Most of the websites I design these days come with a request for an event calendar. It’s an important part of a business or organization’s website and one that can be difficult to implement well.
About a year ago, I found the Modern Events Calendar (MEC) plugin after using other event calendar plugins and found them adequate, but not exactly right for my needs.
I found MEC by accident after I became frustrated with a plugin I’d used before on other sites. A Google search on *alternative to … “ took me to this plugin that, at least for me, is a better solution.
I’m using the free version, which works well for my needs but there is a premium version if you need more functionality.
The plugin’s settings are more complete and detailed than any I’ve seen. You can choose from a variety of views and colors. There are options for just about any style of website you can imagine.
Options and Settings
Single Event Page
You can set up a single event or one that recurs daily, weekly, or monthly. Add custom fields in a variety of formats like radio buttons, checkboxes, URLs, dates and more. By default, the single event page includes a countdown to the event and you can choose between two styles.
This options allows you to exclude certain days from recurring events, for example, if one of your meeting dates falls on a major holiday.
Additional Organizers and Locations
You can add additional organizers and locations to choose from in the single page interface.
This lets you add speakers and bios to your event.
Single Event Page
To add a new event, click Add Event, which will bring up this interface. There are numerous controls for each individual event.
You’ll recognize the interface as the WordPress Classic Editor by default. Give your event a title, then any copy you’d like to add On the right sidebar, you can add tags and categories, select the event’s color, and add a featured image. If you’d rather use the Block Editor, you can uncheck Disable Gutenberg in Settings > Single Event Page.
Directly under the main WordPress text area is the Event Details tab. That’s where you’ll add your date/time information, organizer, cost, location, links to a website and more.
If your event has a schedule, use the Hourly Schedule tab. Here’s where you can set a detailed schedule for the day, as I’ve done on the Flower Show event. This is a feature I haven’t seen in other event calendar plugins, though I might have just missed it.
The plugin will use the featured image you add to create a large header with a blue overlay. The only way I’ve found to customize this in the Lite (free) version appears to be custom code. You can add further customizations with the free add-on Fluent View Layouts. You’ll have to register for an account, but the download is free.
To add an additional organizer, in the single event page interface, click Organizer > Insert a New Organizer then fill out the details. You add a new location in the same way, and the plugin allows you to add additional locations for that event if the same event takes place at two locations.
It’s an easy interface to use, with most of the standard WordPress controls. You can create categories of events and show them in a separate archive page for that category.
You can allow users to add events without signing in to your site. There are numerous controls to customize the look of the submission page.
Modern Event Calendar integrates with Facebook, MailChimp, Google Calendar, PayPal, Stripe, WooCommerce, and Elementor page builder. There are paid add-ons for Zoom and even a waiting list. You can check out all of the available add-ons here.
Archive View Options
You have several choices for the archive view. Here’s the grid view with the clean style.
MEC vs. The Events Calendar
I find MEC easier to use and customize with more features than The Events Calendar, which I used almost exclusively for several years.
I love the colorful and customizable display of events and the ease of use. So far, I’ve found that the free version (Lite) does all I need for most purposes, but if you need booking or payment functionality you’ll need to look at the Pro version. One license is $75 for one year of support and lifetime auto updates.