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3 Stages of Event Planning

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

How much time is enough time for planning and executing a successful event? When should I start to find the venue, secure speakers, market to attendees, plan all the details, place my orders….

I constantly get asked the “When Should I….” questions when hosts are considering, or in the early stages of planning an event. When it comes to your event, it never hurts to be over-prepared. There are so many details and moving pieces and when things are left to the last minute, or rushed, the risk of things slipping through the cracks increases. So, I can say with 100% certainty that there's no such thing as too much time when it comes to planning an event.

I know, that sounds a bit crazy, right? Let me explain.

Without a strategy and plan in place, organizing an event can be super stressful for everyone involved and can leave you feeling like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off (event planning takes a lot of strategy, effort, organization, and detail management).

It is not uncommon for things to come up at the last minute, it’s just the nature of planning an event. So it’s important for you and/or your team members to allow yourself time to respond to last-minute details, and build in time for unexpected things that may (and often do) arise throughout the planning process. This is where having extra time (and a planner) pays off big time.

There are many stages of event planning, and for the simplicity of this blog, I’ve broken it down into the three primary stages that every host should be aware of :

  1. Planning

  2. Execution - Day(s) of the Event

  3. Post Event

Stage 1: Planning

This is the time from conception up until the first day of the event, and it’s where the majority of your time will be spent. Without a reasonable amount of time allotted for this phase (and this will differ for every type of event), your event's chance of success (and your sanity) will take a major hit. There are countless factors to consider as to how much time to allot, and generally speaking NO LESS than 3 months (if it is an event you have hosted before) and NO LESS than 6 months if this is the first time you have hosted an event.

The pre-event planning stage includes, but is not limited to:

1. Strategic Vision, Budget, and Goal Setting

Every event starts with a vision. Start by asking yourself some questions:

  • What is the purpose of the event (for you, for your attendees)?

  • What type of mood or atmosphere do you want to create?

  • Who will be involved in the event (speakers, entertainment, etc.)?

  • Will people be able to purchase things at the event (vendor booths, swag, sponsorships, etc.)?

  • Do you plan to make an offer at your event?

These are just a few important questions to think about when it comes to envisioning your event. You also want to take this time to determine who your ideal attendee is, and why they would want to attend your event.