The first step to planning any event is to think about why you're having it and what you hope to achieve. These questions should help you gain the necessary focus.
- What is the goal of your event? To honor someone, to present information, to raise funds?
- What is your budget?
- Who is your audience?
- What is the appropriate size of the guestlist?
- Should the group be small or large? Who must be invited according to protocol?
- What is the appropriate venue?
- Indoors or outdoors, on or off campus, lecture hall, dining room?
- What is the appropriate time of day?
- Breakfast, midmorning, cocktail hour?
- What message do you want attendees to receive?
- How elaborate will the event be?
- Will guests need formalwear?
- Are admission tickets needed?
- Assigned seating or general admission?
- Will this event conflict with or be held in conjunction with other campus or unit events?
Read through our Event Planning Checklist, a step-by-step countdown to your event.
- Determine key players: potential speakers, honorees, hosts, university, campus, or government dignitaries
- Contact all key players to determine as many potential dates and times for your event as possible
- Be mindful of religious holidays, as well as other university and community events that may draw the same audience
Selecting a venue
- Which venues are available on the dates and times you have identified?
- How should the room be configured?
- What is the seating capacity?
- Can you serve food and alcohol?
- Is there a podium?
- Can the room accommodate persons with disabilities?
- Is AV equipment available, and is there a fee for using it?
- Are there parking facilities close to the venue?
- What space is available for catering staging?
Reserving the room
- Will you need to decorate the room with plants or flowers, stage backdrop, or lighting?
- Are keys needed or will the room be unlocked?
- Consider reserving a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
- Does your guest speaker need lodging and transportation arrangements?
Equipment, facilities, and services
- To acquire a stage, podium, chairs, tables, a public-address system, coat racks, easels, plants, garbage cans, custodial crews, etc., contact Facilities & Services at (217) 333-1490.
- To acquire AV equipment, contact CITES at (217) 244-7000.
- Have a trained person available to operate AV equipment.
- To reserve parking spaces call Campus Parking at (217) 333-3530.
- For conference planning assistance, contact Conferences and Institutes at (217) 333-2880.