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Tips Tuesday: 45 Event Planning Questions for Clients

Ready for your next event planning consultation? We have you covered with helpful event planning questionnaire examples that will ensure you and your client are a great fit. Here are all the event planning questions you’ll want to have handy at your next corporate event or wedding planning kickoff meeting.

How to create an event planning questionnaire

There are lots of ways to create probing questions for events. But any great event planning questionnaire will include all three of the following elements:

  1. Comprehensiveness. Put everything you can possibly think to ask on your list. Our suggestions below cover most event types but you might want to tweak or add some as you go along.
  2. Specificity. For example, if your business only offers wedding planning, don’t worry about questions about registration and event marketing.
  3. Intuition. Trust your gut. You’ve already spoken to this client before scheduling the meeting so you may want to add questions specific to them that aren’t listed anywhere else.

We broke the questions down into four sections:

  1. The Basics
  2. Event Overview Questions
  3. Who is involved in the event?
  4. Final Event Details

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The best event planning questions to ask corporate and wedding clients

1. Ask event clients the basics

These questions help you and your clients set up expectations and get a feel for where you’re both coming from.

  1. Have you worked with an event planner before? If so, what did you like and/or dislike about the experience? Get a feel for what you can do to provide the best possible service for them this time around.
  2. When you picture working with an event planner, what do you imagine that experience to be like? This is especially important if your clients have never worked with an event planner before. They might be expecting you to do things you don’t even offer!
  3. What event planning services are you looking for? Be honest about what you currently offer or if you have alternative options available (like a list of specialists you can recommend or more flexible pricing for partial event planning rather than full).
  4. How did you hear about us? Most small businesses survey their customers with this question because it’s important to gauge both how they know about you and what they may or may not already know about your business. For example, are they a referral from another event? If so, they already have a feel for your style. Did they find you online? Then they’ve probably reviewed all the facts and figures on your website, so now it’s time to wow them with your personality.  
  5. Why did you choose to do a consultation with me? Did they like your pricing, portfolio, or referrals? Put a star next to this answer and make sure you deliver on it once you officially get to work.

2. Get an overview of the event

The big picture of what info the clients have already decided on and what they still need help with.

  1. What type of event are you planning? Event marketing statistics say corporate events are the second most popular category, following closely behind weddings.
  2. When and where would you like the event to be held? If they don’t have any specifics in mind, make sure to nail down a year, season, and potential month before scoping out venue options. And have a few dates in mind, just in case your venue is booked up.
  3. How long would you like the event to run? Will this event be limited to an hour or will it be held over multiple days? Combine this info with your project event date(s) to give your client a rough event timeline.
  4. Why are you planning this event? Experts say while revenue might be a motivating factor, you should also consider what you’d like your attendees to get out of the experience.
  5. What is your total budget or your budget per person? There are plenty of ways to dazzle your attendees, regardless of how much you can spend. Here are some budget-friendly ideas to get you started.
  6. What is your main goal for this event? Defining your event goals is an important step, even for small, casual events like birthday or graduation parties.
  7. How do you plan to measure that goal? Event software, gross profit, and social media engagement are all good tools for measuring event success.
  8. What are your top event must haves? Your client probably has some ideas already in mind and now is the time to get it out of them.
  9. What are your top event must NOT haves? As an event planner, you’ll work with people of all personality types, some of whom find will have trouble clearly explaining their event concept but can quickly run down their event deal breakers.
  10. What do you think makes your event stand out from the rest? Little things like free wifi or comfortable seating can make a world of difference to attendees who have been to similar events in the past.
  11. What are the three most important elements of this event? When you hear this answer, do a gut check – does their current budget accommodate any big ticket items listed? If not, be honest with them now so there are no surprises down the road.
  12. Do you have any concerns or potential challenges in mind for this event? Explore their fears and share any relevant anecdotes about how you’ve personally seen or successfully handled situations like these.
  13. Do you have any theme inspiration photos or Pinterest boards going? Visual aids are your best friend during this process. They might even have some throughlines in design or location that could inform the rest of your decision making.
  14. Have you chosen any colors for your theme? Whether or not you’re planning a wedding, you can always take some inspiration from their color palettes.
  15. What atmosphere or tone would you like to set? Music, lighting, and the chosen event venue will largely be responsible for creating the mood.
  16. How would you personally like to feel at your event? There might be ways you can creatively go above and beyond to make sure your client is happy with the event itself while actually enjoying it too.
  17. Have you been to other events similar to this one that you loved or hated? What about them did you love or hate and why? Most people can recall the best wedding, graduation party, and conference they’ve ever been to. This question will ultimately help you gauge their tastes and find out what to prioritize as far as spending goes.
  18. Are you open to alternative suggestions or ideas as they come up? Some clients come in with every last detail planned out and are just looking for help with execution while others are totally lost. Find out who you’re dealing with and provide help accordingly.
  19. Do you plan to purchase event insurance? If so, hand them this list of great event insurance options if they don’t have already have some in mind.
  20. What is your preferred method of communication? And what are the best hours or time of day to reach you for event related correspondence? Get this out of the way now so that if you need to follow up afterwards you already know how to reach them.

