Event Planning Careers

Event planners are the visionaries behind events both great and small. From weddings and fundraisers to corporate events and parties, these master planners coordinate the details that help to make gatherings events a huge success.

While wedding planning remains a popular career path, there are plenty of opportunities in other industries where event planners can exercise their creative muscles. Parks and recreation departments, large corporations and tourism companies all employ event planners to oversee some of the most exciting and memorable events around. Read on to learn more about this exciting field and determine if event planning is the best way to advance your career.

What does an event planner do?

As extreme organizers, event planners must be able to stay on top of countless tasks and responsibilities at once while managing customer and vendor relations. Each event begins with a meeting where the event planner and client discuss details of the project.

Event planners listen to their clients’ requests to determine the goal of the event, while discussing the budget and timeline. Based on the type and size of the event, planners locate a suitable venue. They work with the client to develop a menu and sometimes coordinate food tastings to help clients make their choices.

Additionally, event planners hire entertainment for the event, select decor to match the event’s theme and make arrangements for transportation. They coordinate with various vendors, such as caterers, entertainers and equipment rental companies. On the day of the event, planners oversee all details to ensure things run smoothly. They coordinate setup with event decorators, make sure the caterer delivers the food on time and manage the timeline for the event.

The work environment for event planners vary. Many work as independent consultants who run their own business. Independent planners may specialize in the types of events they coordinate. Some specialize in weddings while others specialize in corporate event. Still others specialize in community or recreation events.

Career Paths for Event Planners

While wedding planning tends to be a popular specialization for some planners, the field is abundant with other opportunities to arrange events. Planners who work for parks and recreation departments coordinate community events. Most of these events are designed to provide fun social activities for the members of a community. Examples of such events include parades, concerts in the park, festivals and public awareness events. These planners often work for local recreation departments.

Many event planners also work at places like resorts, which hire planners to coordinate events for their guests. Those working for resorts manage other staff to coordinate entertainment, food, drinks and other activities to provide a memorable visit for the guests. Often, planners working for resorts lead a staff to handle some of the details, such as decorating, coordinating entertainment or running social activities for the guests.

Some event planners enjoy working with community service organizations to organize fundraisers. They help locate a venue, create marketing material for the event, oversee decorating and coordinate event setup. Colleges and universities present an excellent opportunity for party planners to get involved with student social activities on campus. These planners often work directly for the college to coordinate student activities on campus. Events like student welcome week, rallies, campus parties and fundraisers would not be possible without party planners.

Salary and Job Outlook for Event Planners

Salaries for event planners depend mostly on the industry the planner is in. Independent planners set their own pricing, which often reflects the type of event and the size of the event. Thus, they tend to have the highest earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for planners of corporate meetings and conventions was $47,350 in 2016. Event planners on the high end of the scale earned as much as $80,030 per year, while those on the lower end of the pay scale earned a salary of $25,670.

The job outlook for planners is positive, and the BLS anticipates that the field is expected to grow 11 percent between 2016 and 2026. With the emergence of more social media outlets, event planners who have a solid grasp on how to leverage social media platforms will be in high demand.

Training and Education Required to Become an Event Planner

There are no formal education or certification requirements to become an event planner. Many get their start by coordinating small events or by serving assistants to established event planners. Although this path to getting started can be successful, aspiring event planners should take coursework in hospitality management, tourism, marketing or public relations. Fortunately, many of these courses can be accessed online relatively easily.

Planners who wish to demonstrate their level of expertise and gain credibility may choose to obtain industry certifications. One such certification is the Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) or the Event Design Certificate (EDC) offered by the Meeting Professionals International.

Necessary Skills for Event Planners

Successful event planners are excellent multi-taskers with a strong attention to detail. They must be able to coordinate all aspects of an event without missing the details. Planners are extremely creative individuals with the ability to take a client’s vision and turn it into an amazing event that exceeds the client’s expectations. Time management skills are vital to this role, as planners often work under pressure to meet deadlines.

Additionally, planners must have strong financial management skills. They must be able to plan all event details while working within the budget parameters outlined by the client. Event planners must also be confident and assertive to deal with issues that may arise. Finally, successful event planners must have strong listening, verbal and written communication skills. Planners need to listen to their clients and ask relevant questions to understand the client’s goal.

Event planners coordinate events both big and small to help people create lasting memories through successful events. From determining the decor and planning the menu to scheduling entertainment, these highly imaginative individuals have what it takes to bring excitement to any occasion.

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