The Ultimate Corporate Event Planning Checklist

by Pacific 54

Pulling off a large corporate event can be tough. Not only do you need to impress the clients and your co-workers, but you’ll also be under the watchful eye of your boss. Getting assigned to run a corporate event is a big job that requires a lot of moving parts. 

The best way to make sure that you don’t miss anything in the planning process is to create a checklist of items to complete. This will make it easy to make sure that you are still on track for a great event. Use this ultimate corporate event planning checklist for your next event!

The Basics: Understand the Foundation For The Event

8-12 Months Beforehand

First things first, you can’t even begin to plan an event without knowing some of the basic information. Start with understanding why the event is happening in the first place. Identifying other key factors that will limit your choices about the event is essential to know as well.

Know the Goal of the Event

Corporate events occur for a variety of reasons: client appreciation dinners, new client business, fundraisers for non-profit organizations, and even employee recognitions. Knowing why your event is happening is the first clue to how your event should run.

Decide On a Theme and Format

Choose a theme that best fits with the goal of the event: fun themes include golf outings or carnival-style fundraisers, while formal themes include award ceremonies or benefits. 

Some corporate events are very casual, while others can be extremely formal. Ask your boss what kind of dress code the event will require to help you tie everything together.

 Put Together a Rough Budget

Every corporate event has a budget, whether it is large or small. Make sure to have a firm number from either your boss or the accountant (or both!) so that you don’t overspend. Most businesses have had an event like this one in the past, so ask for the information and budget involved in the last event to keep you on track.

The number of people expected to attend the event can greatly inflate your budget, venue, and other options. Create a guest list and consult the attendance of the last work event to get a better feel for total guests.

Set a Date

Committing to a date for the event will help in selecting vendors and venues. Have a few backup dates available if needed, as well. Remember that you can’t please everyone with the right date for them. Choose the best date and ask those with conflicts to reschedule their plans if necessary.

Select a Venue

Start looking for venues that match the theme and size of your event. Knowing your budget will help eliminate those venues that are out of the price range. Choosing the elegant Grand Salon Ballroom for an upscale corporate event would help solidify the prestige and presence of your business. 

Many choose indoor corporate events so that weather is never an issue. However, some events will need to be outdoors, like a golf fundraiser. Other events may want to include indoor venues with outdoor areas like the Ciudamar Room at the Grand Salon. Make sure that the location matches the overall reason for the event as well as the dress code.

Many event planners forget to check if a venue has adequate parking. Downtown locations in a large city may be glamorous, but you have to make sure that guests can actually get there. If a venue doesn’t have enough parking, check out other parking options nearby and make sure guests know where they can park.

Part of a venue fee should include tables and seating for the number of guests that the location can hold. However, always make sure to discuss seating options with the venue as well as how the space will be set up before your event. Seating may seem very trivial but you don’t want to get caught in an event that doesn’t have enough space for everyone to enjoy themselves.

The Details: Planning For The Particulars Of The Event 

3-6 Months Beforehand

A large part of a successful corporate event planning checklist is to prepare for the other people who will help you pull off your event. 

Book Speakers

  • Emcee: Most corporate events will need an Emcee. This could be you as the event planner, but it will most likely need to be someone who isn’t tied up with the details of the event. The Emcee helps move the schedule along and can easily speak in front of a crowd.
  • Guest speaker: Plan well ahead of time to find a guest speaker for the night if your event requires one. Guest speakers have a tight schedule and often book up months in advance.

Choose a Caterer

One of the most significant parts of your event budget involves food and drinks. Even the smallest events have some snacks or desserts available. Ask venues if they cater or if they allow outside caterers to come in. Most sites may have a list of approved caterers that they have worked with in the past.

Choose food stations that reflect the overall theme and tone of your event. Elegant functions could even include upscale food options offered by Grand Salon, like sushi or carving stations. Open bars or even cocktails made just for the event always go over well.

Your caterer can help you decide what kind of food will fit within your event budget. Make sure to choose food items that offer a variety for guests in case some have allergies or diet restrictions.

Casual events, like a business mixer, can offer buffet-style tables of food, while formal events should include staff serving the food to guests at a table. Deciding on how to serve the food is key to knowing how many staff members you will need at an event, as well.

