wedding planning checklist

At Hospitality Event Hire, we’re passionate about all things event planning. A lot goes into planning an event, whether it’s a beautiful wedding or a large corporate function. It can be difficult to keep track of all the little details, from the colour of the colour of your napkins to the size of your dinner plates. Events are what we do, so we’ve put together this handy guide to keep you on track with all your event planning needs.

Set Your Event’s Purpose and Goals

All events are held for a reason, whether it’s to promote a brand, celebrate a birthday, or ‘just because’. So, why are you holding your event? It might seem like an obvious question, but it’s important not to lose sight of your overall goal as you dive deeper into the logistics. Cementing clear objectives at the start of the planning process will make it easier to hold a successful event.

  • What will success look like for your event? How will you measure it?
  • Who is your target audience, and what do they want?
  • Will the event have a theme?

Outline the Event’s Details

Before you can do anything, you’ll need to get some of the basic details of your event squared away. After all, you won’t be able to hire venues or vendors until you know when you’re planning to hold the event, and you won’t be able to invite guests until you know where! At this stage, you may only decide on rough locations and dates – this depends on your priorities. Would you be willing to move the event from a particular date in order to secure a specific venue or performer? 

  • When will the event take place?
  • Do you have any guests or performers who must be available to attend?
  • How long will the event last?
  • Where will it take place?
  • How many people are expected to attend?
  • Will there be a dress code?

Set Your Budget

Before you get carried away with your exciting ideas and the endless possibilities, you’ll need to figure out how much you’re planning to spend on the event. If it’s a corporate event, is there an annual budget for events which you’ll be dipping into? If so, how many other events will there be in the year? How much of the budget will go to this event? These questions, plus the considerations below, will help you decide where you’re able to save money and which things you need to prioritise. 

  • Are you receiving external funding for the event? 
  • Is it a ticketed event? If so, how much will tickets need to be to cover costs or make a profit?
  • Which part/s of the event do you anticipate to be the most expensive? 
  • Are there any non-negotiable costs you will have to cover? 
  • How will the rest of the budget be allocated? 

Research Potential Venues

Now you have a clear goal and budget in mind, as well as a rough location and date, you can start researching potential venues. If you have a set date when the event must be held, for example on a bank holiday or someone’s birthday, make sure your potential venues are available. You’ll also need to make sure the venue can handle your requirements – is there an area you can set up a kitchen or a stage?

  • Come up with a shortlist of ideal venues which fit the type of event and guest capacity requirements
  • Contact the venues to check pricing and availability
  • Find out what’s included with the venue, for example kitchen equipment or furniture, plus general access to electricity, plumbing and WiFi
  • Once you’ve picked a venue, negotiate the terms of the contract before signing

Research potential venues

Venue logistics

  • How will the venue be accessed by guests? Is there parking available or will you need to make other arrangements?
  • How will the venue be accessed by vendors or deliveries? 
  • Discuss instructions for guests with accessibility requirements
  • How big are the rooms you’ll be using? This will dictate the type of furniture you will need


Many events will have some sort of entertainment, whether it’s professional guest speakers at a conference or a DJ at a wedding anniversary. You might have a specific performer you’re intent on having, in which case, you’ll need to make sure you know when they’re available before you decide on dates or book the venue. Each performer will need clear instructions on what they’ll be doing, when and where, especially if there is more than one.

  • What sort of entertainment will your event involve? Will there be guest speakers, a DJ or a band? Consider your target audience and the event objectives
  • Provide performers or speakers with details and find out what they will need
  • Do you need to create a programme of events? 
  • Arrange accommodation or travel if needed
  • Discuss arrival, rehearsal, performance and departure timings



There won’t be an event without your guests, so once you have the basic details set in stone, it’s time to spread the word. How much notice you should give your guests depends on the type of event, the location, how long it lasts and what is expected from your guests.

  • How will you be inviting your guests? Will you be sending invitations or advertising the event to either the public or a specific group of people, for example a company?
  • Will guests need to confirm their attendance? If so, when?
  • Will guests need to tell you in advance about any accessibility or dietary requirements?


Staff and Crew

The staff and crew present on the day are the ones you will be relying on for a successful, efficiently-run event. Your team may include several smaller teams, depending on the size of your event, plus staff from your catering company or venue as well as your own. It’s important that everyone is well-coordinated, so make sure everyone knows who they’re reporting to, their individual responsibilities, and the event’s plan.

