What They DIDN’T Tell You About Becoming An Event Planner
A career in event planning isn’t all glitz and glam. To be perfectly honest, you’ll find yourself becoming exhausted from time to time. From coordinating the flow of large-scale crowds to hunting down missing boutonnieres, the duties that come with planning can seem never-ending. Becoming an event planner takes time, practice, and a lot of trial and error. But the thrill of seeing your vision come together is an incomparable experience.
If you’re just getting started in your event planning career, you probably want to know what it’s really like. The road to a successful career is a bumpy one. But knowing just what to expect makes preparing for anything that comes your way, all that much easier. Read on!
Say goodbye to your 9 to 5
Be prepared to work some pretty unorthodox hours. You’ll usually be the first to arrive at a venue and the last to leave. That means you could be crawling into bed late into the night or waking up in the early hours of the morning. However, this flexibility is also what makes becoming an event planner so exciting; you run your own show! From arranging site visits to negotiating with vendors, coordinating an event is all up to you. You plan your schedule. Not to mention, many event planners travel a lot. A flexible, jet-setting career isn’t just a dream for event planners, but it does take some exceptional time-management skills.
Of course, the way you attend events will also change. As an event planner, it’s your time to step into a huge leadership role. No, you will no longer be stealing the spotlight, toasting left and right or leading the conga line long into the night. But you will be the life of the party for other reasons. The event is your baby, so the spotlight is entirely on your brand.
How much event planning you actually have to do
Setting up tables before, breaking down props long after the party is over—no one told you just how much planning is a part of an event planning career. Yes, you knew that it took a driven personality, but no one can prepare you for your first event—which is when you will realize just how much you love your task sheets. In order for you to keep on top of it all, everything needs to be documented. That includes large priorities like venue, catering, and entertainment, but also the minutia of what goes into planning an event. You’re tasked with overseeing the person putting up centerpieces on the tables and assigning priorities to the clean-up team.
And that’s just the coordinating side of it! Marketing your event planning business is also an important part of your role. If you decide to enter the industry on your own, get ready to think like an entrepreneur in terms of numbers, contracts, and branding strategies. It may sound overwhelming at first, but knowing that you are shaping every aspect of your business from the ground up, makes it easier to dive into things.
The workout involved
If someone told you that you would be shaking glitter out of table linen at two in the morning, would you believe them? The physical demands of becoming an event planner are nothing to scoff at. Just picture yourself running back and forth all day (or night) to keep everything going smoothly. Keep in mind that you will be doing all this without your favorite sneakers on. Most clients want their professional event planner to look the part—and like not a personal trainer! On the plus side, meeting your step count for the week will be effortless!
That said, getting pampered is also your job. You’ll probably feel like you just finished running a marathon the morning after an event! Those months of planning all come to a screeching (and satisfying) halt. You may be tempted to just pick up another job to keep your productive momentum going, but take a step back! Make sure you allow for proper recovery time—because if you don’t take time to schedule some R&R between, before, and after events, you won’t be able to keep up your hectic pace.
How good you’ll be at staying calm during an event emergency
Missing bride? Wine on the custom white linen? Most things that would have others on the verge of a meltdown won’t even have you fazed once you march through your first few events. Firstly, your emergency event planner kit has it all: safety pins, straws, stain remover, contact information for everyone in the bridal party, extra wedding bands… you name it, you’ve got it. If you’re not carrying the fix-it, it won’t take long before you find a solution. You will find that your greatest strength will be the ability to stay calm under pressure. You’ll soon feel like a Zen Master with all the stress-management tools you’ll develop!
But when you’re not standing eerily calm in the face of disaster, be prepared to event plan in your sleep. It’s hard to turn off your abilities to take charge of every scenario you confront. You’ll become such a pro at crunching budgets, delegating tasks, and managing tight time-frames that coordinating will become second nature to you. Worst-care scenarios will be a walk in the park—no ring, no problem!
The creative process
Ok, so you knew you were creative, but seeing some of the magic you work at events will leave even you shocked! Small budgets will no longer seem like insurmountable challenges. In fact, you’ll relish in the opportunity to become even more resourceful with materials. Your can-do attitude will set every couple at ease. Another perk of becoming an event planner? You will have NO shame when it comes to the number of pins you have on your Pinterest board. If your bride thought she had some thoughts on decorating, just wait until she sees your repertoire! She will be amazed by the event decor tricks you have up your sleeve.
Your biggest hurdle will be setting boundaries with your client. Your clients may come to see you as an always on-call Fairy Godmother. At first you will feel obligated to go out of your way for every request. But cool as a cucumber, you’ll soon know how to negotiate the strain of particularly high-maintenance clients. And no handy DIY will be left unpinned with you as an event planner.
How satisfying it would be
Somehow no one could prepare you for how fabulous you will feel for going after your dreams. Being an event planner is like being part of an exclusive club of experts who know how to throw a serious party. It’s true that you’ll find that it’s difficult to get out of event planner mode. But think of it as an exquisite curse. Every function you attend will be accompanied by your own critical ‘event planning eye.’ Good luck trying to sit through your next wedding without inspecting the floral arrangements and centerpieces!
But seeing it all come together in the end makes it all worth it. Who knew that you would come to love working with your clients so much, or that you would make such an impact on their lives? Seeing the thrilled look on your bride’s face when she sees her venue all done up for the first time is truly a special moment.