Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP

Certified Special Events Professional

Event Management Authority

Like angels and elephants dancing on the head of a pin, our dreams and responsibilities may have no limits, but must be balanced according to the music of the moment.










1 January 2008


Precedence is a concept that ensures first things are put first by defining what precedes something else in regard to time, priority, position, or rank. It specifies in what order things, people, or tasks need to be. It is applicable to many aspects of event management including protocol, project management and needs assessments.


Order of Precedence, an aspect of protocol, specifies the order in which such things as entrances, introductions, and positioning should take place based on diplomatic, hereditary, political, social, historical, or other hierarchical status. This would be applicable for anything from government banquets to parades to wedding receptions, and could encompass, among other things, seating plans, the placement of flags, the sequence of speakers on an agenda, or the order in which teams enter a stadium. (See also Cultural Differences)


Precedence Order, a facet of project management, specifies the order in which tasks should be started and completed based on dependencies and logistics. Simply put, some tasks or activities rely on other things having already been done. For example, positioning the tables for a banquet needs to occur before focusing the pin spot lights on where the centerpiece will be placed on each table, however, lighting equipment must typically be rigged into the ceiling before the tables can be positioned. Precedence order will be applicable throughout the event project from planning and implementation through the move-in, installation, dismantling, and move-out at the event.


Priority, a form of precedence, is a decision-making tactic that establishes the hierarchy of what is most important when setting goals and objectives, developing budgets, and establishing criteria for decisions regarding everything from negotiating contracts to selecting sites to scheduling and deploying security personnel.


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