The 48-Hour Countdown: What to Do Right Before Event Day

The final days before event day are the most hectic. You have a thousand things to do, people to coordinate, and a budget to recheck. Not mention your nerves!

The two days before you host your event are your opportunity to organize last-minute details and get you, your team, the venue, and your vendors in order. To make your experience a little easier, here are some important things to do before event day.

The days before your event are your opportunity to organize last-minute details and get you and your team in order. Click To Tweet
Free download: Pre-Event Checklist (Event Day + Days Before)

Send Reminders to Your Email List

First, send an email to everyone who has registered or RSVP’d for the event. Give them any important information they need to get to your event (like directions, parking information, a bus map, etc.) and anything they need to get the most value out of the event (like an itinerary, map of the convention hall, etc.). Give them whatever they need, even if you already sent it previously. If you use a custom event app, make sure to push a notification to your users as well.

Second, email people who haven’t registered yet but still could. Communicate the benefits of attending your event, tell them the pertinent details (like who’s speaking or performing), and explain how they can register. This is your final push to grow your attendance, so take it seriously.

Finally, email any key people on your team who need specialized information. This might be your vendors, high profile guests, speakers, donors, influencers, volunteers, staff, etc. Send them a reminder email (in case they forgot about you) along with any details they need to show up on time and prepared for your event.

Confirm with the Media

If you expect any media attendance at your event, call or email them before the event. Ask if they need anything before the event starts and if they’d like to schedule a short meeting with you (your time permitting).

Visit the Event Space

Before event day

You may have visited (or worked out of) the event space several times in the weeks before the event, but it’s still important to visit the space the night before. A competent venue will set up what they can the day before – at least the night before – so there aren’t any unexpected surprises.

First, make sure the venue followed your instructions. Did they place your decor and signage where you intended? Did they set up your tables, chairs, and technology in the right places?

Next, walk through the event like your attendees will. Are there any places where they might get lost? Is anything confusing? Are any important amenities and rooms hidden away? This is also a good time to consider how foot traffic will flow and ensure your lighting is adequate.

Establish a Command Center

If your event venue is a big place, it helps to set yourself up in a place where people can find you throughout the day(s). This is where you should keep all your important documents and any information you can’t keep in your head.

You’ll also want to stock this location with extra print materials (maps, agendas, etc.), first aid supplies, repair tools (if you don’t have onsite maintenance), supplies (like power cords, tape, pens, etc.), and your phone and laptop.

If you’re hosting a big event with thousands of people across many rooms, your team will struggle to find you if you decide to take a walk around the event. Use walkie-talkies to communicate so they can notify you if there’s a problem.

Check the Weather Report

Whether your event is inside or outside, it’s important to review the day’s weather report. Hopefully you’ve been checking the weather over the course of the week, but it’s good to have up-to-date information as well.

If the weather turns unpleasant, you may have to make alternative plans. For instance, in the event of rain, you might have to move a portion of your event inside. In the event of snow you may have to send better driving instructions to your attendees.

Meet with Your Team

Before event day

If you have hired staff or arranged for volunteer help for your event, it’s critical that you meet with them before your guests begin to appear. Everyone should be on the same page about their role and responsibilities.

This is especially important if you have staff performing complex tasks, like facilitating with the caterers, verifying registration, or handling money. Provide any last-minute coaching they need to do their jobs well.

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to make sure everyone has a job to do. Ideally, it’s best to pair helpers with a single task, rather than having multiple people perform multiple tasks. For instance, instead of having three people each check IDs, hand out materials, and stamp hands, have one person check every ID, one person hand out materials, and one person stamp every hand. This creates a much smoother flow.

Confirm with Your Vendors

Call any vendors who will provide onsite services for your event. Make sure they’re still planning to show. Sometimes reservations are forgotten, so this is an important step. This might include caterers, photographers, videographers, AV technicians, florists, security, maintenance staff, etc.

When you’re on the phone with your vendors, briefly run through your agreement so you’re both on the same page regarding the services they’re supposed to provide. This is just a helpful reminder so they bring all the people and tools they need to fulfill their end of the bargain.

Check Your Deliveries

If you expect any deliveries from vendors the night before or the day of the event, double check that they have arrived and they’re in the right places. This might include produce and meat for the caterers, flowers from the florist, or print materials from the printer.

If you’re giving out gift bags or party favors, make sure they’re packaged properly and waiting in the right spot. If you have different kinds of gift bags for different groups of people (like one for donors, one for volunteers, or different registration tiers), make sure you’ve clearly marked which are which so they don’t go out to the wrong people.

Create an Equipment Checklist

Create a comprehensive checklist of all the things you’ll need to bring to the venue. Mentally consider every facet of your event – registration, food, decor, signage, technology, print materials, people, etc. – to identify what you need to bring. Err on the side of caution by assuming worst-case scenarios.

Next, collect everything in one location the day before you take it to the venue. It helps to put it all in one spot before you give it one final check and load it into your car, truck, or van.

Check Your Technology

Before event day

Technology failures are some of the most common event planning mistakes. Even if you manage to bring everything you need to put on a good show, there’s always a chance something doesn’t work as expected.

Go through each component. Make sure every device powers on and that you have all the necessary accessories. If you use any software tools, make sure they’re updated and functioning well. Charge batteries and make sure everything has its charging cord.

Take a Little Time to Relax Before Event Day

If you worked day and night to make the event perfect, you might be a little burned out. So it’s important to take a little time for yourself before the big event. If you’re stressed on event day, you’ll be liable to make mistakes or treat your team or guests poorly.

Relaxing is simple: Get plenty of sleep, drink a lot of water, and focus your mind on non-work activities other than event planning. Oh, and spend some time off your feet.

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything in order for your event.

Good Luck!

Successful events are well-planned events. As the organizer, it’s your job to plan and track every detail, no matter how small. If you reserve the two days before your event to check and double check that everything’s ready, your event will run smoothly and your guests will enjoy an engaging and pleasant experience.

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