Good company makes for a memorable event, but the little details matter as well. Food, music, decorations and aesthetics are all important aspects of a quality party. If you're the organized creative among your group of friends, hosting gatherings or planning nights out, you might want to channel that passion into a career.
You don't have to be the life of the party to put together a successful soiree. In fact, many event planners prefer being "behind the scenes." Those who can remain calm under pressure, think creatively and negotiate a good deal are the ones who will succeed in the industry. Here's everything you need to know to start your career as an event planner.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that event-planning jobs are due to grow by 10 percent by 2024, which is faster than average.
According to an article by Entrepreneur, there are two distinct markets for event planners: the corporate market and the social market. Corporate planners are hired by companies to organize meetings, conferences and other work-related events. Social planners, on the other hand, cover weddings, birthday celebrations and other types of occasions.
"Being an event planner is a dream job, but it doesn't come easy," said Chelsea LaFollette
co-owner and event coordinator at Brilliant Event Planning. "It took years to break into the industry, but I encourage anyone who wants to pursue a career in events to put in the time and energy."
LaFollette added that you'll likely have to work long hours and weekends for free before getting your first paid gig, but it shouldn't discourage you: "Watching people enjoy the events you put together is amazingly rewarding," she said.
To make a name in the industry, you'll want to master the art before going solo. Interning and gaining experience will set you aside from other aspiring event planners.
"It's important to understand how much work is involved in planning events, both with the prep work that takes up to weeks in advance down to the setup and breakdown, which can be backbreaking work," said Seri Kertzner, co-creator of Little Miss Party Planner.
Choosing your market
If you're new to the business, it may be easier to get started in the social market. Not only are you more likely to find clients among friends and relatives for social events like weddings or graduation parties, you'll also gain valuable experience in negotiating and organizing that will be useful in the high-pressure world of corporate planning.
Mindy Weiss, creator of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants, recommends sticking with a broad range of events, especially when you're first starting out. This will provide you with experience across the board. While you can certainly establish a specialty, as long as you keep innovating, there's no need to limit yourself to a particular type of party, she told Business News Daily.
However, many well-known event planners choose to specialize in organizing specific kinds of events.
"In our company, we take great pride in designing events and seeing them through from start to finish both creatively and logistically," said Kertzner. "With that said, you will be better at your job if you have a clear focus."
Kertzner noted that her company does not tackle weddings; rather, they handle more intimate events like baby showers and birthdays. Choosing the market that aligns well with your goals sets you up for success. Don't try to tackle events that you are uninterested or inexperienced in just to prove that you're cultured in the art.
Additionally, you should research the market in your area to determine what kind of planning service is most needed. Your business will connect people with goods and services in their own communities.
Sites for inspiration
Social media is crucial to becoming a successful event planner. Having a presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and, of course, having your own website will expand your following and build your brand. It takes time to attract customers, so be patient while being consistent with posts and your other promotional activities online. When someone is satisfied with an event you planned for them, they can credit you on social media and recruit potential customers.
Additional sites like Pinterest, Studio DIY and Oh Happy Day are great resources for event planners. Research platforms that excite you in your work endeavors and stick with them through the planning process.
"[These platforms] provide daily inspiration with their incredibly creative, fresh ideas that are unique to this party planning market," said Kertzner.
Weiss noted that while she loves social media sites, she also tries to channel the latest home décor and fashion trends, allowing her to "stay ahead of the curve," she said.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Peterson.