The Event Planner’s Essential Checklist

By: William Taylor, Owner & CEO, The Music Concierge

The event-planner’s version of this ad? “Demanding clients, unknown wages, sleepless nights, long months of utter confusion despite constant communication. Temporary insanity likely. Honor and recognition in case of success.”

There’s an old myth in the world of advertising that Sir Ernest Shackleton placed an ad for a dangerous expedition that was answered by more than 5,000 applicants. The ad copy appealed to the sense of adventure and accomplishment that was to be gained if the expedition succeeded.

Planning an event can be a thankless, stressful job. But it can be adventurous and exhilarating all the same.

It takes a special kind of person to put in the countless hours, juggle the many details and keep all the moving parts in motion for an event. But even the most talented event planner needs a trusty checklist. Having pulled off these events for anyone from the Kentucky Motor Speedway to P&G and Delta Airlines, below is what we would consider the Event Planner’s Essential Checklist.

☑Gut-check your audience

Is your event an annual company meeting, a conference, a fashion show, or a school or community gathering? If I had to name just one thing to never neglect at an event, I would have to say the audience. It’s why you’re there.

The expected audience can dictate the tone and overall production of the event. If you are unsure of your audience, take some time well in advance of the meeting to get to know and understand your audience and tailor the event to their needs and preferences. It will lead to a more enjoyable experience for them and a pat on the back for you.

At your next event, talk to your partners about sound, so you have the right equipment for a great experience for attendees and guests.

☑Don’t sacrifice sound

You don’t have to be a gearhead, but ask your venue or event production company about the sound and equipment they use. Chances are, they have a wide range of technology and capabilities and will work with you to right-size what is needed for your event. This will ultimately provide you cost savings so you’re not paying for equipment rental you won’t need or use.

For example, with The Music Concierge, we use anything from QSC, dbTechnologies, Sennheiser to EV. And … we always have backups. I don’t even leave my house anymore without some extra wireless microphones for speeches, toasts or (who knows?) impromptu karaoke.

☑Staging and lighting

I would say these things are the event-planning rookie’s biggest downfalls, because they can be details considered too last minute, technical or too difficult to embark upon. Partner with a company who can have your back on these. A little uplighting here … the materials and know how to add a little elevation there … these are small touches that can bring your event from good to spectacular.

The right lighting can elevate an event.


Event photography means that your audience’s experiences can be captured and remembered, especially for annual events that will need to be promoted again. Whether you get scrappy or pull out all the stops, no event is complete without photography.

☑Get, keep your paperwork in line

No matter what method you’ll be making payments, keep track of estimates, changes in estimates due to changes in scope, and receipts. It’s much better than sifting through long or multiple email chains for one PDF attachment.

On a similar note, work with vendors who are licensed and insured, and can provide a Certificate of Liability Insurance at your request. The Music Concierge carries a full liability insurance policy up to $1 million, protecting our clients, our production team, and the venue from any unfortunate circumstances.

☑Get, give feedback

Especially for professional-related events (corporate meetings and events, conferences, etc.) that can repeat, it’s important to deploy surveys to gather feedback on the content and execution of the event and learn what went well and what can be improved upon for the next time

Inversely, take the feedback surveys the partners who help you execute your event up on their offer. It helps them improve their services and can help foster a long, healthy working relationship, and your feedback can be a helpful reference for a fellow event planner like you.

Think event planning is for people who can eat nails for breakfast and function on minimal hours of sleep? With this trusty checklist, you’ll be looking like an event-planning rockstar with the rest of them.

About Will Taylor

William Taylor is the owner and CEO of The Music Concierge, an experience production company that designs, executes, and documents live event entertainment. He got started in corporate sound and event production in 2010 after a decade and a half on the local and regional music scene. The Music Concierge has worked with national and regional companies and brands like Procter & Gamble, Delta Airlines, Toyota, Cincinnati International Wine Festival, the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Belterra, and more. Learn more about The Music Concierge on their website.