Planning a successful event is a multi-step process. To help you keep track of tasks, outstanding items, and logistics, the below checklist has been created. This list encompasses a variety of event tasks and best practices, and is designed to serve as a framework for any event, large or small.

To get a printable checklist click here.

Initial Planning – 15 Weeks Prior



Convene stakeholders for pre-planning meeting


Determine goals and purpose of event

  • Who is your target audience for the event?

  • What do you hope to accomplish?

  • How will you gauge effectiveness?

Select date and time

  • Ensure hosts, VIPs and/or speakers are available for specified dates
  • Consult campus calendar/religious calendars when selecting
  • Think of campus culture/workday schedule when selecting times

Set budget

Consider various expenses including room rental fees, equipment rental fees, and catering, linen and decor costs.

Research potential funding sources

Could you partner with any other departments/sponsors?

Select and reserve space

 Remember to review:

  • Will you need a rain plan?
  • A/V capabilities
  • Parking availability/restrictions
  • Maximum capacities
  • Other events occurring near space – will they conflict?
  • Accessibility – how will persons with disabilities enter the venue?
  • Access times to space
  • Load-in/delivery capabilities
  • Included equipment with room rental
  • Surrounding sound impediments
  • Security issues 

Schedule rain plan, if applicable

 Remember to review:

  • Determine who will make the rain plan call
  • Determine how and when you will communicate the rain location to your guests
  • As soon as rain plan is established, consider additional needs to accommodate the plan (i.e. different staff, vendors, rental equipment, etc.)

Ensure inclusivity and sustainability

  • Consider any accessibility challenges

Develop communications plan

  • What is your event's main message? 
  • Determine what and when communications will be sent

Determine Guest List

Confirm any special needs

Investigate needs for special permits, licenses, insurance, etc.


Research potential vendors

Consult the Purchasing website for Marquette University approved vendors

Confirming Event Details – 12 Weeks Prior



Update any website material

 Include accessibility information and resources, in addition to ensuring the site is accessible

Add event to campus calendar and discuss other internal promotion opportunities


Contact Parking Services

  • Parking Services Office:
  • Ensure transportation options are accessible for guests
  • Purchase chaser tickets if necessary

Create timeline and delegate duties


Schedule photographer and/or Videographer

Consult the Office of Marketing and Communication

Set promotion/marketing schedule


Order/design Save-the-Date cards or design emails


Determine if large-scale promotional items will need to be designed and made (i.e. large signs, posters, etc.)


Begin researching travel arrangements and hotel options


Working with Outside Groups/Vendors – 8-10 Weeks Prior




Reserve hotel, plane and travel accommodations for speakers/VIPs and staff, if applicable

  • Ensure hotel room blocks have multiple options and are accessible for guests

  • Thoroughly review hotel contract for attrition clauses

Secure A/V needs for event

Remember to review:

  • Lighting
  • Supplemental video needs
  • Sound – Microphones, speakers
  • Ensure you have wireless advancer, if using Powerpoint and LCD projector/screen available
  • Ensure you have on-site A/V tech for event
  • Ensure you provide video specs to any presenter
  • TIP: Provide your speakers with Powerpoint template already formatted/branded to your event

Design and create/order invitations

  •  Always ask for dietary and special needs
  • Include relevant parking and directional information

Select & book caterer

Remember to review:

  • Do any of your guests have dietary needs?
  • Remember vegetarian options
  • Determine VIP’s preferences
  • Remember waters for the podium and/or bottled for guests, if applicable
  • Think through service expectations – Beverage service, when do you expect tables to be cleared, etc

Secure entertainment/musicians

Think about all aspects of the event (guest arrival, duration of event, etc.)

Begin designing printed pieces (i.e. invitations, tickets, flyers, programs, pamphlets, etc.)


Send Save-the-Date


Schedule supplemental staffing

Greeters, crowd management, etc.

Request participation of additional speakers

Emcees, presenters, etc.

