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Event Planning Tool

This tool is provided as a general guide to planning special observance events or ceremonies. Smaller or less formal events, for example, will not require many of the steps.You should modify the tool to meet your organization's structure, policies, and event type.

Phase One

  • Designate project leader, team members, and support staff.
  • Project costs and allocate funds.
  • Prepare work plan, checklists, and schedule.
  • Coordinate event plans with any partnering groups.
  • Prepare decision package with options for invitation design, if using them.
  • Brief Chief of Staff and/or Deputy Chief of Staff.
  • Obtain Director's/Manager's approval of proposal and implementation plan.
  • Prepare formal request with three dates, and identify the point of contact for obtaining event date approval.
  • Reserve event room.
  • Prepare proposed guest list.
  • Obtain Director's/Manager's preference for speaking order.

Phase Two

  • Brief and coordinate all organizations involved in planning or producing services or materials supporting the event.
  • Authorize funds.
  • Purchase supplies.
  • Determine total number of guests.
  • Obtain guest names, personal titles, official titles, organizations, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers.
  • Design invitations, determine cost, and print with envelopes.
  • Design certificates, determine cost, and print two of each on parchment or similar stock.
  • Design, determine cost, and print the programs.
  • Prepare communications broadcast for facility.
  • Prepare talking points for presenters and obtain approval.
  • Research history of the event location/venue.
  • Obtain biographies of event participants, and verify current titles.
  • Prepare talking points and program format for Master of Ceremonies.
  • Prepare speaker introductions.
  • Prepare room layout including official seating area, press box, podium, refreshments, signing table, flags, etc.
  • Identify holding areas for participants, guests, media.
  • Invite internal and external guests of senior staff and partner organizations.
  • Invite external media.
  • Arrange for photographer and/or videographer.
  • Arrange for refreshments.
  • Arrange for decorations.
  • Arrange for memento.
  • Arrange for coat rack.
  • Arrange for furniture removal or placement.
  • Arrange for signing pens, if needed.
  • Schedule walk-through, rehearsal.
  • Prepare briefing packages, as needed.
  • Prepare Director's/Manager's read-ahead package.
  • Prepare script for Master of Ceremonies.
  • Provide alphabetized external guest list and media list to Security Chief.
  • Brief senior executives.
  • Prepare binders or portfolios.
  • Confirm participation with any partners/external organizations.
  • Obtain cell phone and pager numbers for speakers and guests of honor.

Day of the Event

  • Set up event room.
  • Brief participants.
  • Provide final instructions to greeters, ushers, staff.
  • Check room setup.
  • Review setup with caterer, if using.
  • Reconfirm availability of photographers and/or videographer.
  • Review guest list and instructions with security guards.
  • Greet and escort event participants and guests.
  • Greet and escort media; provide press kits.
  • Distribute printed programs.
  • Designate staff person to direct guests to exit at end of event.
  • Issue news release.


  • Distribute photographs.
  • Send correspondence (transmittals and thank yous) and any documents.
  • Secure and store or distribute official documents.
  • Frame certificate(s) with or without memento.
  • Prepare communications for internal reports, Web site coverage, and so forth.