Details, Details: The To-Do List

After addressing some creative details that undoubtedly enhance a special event, it’s time to talk about the down and dirty logistics that are necessary for an event’s success. First up:

The To-Do List

Where to start? Planning an event (especially a wedding or larger celebration) is a lot of work! It’s almost no exaggeration to say the details are limitless. There are so many event elements to brainstorm and research, numerous vendors to select and meet with, and particulars that require scrupulous finalization — all of which can easily slip through the cracks if they’re not on a comprehensive, well-organized list. Hence, a few of my favorite to-do list tips:

Keep one comprehensive list. A good to-do list naturally grows as one gets deeper into planning an event and its various details, and sometimes a “task” comes to mind at the most inconvenient time (while you’re at the grocery store, in bed at 4 a.m., etc.). It’s easy to have a to-do list on your computer at work, a partial list in the notes app on your phone, and a few sticky notes haphazardly fixed to your home refrigerator. Insert opportunity to accidentally toss a sticky note, or lose the app’s information when your phone goes on the fritz — not pretty. I highly encourage ONE to-do list, kept electronically through Google Docs (you can update and access this anywhere, anytime) to ensure it’s safe and sound! Note: If you must jot a quick note on-the-go, be sure to upload it into your master list as soon as you get home or back to the office!

Organize your to-do list by categories. Making sense of such a grand list is of the utmost importance! Some of the categories I outline in my event planning worksheets are: venue, catering, entertainment, decor and printed items. With these as a foundation, it’s easy to index tasks, and keep an orderly and efficient checklist.

Assign each task a deadline, and stick to it! Looking at a list that’s pages long can be completely and utterly overwhelming — but don’t fear! In the planning process, there are things that need to be secured and completed far in advance of an event, there are tasks that can only be done the week of an event, and there are many that fall in-between the two, or have some flexibility. Define things on your to-do list by these three measures, and give yourself a good, old-fashioned “due date” for the completion of every task. Focusing each week or month on completing a defined fraction of items from a very large list (and keeping yourself accountable to set deadlines) can be a true sanity-saver.

Do you have any additional questions on to-do list best practices? Feel free to leave them as a comment here!

And…stay tuned for next week’s Logistical Detail #2: The Day-of Timeline.

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