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3. Learn who is involved in the event

Everything attendee related you’ll need to know to get started.

  1. How many people are you planning to invite? Once you have that number nailed down, there are ways to estimate how many guests will actually show up.
  2. For corporate events: Who is your target audience? Get all relevant customer data and schedule a time to sit with their marketing or sales team to get a better idea of who this event will appeal to.
  3. For private events: Can you tell me more about who will be in attendance? Will this be an older or younger crowd? Will they be expecting a certain type of food or traditional activities at the event? The more you know about them, the better!
  4. Is the event a celebration of someone, something, or a group of people? If so, you can use this info to brainstorm creative ways to highlight them in a way they’ll actually appreciate.
  5. Do any of your guests have personal challenges the event will need to accommodate (disability access, death in the family, etc.)? These are not the kind of surprises you want popping up on the day so get it all out in the open now.
  6. Will there be a guest of honor? Memorable milestone events like birthdays will always have at least one!
  7. Does the guest of honor(s) have any likes or dislikes I need to be aware of? Some people cringe at the thought of being the center of attention, something you may want to be aware of before calling them out to bust a birthday move in the middle of the dancefloor.
  8. How do you plan to invite people? Online invitations are great for any budget and save paper too. They might also want to consider setting up an event registration website, sharing social media event pages, and buying some hard copy mailers.
  9. Will you charge for event tickets or require any advanced registration? This should align with their previously stated event goals.
  10. Roughly what percentage of guests will be traveling from out of town? For example, if you’re hosting a destination wedding you can expect 50% of your guestlist to make it out.
  11. Do you plan to help traveling attendees book accommodation, rental vehicles, or flights? Reserve this for VIP guests or, if they don’t have the bandwidth for travel funds or scheduling, consider giving them welcome baskets in their hotel rooms or providing rideshare discounts coupons to help them get around town. A little appreciation for their time spent on the road goes a long way.

4. Lock down final event details

The rest of the nitty gritty details you’ll need to ensure the event is a success.

  1. Do you need any help marketing your event or getting the word out? If you’re not able to provide this service, try to team up with freelance marketers who do so you can refer business to each other.
  2. Will your event need sponsors? If so, you can share the good news: global sponsorship spending is expected to increase another $2 billion per year on average, so there are lots of opportunities for funding their event this year.
  3. What types of vendors do you think you’ll need for the event? From caterers to valet to set up crews, make sure you educate your client on what’s out there and which are a must have for their unique event to be a success.
  4. Are you interested in hiring event staff? If not, make sure they have some reliable volunteers in mind and ask whether or not they’d be willing to meet with you or someone else a day or two before the event to go over their responsibilities.
  5. Do you intend to have a host, live entertainment, speakers, or other presenters? If so, who? Make sure the venue they’ve chosen has space for whatever they’re planning as well.
  6. What food options would you like to offer guests? From business lunch events to conference food and beverage menus, the right treats can make or break events lasting longer than three hours.
  7. Will you also supply beverages (alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic)? If alcohol is involved, you’ll need to double check if the chosen event venue allows it or has any other specific restrictions. You’ll also want to make note of how you’ll handle any guests under the legal drinking age.
  8. Would you prefer to work with a venue caterer, a caterer of your choosing, or do you plan to supply catering yourself? Some venues require you to use their kitchen or staff so look into this ahead of time too.
  9. What transportation options would you like to offer your attendees going to and from the venue? And if you’re planning to create an event website, provide information on the nearest airport, what taxes or rideshares are available, and any area specific terrain to consider (like snow tires).

Now make your custom client questionnaire!

And there you have it – probing questions for events that anyone from corporate to wedding planners can use during their initial client questionnaire. For more ways to prepare your expert toolkit, remember to grab your event planning checklist and get your event venue site visit guide ready to go now so you’ll come off as even more professional as you continue to build your business.

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist