This checklist may prove helpful as you plan your event.
A Little Planning Goes a Looooong Way
Determine what you want to achieve with the event, e.g., thanking your stakeholders, publicizing your opening, meeting neighboring business people, giving back to the community, etc.
Begin working on your event theme and program format.
Check the availability of any special guests you want to participate in your program or attend your event as special guests, and check potential dates and times for conflicts.
Finalize date and time and confirm special guests.
Compile your guest list. (Your list can include neighboring businesses, existing customers and vendors, prospective clients, staff, news media, and friends and family.)
Develop your budget. (Consider things like catering, florals, decorations, entertainment, photography, invitations, audio/visual equipment, door prizes or gifts for attendees if wanted.
Roll Up Your Sleeves - preferably one month in advance
Prepare the invitation.
Sign contracts with vendors providing goods and services for your event (catering, photography, party supply, etc.).
If you're sending printed invitations, give the printer plenty of time to produce them. And if you're having a mail house help with the distribution, they may need up to five business days to process the mailing. Or consider an emailed invitation.
Send invitations out one month in advance.
Finalize your program and create an event-day timeline, from set-up to clean-up.
Follow up with special guests and make sure they know their role in the program.
Assign/delegate event-day tasks, e.g., greeting guests, handling media, working with vendors, set-up, clean-up, etc.