Every planner has his or her own set of essential day-of event documents that they can’t live without. It’s critical that we’re able to recall information and details at the drop of a hat. Having easily accessible copies makes our jobs a lot easier.
Over time, we grow accustomed to being able to depend on our preparedness, so figure out what works for you and how you like to organize your information. Here are some of the day-of event documents that I am always sure to have prepared for an event:
The Event Timeline
Probably the most critical of all event documents, the timeline serves as a detailed schedule of the event. It typically encompasses all of the time spent onsite at the event venue. It’s listed out by items, in chronological order. It serves as a reference for the planner and other vendors based on clients’ and the event’s needs throughout the day.
Always be sure to include the action items involved with time spent loading in and setting up for the event, and tearing down and loading out. Other common items to consider include speeches or toasts, entertainment start and end times, vendor meals and breaks, and staff in-time.
Pro Tip: Establish what the clients’ needs are and what things or actions need to happen at a specific time. If dinner absolutely has to start at 7 pm, work off of that as a starting point to strategically time out the items that need to happen before and after.
Related article: The Details Every Day-Of Timeline Should Contain
Banquet Event Order
The banquet event order, or “BEO,” is what a vendor, typically the venue or the caterer, provides to the client. It often functions as a menu, an invoice, and a contract agreement all in one. It’s important that the planner has a copy of this event document, and understands all of the services this vendor has agreed to provide so that we can be a voice and ally for our clients.
Pro Tip: Sharing your timeline (link to TB) with your vendors ahead of time allows them to align their services with your expectations. They can add useful timeline items to their service plan and BEO. It will lead to a smoother experience on event day.
The Event Checklist
No matter what type of event you’re planning, there are always things to remember. Sometimes they’re actual items that need to be gathered, like place cards or table numbers, but often they’re not so tangible. Sometimes you simply need to make sure something gets done, and it doesn’t necessarily fit anywhere specific on a timeline. For these things, I always keep a checklist of both high priority action items that I know need to handle, as well as objects that I need to account for.
Pro Tip: Have a list handy of your top priority items to reference at any given time. Also, have a list of any tangible objects that need to be handled or collected. This always makes me feel extra calm because I know I’m not going to forget anything.
The Event Floorplan
The floorplan is a visual layout of the space where the event is taking place, usually focusing on furniture placement. For larger events that require seating arrangements, I always have a copy of the room layout with a to-scale floorplan, with numbered tables and all furniture displayed.
I like to consider emergency exits, steps or stairs, and energy sources when laying things out. It’s a good idea to ask the venue if they can provide a blank floorplan to work off of, but always make sure to pass your preferred setup by the venue manager to approve the floorplan, as he or she will know best regarding what works well in the space.
Pro Tip: Give a copy of your floor plan to the rental company (or, if your venue supplies the furniture, your venue). They’ll be informed and prepared ahead of time with room setup information. This is especially important and helpful if the room needs to be set up before you arrive.
A vendor worksheet is an event document that lists all of the 3rd party vendors associated with an event. The sheet includes their business name, points of contact, email address, phone number, and address.
I want to be able to contact all of my vendors at any point during the event day. And that’s why I always have a list specific to each event handy on the day-of, instead of scrambling through my inbox to find phone numbers in email signatures.
Pro Tip: Use this vendor worksheet throughout the event day as a place to jot down notes about each vendor – what you liked, what you didn’t, whether you would recommend them to other clients, etc. Add this to a working list of vendors you’ve worked with in the past, or add them to your preferred vendor list for future events.
Related article: 10 Day-Of Coordination Tips From A Wedding Planner
Preparation Means Confidence
Whatever your arsenal of day-of event documents, make sure you feel confident about the information you have and how you’ve organized it. It’s up to you to make sure your clients’ and vendors’ expectations are managed on event day but remember that you need to manage yourself as well. The more specific you are with your details, the calmer you’ll feel, and the event will only be better for it. And remember, no detail is too small!