by Sarah J.F. Braley | February 01, 2008

The following checklist was compiled with the help of Nicole Marsh, CMP, DMCP, owner and president of The Arrangers, a Denver-based destination management and event planning company (

Choosing the Space

  • What is the venue’s “hold” policy? Many outdoor spaces, such as parks, are government-owned and will not reserve the space without a deposit.
  • What else is going on in the area during the time of your event? Are any public gatherings (festivals, concerts, etc.) scheduled concurrently that would increase traffic or cause parking problems?
  • Are there enough rest rooms? Will you need portable units for the event? Will the general public have access to the same facilities your attendees will be using?
  • Is there any scheduled construction at or around the facility that could affect the logistics or aesthetics of your event?
  • Are catering facilities available? If not, will you need access for catering trucks or tents for catering to set up?
  • Does the venue have a liquor permit? If so, what does it cover? In some cases two separate policies and requirements might cover your event space. If you need to file for permits, do so several months in advance.
  • Is running water available? What are the rules/permits regarding using the water?
  • Does the venue have adequate parking for attendees?
  • Will you need security, or is it required by the venue? Some events take longer to set up and strike, requiring overnight security. You also might need off-duty police to secure the event area if the public is able to enter easily.
  • Do you need to have an EMT on standby at the event?
  • Prepare for Downpours

  • Will your event happen rain or shine? If yes, have ponchos available for guests in case of rain.
  • Do you have a backup venue and/or event insurance?
  • Depending on the time of year and your location, will you need heaters or tents? If the event is on a hot summer day, consider having misters and sunscreen available.
  • The Look

  • What is the venue’s floor surface? You might need to consider placing a sub-floor or be prepared to spend extra time stabilizing tables and chairs if the floor is uneven.
  • What can you rent from the venue? Are there delivery and setup fees to bring tables and chairs to your event area? Does the facility have a preferred rental company for these supplies?
  • Consider how weather will affect decor: Florals do not last long in direct sunlight or heat, and helium balloons deflate in extreme heat or cold.
  • In a windy area, do not use high-profile decorations, and be sure to secure all linens.
  • Are you able to use stakes for tents or inflatables on the site? You might need water barrels or cement weights on certain grass or parking surfaces.
  • Technical Considerations

  • Do you need to amplify your sound so all attendees can hear announcements and entertainment? Does a noise ordinance apply at the venue? Be sure you and your client are aware of how noise restrictions might affect the event.
  • Is there adequate power available for your needs, or do you need to rent a generator?
  • What does the existing lighting cover after dark, and will you need to supplement it?
  • After the Fact

  • Have a cleanup plan. Be sure to provide an adequate number of trash cans, dumpsters and recycling bins. You might need to pay to clean the area both before and after your event.
  • Notes: