Planning Resources

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Event Resources

  • Tier I Events are events where:
    • The Chancellor is the primary host for the event;
    • The audience is university-wide and/or includes key leadership; and/or
    • The event is hosted by a top-level administrator and the emphasis of the event has a direct connection to a strategic priority.
  • Tier II Events are events where :
    • The dean or department head is the primary host;
    • The Chancellor is involved in the event program, but is not the primary host; and/or
    • The invitation list does not include key leadership.
  • Tier III Events are events where:
    • The event is sponsored by a college or department; and
    • Is targeted for specific departments and/or units.


  • Tier I Events:
    • University Special Events will serve as the chief planners for the event. A principal event planner will be assigned to this event.  In addition to managing the tasks as defined on the tier I checklist, the USE planner will:
      • Draft a creative brief for approvals;
      • Conduct planning meetings;
      • Assign roles and responsibilities;
      • Work with paying department to establish the event budget;
      • Work cooperatively with the appropriate colleges/units to define target audiences, invitation lists, messaging, outcomes, and follow-up methods; and
      • Be the primary contact for scheduling, managing, and execution of the event.
  •  Tier II Events:
    • University Special Events will serve as a consultant for the event planning process for tier II events. A principal event planner will be assigned to this event.  In this capacity, the USE planner will:
      • Provide key process advice;
      • Advise on creative brief;
      • Must be appointed to the event committee or planning group and will assist with Chancellor participation, key leadership involvement, handling certain guest lists, and other checklist items as assigned; and
      • Will serve as a liaison to the Chancellor’s Office.
  • Tier III Events:
    • University Special Events will not be involved in the event planning process.
      • Hosting college or unit should refer to the on-line tier III checklist for assistance.

Four to five months before the event

  • Establish planning group and appoint chair
  • Initiate event planning and establish responsibilities
  • Reserve date on key attendees’ calendars
  • Determine and reserve venue
  • Determine funding and budget sources
  • Contact University Special Events

Three to four months before the event

  • Initiate program discussion
  • Determine guest list and create guest-list database
  • Design save-the-date cards
  • Determine need for mementos
  • Create invitations/RSVPs and obtain approvals
  • Reserve parking for VIPs and establish plan for VIP seating
  • Block hotel rooms for out-of-town guests

Two to three months before the event

  • Confirm speakers and learn their presentation needs
  • Develop draft of program
  • Contact University Communications and Marketing about internal and external publicity
  • Determine precise area at venue for stage and seating
  • Determine event signage requirements (pedestrian and vehicle)
  • Determine onsite registration procedures, including ushers
  • Book event with caterer and establish preliminary menu and budget
  • Contact Transportation for parking assistance
  • Contact University Police for safety and security review
  • Contact Fleet Services for bus and car transportation
  • Contact vendors (as required) for tent, stage, podium, chairs, tables, electronics (such as sound system, lighting, LCD projector, DVD player, laptop), flowers, plants, balloons, other decorations, mementoes
  • Mail save-the-date cards
  • Begin design of mementos

Six to eight weeks before the event

  • If alcohol is being served, request necessary campus approvals and state permits
  • Place order for invitations and RSVPs
  • Send invitations
  • Order mementos


Four weeks before the event

  • Approve final program
  • Draft script or talking points for speakers
  • Work with University Communications and Marketing on copy for internal and external news releases
  • Meet with vendors on site
  • Consider site preparation (special cleaning, equipment and trash removal)
  • Prepare event signage

Two weeks before the event

  • 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

  • Send caterer final count (catering deadlines may vary)
  • Print programs, name badges and seating cards for VIPs
  • Confirm arrangements with vendors

One day before the event

  • Contact caterer to verify all arrangements
  • Confirm security requirements
  • Ensure that tent, chairs, tables, stage, podium are in place


Day of the event

  • Check location setup to include chairs, tables, podium, food
  • Arrange printed material, name tags, mementos, etc. on registration table
  • Check sound and lighting equipment with vendor(s)
  • Ensure that space and hook-ups are available for media
  • Ensure that decorations are in place
  • Place water at podium

One to five days after the event

  • Write 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 and Marketing

  • Determine the precise location where food and beverage service will take place.
  • At least two months prior to the event, contact Rave! Event Services — or, where allowed, outside caterers — to review the vendor’s catering menu and determine the approximate cost for your event.
  • One month prior to the event, meet with the caterer on site to discuss setup and determine what food and beverages will be served.
  • At least one week prior to the event, send your final guest count to the caterer (this deadline may vary based on the caterer).
  • Contact the caterer one day prior to the event to verify all arrangements.
  • If alcohol is to be served, read and follow the university’s alcohol regulation.

