Event Items Must-haves

15 Must-Have Items Every Planner Should Bring to an Event

When you’re on site for an event, you never know what might happen, because despite months and months of meetings, plans and timelines, some unknown thing will inevitably pop up that you didn’t even dream you needed to prepare for. But could you have? 

We’ve all learned to jump over the hurdles and land on our feet (while looking flawless we might add) but over the years of producing event after event, we’ve also learned some of the obvious, and not so obvious essentials to keep in your event box at all times. It doesn’t have to be a large box; just a simple 12-gallon storage crate will do.

Here’s our list of what to always have on hand in case of an event emergency.

The Obvious Items:  

The first thing to pack is all of your essential and “backup” items. For example:

  1. Extra pens, scissors, and paper.
  2. All different kinds of tape (clear, duct, painter’s, electric).
  3. Batteries (of all kinds)
  4. Clipboards
  5. Walkie Talkies
  6. Labels
  7. Thumb drives
  8. Chargers
  9. Emergency Kit
  10. Mini Sewing Kit

You know, the basics! These are the items that someone will always need, whether it’s to tape down a tablecloth on a particularly windy day, or to print out last minute name tags for the guests who failed to RSVP. Having these items around will always be a lifesaver making you look like a seasoned pro.

Event Planning Must-Haves Extension Cord

The “Huh?” Items:

Trust us. From experience, we can easily say that having these items around could come in handy in a pinch.

1. Extension Cord

Depending on the venue, whether you’re inside or outside, it never hurts to have your own extension cord. There have been times where venues wanted to charge our team or our client for the usage of extra extension cords, or they simply didn’t have enough themselves. Having your own will mitigate both problems. Just be sure to tape your name around the end closest to the plug so it doesn’t get packed away with someone else’s things.

2. Mini Tool Box

Can we fix it? Yes, we can! When you’re running around minutes before an event starts, someone might knock something over. Take our word for it, it happens. And it’s no one’s fault. But when maintenance is hard to get ahold of, it’s great to have a mini tool box with hammers, screwdrivers, zip ties, nails, etc. available to make a quick fix.

3. Bluetooth Stereo System

A staple in our event box at Elevate My Brand, a Bluetooth speaker is something that we cart around mainly to entertain ourselves and our vendors as we set up. However, there has come a time where we’ve had to put it to larger use when technical difficulties arose. Just set up a Spotify playlist to set the mood of your event, pair with your phone, and boom, problem solved. And no one even needs to know…

4. Folding Dolly

Hauling boxes of goods around can get physically exhausting, especially if you’re in a large venue. And while most venues have dollies or carts available, you never know when you’ll need an extra, which is why we recommend having one of your own available. Our team personally recommends and uses this little number right here that easily folds up to fit in small spaces in your office.

5. An Extra Dressy Outfit  

No, this is not so you have options to look at in front of the mirror, or to choose which is most flattering that day. This is an item I recommend having nearby from experience. Let me share two stories with you:

A few years ago we produced a gala event for over 1,000 people, including doctors, local dignitaries, C-suite level executives: a black tie affair. Thankfully we set our team’s dress time a few hours before the event, as when my event coordinator went into the bathroom, her dress’s zipper decided it was the appropriate time to get stuck. As another employee cut her out of my dress (thank goodness for heavy duty scissors!), another member of the team handed her an extra dress which thankfully fit. Problem avoided.

During a recent gala, our team was producing a nonprofit fundraiser at a very high-end establishment. We’re talking no jeans, no tie, no entrance. As we were getting close to call times, a member of the band showed up at the front door in very nice jeans, but jeans no less. Despite begging and pleading, the staff at the front door were instructed to not let him in according to their dress code. In came my team member’s extra pair of dress pants to the rescue! We had him at sound check in no time.

Take it from us, it never hurts to be over-prepared. Join Social Tables and Elevate My Brand on twitter and share a story about you used one of these items to save an event.


Laurel Mintz
Laurel Mintz works with prestigious restaurateurs and global brands including Public House, Bassett, iCoffee and Susan G. Komen. She founded Elevate My Brand, a marketing agency, in 2009, sits on the boards of directors for the American Heart Association and the Fender Music Foundation, and is a mentor for The Women’s Global Leaders Initiative. She hosts her own radio show through Business Rockstars, which is broadcast to millions and was recently picked up by KDOC, where she has interviewed top female CEOs from the founders of DryBar to the executives of American Apparel. Laurel also runs an exclusive networking group, “The Taste Salon.” Her published work can be found in Entrepreneur, USA Today, The American Marketing Association and C-Suite Quarterly Magazine, as well as a regular column appropriately entitled “On Brand” for Inc. Laurel received her B.A. from UCSB and J.D., M.B.A. from Rutgers University.