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
    • Memento(s)
  • 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.