Order additional décor/giveaway items

  • Carpeting
  • Balloons
  • Marquette branded items

Consider reserving additional set-up materials

  • Rental chairs
  • Stage
  • Podiums
  • Tables
  • Easels
  • Coat Racks
  • Heat Lamps

Choose menu


Release press announcements to national and local print media

Work with the Office of Marketing and Communication if applicable

Order any giveaways

  • Consider partnering with others to share costs 
  • Do not include a date, if possible, so item can be reused

Arrange for transportation (buses, shuttles, valet) if necessary

Local companies include Go Riteway, Blackline Limousine, and Keehn’s Valet Services

Determine parking and obtain directional maps for visitors to include with invitation

Utilize campus map

Confirm accessibility resources

Ensure you have an operational plan in place for assisting those with disabilities

Schedule A/V run-through prior to the event

Schedule speakers/musicians and others to participate (if live streaming or captioning, include those individuals, as well as any social media testing, i.e. Facebook Live)

Determine if additional space is needed

Consider a private reception space/room for VIPS or pre-meetings if needed

Event Promotion and Invitations – 6 Weeks Prior



Assemble/address invitations


Create RSVP tracking system

Utilize EventBrite or MarqIt

Mail invitations

  • Set RSVP deadline for 5-7 days prior to event
  • Update website with RSVP information
  • If using MarqIt or EventBrite, include link

Distribute flyers/emails advertising event


Determine if signage needs to be produced – if out-of-house, order signage and large promotional materials

Local companies include FastSigns

Schedule meetings or communicate with major stakeholders to ensure all needs are met


If working with musicians/entertainers, schedule a sound check


Create/purchase all needed decorations, other than flower arrangements


Assembling Materials – 4 Weeks Prior



Confirm staff/volunteers for each aspect of the event


Make parking and directional signs that can be created in-house


Create welcome packets/materials for attendees


Create script for yourself or for VIPs/presenters

Include phonetic spellings for any individuals’ names that might be difficult to pronounce 

Confirm all travel arrangements


Coordinate vendor payments through MARQetplace


Schedule meeting for any event staff/volunteers



Event Preparation – 1-2 Week(s) Prior



Follow-up with RSVP list – make personalized phone calls & emails, if necessary


Send final numbers to the caterer


Confirm participation with all VIPs/presenters. Send them updated event details, run of shows, and talking points


Create seating plans and room diagrams for assistance with set-up and day-of-event questions

  • Create place cards for seated meals, if needed
  • Ensure you have back-up seating options available for changes within table seating arrangements 

Develop photo shoot list


Hold pre-event meeting with all significant stakeholders (vendors, managers of venue, key committee members and volunteers, etc.)


Do one last walk-through of venue


Hold training session with volunteers


Ensure all printed materials/collateral are assembled and correct


Make nametags/lanyards for attendees and prepare additional blank nametags for walk-in guests

  • Suggest magnetic/reusable with clip tags for those who are unable to use magnetic
  • If disposable, suggest Avery 8395
  • Preferred template – First name centered, last name underneath. Consider including student college or alumni class/year.
  • Consider purchasing/borrowing machine for onsite nametags

Share any guests’ dietary needs with catering


Gather event day supplies

Include pens, sharpies, tape, scissors, etc.

Send final information to participants, including directions, maps, last minute details, etc.


Final Details – 1-2 Days Prior



Ensure all appropriate contacts’ info is listed where you can easily retrieve it

Recommend adding to your phone for easy text ability

Purchase floral arrangements if not provided by vendor


Recheck all equipment/materials to ensure nothing is damaged, quantity is correct, etc.


Set-up registration area, if possible, so you are prepared for the next day


Decorate room, if possible


Display parking/directional signs


Deliver materials/equipment to venue site


Send reminder email to registered guests


Test live web broadcast


Day of Event



Arrive early and do final walk-through


Ensure all VIP materials are correctly labeled and in place


  • Provide a program to VIPs so they know speaking order
  • Have additional scripts printed so speakers can review prior to speaking role

Connect with volunteers and staff to ensure they have all necessary information


Up to a Week After Event



Send thank you notes


Pay/process invoices


Hold post-event meeting with key players to evaluate event

Complete a post-event evaluation to record your ideas and lessons learned

Send pictures/mementos to VIP guests


Pack up and inventory all materials


Update website


Book next year’s venue, if annual event