Effective event planning is all about timing. From securing venues to sending out invitations, each step needs careful consideration to ensure your event runs smoothly. Whether you’re organising a small workshop, an exhibition or a large-scale conference, follow this ultimate event planning timeline guide to keep your preparations on track and stress-free.

12 Months Before the Event:

  • Define Your Goals and Objectives: Start by clarifying what you want to achieve with your event. This will guide every decision you make moving forward.
  • Establish a Budget: Set a realistic budget that includes all potential expenses to avoid any financial surprises.
  • Choose a Date and Venue: Select a date and secure a venue early to ensure availability and negotiate the best rates.

9 Months Before the Event: 

  • Book Key Suppliers: This is where we get involved in the event preparation. smith+jakes specialises in building high-quality sets and interiors, managing electrical installations, and more. We boast a diverse pool of exceptional talent, including carpenters, sculptors, graphics installers, and scenic painters. Additionally, this is the time to secure other essential services such as catering, decorating, and technology solutions. Booking early often results in more favourable rates.
  • Develop an Event Brand or Theme: Create a cohesive theme that aligns with your goals and appeals to your target audience.

6 Months Before the Event:

  • Launch Marketing Campaigns: Begin promoting your event through social media, email newsletters, and other marketing channels.
  • Open Registration: Make it easy for attendees to register through an online platform and keep track of your guest list.
  • Plan Logistics: Detail every aspect of the event schedule, from guest arrival to the end of the event. Include contingency plans for unexpected issues.

3 Months Before the Event:

  • Finalise Details with Suppliers: Confirm all arrangements with your vendors and suppliers to ensure they meet your expectations.
  • Update Marketing Materials: Adjust your marketing strategies based on the response you’ve received and push for more registrations if needed.

1 Month Before the Event:

  • Send Reminders: Remind attendees about the event details to ensure they have all the necessary information.
  • Prepare Event Materials: From badges to handouts, make sure all physical materials are ready.
  • Final Walk-through: Visit the venue with your team to walk through the entire event schedule and setup.

1 Week Before the Event:

  • Confirm Staff and Volunteer Roles: Ensure everyone knows their responsibilities and the event schedule.
  • Prepare a Backup Plan: Finalise details of your contingency plan in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Rest and Prepare Mentally: Ensure you and your team are well-rested and prepared for the big day.

Day of the Event:

  • Set Up Early: Arrive at the venue early to oversee the setup and make any last-minute adjustments.
  • Hold a Briefing: Gather your team and volunteers for a final briefing, ensuring everyone is aligned and ready.
  • Enjoy the Event: Once the event starts, monitor all activities to ensure they run smoothly, but also take the time to enjoy the fruit of your hard work.


  • Gather Feedback: Collect feedback from attendees and staff to learn what worked and what didn’t.
  • Thank Participants and Suppliers: Send thank-you notes to everyone involved, including attendees, speakers, sponsors, and vendors.
  • Review Final Budget and Outcomes: Analyse if you met your event objectives and stayed within budget. This will provide valuable insights for future events.

Planning an event is a complex but rewarding process. By following this comprehensive event planning timeline, you can manage your tasks efficiently and create an experience that resonates with your audience. 

Remember, successful event planning is all about meticulous preparation and flexibility. 

At smith+jakes, we excel in creating and installing custom set builds, exhibition stands, interiors, furniture, and displays. Whether it’s a bespoke bar for a pop-up event, an intricately designed exhibition stand that captures attention, or unique setups for everything from photo shoots to weddings, our diverse team is equipped to deliver exceptional quality across the UK and beyond. 

Interested in making your next event unforgettable? Get in touch with us to explore how our unique designs and builds can enhance your vision.