In my last blog, I talked about the event budget being your road map for spending. Now I want to tackle another important tool for planning an event, an event timeline. This timeline or “to do” list will help keep you on track with event-related tasks that need to be completed. Have you noticed, when you go to the grocery store without a list, not only do you spend more time in the store, but, you also forgot at least three things you really needed. Actually, you didn’t get the thing you really went to the store to get, but you got those cookies that were on sale. Think of your event timeline like your grocery list.
Most event timelines start one year out, especially for the larger events like fundraisers, conferences, or weddings. It is okay to start planning six months prior to your event, but you want to keep in mind the time of year and venue selection. If you are planning an event in peek wedding season, your venue choices may be limited when it comes to booking for your date. It is my preference when working with clients to start a year out; however, it is definitely not required.
When creating an event timeline, you literally think through every task that will need to be completed and start to build your “to do” list. The worst thing you can do is assume there is no need to add a task to your event timeline because it’s common sense. When you have 40 things going on, you will forget those simple things. Believe me, life is not forgiving just because you are planning an event . Life still keeps moving. If you are planning a family reunion in the park, we all know, you need plates, napkins, cutlery, and things of that nature. This is one of those common- sense things, right? When Aunt Rita calls and insists that she makes her famous green bean casserole that no one eats, the owner of the t-shirt company calls and your shirts will not be ready in time, and the magician you hired for the children is not returning your calls, the last thing you are thinking about is plates. Referring to your event timeline will keep you on track and keep incomplete tasks in front of you.
Your event timeline should be broken down by timeframe. Booking any contracted vendor should be done at least 12 months out. Save the Date are typically sent 3
prior to the event and invitations are sent 6 weeks prior to the event. From here, fill in the rest of the tasks for your event. What needs to be done at 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 week and day of?
If you have a flexible date, you want to book your non -negotiables first. What are non- negotiables? These are the items you have place emphasis on as must haves for your event. For example, it could be a specific venue, a keynote speaker, Master of Ceremony, band - it’s that thing you must have at your event. The earlier you start, the better chance you have with booking your non negotiables for your dated, even if you have to start 18 months in advance. Guess what? Once you have your non negotiables booked, you can cross that off. Look at that, you are already making progress!
Here is the most beautiful part about an event timeline, it is not final! Believe me, as you get into the planning of your event, you will realize there are things you need to add. Don’t rely on your memory, add tasks to your event timeline in the appropriate timeframe as you think of them. If you are talking with a vendor and they said they need your linen color two weeks before the event, add “provide linen choice to caterer” to your timeline.
If this all seems overwhelming, let Exsiting Creations Event Planning help. Event logistics management is what I do. I will keep you on track and ensure you don’t forget the plates.
Visit www.exsitingcreations.com, make an appointment and let’s get started planning your next event.
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