How to Become an Event Planner

Updated July 21, 2022

Becoming an event planner is a rewarding career path for people who seek exciting work that is always changing. Obtaining a bachelor's degree or gaining relevant experience will help you step into the dynamic world of event planning. In this article, we will discuss how to become an event planner, what to expect in this career and what skills you'll need to succeed.

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What does an event planner do?

An event planner makes arrangements for and coordinates events for their employer or clients. Some event planners organize a variety of different events, while others specialize in a particular type of event planning, such as wedding planning or corporate event planning. Responsibilities vary depending on an event planner's employer and specialty, but they often include:

  • Meeting with clients: Event planners meet their clients to determine their event needs, including the goal, intended date and time, catering and budget. They may also meet several times before the event to discuss planning progress.

  • Communicating with vendors and venues: Event planners source suitable event vendors and venues and communicate with them to ensure their products or services can be secured at the right time and price. They may also view and taste products to determine their suitability.

  • Creating event budgets: Event planners create itemized event budgets for their employers or clients. These budgets must be approved early in the planning process.

  • Performing pre-event checks: On the day of the event, event planners visit the venue before attendees arrive to ensure all details are correct. If there are any problems, they resolve these before the event starts.

  • Coordinating events: Event planners also coordinate their events to ensure they run smoothly. They supervise employees and contractors to make sure they perform their duties, help the event run to schedule and liaise with their clients or employers to ensure their satisfaction.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume

How to become an event planner

You can become an event planner by earning a relevant bachelor's degree or gaining suitable experience in the service industry. While many event planners did not attend college, increased competition in this field has encouraged more aspiring planners to earn degrees. Follow these steps to give yourself the best chance of becoming a successful event planner.

1. Obtain a bachelor's degree

Obtaining your bachelor's degree in meeting and event management or a related discipline, such as hospitality management, public relations or marketing, will allow you to work as an event planner for a variety of different companies. While some companies have no minimum educational requirement for their event planners, others require their event planners to hold degrees.

Your degree program will teach you a variety of skills that will help you work as an event planner. These include:

  • Event sales and sponsorship

  • Human resource management

  • Relationship management

  • Agreement negotiation

  • Accounting

  • Business and event computer skills

2. Gain practical experience

Gaining practical experience while you're studying can give you a competitive advantage over other job candidates after graduation. Some relevant degrees have internship programs that give aspiring event planners practical experience working in an event planning environment. Through your internship, you will learn more about the event planning process and make valuable contacts.

Volunteering is another way you can gain hands-on event planning experience before pursuing the career full-time. Consider volunteering for a non-profit organization that coordinates charity events or a local party and event planning company. Music festivals, sporting events and comedy galas often require volunteers.

3. Prepare your resume and portfolio

Once you have completed your education and gained some practical experience, either through an internship, volunteering or both, create your resume. This should highlight your educational achievements, your event planning experience and the skills you have that make you well-suited for an event planning role. Include the keywords you see in event planning job postings to align your qualifications with the needs of your potential new employer.

If you have extensive event planning experience, it can help to start putting together your portfolio. This is a common tool that event planners use to secure work. Your portfolio should include photographs, testimonials, marketing materials and media coverage of any events you have had a key role in organizing.

4. Apply for event planning positions

Use your resume and portfolio, if you have one, and apply to vacant event planning positions. Review the list of prerequisites and preferences to ensure you are a good candidate for each position. Attach a cover letter personalized to each position you apply for emphasizing why you believe you are the right applicant for the role.

After working as an event planner for some time, you may decide to start your own event planning business. After gaining full-time experience in the field, you can also gain certification from the Events Industry Council to show clients your dedication to event planning.

Read more: Best Self-Employed Jobs

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Skills for event planners

Event planners use a variety of skills to ensure their events are exciting, well-organized and successful. Event planning firms and other businesses hiring event planners look for candidates with the following skills:

  • Organization: Planning an event requires coordinating several different components all at once, so good organization is essential.

  • Attention to detail: Event planners must have attention to detail to ensure their events satisfy their clients' and employers' requirements and no element of the event is overlooked.

  • Communication: Event planners spend a lot of their time communicating with clients, employers, vendors, event attendees and other relevant parties. They rely on their communication skills to understand each client or employer's requirements and communicate their vision to others.

  • Creativity: Event planners use their creativity to develop events that are engaging and memorable.

  • Problem-solving: When weather conditions change, budgets are limited and other challenges arise, event planners use their problem-solving skills to find the best solutions.

  • Budgeting: Successful event planners know how to stage excellent events on a budget. They also know how to budget their time to ensure all parts of their events are successful.

  • Negotiation: Event planners use their superior negotiation skills to get their employers and clients the highest-quality products and services at the lowest price.

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