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From the Experts, Your Event Career

4 Things an Event Planner is NOT

Alyssa Perna is the Head of Operations & Productions for the Americas at Smithers and the lead instructor (and tutor!) for QC’s Corporate Event Planning course.

An event planner wears many hats. But those on the outside looking in may not have all the details about the role of an event planner. If you’re someone looking to pursue a career in event planning, you probably want to know what is and isn’t part of the event planner job description.

Keep reading to find out the common misconceptions about professional event planning!

We aren’t the star of the show

As a professional event planner, most of your work will happen behind-the-scenes. You’re in charge of orchestrating all the elements of a beautiful and seamless event. From coordinating vendors to putting together centerpieces. Naturally, you’ll have to do some grunt work, too. On-site, you are likely running around all over the event space. You’ll have to coordinate all the logistics while keeping everyone happy –guests, clients, and other event professionals.

An event planner is definitely not the star of the show. So if you are expecting glamour and prestige in event planner jobs, look elsewhere. There is pride in the work we produce, but getting to the end result takes a lot of time, effort, and sometimes not-so glamorous work.

We aren’t there to just clean up messes

party decor on the ground for clean up

Steer clear of any individual or organization that wants to hire you to clean up their mess. Before accepting any event planner jobs, do your due diligence in vetting the job description. The last thing you want is taking on a client that you can’t succeed with. If you find yourself in a situation with an impossible timeline, be honest with your client. Manage their expectations before committing to something that you may regret later.

We aren’t experts in every facet of the event planning industry

It will take many years of experience before you get the full scope of what goes into every element of event planning. And it’s okay if you don’t have all of the answers!

Let’s say you have a client who asks you to handle the advertising and promotion for a large-scale fundraiser. This makes you ultimately responsible for generating ticket sale revenue. If you don’t have enough experience in this area to be successful, it’s okay to say no and focus on what you can offer. Be clear about what you can offer and how your success as a planner is measured before accepting a job.

We aren’t personal assistants

personal assistant of company head - event planners aren't personal assistants

It is critical to outline clear expectations regarding your role and responsibilities as your client’s event planner. Have confidence in yourself, and know that you are being hired for a very specific skillset—planning, organizing and designing a flawless event. While you should always strive to provide the best client service possible, don’t stretch yourself too thin. Spending too much time completing menial tasks means less time and attention to tasks more worthy of your skillset.

An event planning career is rewarding, but it’s not a relaxing, laid back career

 Year after year, I see “event planner” listed as one of the most stressful jobs. While we don’t face life-or-death situations everyday (like a firefighter, pilot, or police officer would), the work we do is incredibly stressful. Throughout all of my professional experiences, there’s a “get it done or fail” mentality. While there are certainly “down” times, being an event planner is a demanding job. Expect to have lots of work to juggle and always-looming deadlines on the horizon.

Be honest with your clients

If you are starting your career in event planning, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Set clear expectations and guidelines for your clients, and feel comfortable saying no when you need to.

client and event planner meeting

Imagine you’re hired for day-of coordination services. Your client expects you to literally put together every centerpiece, place them on the tables, set each chair at each place setting, and tear down the entire room on your own… all within 8 hours. Be honest about how much you can get done on your own. And don’t hesitate to let them know if your rate changes because of all these additional tasks. Tell them what you need from them to get it done, clarify expectations, and charge the appropriate fees.

Event planners are energetic, creative, organized, and scrappy! Have faith in your skills and abilities, and have fun while doing it!

What other roles are event planners NOT? Let us know!

Event planner job descriptions often leave out the most important parts of the job—what event planning is actually like from day to day. Find out what’s missing from the job description!

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One response to “4 Things an Event Planner is NOT”

  1. Kudos to the author for putting in the effort of common delusions about professional event planners. Being an event planner, I know how you squeeze yourself to get a job done right, but finally when all the hardwork gets rewarded, you enter into a world of happiness. And yes, I do agree that this not definitely a laid-back career.

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