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Before you set a date for your private event, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll need to book for the affair. Often, you’ll have to book certain items before or after others, so it helps to have a list or a timeline of people or items you’ll need to book for the event. If you need help, you might want to hire a party planner for certain parts of the event planning. They can create the list or timelines or plan the entire event.

1. Venue
One of the first items on your planning list should be your venue. If you hire the entertainment or caterer before booking the venue, there could be a problem with scheduling. When you hire a caterer or other professional for your private event, you could end up losing a deposit when switching the day. Choose the venue first, and make sure you put down a deposit to lock the venue for your event day.

2. Hire a Caterer
Once the date is locked down, you need to contact caterers and start getting estimates and interviewing. Make sure they are a company that can handle the amount of guests you’ll have at the event, and that they’ll have all the items you’ll need for the space. Some caterers bring their own waitstaff while others have enough tables and chairs for your event.

3. Entertainment
Whether you’re throwing a bachelor party, a wedding or a corporate function, you’ll need to consider your entertainment needs. This should be done months before the event, so that the entertainer you choose is available. For corporate events, you can book a comedian who specializes in workplace humor. A singer or band would be perfect for a bachelor party or wedding.

4. Speakers
For a corporate event or conference, you’ll need to think about the person you’ll want to speak during the event. Whether it’s a motivational or informational speaker, it makes sense to book them early to be sure their calendar isn’t already filled with obligations. Before starting the process, be sure to have more than one choice in case the first choice is busy.

5. Transportation
If there’s a person you’re focusing on for the event like in the case of a wedding or birthday party, you should think about the type of transportation you want for the person of honor. In most cases, they’ll feel like a star if they’re picked up and brought to the venue in a limousine. You’ll need to book the limo weeks in advance.