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What to Expect on the Road to Your Event Planning Certification

Event planning is a worldwide, multi-billion dollar industry. There are plenty of opportunities for budding planners as there are a-million-and-one different types of events people are just itching to throw—50-year wedding anniversary parties, corporate galas, destination weddings, bar mitzvahs and more! Everybody loves celebrations but sometimes they may not have the expertise or resources to put together an extravagant event—and that’s where you come in.

You’ve already decided to get your event planning certification, but what’s next? Getting your certification is only the first step in launching a career in the event planning industry. But just because it’s the first step doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. If you put in the blood, sweat, and tears, you can turn your passion for event planning from a hobby into a full-time career!

Think you’ve got what it takes? Here’s what you can expect on the road to your event planning certification!

The process

student certification

The certification process is straightforward. You’ll learn the theory, complete homework assignments, and apply everything you’ve learned through practice.

Program length will differ depending on the institution or if you choose a fast-tracking stream. You may find shorter programs to be more beneficial if you’re seeking to enter the industry as quickly as you can. Since certificate programs are pretty flexible, you’ll be out in the real world doing what you love in no time!

What can you expect to learn?

While many certification programs will differ in course content, you can likely expect to learn these key concepts:

  • Planning timelines and budgets
  • Working with vendors
  • Applying a theme in décor, music, food, etc.
  • Organizing hosts, masters of ceremonies, and other speakers
  • Building a strong portfolio
  • Choosing the best venue for your clients’ needs
  • Choosing the best lighting setup to highlight venue focal points
  • Health and safety for events
  • Marketing and event promotion
  • Features and challenges of different types of events

No matter where you go to do your certification, make sure that the syllabus is comprehensive and covers enough material so that you’re ready to work as soon as you’re certified.

Skills you’ll develop

skills wedding planner

Besides the obvious skill of extensive planning and organization, you’ll pick up or strengthen a whole host of skills that will enable you to turn people’s event expectations into realities.

Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is a big one. You’ll need to be able to build trusting relationships between yourself and your clients, vendors, and sponsors. Negotiating with vendors to deliver your clients the best deals will give your clients a satisfying experience so that they will (hopefully!) recommend your services to others.

On top of the verbal communications skills you’ll develop, you’ll also hone your nonverbal communication skills. Is the bride sweating or furrowing her brow? Is one of the waiters always gazing at his feet with his back to the guests? You’ll be able to detect and resolve any problems so the event goes smoothly.

Creativity and problem solving

No two events are ever the same. Every client will have a different vision for their event even if their goals or themes overlap with another event you’ve planned before. You have to be able to deliver a unique experience that’s catered to each client. As a planner, you’ll have to find the best way to present an event that will satisfy your clients’ goals and interests. Depending on the event, you may have to help with selecting the theme, planning décor, and organizing entertainment!

While you may not be able to find one-of-a-kind décor items for each gig, creativity can also extend to problem solving. Say something happens with table centerpieces the day of, your creativity can kick in and you may come up with a DIY solution that may be even better than the original. The journey to obtaining your certification will encourage you think on your feet and get your creative juices flowing.

creative decor theme

Organization and time management

Even outside the event planning context, organization and planning go hand in hand. Successful planners take organization to the next level as they go beyond hiring and paying vendors to do their work. On the day of, you’ll be coordinating multiple vendors at once to make sure everything goes smoothly so the clients can rest easy. Balancing tasks isn’t an easy feat, especially with many deadlines and potential issues that may come up. It may seem daunting at first, but your event planning course will help you master all the details you’ll need to keep in mind.

Just graduated from your certification program and ready to jump into the industry? Check out this post by QC tutor Heather Vickery on how to survive your first year as an event planner!

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