How to Become an Event Planner?

A well put-together and organized event can be the talk of the town. From weddings, parties, business events, or other social gatherings, events such as these can be a lot of fun to attend. They can also be a lot of work. Planning for an event can be a major undertaking worthy of military precision. There is the caterer, the flowers, music, decorations, finding a location, hiring entertainment, and a thousand other little things that you have to keep up with. It is also a billion dollar industry and a career choice. Event planners can be in high demand and can make a sizable income. Ideal candidates should be organized and have great social skills. If all of this sounds like a job for you, then how do you become an event planner? There are lots of ways to become one and here are some tips to help you out.

Skills Required as an Event Planner

If you want to be an event planner, you need to know what skills are required. Above all else, event planners must be well organized. There are a lot of factors that go into planning that you have to juggle. The atmosphere, especially as the event nears, can be chaotic. A good event planner can keep everything running smoothly, on time, and under budget.

Besides organization, an event planner needs to be creative. You can’t just put a vase of flowers on the table and order a bunch of pizzas (unless that is all your client wants). But even then, you should try to ‘wow’ them with your creativity. Try to design the overall look of the event to reflect the nature of the event. Weddings should be romantic and elegant. Corporate parties need to have a professional look. Social meetings should be festive and fun. It all depends on the nature of the event. When choosing the caterer, select one that goes along with the theme. If the event is decorated with flowers and set with candles and mood lighting, you don’t want to have Chuck’s Barbeque cater it. By exercising your creative skills, you are likely to have repeat customers and good referrals.

Event planners need to have good communication and diplomatic skills. You need to be able to listen to what the client wants and to be able to act as an effective middleman between the client and vendors such as caterers, florists, and technicians. If any problems arise, you need to be able to smooth them over with the client. A good event planner can establish a trusting relationship with all of their clients. If the client doesn’t trust you, you want last long as an event planner.

Learn the Basics of Event Planning

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All events will follow a basic formula. Most events will include a meal, some decorations, entertainment, a schedule, a budget, and invitations or an announcement. More complicated events will, of course, include a lot more. When planning an event, you have to know the date and time. Often it will be up to you to find a suitable location. You need to know how many people will be attending and whether it will be a formal affair or casual. If the event is business-related, you need to know how to market it. If you don’t know the basics of event planning, there are reference and career books you can get to show you how.

Get Some Event Planning Experience

The best way to learn how to become an event planner is to get some hands on training. A good way to see if you have what it takes is to volunteer to help out with charity and fundraiser events. Many non-profit organizations are always holding events to raise money for worthy causes and it will give you a chance to see how things are handled backstage. Another way to gain experience is to host parties for your friends and family. Organize the food, the entertainment, and work on your hosting skills. Other places to get some experience are church events, office parties, and birthday galas.

There are professional event planners and companies that you can work for to gain experience. Private planners always need good help to handle the workload. This gives you a great opportunity to see how a seasoned professional handles events and helps you to build a network of contacts for the future.

Build Your Event Planning Business

Once you decide to go into business, start out small by planning events on the side. Don’t quit your day job immediately. Build up a portfolio of events you have organized. You want to include photos, descriptions of the events and what you did to plan them.  You can even include ideas for future events to really show off your creativity. Another important thing to have is a referral list of satisfied customers. This is one business that definitely relies on customer satisfaction and it is easy to network to find more work. Word of mouth is a big part of this business.

When starting out, you may want to decide what types of events you would be best at organizing. Not everyone has what it takes to plan a wedding. You might be better suited for fun events or spectacular galas. On the other hand, corporate conventions and company parties might be more your thing. Whatever you decide to do, be honest with yourself about what you can handle.

Set up a network of vendors that are reliable and you can comfortably work with. These vendors should be able to cover all the areas of food, flowers, decorations, entertainment, lighting and sound, and anything else that can help make a memorable event. You need a variety of vendors that can cover a variety of events. For instance, you need to have contacts with several different caterers who prepare different styles of dishes. Go from inexpensive to very expensive. Same thing with the other vendors. Clients are going to have different budgets, after all.

Market Yourself as an Event Planner

No one is going to hire you if they do not know about you. Get out there are market yourself. Attend other events and functions. Go to galas and grand openings. You should introduce yourself to people, tell them what you do, and create a network of social contacts. That way if they ever need to plan an event, they will hopefully think of you. Get some business cards printed up and always carry some with you. You can hand these out to contacts when you attend these other events. And lastly, have a website, even if it is a simple one. It should be professional, elegant, and reflect good taste. You will be judged on your website so if it is a mess, people will think you are not well organized.