Timeline and Checklist

Use our timeline and checklist to help guide your event planning.

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 mementoes
  • 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 mementoes

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 mementoes

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, mementoes, 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