There are countless event calendar plugins for WordPress, and numerous ways to take RSVPs and paid registrations for events. Through the years I’ve come to favor two options for specific reasons.
My favorite Event plugin for WordPress is by far The Events Calendar by Modern Tribe. My favoritism can be attributed to a few things:
- The plugin is available for free in the WordPress repository, meaning installing it is as easy as going to your Dashboard > Plugins > Add New, searching for The Events Calendar and clicking Install (aka it takes seconds)
- The plugin is PRETTY. I mean it just looks so darn good. I have not ONCE had to adjust the styling of this plugin other than coloration (which they provide an easy way to do) to look modern and match a client’s website. This one thing alone makes me SO happy.
- The makers of the plugin (Modern Tribe) have made a free and premium add-on to The Events Calendar called Event Tickets (and Event Tickets Plus) that allow you to take registrations (free or paid, respectively) through the plugin you’ve already installed! Oh, and the premium version is very affordable (another thing I love).
- Event Tickets Plus, the premium version of the registration plugin, uses WooCommerce to process payments. This is wonderful because if you already sell things on your website with WooCommerce, you don’t need to set up a SEPARATE ‘shopping cart’ system on your website just to take paid registrations for events. (In case you don’t know, WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin made by the creators of WordPress — and this plugin also happens to be free). I just think this registration system is so seamless, it feels RIGHT.
This solution (The Events Calendar + Event Tickets Plus by Modern Tribe) is what I recommend for any website looking to be able to sell products and also take event registrations because those two systems both use the same checkout system and have a seamless appearance.
My second favorite Event Calendar and Registration plugin is Event Espresso. This plugin does have a free version (currently called Event Espresso 4 Decaf) and is available in the WordPress Plugin Repository as well. However, Event Espresso also advertises their plugin as a Ticket Management system, which I think is a differentiating feature from The Events Calendar.
If you just need a free event calendar plugin, I recommend The Events Calendar. But if you need an Event Calendar plugin that allows for some advanced functions and integrations, Event Espresso is probably your answer. Some examples of available Add-Ons for the plugin are:
- Physical Tickets and the ability to scan them at the event
- Coupon codes / promotions
- MailChimp or InfusionSoft integration
- Integration with WordPress User roles
I’ve used Event Espresso to handle event registration and ticket management for clients that have membership websites where paid members have different user roles and permissions on the site. These paid members then can get presented with different ticket prices, for example, when registering for an event.
On the downside, I find the actual user interface on the backend of this plugin displeasing. I think it can be improved and really isn’t very intuitive… The good news is they have great documentation in a Knowledgebase so you can Google whatever it is you’re struggling with and likely find a decent instructional document quickly.
Another qualm I have with this plugin is its visual appearance in terms of what the visitor sees. I’ve had to customize the styling of this plugin’s front end presentation literally EVERY TIME I’ve installed it for a client, otherwise it looks dated and does not sync well with the rest of the site.
Finally, I’m not in love with the registration process itself. I don’t have any specific complaints here, but it just feels a bit disjointed to me.
Both of these options are appropriate for different use cases depending mostly on the most useful integrations (meaning, which systems you have that you want to play the nicest with each other).
Have other favorites? Tell me why!