How to do Event Planning: Complete Guide

How to do Event Planning: Complete Guide


A well-planned event not only runs smoothly and allows guests to enjoy their time together, but it also stands out because it feels a bit more significant than a casually thrown-together gathering of friends. If you have an event coming up, no matter the size, this complete guide can help you ensure its success. 

Proper planning includes extra features like a photo slideshow of the honoree or a spot for event photo sharing. Before you finish your planning checklist, make sure you add a feature or two from Esstart to make your event one that everyone will remember! Throughout the event planning process, you'll want to refer to these vital steps for event planning. Even with all the different types of event planning occasions, there's an event planning checklist that's applicable to almost every type of event.

Major occasions, like weddings or retirement parties, call for professional event management, but even small gatherings can benefit from proper party planning steps.  Wedding coordination is a lot easier from start to finish when you have a complete plan in place.

Another type of event that requires strong planning is conference organization and execution. If you're heading up the planning committee for your firm's next launch or major publicity event, you'll want to create a thorough plan. The same is true of meeting planning, event coordination, and special event management.

What is an Event Planning Guide, and Why Do You Need One?

An event planning guide is a framework that provides information that's necessary to host a successful event. No matter the size of an event, from a friend's 30th birthday party to your parent's 50th wedding anniversary party, having an event plan in place is always a good idea.

A solid plan allows you to organize tasks to ensure that everything goes smoothly, the honoree feels special, and the guests enjoy themselves at the party. 

Types of Events

venue planning guide
  • Corporate Events - most corporate events have some type of marketing or promotional aspect attached to them. To ensure that the product or service that's being launched or featured gets the right attention, it's important to have a complete event plan and a strong team working together to ensure that the event is successful.
  • Weddings - if you've attended a lot of weddings, you might feel like they all sort of run together in your memory. It can be a challenge to have a wedding stand out from the many others your guests have attended, but adding features such as an instant spotlight or photo slideshow is one effective option. It's a perfect way to showcase the couple and add guest engagement to the event.
  • Social Gatherings - hosting an annual Christmas Party or Valentine's Day gathering might seem like a laid-back undertaking, but it's still important to have a solid plan in place.
  • Birthday and Anniversary Parties - again, these might feel like comfortable get-togethers for family and friends, but taking the time to create an event plan ensures that the party is a hit! 

Steps For Event Planning

how to event plan
  • Define the purpose of the event - is there a guest of honor? A corporate initiative that's driving the event? Or, is the event simply a great reason to get together with friends and family?
  • Set a budget - your budget should include a total target amount to stay under as well as line items for all major expenses like the event space, catering, photo slideshows, and entertainment.
  • Gather your team - the best events have strong teams behind them. Your team should be assigned tasks based on their strengths.
  • Allow space for flexibility - it's very rare for everything to go exactly as planned. Be sure to factor in some extra time and funds to make any necessary adjustments.


Event Plan Checklist

writing an event plan checklist

Don't overlook the importance of an event checklist. This allows you to ensure that everything's taken care of and nothing's overlooked. Adding a timeline for the completion of tasks is also incredibly helpful. Below is a sample checklist template that's suitable for small events. 

  1. Confirm the purpose of the event and list any goals. This step is most relevant to corporate events but is also something to be considered for social gatherings. If you're celebrating your parent's 50th anniversary, you'll want to provide memories from their entire lives as part of the celebration.
  2. Determine the appropriate size for the event and establish a preliminary guest list. Is the event a huge gathering, where the more, the merrier? Or is an event of a more intimate size the better fit? The size of your guest list will have a significant impact on how the event turns out. 
  3. Decide the type of venue that is appropriate for the event. A country club is a perfect spot for a summer wedding, while a private room in a favorite local restaurant is lovely for an intimate birthday celebration.
  4. Rough out the budget with any gaps to be filled in later. You'll want to have a ballpark idea of your overall budget at the start of planning. There will likely be a number of changes as you progress through the process.
  5. Choose a date (as well as a few backups, too). The date is one of the first decisions you'll need to finalize before you move too far down your checklist. 
  6. Make final decisions on venue, catering, and entertainment. These steps usually follow one after the other. Once the date's set, the venue can be selected. After that, the caterers and entertainers can be hired.
  7. Determine the theme for the event as a cohesive theme creates a more festive atmosphere. Choosing the right theme can make or break the event. If it's a social gathering, a theme that reflects the interests of the guests of honor is always best. For corporate events, be sure the new product or service takes center stage in the festivities. 
  8. When appropriate, enlist sponsors for the event. Corporate events typically have sponsors. Be sure to choose one or more that have low reputational risk and can somehow be tied into the overall nature and purpose of the event.

This checklist allows you some flexibility to choose vendors, like instant spotlight photo features, and add your own personal touch. Once you've determined the general idea of the event and how you want it to unfold, you can put your team in place and get down to the nitty-gritty of planning!


This is a lot of information, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed when planning an event. Use this checklist to break down the steps even further and create a memorable event that will thrill your guests! The more lead time you allow yourself and the more organized you are, the less likely it'll be to encounter stressful challenges during the planning process.

Events, whether social or corporate, are effective ways to bring joy and excitement and create a shared experience that participants will long remember. In order to highlight the important guests of the event, be sure to line up some photo features. A photo slideshow allows the guests of honor, the product that's being launched, or other important aspects of the event to be highlighted in a fun and engaging way. The more creative you are during the planning process, the more memorable your event will be.   

The larger and more important the event is, the more attractive a professional event planner becomes! If you have the budget to hire a pro, there's no reason not to. They'll be able to handle the details for you while you can focus on your guests. Another advantage that comes with working with a professional planner is their knowledge and contact with local vendors. Their established networks can help save a lot of time and effort, and often money too. If you have a large wedding planned or want to throw your parents an amazing anniversary celebration, it's definitely worth looking into hiring a professional event planner for the occasion. 



What does an event planner do?

An event planner pulls together all aspects of an event, from booking the space to organizing clean-up. They also handle everything in between, from organizing the guest list, hiring the caterers, and ensuring that there's great entertainment. If you have a large, important event coming up, hiring an event planner will allow you to focus on your guests while they handle the details. 

What are the main event planning steps?

No matter the size of your event, you'll want to make sure that you have a reasonable budget in place before getting too deep into the planning stage. This will help you prevent out-of-control costs and will also help you recognize which expenses are most important to you.

For example, one bride might be fine with a DJ if that means there's room in the budget for a sit-down dinner, while another might prefer a buffet to free up the funds needed for a live band. Once the budget is established, finding the right location, date, and entertainment comes next.

What components are included in an event plan?

The main components are the event space, the food and drink, and entertainment. Depending on the event, you might also want your event planner to handle the guest lists, order and mail the invitations, and manage the RSVPs. Hiring a photographer to capture the highlights of the event is another important factor to be added to the plan.

What skills are needed for event planning?

Good event planning requires strong attention to detail and solid organizational skills. There are many different tasks that need to be managed simultaneously, and without proper organization, important details can fall through the cracks. A positive attitude is also helpful as there are things that will go wrong during the planning! Flexibility is needed to roll with any complications that arrive and come up with alternate solutions on the fly.

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