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Mar 27
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Planning a Corporate Event Timeline

So, most people have had the nightmare where you are in charge of something, it’s the morning of the event (or presentation or project) and nothing has been done.
You’re woefully unprepared, and hopefully you wake up before something horrible takes place.

How do you make sure this doesn’t happen around your real-life corporate event? Planning, planning and more planning. In Ben Franklin’s words, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Since failure is not something anyone wants, here is a general corporate event timeline to use to stay on top of organizing your next large corporate event.

1. Six to Twelve Months Prior to Event

This time frame is ideal for gathering a planning committee in order to begin establishing goals, nailing down objectives, making the budget, settling on branding and outlining the program for the event.

During this stage, you should also confirm your venue. Premium venues tend to be booked well ahead of time, and you want to be able to book your first choice. Also, setting the guest list at this stage makes it easier to project attendance and other planning down the line. Save-the-Date cards and invitations should be printed; and you should be working on confirming major elements of the program, including guest speakers, emcees, and rentals.

2. Three to Six Months Prior to Event

During this time, you will want to get final approval (budget, special guest speakers, etc.) from your higher-ups on anything for the event. And send out those save-the-date cards! Now is also the time to reserve and sign contracts with your floral designer, caterer, photographer, videographer and musicians/entertainment.

3. Three Months Prior to Event

There are lots of details to nail down now that you’re in the final quarter of planning. You should preview and order your invitations from a printer and have them ready to send out. Don’t forget to have guests RSVP two to three weeks prior to the event and include other helpful details such as directions if needed. Also, now is the time to order lots of things so that you have them on hand for the big event. Think attendees’ gifts, speaker gift, prizes and whatever else your event requires.

Don’t forget to book security, finalize menu and flowers and keep track of that guest list.

4. Two Months Prior to Event

Ideally, you should take a walk-through of the venue at this point to make sure you’re not missing anything important. Take careful notes and talk through details with your planning committee. Lastly, mail your invitations and finalize any lodging accommodations for out of town guests.

5. One Month Prior to Event

The RSVP’s should be rolling in, so keep track of them and follow up with phone calls if you are missing some responses. You will want to give a final headcount to your caterer and venue coordinator.

For guests, plan how you will transport VIP guests and guest speakers and work out the seating arrangement.

For all your vendors, you will need to reconfirm all of the details, from delivery times to who is coordinating the delivery and set-up to final payments. Vendors you will want to touch base with include floral designer, caterer, musicians, security, keynote speakers, and media personnel.

Also, doing a social media blast a month out and continuing until the event gets the word out.

6. Day of Event

It’s D-Day! All of your planning should be paying off today. Be prepared to trouble-shoot throughout the day, and carry extra copies of seating charts, checklists, schedules and important contacts.

7. After Event

Enjoy the success of your event! Also, step back and assess what could be improved upon and make notes for next time. Take a moment to end your event with hand-written thank-you notes to those who made the event special.

Following a reasonable corporate event timeline ensures that you are continually working toward the event so that when it takes place, you can enjoy the event along with all of the other guests.

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