Choose the Right Entertainment

Many corporate events feature music of some kind. This could be either a live DJ or band that fits the theme of the event. Other upscale entertainment options could also include vocalists or even a fireworks show. Casual events could also have music playing in the background to help fill quiet times that could become awkward between conversations.

Casual events that aim to have fun should include some unique activities for guests to do as well. From photo booths to comedians, consider hiring a fun form of entertainment to showcase just how much fun a work function can be.

Double-Check the Sound System

Don’t get caught in a large room without any sound system! Many venues offer their own audio system for your event. Double-check these features that you’ll need and always have extra microphones and batteries on hand just in case.

Hire Extra Staffing

Many venues will include staff that will set up the tables, chairs, and food options if purchased. However, make sure to discuss how many dedicated staff members your event will have from the venue itself. Ask about bringing in other waitstaff, like bartenders, if needed. 

Security is an essential part of hosting a corporate event. Hiring security guards that will patrol the event, as well as take care of any potential issues, will keep everyone safe. Plan on extra security if your function has an open bar as well.

Clean-up staff is also incredibly important and should not be overlooked. The last thing you want to do after such a big event is to get caught cleaning up after everyone has gone home. 

Secure Permits and Licenses

Some venues and city ordinances require special permits or licenses for large events. If your event serves alcohol, you will most likely need permission to serve drinks to guests. Other legal requirements could include special insurance, as well. Your chosen venue should have information about local jurisdictions, but it is also a good idea to visit the local government office to double-check.

Promote It Well

Don’t forget to promote your event! Start sending out guest invitations. Promote your event with a website, social media schedule, and personalized emails. Even the best-executed parties will fall short if no one attends or knows about them.

Finalize Financials

Prices and fees will change during the planning process of your corporate event. Know that even the best-planned budgets may not be accurate after the event is over. Keep your budget fluid and know that not everything can be set in stone. Add in a buffer to the budget to help cover things that come up last minute.

The Extras: Decorations, Sponsorships, and Finishing Touches

2-4 Weeks Beforehand

An event doesn’t feel complete without the extra touches that make it unique. Make the last push to create an extra special event and remind your guests to attend.

Choose Tasteful Decorations

Decorations help make the entire event come together. Formal decorations could include organza wrapped chairs and a unique flower wall perfect for formal photos.

Other decorations could consist of beautiful floral arrangements, topiaries, and draped fabric to create a dramatic look. If your event is more on the casual side, play around with the centerpieces and talk with the event coordinator at the venue to come up with ideas that will add charm to the room.

Spotlight Sponsorships

Many corporate events have extra items that guests can take home. This could include a small favor on the tables with your company logo or a large trip raffled off at the end of the night. Making your company the star of the show is key to the ultimate corporate event.

If a certain client or business has sponsored a portion of the event, make sure that they are compensated for their contribution. Mention their name multiple times and include banners and signage to thank them.

Add Finishing Touches

The smallest of details work together to create the overall success of any event. Flower vases filled with golf balls at a golf fundraiser or fake snow at a winter-themed event does make a difference. Don’t be afraid to spend a little part of the budget on adding these finishing touches that will bring the event together.

Send Out Reminders

Your guests may have the event on their calendar, but we can all use a reminder to be sure. Send out reminder emails, create a hashtag on social media, and talk about your event at work to help heighten the buzz.

Let Grand Salon Take Care of Your Corporate Party

While planning the ultimate corporate event can be a bit daunting at first, breaking it down into pieces can help. From finding the perfect venue to adding the finishing touches, there are many things to do before your event arrives.

Whether you are a seasoned pro or a newbie at event planning, Grand Salon can take care of your corporate event! Follow these tips on creating your next corporate event that will be a smashing success.

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More information

Grand Salon Reception Hall
10856 SW 104 St. Miami, FL. 33176
Email: eventproducer@grandsalonhalls.com
Killian Palms Country Club
9950 SW 104 St Miami, FL 33176
Email: eventproducers@grandsalonballroom.com
Phone: (888) 828-3266
Fax: (305) 596-3390

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