It’s pretty satisfying to check off items from your to-do list. Accomplishing items one-by-one, getting ever so close to achieving your goals can be quite the stress-reliever.   

If only creating the to-do list was just as satisfying. And for event managers, putting together a comprehensive event checklist can be one of the most overwhelming parts of the planning process. Plus, time constraints and expectations don’t make the job any easier.

Have no fear, we’re here to help!

Welcome to the ultimate event planning checklist that details essential event items in chronological order. We’ll start with six to nine months pre-event to post-event. We’ll cover all event formats (in-person, virtual, hybrid) and provide as much detail as possible, covering the most critical event aspects.

We’ll also include some essential items that event managers commonly forget so that you won’t miss the details. Use our checklist items as inspiration and a foundation for your own planning, and customize it for your event.

What to expect 6-9 months before your event

Pre-event: 6-9 months

Six to nine months before the event (or as long as 12 months for larger events), build a foundation for your event plan and answer some core questions about your event goals, budgets, location, and more.

Virtual events won’t take as long to plan since you won’t need to secure a physical venue, but still give yourself enough time to find engaging speakers, create compelling content, map out the logistics, and secure funding.

Note that if you’re planning a smaller event such as a webinar or one-day conference, you won’t need to start planning so far in advance. In that case, 3-6 months of planning should suffice.

Create event goals

Determine your goal/purpose for the event. What does event success look like? How do you define success? Define your success goals and metrics as well. Read more about setting virtual event objectives and creating focused metrics to track results.

Work out main event details

Work out the details that will form the foundation of the event. Figuring out these items will set your event in motion and provide the foundation from which the rest of your planning will develop.

  • Brainstorm your event theme and branding – Start the process of naming the event, creating taglines, and putting together the overall branding.
  • Determine the type of event (in-person, virtual, hybrid)
  • Estimate the event size – Number of attendees
  • Determine the event date / time / duration
  • Scope out an event location – Start scoping out locations and getting venue estimates. Finalize the venue during month six or earlier. Also, think about logistics such as WiFi, technology, liability insurance, parking and/or shuttle service, security, alcohol service, accessibility, permits and contracts, and size, as these details will affect your budget.

Organize your finances


Estimate costs and start budget discussions. Before you enter month six, you should have a completed budget and be able to estimate potential return from ticket sales and sponsorships.

  • Ticket pricing/strategy – Determine how you will price your tickets. Will you offer special early bird pricing? VIP tickets?
  • Estimate costs so you can budget effectively – Get cost estimates for high-priced items (travel, catering, venue, equipment, speaker fees, insurance)
  • Event budget – Create a budget based on estimated costs
  • Sponsorships – Will you need to secure sponsors? What revenue are you forecasting to receive from sponsors?

Assemble your event planning teams

Gather people for your planning teams (administrative and planning, facilities and logistics, technology and productions, publicity and marketing, sponsor relations) and create a preliminary plan (assign roles, specific tasks, milestones, deadlines).

What to expect 4-6 months before your event

Pre-event: 4-6 months

You’re nearing the halfway point! What should you be focusing on four to six months before the event? At this stage, finalize large contracts and make deposits, if necessary. Also, formulate your marketing strategy and start thinking about promotional tactics and pitching sponsors. Let’s talk about the details.

Finalize larger contracts and event management software

Finalize your larger contracts and the items that should be completed before moving on with your event promotions. Your event promotions and marketing messaging will include your event details, branding, and pertinent information (date, location, time, etc.), so finalize these details before launching your promotions.

Secure your event platform/app. The event platform or app will also facilitate registration, so finalize your event software early in the event planning process. We cover 21 event management tools in this article.

Virtual/hybrid events will require an event management platform that acts as a virtual stage and a platform where your attendees interact and engage with your event. Use a mobile event app for in-person events to keep attendees interacting and seamlessly navigating the event.

mobile event app
Webex Events’ mobile event app

Plan entertainment and reach out to speakers

What will keep your attendees engaged and your event memorable? In addition to networking and valued connections, attendees will remember when they laughed, smiled, and felt entertained.

