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Event Planning Timeline
Four to five months before the event
- Discuss your audience and goals to decide on format for the event (see virtual event planning timeline if you choose that format).
- 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 her to participate.
three to four months before the event
- 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
- 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 PATS 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
- Mail save-the-date cards.
- Begin design of memento(s).
six weeks before the event
- If alcohol is being served, request necessary campus approvals and complete Appendix I and II (Policy 706).
- Place order for invitations and RSVP six to eight weeks prior to the event.
- Send invitations.
- Order memento(s).
four weeks before the event
- 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
- 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.
- Confirm arrangements with vendors.
24 hours before the event
- Contact caterer to verify all arrangements.
- Confirm security requirements.
- Ensure tent, chairs, tables, stage, podium are in place.
day of the event
- Check location setup to include chairs, tables, podium, 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
- 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.