  • Consider your staffing requirements: will you need catering and waiting staff, bar staff, cleaning staff?
  • Does the venue have any in-house staff you will need?
  • Who will be running the event? Are there any tasks you may need to delegate, for example, greeting, checking in and directing guests?
  • How long will you be needing the staff for? For example, catering teams may need to arrive early at the event to begin setup and food preparation
  • Consider whether staff will require breaks and how this will be organised
  • Is there a dress code for staff?

Food and Drink

Most events will feature some sort of food offering, whether it’s a sit-down three course meal, a food truck or a buffet. If your event has a theme, this is the perfect opportunity to truly cement it. Think about how your guests will be eating – at tables, or whilst mingling – and plan the food accordingly. You may want to create a menu with several course choices, and don’t forget to include vegetarian or vegan options.

  • Will there be a sit-down meal or a buffet? How many courses will there be?
  • If your event has a theme, how can the food adhere to it?
  • Will alcohol be served at the event? Will it be a cash bar?
  • Confirm final catering numbers and dietary requirements
  • Consider how many staff members will need feeding, and when this will happen

Food and drink

Hiring Furniture for Your Event

Now you know who will be at your event, what they’ll be doing and how they’ll be eating, it’s time to think about furniture.

  • What does the venue already have available for you to use? What will you need to hire externally, and how long for?
  • Consider how the food will be served. Do you need dining tables and chairs?
  • Networking events might not need many tables, whereas a wedding may need different types of furniture for each part of the event, including the reception, dinner and even the ceremony.

Read more about hiring the right furniture for your wedding.

Hiring furniture for your event

Hiring Tables for Your Event

  • Consider the desired style, shape, size and amount of tables
  • Do you require tables which can easily be moved? 
  • How will this fit with your budget and the size of the venue?

Typical event table types include:

Hiring Chairs for Your Event

  • How many chairs will you need to accommodate all guests? Could you need extras?
  • Do the chairs need to be stackable or foldable?
  • Which style of chair do you need, in terms of comfort and theme?

Typical event chair types include:

Read more about choosing the best chairs for your event or wedding.

Hiring chairs for your event

Hiring Other Furniture for Your Event

Consider other pieces of furniture you may need to hire, such as:

Catering and Bar Equipment Hire

You’ve put a lot of hard work into designing the perfect menu, inviting your guests and kitting out the dining area, but all of that will go to waste if there’s no way to cook the food! Luckily, when it comes to catering events, you don’t need a traditional kitchen: you can hire virtually any piece of catering equipment you can think of. But before you dive headfirst into hiring paella pans and crepe machines, consider:

  • What equipment does the venue already have?
  • If you’re using a catering company, will they provide any equipment?
  • What equipment is needed for the dishes on your menu?
  • How many guests are you catering for? How much equipment will you need to get the food out on time? If you’re not sure, ask your catering company – or us!

Read more about hiring equipment for weddings.

Catering and bar equipment hire

Catering Equipment Hire

You may find your catering company is happy to provide their own equipment, or that your venue is already kitted out with the basics. Nevertheless, make sure you’re not caught out on the day by considering every piece of catering and kitchen equipment you may need to hire, which could include:

Bar Equipment Hire

Whether you’re having a cash bar or an open bar, your bartenders will need the correct equipment, including fridges to keep the drinks cool and dispensers to keep them flowing. 

Bar equipment you may need to hire includes:

Bar equipment hire

Linen Hire

Choosing the perfect linen to hire for your event can help coordinate your table settings with your theme, adding a beautiful finishing touch and making the entire event that much more 

luxurious. Types of linen you may need to hire for your event include:

There’s a lot to think about when choosing linen for events, so consider the following:

  • What shape and size are your tables? Are they all the same, or will you need different shapes and sizes of linen?
  • Do you want the tablecloths to drop to the floor, just cover the table, or somewhere in between?
  • Which colours of linen do you need? Do you want your linen to be all one colour, for both tablecloths and napkins? 

Linen Hire

Crockery Hire

Crockery is an essential component of any events centred around a meal, and has a huge impact on the overall look and style of the table setting. If you’re having more than one course, the types of crockery you’ll need and how to present it on the table can get more complex, so it helps to plan the setting for one guest and then duplicate it for the rest of your attendees. 

Crockery you may need to hire include:

Things to consider when choosing your crockery to hire:

  • Are you having a sit-down, plated meal, or a buffet?
  • How many people will you be serving, including guests and staff?
  • For buffets, you will need plenty of plates, bowls and dishes in case guests go up for seconds.
  • How many courses are you having?
  • What are you having as starters? Do you need soup bowls?
  • What about for the main course? Will you need pasta bowls or large dinner plates? Will everything be plated up, or will vegetables and sauces be brought to the table separately?
  • What kind of desserts are being served? Do you need plates or bowls?
  • How about teas and coffees? Will you serve these at the table, or will you create a separate coffee bar or station?

