Event planning is the application of planning, program management, and creative ideas to the organization and creation of large and small-scale corporate or personal events like festivals, workshops, marriages, formal celebrations, concerts, conferences, or meetings. Event planning can be a very rewarding career because event planning encompasses a broad range of expertise that can be applied in numerous fields. An event planner can be hired to coordinate a large or small event from beginning to end. The planning stage is usually the most active and crucial part of the event planning process since it determines how everything will come together in the end. The other stages or components, including the budgeting phase, the marketing phase, the program preparation, and the organization of resources, are often handled by professionals or by interested volunteers.
Event planners with some organizational skills and experience tend to gravitate towards the nonprofit sector, where their expertise can be utilized to plan and implement fundraising activities, public programs, and youth conferences. But if you have the skillset and the passion for event planning, you can find work in the corporate sector too. Many corporate event planners hold administrative positions at hotels, restaurants, or tourist agencies. These planners work on a rotating basis and are often the link between the owners of the facilities and the staff members. Event planners can also find employment as event managers working in private companies or museums.
To excel at being an event planner, you need to develop strong communication skills. Event planners must be adept at communicating with vendors, program partners, and event attendees. They need to understand and appreciate the perspective of each client and be able to establish an honest and open line of communication.
Event planners can be specialized in any number of specializations, including communications, marketing, or programming. Some specialize in events that focus on particular vendors, while others are responsible for handling all facets of corporate hospitality. There are even event planners who work with small businesses and government entities. They may be contracted to handle one or two individual vendors for a single occasion, or they may be employed by a large number of vendors to coordinate a variety of activities.
The educational requirements to become an event planner vary from state to state. In most states, a degree in business, marketing, or public relations is required. While a degree does not always guarantee employment, most employers prefer applicants who have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field and experience managing people and events. To be hired as an event planner, an applicant should have a Bachelor’s degree in this subject, as well as a relevant certification, such as the International Association of Event Planners (IIAEP) or the American Planning Conference (APEC).
Becoming an event planner means having a broad range of skills, from marketing to event planning to public relations. You will also need to be very organized, and able to prioritize and manage tasks. Some event planners start out as caterers or event planners, and may eventually work their way up to senior-level positions in large hotels and resorts. A successful event planner will have great interpersonal skills and be able to effectively coordinate a variety of vendors and clients, as well as take care of and keep track of many financial and logistical aspects of any event.