How to Plan an Event: 10 Event Planning Stages


When it comes to hosting, there are a few key event planning stages to navigate.

Here, partnering with an experienced event planner is a great way to get the best rates without hassle. No matter the event – whether you’re already set on the details and seeking a venue for your corporate event or are only at the start of your planning journey – the team at Absolute Venues is here to help.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the stages that you should factor in to get the best out of the booking.

10 Essential Event Planning Stages

The stages of event planning you ought to follow can largely depend on the nature of the event itself.

However, with over 20 years of successful venue finding under our belts, we know that many of our clients should consider the following tried-and-trusted template for organising a business event.

1. Outline the Budget

A lot of money changes hands in the UK business events industry, which is set to be worth £27.6bn by 2026. That would be a 43% increase on the £19.4bn spending the sector is estimated to have garnered in 2019. 

In practice, though, how much do corporate events cost? The total you can expect to pay will, of course, be influenced by various factors, such as:

  • Venue
  • Location 
  • Time
  • Duration 

2. Set a Capacity Limit

We recommend this as the second stage in your event planning process — as, the higher the number of attendees at the event, the more you will need to spend on every aspect of it.

So, going overboard with the guest list could put too much strain on the budget you have already decided on. 

Having a specific capacity limit can also make it easier for you to source overnight accommodation – another task we can assist you with at no financial charge.

3. Determine the Event’s Purpose

This is one of the most important event planning stages, as it will inevitably influence everything else that follows.

Why do you want to hold this event in the first place? What do you hope to achieve with it? With the answers to those questions at close hand, you can establish clear performance indicators for success metrics tracking.

4. Define the Event’s Intended Audience

It is important to identify your company’s target audience, even if you are only planning an event for a small subset of it.

It would be financially wasteful to design an event for an audience larger than what it really needs. However, small companies can also risk being overly cautious with their guest list management.

5. Decide on a Format

Whatever format you do choose, have fun with it – as, otherwise, the event’s attendees might not.

For example, a product launch can be livened up with live music. The interactive format of business seminars would make Q&As ideal, so why not reach out to respected industry figures in advance?

No matter the format, you should have conversations about making the event your own – how will it differ from similar occasions held by your competitors or even your past self?

6. Assemble a Team

Don’t underestimate how many turning cogs the event management process actually Involves. The professionals you may need to liaise with – or even hire – for the running of your corporate event could include:

  • Project manager or lead 
  • Event organiser
  • Creative concept designer 
  • Floor staff
  • Running order manager
  • Marketing and communications manager 

How can you determine the right size for your event production team? The event’s scope and scale will be factors, as will the exact roles and duties that need fulfilling.

7. Choose a Date and Venue

If you can afford some flexibility with the date, you could widen the range of appealing venues you would be able to choose from.

What you class as ‘appealing’ in a venue can depend on the precise event you are envisioning.

Here at Absolute Venues, we have a database of venues across vibrant UK cities as London, Edinburgh and Leeds as well as other destinations in Europe and even further afield worldwide.

8. Choose the Right External Suppliers

Once you have the event’s venue and date nailed down, you can go about vendor sourcing. As part of the event planning process, you may need to approach:

  • Caterers
  • Venue stylers
  • Staging and lighting specialists 
  • Entertainers 
  • Guest speakers

Those are just examples. We have close ties with many vendors, enabling us to find event suppliers who match your brief and budget.

9. Plan Event Marketing

You can’t expect many members of your target audience to attend your event if they aren’t made aware that it is happening.

The marketing aspect might be one of the most underrated event planning stages, but you could consider any of these promotional strategies: 

  • Sending out emails 
  • Social media marketing 
  • Billboard advertising 
  • Posting event listings in newspapers

Aim to drum up excitement about the event, not only in the build-up to it but also while it’s in session to keep engagement charged, e.g. if it happens to be a multi-day conference.

10. Make Last-Minute Checks

Your event plan should leave time for you to check – on the big day but before the event itself gets underway – that all members of your event management team know their responsibilities as well as what to do should things go wrong.

In the early stages of event planning? Try our FREE venue tracker 

Our pre-event planning specialists will help you every step of the way. Using our venue-finding tool, which is 100% free to use, we will present you with a list of venues to match your budget and brief. 

Thanks to our network, we get our clients exclusive rates at some of the UK’s top locations (we also do events abroad should you want to go further afield).

Please get in touch with us – by calling +44 (0)161 929 4948 or emailing [email protected] – to learn more about how we can help you plan your next event.