Crockery hire

Cutlery Hire

Unless your guests are going to eat with their fingers, cutlery is another essential for any 

events featuring meals. However, it’s not quite as simple as choosing some nice knives and forks: you need to think about the types of food you’ll be serving, and plan your cutlery order accordingly. Think fish knives, soup spoons and cake forks!

Cutlery you may need to hire includes:

  • Small knives and forks (for starters)
  • Large knives and forks (for main courses)
  • Soup spoons
  • Teaspoons
  • Butter knives
  • Fish knives and forks
  • Dessert spoons
  • Sorbet spoons
  • Cake forks
  • Cheese knives

Different types of events call for different cutlery designs. Are you looking for something to bring a touch of glamour to your event? How about something more simple and contemporary? Whatever style you choose, make sure you consider the following when hiring cutlery for your event:

  • How many people will you be serving, including guests and staff? We recommend hiring an extra 10% of your cutlery requirements to allow for missing cutlery or drops on the floor.
  • What types of cutlery does your menu call for?
  • How many courses will there be?

cutlery hire

Service Cutlery Hire

As well as cutlery for the table, you’ll need service cutlery to get the food from the kitchen to the table. Service cutlery you may need to hire includes:

Glassware Hire

Whether your guests are sipping on cocktails or cola, you’ll need some glassware: and not just any old cups will do. Glassware is an important part of any event and shouldn’t be overlooked, from champagne flutes to elegant water glasses.

Glassware you may need to hire includes: 

Here are a few things to consider when deciding what glassware you need for your event, and how much of it:

  • Are you having a bar as well as a meal? Don’t forget to hire enough glassware to fully stock the bar, with cocktail glasses, pint glasses, wine glasses and so on
  • Will you be offering guests drinks on arrival? If so, what will they be and what glasses will you need?
  • Will you be raising a toast with fresh glasses?
  • Will there be wine for the table? Red, white or rosé?
  • Consider which glasses you’ll include in the table setting, and which you’ll keep at the bar
  • What kind of cocktails will you be serving, if any?
  • Will you be having a drinks station?

Glassware hire

Health and Safety

Health and safety is a crucial element of any event, big or small, corporate or casual. When a number of people are gathering in one place there are things which can go wrong, and whilst we hope your event goes off without a hitch, it’s best to cover your bases and plan for a number of situations. 

  • Ensure you have the permits and licences you need to run your event, including ones pertaining to the serving of alcohol and food
  • Ensure adequate insurance cover is in place
  • For larger events, consider a lost child policy and overall security measures
  • Obtain the relevant risk assessments and insurance documents from any vendors or performers you may have
  • Carry out your own event risk assessment, identifying any specific risks and creating contingency plans
  • Ensure any electric equipment is PAT tested, safety checked and properly maintained

Wedding planning guide

Event planning is an exciting adventure requiring attention to detail, creativity, and great execution, from the initial planning to hiring your perfect venue and kitting it out with everything you need for a successful event. 

No matter the occasion, when you’re involved in planning an event, you need to work with a catering equipment rental company you can trust.

At Hospitality Event Hire, the satisfaction of our clients and the success of their events is our priority. We offer a huge range of catering equipment for hire in and around Wareham, Poole and Bournemouth, as well as Dorset’s neighbouring counties, Somerset, Wiltshire & Hampshire.

Why Choose Hospitality Event Hire?

We have 20+ years of experience: 

As experienced hoteliers, we know exactly what you need to make your event a success and will work with you to tailor everything to your requirements.

We’re a family-run business:

We love what we do, and supporting our clients to hold successful events is our bread and butter. Get in touch to discuss options if you’re not sure what you need!

We offer a diverse range of products:

Our vast catalogue of products includes many options for cutlery, crockery, glassware and linen for your event as well as top-quality furniture and kitchen equipment.

Plus a trustworthy delivery service:

We offer delivery of all our equipment as well as collection from our warehouse in Wareham, Dorset if you’d prefer.

And a maintenance guarantee:

All equipment is stored on our premises and deep cleaned prior to use. We take care of the maintenance of all items, allowing you to focus on your event.

Ready to Hire Catering Equipment and Furniture for Your Event?

Hospitality Event Hire provides a huge range of high-quality catering equipment, dining furniture, crockery, glassware, linen and cutlery for any event. Browse our range of products at Hospitality Event Hire today, or get in touch with us to discuss your event and needs.

How can we help?

Start building your quote today or get in touch if you have any questions about our extensive range of glassware,
furniture, catering equipment and much more.