What Is an Event Planner?
If you are an organized and detail-oriented person, you may want to consider a career in event planning. When working in this career, you get to use your creative-thinking and planning abilities to create a wide range of events. It's your mission to plan an event that fulfills the wants and needs of your clients. In this article, we look at the career of an event planner and answer some frequently asked questions.
Related: Learn About Being an Event Planner
What is an event planner?
An event planner is a highly skilled professional who has an aptitude for planning meetings and special events. They oversee all the details of the event and ensure everything runs smoothly on the day of the event. Along with having a creative side, event planners are usually people who notice the details and are highly organized. The purpose of hiring an event planner is so you can have someone else take care of all the tedious details while you get to fully enjoy your event.
Related: How to Become an Event Planner
What does an event planner do?
An event planner is responsible for the following tasks:
Meet with clients to understand the purpose and requirements for their event.
Plan the details of the event, including the location, time and budget.
Pick out and book vendors, including catering companies, photographers and entertainment.
Meet with vendors periodically to go over the details of the event.
Negotiate contracts to fit within the client's budget.
Create a schedule to ensure the event flows smoothly.
Coordinate travel accommodations, transportation and other services.
Envision and implement decorations.
Explain responsibilities to staff and ensure everyone is getting their work done.
Check in with clients to ensure they are satisfied with the event.
Review any bills or invoices and approve payment.
Requirements for event planners
If you want to become an event planner, this is the traditional path to get there:
While you may not necessarily need a formal education to become an event planner, a degree can help you stand out among other candidates. Likewise, going into a relevant area of study can help you develop the background knowledge you need to be an excellent event planner. Many event planners get a bachelor's degree in business, communications, hospitality, public relations, marketing, tourism management, event management or a related field.
Enhance your event planning skills with on-the-job training. Most event planners start out in an internship or associate-level position. While working in an entry-level job, absorb as much information as you can. See what the senior event planner does well and try to emulate it in your own working style.
You may want to see if your college offers any event planning courses as well. You could even see if there is a student organization for event planners at your school. By gaining experiences through opportunities such as informational interviews, job shadowing and internships, you can prove to employers that you would be a good fit for their event planning role.
Earning certifications can show employers you are skilled in a specific area of event planning. Many event planners specialize in weddings, corporate events or parties. Here are some certifications you may want to consider as an event planner:
Certified Meeting Professional (CMP): Event planners who wish to specialize in organizing meetings and conventions should consider this certification from the Events Industry Council (EIC). In order to earn this badge of recognition, you must pass a written exam that covers meeting management.
Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP): This certification recognizes event planners who demonstrate the knowledge and skills to plan a special event. It is offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA). You must have three years of event planning experience and pass an exam to earn this certification.
Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP): If you wish to plan events for the federal government, consider getting this certification offered by the Graduate School at USDA and the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP). It is available to individuals hoping to organize government meetings.
Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE): The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) created this nationally recognized program to help event planners become experts in the catering and events industries. This certification requires you to complete a training program and pass an exam.
Where do event planners work?
While large corporations may have in-house event planners, many businesses work with event planning firms. Event planners spend most of their day in an office setting. You use your computer to research different vendors, locations and other event services. A good portion of your day involves speaking with clients and vendors on the phone or meeting them in person.
You may also have to run errands outside of the office to get things for your event. On the day of your event, you work at the venue to ensure everything goes as planned. Depending on where the event is held, you may have to do a bit of travel for this kind of job.
FAQs about event planners
These are some frequently asked questions people have about event planners:
What skills does an event planner need?
An event planner needs the following skills to succeed in their role:
Organization: There is a lot going on when you plan an event. You need organizational skills to ensure you can keep track of numerous tasks, schedules, vendors and other details.
Communication: Meeting with clients and vendors is a big part of your job. You need written and verbal communication skills to build a positive relationship with them and to clearly convey your ideas.
Creativity: Event planners are responsible for brainstorming the theme of their events. Creativity skills are also helpful when trying to come up with solutions for limited budgets while also creating a memorable event.
Problem-solving: As an event planner, you're going to make a lot of last-minute decisions. You need problem-solving skills to come up with a solution with little notice.
Networking: Connecting with different clients and vendors is how you're going to advance your career. Being able to confidently network is an important part of being an event planner.
How can I advance my career as an event planner?
There are plenty of things an event planner can do to grow in their career. Consider the following ideas:
Make a portfolio. Along with a physical portfolio, consider creating a personal website of all of your previous event planning experience. This can help employers better understand all of the exciting work you have done.
Join event planner groups. There are plenty of associations you can join to connect with other event planners. Meeting Planners International and the International Live Events Society are just a few. Consider looking for local groups that you can regularly meet up with. Your networking connections can help you find more event planning opportunities.
Volunteer for non-profits. Helping non-profits plan their events is a great way to build your portfolio while also giving back to a good cause.
Write a blog. Blogging about event planning can help you build your online reputation as an expert in your field. Consider working with a writer who is knowledgeable about search engine optimization (SEO). A quality blog can help more people find you through search engines and boost your website traffic.
Ask for more responsibilities. If you are working under another event planner, gradually ask for more responsibilities. They may appreciate the extra help. It also shows you are ambitious and willing to learn.
What is the job outlook for an event planner?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for event planners is supposed to increase by 8% from 2019 to 2029. This is higher than average growth for all occupations. Those with bachelor's degrees in event management, hospitality and tourism management may have more leverage in getting a job.
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