At the event planning halfway point (4-5 months), scope out your entertainment and get estimates. You don’t have to finalize entertainment at this stage. Wait until after registration because attendees can provide feedback on their desired event activities and provide usable data on their preferences.

Also, hire an emcee (virtual emcee if you’re hosting a hybrid or virtual event) and a stage manager to keep acts organized, and your entertainers prepared.

Create a shortlist of potential event speakers. Start reaching out and having discussions. Ideally, finalize your speakers and topics before month three.

Marketing/promotions/sponsors

You will likely open registration during month four and beyond and start aggressively marketing your event on social media and other platforms. During months five to six, create your event marketing strategy, website pages, and promotional materials, so you’re ready to start mapping out your tactics by month four.

Below is a list of some marketing items to explore:

  • Finalize event theme and branding. You’ll need it to create your marketing strategy, website pages, and promotional materials.
  • Build out your branding and pages (themes, layouts, direction, event website pages, logo)
  • Create your marketing strategy and promotional plan – Which tactics will you use and on what platforms? Will you need additional resources? Map out the next 3-4 months of promotions. Learn more about event marketing strategy.
  • Coordinate what you need for printed materials/signage
  • Start talks with sponsors and finalize packages. Learn more about sponsorship levels here.
  • Open up early bird registration (if applicable)

Map out your technology needs

There’s a lot to manage when it comes to technology. Map out your tech needs and start getting estimates from tech vendors.

Your technology needs will vary depending on your event format. For in-person events, secure AV, WiFi, stage manager, stage monitors, event platform, production equipment, and production staff. For virtual/hybrid events, you’ll also need an event platform and live streaming).  

Map out your technology needs
Webex Events live streaming for a hybrid event

What to expect 3 months before your event

Pre-event: 3 months

At the three-month mark, you’ll feel your plan moving along rapidly as your preliminary items finish, and registration is in full force.  

This is when your promotional and marketing plans will take shape, and you’ll fire off your campaigns.

Registration will also be underway, so pay attention to incoming registrant data (automate registration with online event registration software) and finalize negotiations so you can start coordinating with sponsors. Also, finalize speaker topics so they have enough time to prepare, sign entertainment contracts, and plan event activities. Create backup plans for key event items.

Let’s dig into the details.

Finalize speakers and sponsors

At this stage, you’ve likely pitched sponsors and started the process. It’s time to send proposals and sign the contracts.

Before you move into the final two months, you should have a final tally of sponsors and their chosen tiers so you can start gathering information from them and incorporating them into your event plans. Coordinate with sponsors on event items such as logos and promotional items, and provide them with guidelines and expectations.

Finalize speaker session topics and formats and request presentations, so you can review them for alignment and accuracy. For in-person and hybrid events, book travel arrangements and lodging for your speakers, if necessary, and send them written confirmations.

Your marketing campaigns are likely running and hopefully performing as expected! Get your sponsors and speakers involved with promotions and connect with your marketing team on any giveaways. Order prizes (if applicable) to ensure they arrive in time for the event.

Book entertainment and set up event activities

What type of activities and engagement will delight your guests?

For in-person/hybrid events, find entertaining acts that will work for both in-person and virtual audiences. If your event is 100% virtual, secure an event management platform that offers live chat, gamification, video rooms, social walls, advanced networking, and other features that create unique experiences for virtual attendees.

Webex Events’ virtual event platform

Webex Events’ virtual event platform offers live engaging experiences for attendees. During your live stream, attendees can engage with the presenter and fellow attendees view the chat function.

Finalize your entertainment contracts and your event activities. You should have enough registrant data to determine what activities your attendees prefer. Compile this data and slot these activities into your event agenda.

Secure your technology and create backup plans

What happens if your WiFi goes out? What if your catering cancels one week before the event? Will torrential rainfall derail your event plans? The key to success is preparing for the worst, as uncomfortable as it might seem.

