How to Become an Event Planner
Event Planner Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of an Event Planner
Event Planner Salaries
Influential Professional Event Planners
Leading Event Planner Organizations
Top Cities for Event Planner Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Certification is available in a variety of event planning specialties. For example, one may choose to become a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), or a Professional Bridal Consultant (PBC).
Local colleges and universities may offer courses and degrees in event planning or management. Certificate programs are available through online universities and vocational colleges as well. Because there is no nationally recognized accreditation council or association for event planner certification programs, one should be very selective when choosing a program. Useful programs should offer information on both the planning aspect of the job as well as the business and accounting components. Some programs also offer mentors, internships, or actual event jobs to provide experience. On the job training and experience are considered by many to be more useful than academic education in the field of event planning.
An event planner works to execute a gathering on many different levels. An event planner may specialize in a certain type of event, either corporate or social. Events fall into many categories such as celebration (weddings, birthdays, etc.), education (conferences, graduations), promotions (political rallies, fashion shows, fundraisers), or commemorations (memorials, etc.).
The event planners responsibilities depend on the client's needs and the skills as well as the resources of the planner. Tasks often include research, creating a theme, site planning, arranging food, decorations, entertainment or speakers, creating invitations, planning transportation and accommodations for guests, arranging security and cleanup, and supervising the event.
Event planners often provide clients with a proposal once preliminary plans are researched. Depending on the client's needs and wants, the proposal may be adjusted, and then the planner begins arrangements for the event. Some large events begin production a year or more in advance, many events are in planning stages for a few months, and some are executed much more quickly. An event planner often has multiple projects to work on at any given time.
An event planner is responsible for the financial management of the event. All services and items purchased must fit into an allotted budget and the planner must organize the event as such. Contracts must be negotiated with facilities and suppliers. These contracts, especially for large meetings and conventions can be very detailed and complex, requiring a great deal of the planner's attention.
An event planner is a facilitator for all that is involved in the event. In addition to making sure things like vendors, speakers, and decorations, are in place, the event planner must also make sure everything and everyone runs on proper schedule. This involves a great deal of communication among many different people involved in the event and consistent contact with the client.
Attending and evaluating events is often an important phase of the planner's job as well. Ensuring the satisfaction of the client helps a planner to gain repeat business, a good reputation, and word-of-mouth advertising. Attending events can also bring opportunities to meet potential clients. Since networking is a major means of attracting new business, socializing is an important aspect of an event planners work.
Self-employed event planners and those employed by small companies are generally in charge of most or all aspects of an event. This requires a great deal of organization and multi-tasking. Planners that work for larger meeting and conference planning companies may have a more specialized role such as registration and payment or speakers and content.
Event planners of all specialties often work long hours, especially near the time of scheduled events. Evening and weekend work is generally required to accommodate clients, networking needs, and the actual events. Event planners employed by outside companies may enjoy more regular schedules than self-employed planners.
A planner must be very detail oriented and organized in order to be successful. Good communication and social skills are essential for dealing with clients and suppliers as well as for networking purposes. A successful event planner also has good business, marketing, negotiating and selling skills. Flexibility and strong stress-management skills are important in dealing with the strain of the job. Creativity is also a useful trait in event planning.
The salary of self-employed planners depends greatly on the magnitude of their business. While some planners work out of their homes and handle a small number of events, others may rent space, employ junior planners and accountants, handle large scale events, and thereby gross much more per year.
Self employed event planners charge clients in different ways. Some planners earn the majority of their income through flat fees charged for services. Many planners charge a service fee between 10% and 20 % of the total cost of the event. Percentages of vendor fees, mark ups on supply purchases, and handling fees for contracts may also factor into a planner's earnings. Event planners in certain regions, such as northeast US, generally charge more for services than those based in the southeast. Event budgets and clients net worth may be higher in these areas.
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