This may seem like an obvious step, but by carefully putting together this simple document your event will run 10 times smoother, keep everyone on the same page and create responsibility/ownership for day-of-event details and tasks.
1) Develop a To-Do List
The tasks in the days leading up to the event will be primarily in your arena as planner: contacting the venue to ensure everything is scheduled and good to go; checking the status of any necessary permits; status updates with your catering and other event vendors.
Write down everything that needs to be done on the day of the event and then develop a complete, detailed timeline for the day. Include every “action item” on the timeline. For example, when will catering arrive? When do the linens arrive? When will the band be able to access the space for set-up?
2) Determine the “Who”
As you put together your event you are dealing with multiple vendors who need to understand their responsibilities to the event and the time frame in which they need to complete them. Taking your timeline from Step 1, determine who is the party responsible for each of the action items. Include the contact person’s name as well as a phone number to reach them should any questions or concerns arise with their action item.
3) Provide the “Where” and the “When”
As part of your timeline be sure to indicate where things are occurring. Not only the address of the venue, but also if catering is loading in through a back loading dock, indicate on the timeline where that dock is located and how it can be accessed. Name the specific rooms (if any) within the larger venue where your event is taking place.
Indicate specific times for each activity. If your lighting guys are coming in at 7am, make sure that’s indicated on the timeline. All the vendors need to work in harmony, so having clear times when action items will be started and completed helps everyone with a smooth delivery and tear-out.
4) Share the Info with All Parties
Once all the pieces are laid out and the timeline is finalized, give copies to everyone who’s participating in the production of your event. Make sure you get this information to vendors at least a week prior to your event, so there are no surprises and everyone has time to coordinate with the overall schedule and advise you of any adjustments or possible conflicts that need to be dealt with. For example, if your venue is aware that lighting is coming in at 7am and their offices aren’t staffed until 8am they will need to know in advance so someone can be on premises to open the doors. If the tables won’t have linens until 4pm the florist will know not to arrive with centerpieces at 2pm, and so forth.
Also be sure to include the tear-out schedule, as many venues have strict guidelines for this and all vendors need to be up to speed in order to get back and quickly remove event materials.