Secure your tech and production vendors and sign final contracts at this stage. Then, set up some contingency plans. Typical backup plans focus on tech, catering, speakers, the venue location, and the environment in inclement weather. Also, think about additional volunteers and backup entertainment and activities.

REMINDER: Don’t forget about that budget! Review your event budget and make sure you’re on track. If not, make adjustments.

What to expect 2 months before your event

Pre-event: 2 months

You’re edging closer! At the 2-month mark, leverage data to add fuel to your marketing campaigns to boost registration numbers, ramp up publicity and send press releases. Also, confirm your larger contracts to ensure no unexpected last-minute changes. Get printed materials and signage into production, so you have time to reprint, if necessary.

Confirm contracts

The last thing you need is a vendor to bail out at the last minute.

At the 2-month mark and nearing one month, confirm your large contracts (event venue, catering, tech production, and entertainment). Communicate any changes from the original proposal to your vendors so they have enough time to prepare.

Also, start creating your menus and remember to cater to those with special dietary needs. Compile your venue seating chart using event software to speed up the process.

Promotions, ticketing, and speakers

Below are some miscellaneous items that will come around during month two.

  • Provide event and keynote speakers with success tips (especially for virtual events). Get bio information and headshots
  • Close early bird ticketing
  • Order printed materials/signage (at 2-month mark to give enough time for reprints if necessary)
  • Ramp up publicity – press releases, media placements

What to expect during the final month before your event

Pre-event: the final month

It’s the final push! During the last month before the event, you’ll be planning and confirming last-minute details that were not possible before now. Things like seating, decor, the catering menu, and sending final registration reminders will be on the list.

Final confirmations and reminders

As a safeguard, confirm travel arrangements with speakers and stakeholders, so they’re aware of the details.

Finalize seating charts, decor, catering menus, and backstage beverages and snacks for presenters in the green room.

Send potential attendees final reminders to register (final marketing push) and stakeholders an overview of event details and logistics (attendees, sponsors, speakers, vendors). During the last week, you can send more detailed logistical information to each stakeholder. We’ll discuss this in the next section.

Miscellaneous items

Below are some commonly missed items to remember during the month’s first few weeks.

  • Order printing of menu and place tags
  • Check on event giveaway prizes, trophies, etc.
  • Send event swag to virtual attendees
  • Finalize contingency plans

What to expect one week before your event

Pre-event: one week

It’s the final week! Ensure everyone involved with the event understands their role and is ready to go.

Final checks

Below is a sample rundown of the final-week checks and details to confirm.

Send event agendas and contingency plans to internal team members and stakeholders (tech and production, sponsors, entertainment, attendees). Include specifics for each vendor. For example, technology professionals might need to know where to load/unload equipment, what time to arrive, who to meet when they arrive at the venue, etc. Speakers will need detailed instructions on time, cues, and where to go when they’re ready to go live.

Provide an internal agenda for your event committees that specifies their daily assignments, locations, and times.

Provide information to production (photographers/videographers) on interview/photo opportunities and last-minute details; sign disclaimers and permissions.

Also, communicate with your PR team about event media opportunities and provide your vendors with final attendee numbers. Run through backup plans with committee leads.

Liaise with the stage manager and/or virtual event emcees and provide them with the entire event schedule and cues. Perform AV, tech, and production runthroughs the day before and the morning of the event to ensure tech is working correctly.

Miscellaneous items (final few days)

Below are some items to remember during the final few days:

  • Doublecheck registration and badges (if applicable)
  • Confirm signage is in place at the venue (day before)
  • Confirm tables and decor, and ensure the place cards and table numbers are in place at the venue (day before)
  • Check that accessible areas are working and operational (bathroom, outdoor ramps, stair railings)
  • Confirm trophies and giveaway prizes are in place

What to expect during your event

During the event

You made it! Now it’s time to ensure your attendees are having a great time and you’re prepared to put out fires (hopefully none) should they occur.

