Event planning can leave those in charge of it feeling haggard with “fuzzy brain syndrome” after figuring out the budget, menu, and myriad other tiny, but important details. Often, event planning is all in the details, and when the smallest thing is forgotten or missed, the entire event can go haywire. To save event planners from the misery of not having enough food, not enough room, or not enough whatever, we’ve created the ultimate event checklist for planning small group events. It all begins with choosing the right venue. Here are some things to consider.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Event Venue
- Where has this event previously been held? What was successful about the venue and what wasn’t?
- What is the reputation of the facility and their staff?
- Does the price match the quality of service and the accommodations?
- Does the facility have the needed technology for your event, like projectors, screens, microphones, or any other technology?
- What are the food options? Do the menu options match your budget and expectations?
Keep the above in mind as you call a venue for the first time. The following is a checklist of things to know and/or remember to ask during that first call. If this is your first time planning the event, talk to those who have planned this event in the past and ask their advice. With their advice and our event checklist as guide, you’ll be sure to have all the necessary details covered.
Event Checklist, Part One: When You First Call the Venue
□ Know the date(s) your event will be held.
□ Know the approximate number of overnight rooms needed. (If it is only a day meeting, have the schedule in hand and the number of attendees you are expecting)
□ Know what your budget is and have an expectation of how that will be split between line items like food and venue space.
□ Have a complete list of the technology needed for your event. Be sure to include things like power strips if attendees need a place to plug in, or if a presenter needs a specific adapter or cord to connect their laptop to a projector.
□ Be able to talk about how you’d like to arrange the room. Should it be set up like a classroom, hollow square, U-shape?
□ Know the schedule. Be able to give the venue’s event planner an accurate account of how your group usually functions. Do presenters usually run over? Do meals begin later than scheduled?
□ Be able to provide the name of the on-site contact person that the venue staff can speak to about any last-minute event planning questions.
□ Be ready to supply the venue with a credit card authorization form or the contact who will be present to sign for any charges.
Event Checklist, Part Two: After the Venue is Selected
□ Sign a contract. Mark the calendar for when deposits are due and when the cancellation deadline is.
□ Ask for and sign BEOs (Banquet Event Orders) for any food and beverage services.
□ Spread the word! Wrangling attendees can be challenge on its own, so here are a few online event planning tools for communicating with guests and staying organized.
□ Mark the calendar for when a count for meals needs to be provided. Know what the policy is for changes after the number is guaranteed.
□ Keep a tally of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other diet restrictions to provide to banquet staff.
□ Know if the venue has any alcohol policies (like no open bottles in the hallway).
□ Talk with the venue staff about local entertainment or activities for any possible “free time.” For example, here in Ohio’s Amish Country, groups can take horse-drawn wagon or sleigh rides, go horseback riding, or try some team-building activities.
□ Know what WiFi connections are offered and if there are any issues with cell coverage in the area.
□ Double check that all cords and adapters needed to use a personal laptop on a projector are being provided by you or the venue.
□ Take a deep breath and enjoy the event!
Event planning doesn’t have to be difficult and our event checklist is a great place to start. When you’re ready to start planning, we are here to help! We plan a variety of events — corporate meetings, weddings, small — each year at The Inn at Honey Run, and are proud to be the preferred destination for Fortune 500 companies in the Ohio area. We host events for up to 250 people, with accommodations, full catering options, and lots of support.