  • The style of the invitation should provide an idea of the nature of the event, such as formal or casual.
  • The invitation should tell invitees the who, what, why, when and where of the event.
  • Include the following:
    • Host name(s)
    • Date and time
    • Directions (include a small map if possible)
    • Parking information
    • Address
    • A space for invitees to note dietary restrictions
  • If the chancellor’s name is on the invitation or if the chancellor has a significant role in the event, obtain Chancellor’s Office approval before sending the invitations.
  • Use logos and wordmarks in accordance with the NC State brand.
  • Contact University Communications and Marketing or an outside design firm for assistance with designing invitations and RSVPs.
  • Create a guest-list database, paying attention to special invitees such as elected officials, the UNC system president and Board of Governors, the NC State Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors, and other NC State board members. In the case of groundbreakings and dedications, consider inviting architects and building contractors.
  • Set a response deadline of at least 10 days prior to the event.
    • Consider whether you want acceptance-only responses.
    • Enclose an RSVP with a postage-paid return envelope.
      • Order invitations/RSVPs six to eight weeks prior to the event.
      • Mail invitations/RSVPs four to six weeks prior to the event.
    • Establish a voice mailbox to acknowledge receipt after hours.
    • Return acknowledgement should be made, so designate a contact person and email address for responses.

  • Establish a planning group composed of major stakeholders, and designate a chair.
  • The planning group should include those who can best address the necessary tasks, which include:

  • Finalize venue location.
  • Complete signing of contracts with venue.
  • At least three months prior to the event, determine the precise area for setup to include stage, general seating, VIP seating, media location and registration table.
  • Determine onsite registration procedures.
  • Determine number and type of volunteers needed — students, faculty, staff and others.
  • Determine event signage and stage backdrop, if needed.
  • Contact Transportation for traffic control and parking.
  • Contact campus police well in advance to arrange for safety and security needs and to discuss issues related to VIP attendance.
  • Secure transportation/parking needs of VIPs or speaker, as well as transportation/parking of guests.
  • Contact vendor(s) for tent, stage, podium, chairs, tables and tablecloths.
  • Contact vendor(s) for electronics such as sound system, lighting, LCD projector, DVD and laptop.
  • Contact vendor(s) for flowers, plants, balloons and other decorations.
  • Determine need for ceremonial items such as shovels, hard hats, ribbons or scissors.
  • If necessary, determine insignias for podium, hard hats and shovels.
  • Make arrangements for site preparation (e.g., special cleaning, equipment and trash removal).
  • Arrange for seating of VIPs and other special guests or speakers.

  • Three to four months prior to the event, determine the event’s purpose, goal and audience.
  • Two to three months prior to the event, identify event activities and the order of the program. If the chancellor will be involved, the Chancellor’s Office needs to approve the scope and order of the final program.
  • Determine how many speakers you’ll have and the order in which they’ll speak.
    • Speaker order depends upon the event and is determined by protocol.
    • Write a script or talking points for your host(s).
    • If the chancellor is a speaker at your event, provide suggested talking points and the program order to the Chancellor’s Office at least two weeks prior to the event.
  • Arrange for University Communications and Marketing or an outside designer to design the printed program. Consider using the same designer that created the invitations, to ensure a consistent look across all event materials.
  • Four weeks prior to the event, approve the final program.
  • Wait to print the program until one week prior to the event, to allow for last-minute changes.

Invitations, programs, print material, photography, videography and presentation services

University Communications and Marketing, account services manager: 919-513-3240


University Communications and Marketing, assistant director for news and national media coordinator: 919-515-8387

Protocol and Chancellor’s Office

Scheduling the chancellor for an event — assistant to the chancellor: 919-515-2191
Protocols for internal affairs — director of University Special Events: 919-515-7184
Protocols for governmental affairs — assistant to the chancellor for external affairs: 919-515-9340
Protocols for Board of Governors and Board of Trustees — secretary of the university: 919-515-2191

Parking on campus

NC State Transportation, special events coordinator: 919-515-1600


University Police: 919-515-3000

Catering on campus

Campus Enterprises, Rave! Event Services: 919-513-8368

Space on campus

McKimmon Center, client relations specialist: 919-515-8193
Talley Student Union, reservations manager: 919-513-8368
Park Alumni Center, office assistant: 919-515-0517
E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center: 919-513-1200
Centennial Campus outdoor space

Forms and Regulations

Our team, along with the Partnerships, Engagement and Economic Development & Development and Alumni Engagement Task Forces, are working to provide you with the safest and most successful guidelines to continue engaging your community and hosting successful events during COVID-19. For the safety of the NC State community and its partners, please use the guidelines for Virtual and In-Person on-campus listed on this website to protect the pack during future events while offering attendees an engaging experience.