests, for example, phone calls for those who are going to be indispensable to the event.
  • For public events, book the advertising, arrange direct mail shots, and notify press ‘What’s On’ columns.
  • Include an easy response mechanism and ensure the response form allows guests to clearly state any dietary requirements or special circumstances.
  • Be prepared for ‘no shows’ and keep a record of these as well as those who do attend.
  • Ensure the venue is fully screened for the safety of your guests.
  • Plan to include a reception desk and/or any reception points and staff in order to avoid queues.
  • Don’t forget to allocate space for displays, lighting, and power.

Further components


  • Any copy and image content that is going out to guests or being used at the event should be proofed by an external party – a keen eye for detail is key in the life of an event planner.
  • Plan for good and bad weather – forecasters do not always get it right!
  • Think about parking for your event.
  • Keep your media team close throughout, ensuring you make the most of any opportunities that arise during the planning process – this is an ongoing part of the event timeline that you should keep your eye on right up until the day itself.
  • Any speaker and expenses fees should be agreed upon in advance and in writing.
  • Link everything that you do back to the overall brand identity of your event and the relevant strategic goals.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst


Sometimes, even with meticulous planning and foresight, things can go wrong and it’s best to accept that some scenarios are simply out of your control. As an event planner, you’ll need a positive, can-do attitude even if things stray off the beaten track. This is where adaptability comes in. You’ll need to be open-minded and veer away from the original plan should the need arise, harnessing the unexpected to your advantage.


We believe that Falmouth Flexible students should be able to tailor the course to their particular interests within event management, whilst learning about the essential skills necessary to grow a career in this field. You can read more about our MA in Creative Events Management by clicking here.


Discover more:

Top trends in event management for 2018

Where can event management take you?

How to be an events organiser


Creative Events Management, Blog

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