H2PYE: Itineraries- The Event Planners’ Event Bible.

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H2PYE: Itineraries- The Event Planners’ Event Bible.

How to Plan Your Event: Itineraries- The Event Planners’ Event Bible and how you can tell your event story through them.

Have you ever noticed the clipboard that event planners have a tendency to carry during events? Have you ever wondered what was so important on that clipboard that the event planner seemed to be guarding it with their life? It’s the itinerary. In the events business, the itinerary is a bible for how the event is supposed to go. Of course as an event planner, we have to have an itinerary that is so detailed it seems to predict the future. Personally, I’ve created and managed itineraries that could be the length of a small novel. You don’t have to be as precise in your itinerary but itineraries are a perfect way to understand how the flow of the event is supposed to go. Plus, it helps the person you get or hire to help you understand what needs to happen when.


Two types of itineraries you can create are the storyline itinerary or the chronological itinerary.

The storyline itinerary

You remember when you were in elementary school and you had to learn how to write stories? The teacher told you to ensure that your story had a beginning, middle, and end to keep the reader intrigued and for the story to make sense. You can take those same principles to create your itinerary…especially if you aren’t controlled by chronological organization.

Break your event down into three parts: Beginning, Middle, and End

The Beginning.

Your beginning should include the arrival times for your vendors, set-up time, cook time and food prep, as well as décor and floral prep. Your beginning is typically the day before and up to two hours prior to your event. This is the time to do last minute preparations in order to ensure your event runs smoothly. This is the time to get out your last bit of jitters and go with the flow. What hasn’t been done up to this point, won’t matter because the show will go on!

The Middle.

The middle should include your guests’ arrival time, when you want to put out the drinks, appetizers, dinner, and dessert. It should also include when you want to introduce your party games and icebreakers, when speakers and entertainment is supposed to start, and where everyone needs to be…ie volunteers, vendors, servers, VIPs. This is the time to just sit back and let go. The event has started and there isn’t any more preparations you can do. Now is the time to allow the event to happen and for your to enjoy it…as best as you can.

The End.

After the event has ended and your final guests are leaving, your itinerary should include event end time and discuss what takes place directly after the event has ended. Essentially, the end should express when everything has to be returned, cleaned, and closed. It should also include things that need to be done from the following day to the following week after the event is over. Things that may be considered a week after the event could include deposits and thank you notes to your vendors.

Chronological itinerary.

If the storyline is the bare bones version of your itinerary, then chronological is the muscle. It fills out the itinerary and gives it definition. Typically, this is the version that most event planners and PR specialists carry because it further breaks down everything that should, could, and would happen at an event. It doesn’t just break down the beginning, middle, and end, but it targets what happens by the house and sometimes by the minute in multiple locations.

Itineraries help your event flow better because it forces you to organize the events within the event. I like to look at itineraries as an extensive to do list…more like a will do list. Once an event happens on the itinerary, I like to check it off and move on to the next. Maybe it’s the event planner in me but I am able to relax and enjoy the accomplishment of putting the event together because of the itinerary.

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  • […] Go over the itinerary- do this three times, get yourself well versed in how the event is supposed to flow. It will help to calm any anxiety you have about things being disorganized […]

  • […] yourself enough planning time to ensure you could do everything you wanted to do. You created an itinerary and made sure to do all the last minute things necessary to make your event successful. You now […]

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