Event Planning - To Do List

Every event needs a checklist. Whether you are looking to host a after hours networking event, expo or grand opening. Creating some order to your event from planning to size and the flow of the event will help to orchestrate a successful event in the end.  

Start with the Basics

The best ideas start with a firm foundation, so it is key to set up the general outline of your event. You might ask yourself when planning your event the simple  Who, What, Where, Why, When and How questions. Answering these questions FIRST, will help you be successful from the beginning. Below

  • What is the purpose? What do you plan to achieve?
  • Who will be attending the event? Target your audience.
  • Where will it be located?
  • Why would the audience attend? What will they get out of it.
  • When will the event take place?
  • How will you get the word out? How will track you responses?


Choosing the RIGHT Venue

We just shared that the venue location is important to the overall plan of the event. At first you when you think about where it will be located, think about the general look of it. Will the event be casual? Will you need a classroom style? Will food & beverages be available? Once you know what is necessary for the event then you can begin going into details of searching out a location. With a smaller group (10-50) you will be open to many options from your own establishment, to a meeting room at a hotel, the local VFW. Even a restaurant should be able to accommodate your group. If you are thinking larger (50+) then you could look at a hotel, banquet hall or an expo center. Be sure when deciding on a location that they are able to meet all your needs. For example: Projector/Screen, Food, Tables, WiFi Of course be sure that they have the date you are looking at. There are many Villa Park Chamber Members who have a venue to host your event. Click here to redirected to our member search by category.  

Laying Out The Marketing Strategy

Is your event FREE or one that has a FEE associated with it? You will need to present the event in a way that entices registrations. Your audience will want to know will they get out of the deal. What is their benefit of coming to the event? The wording of the invitation & the presentation of the materials will have a major influence on the hype for the event. These two items will impact the responses you receive. You may be extremely excited for the event, getting others to share in your enthusiasm is one of the biggest challenges of gaining attendees. Check out Chamber Members of Villa Park to help with your layout of marketing materials whether print or online. We have local business that is able to assist with ideas and produce the final product. See 5 Components of a PRINT AD for more tips on your materials  

Budget Per Person

With small events the budget can be dramatically impacted by only a few projected attendees not showing up. When planning your budget work with a conservative number for your budget. If you budget in this manner then your profit margin for the event will be easier to achieve with each person you add. Keep in the following when putting together your budget:

  • Technology needed: Projectors, Screen, WiFi, etc.
  • Food & Beverages
  • Overnight accommodations (if needed)
  • Travel Expenses
  • Promotional Items
  • Giveaways, Door Prizes, Early Registration specials
  • Invitation Costs


Change It Up

It is important to have an agenda for the event. Be sure to include a variety tools throughout the event in which the audience is able to interact. No one likes to be talk to the whole event. Think about adding breakout sessions, small group "show & tell" opportunities, group activities. By adding these items to an event you get the attendees involved in the event and they will retain more and ultimately remember more from your event.  


This is another great key to a successful event. This is actually two-fold. #1 - You will learn what can be altered for future events and what attendees loved to have for next time. #2 - Sending this survey via email to them after the event will get you in front of them again. This will keep you and your company in the forefront of their minds even after the event was over. Check out Survey Monkey for questions and the ability to send your survey with ease online.   Event planning could be exciting even though there is a lot to get done. Make things easy on yourself and put a plan together. Answer you basic questions first and then begin to map out the logistics of everything. Be sure to include a survey to receive feedback about the event.  

What event planning tips do you have to add? Feel free to share your comments below.