The best events might differ in feel, design and detail, but they generally have one important thing in common: They are highly organized. An event-day checklist is one tool for keeping everyone--from your client to each creative partner--on task and on time. Venue managers in particular need to ensure that all of the pieces fall in to place.
These are some of the things that make the day go a whole lot more smoothly from your venue's perspective:
1. Include a day-before and day-after checklist.
There are some tasks that need to be done before the event day, and some that must be done the day after. Deliveries that can’t be made on weekends, for example, need to be scheduled on the weekday prior to the event. Shipping back linens or returning cake supplies are common tasks that must be done the day after, or risk coming with a penalty for late return. Including them on a day-after list can save extra cost and a lot of unneeded stress.
2. Indicate task assignments.
Assign responsibility for each task and include that information on your list. It’s never safe to assume that someone is handling every important action. Include a place for team members to initial indicating who completed each item and at what time.
3. Include an equipment checklist.
If you pre-pack your equipment, add a double-check area of your document that prompts you to ensure that everything is both present and in working order.
4. Don’t skip the “obvious.”
Just because it seems obvious to you, or it is something you do for every event, doesn’t mean that you should leave it off of your checklist. Those items we do every day are the ones that are most easily forgotten.
5. Include a timeline.
Include tasks that need to be completed by creative partners before your own work can be finished, such as covering tables before centerpieces can be placed. Make sure each partner’s timeline is working with the others, not against each other.
Share the timeline you've based on your checklist with your event host or wedding couple, because they might need the information if they are handling any of their own related details.
6. Develop a template.
Save yourself time and work more efficiently by creating a template for your event-day checklist. Start by including those things you do for every event. Work with your creative partners to add other important items, and ask for suggestions about things you might have missed or could improve. After your use your list for the first time, go back and make adjustments where it didn’t work as effectively as you had hoped.
7. Finalize your checklist in advance.
While clients might keep changing things up until the day of the event, try to have your part of the checklist finalized a week in advance. Allow only small adjustments to be made after that week's deadline, as the more changes that are made at the last minute, the more likely you are to suffer errors.
Finally, make sure more than one person on your team reviews the final checklist against your contract to look for missed items.
Coordinate with your venue management today and develop a great event checklist that sets you both up for success!
Heather Jones is the catering sales director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property in Livermore, Calif., that is home to a winery and vineyards, a golf course, restaurant, and a range of unique facilities for hosting weddings and special events.