Review your event data (speaker performance, session numbers, networking opportunities) and notice where you can make immediate improvements, if necessary. Below are some launch day checklist items:

  • Walk through your internal event agenda with committee leads
  • Meet up with the vendors and provide them access
  • Prepare the venue green room with food and beverages for presenters and entertainers
  • Review your attendee and sponsor metrics (virtual event platform/mobile app) and look for opportunities for improvement, if necessary.

What to expect after your event

After the event

Congratulations on wrapping up your event! Hopefully, it was a total success. You paid all the bills, coordinated with vendors, and reconciled your budget, but the work isn’t complete just yet. Make the most of your experience by following some of the following tips.

Get feedback and distribute event highlights

Send post-event surveys to sponsors and attendees to garner feedback for future event improvements, and meet with your team to evaluate the successes and misses. Send sponsors focused data on their campaigns and thank them for their involvement.

Also, send thank you letters/emails to sponsors, attendees, media, speakers, team members, and volunteers along with event highlights (images, video snippets) to remind them of their experiences and encourage them to join your post-event community. Don’t forget to update your event registration page with event highlights!

Set up a post-event community

Events are milestones in the broader customer journey. If you continue engagement after the event, it can last year-round and bring continued leads and business. During the post-event process, engage current community members and encourage continuous engagement by starting a post-event community.

Repurpose event content

Your event content can continue to flourish long after the event. Create a promotional plan on how to repurpose and reuse event content.

Don’t forget these small (but important) details

Are you worried about the small details? We’ve got you covered! Below are some commonly missed items and tips on preparing for a smooth event.  

  • Event kit backup – For the day of the event, secure the following and prepare copies if necessary: guest list, seating chart, permits, parking charts, event agenda, internal event agenda, directions, contact information (vendors, speakers, sponsors, team members), extra name badges, check-in list, backup plans, and emergency kit items such as scissors, tape, ibuprofen or Tylenol, pens, and a notebook.
  • Keys – Ensure you have all of the keys you need on the day of the event to access your venue and rooms for vendors.
  • Weather – What will you need to change if there’s torrential rainfall on the day of your event? Plan in advance in case the weather doesn’t behave.
  • Pay attention to session counts – If a speaker room has a capacity of 300, but only 25 attendees register for that session, it could embarrass the presenter.
  • Visit your potential venues during busy days to test the WiFi. Testing with an empty room is not an assurance you will have enough bandwidth on the day of the event.
  • Consider Live Display and/or mobile apps so you can easily communicate event changes to attendees who may or may not be checking their email. You need a dependable notification system.
  • VIP/team parking – Set up parking close to the venue for yourself and your team members so you can quickly get to your car if you need to run an errand.
  • Team badges/shirts – Ensure your staff and event coordinators have special badges and/or branded shirts so attendees can spot them out of the crowd. For virtual audiences, your admins and emcee should have a unique profile banner or design to differentiate them.
  • Safety – Ensure the venue has first-aid kits and you are COVID-19 compliant. Your guests should feel safe enough to participate.

Seamless and simplified planning for event managers

As event planners ourselves, we understand how chaotic and overwhelming the planning process can be. We’re all about seamless and simplified event planning; that’s why we created Webex Events.

Webex Events’ end-to-end event management platform makes event planning faster and easier.  Replace tedious manual tasks with automated solutions and track your attendee and sponsor actions (along with other robust metrics) without doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Here is what you can expect when working with Webex Events:

  • Automate registration and customize the attendee journey
  • Offer unique sponsorship opportunities to maximize exposure
  • Engage attendees with live interaction and fun challenges
  • Provide immersive brand experiences
  • Customize your branded virtual platform or mobile event app
  • Modernize networking with state-of-the-art Video rooms
  • Measure event ROI and gather critical performance data in real time and post-event
  • Enable deeper connections with post-event community building
  • Get ahead of your planning with dedicated professional services
  • And more!

Want to take Webex Events for a test drive? Schedule a free personalized demo today, and learn how Webex Events can simplify your event planning and help you plan unforgettable events.

Olivia VanCuren
Olivia VanCuren

Content Marketing Specialist @ Webex Events (formerly Socio). Words enthusiast. Passionate about events that foster meaningful connections.