Event Planner Job Descriptions
The difference between a “party planner” and a “wedding planner” is pretty clear. But what about the difference between an event planner and an event manager? What about an event coordinator?
There are many different job titles in the event planning industry. Understanding the different job titles will help you decide what kind of planning professional you want to become!
Professional Event Planner
The broad title of “professional event planner” is almost a catch-all for every type of event planning professional you can imagine. From this job title, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the professional’s services actually are.
But it’s a pretty good bet they plan a wide range of events including:
- Parties of all kinds including birthday parties, retirement parties, and other milestones
- Small scale corporate events including fundraisers, corporate holiday parties, etc.
- More somber events such as wakes, funerals and memorial events
Though it’s not always a given, professionals with the title of “event planner” are less likely to be specialized in:
- Planning weddings
- Corporate event planning for larger corporate clients
- Large-scale specialty events such as concerts, festivals and other live events.
Typically if a professional is certified in the above fields, their job title would reflect it.
What does a Professional Event Planner Do?
Whatever the type of event, a professional event planner has a pretty specific job description. This professional is tasked with working with clients to coordinate, organize and execute all aspects of the event. Including, but not limited to: décor, catering, venue, entertainment, and overall guest experience.
As a professional event planner, your job is to coordinate all the moving parts of the event or party. You’re not the decorator, or the caterer, or the DJ. But it’s your job to make sure all these vendors are hired, given clear direction, show up on time, and provide a service that is pleasing to your client and their guests… all within the client’s budget!
Professional Wedding Planner
A wedding planner’s job description is pretty clear from the title and doesn’t leave room for a whole lot of questions. A professional wedding planner plans weddings of all kinds. Usually wedding planners are pretty diverse, but some clients will look for wedding planners with specific skills outlined in their job descriptions.
These are known as “specializations” and they can be hugely beneficial to professional wedding planners, especially in high-competition areas. Common specializations include Luxury Wedding Planning, Destination Wedding Planning, Same-Sex Wedding Planning, etc.
What does a Professional Wedding Planner Do?
Much in the same way as the professional event planner above, the professional wedding planner’s job is to coordinate, organize and execute all elements of a wedding. Weddings pose their own challenges: they have many moving parts that have to work together.
With most wedding planning clients, you’ll be responsible for everything that occurs on the big day: from ensuring the wedding party gets prepped on time, to coordinating the actual ceremony, and then organizing a fun and exciting reception. You’ll also be working with extremely demanding clients who (rightly so!) won’t expect anything less than perfection for their big day.
Occasionally a wedding planner will also be involved in planning other events associated with the wedding, including engagement parties, stag and doe parties, and sometimes even anniversary parties. If you’re interested in expanding your services in this way, you’ll want to be sure to also get some training as a professional event planner!
What wedding planners don’t do!
Again, your job as the planner isn’t to actually decorate the hall, cater the reception, or entertain guests’ children. But it is your job to coordinate the million-and-one elements that make for a smoothly-run wedding. Often times, that also includes having a backup plan ready to go if you need one!
Wedding Planning Clients
Since planning a wedding is usually a much more involved and lengthy process than planning most other types of event, professional wedding planners tend to have fewer clients on average, but get to charge a premium for their services.
QC offers a stand-alone wedding planning course, and several specialization courses including luxury wedding planning and destination wedding planning!
Professional Party Planner
Typically a “professional party planner” doesn’t offer wedding planning services and stays away from large events. Instead, this professional focuses more on small-to-medium scale parties for clients of all ages. This can be an incredibly diverse, lucrative career because it means you get a chance to plan a myriad of different small-scale events, and you have the highest chance of retaining party planning clients for future events!
What does a Professional Party Planner Do?
Just like event planners and wedding planners, a professional party planner’s job is to organize and execute all elements of a client’s party from the guest list to the décor to the food. Unlike larger-scale events or weddings, however, party planners are likely going to have a bigger hand in the décor for the party. Where the two above are likely to hire an event decorator, as a party planner you’re more likely to be expected to handle all elements of the décor yourself (unless you’re working with luxury clients). So be sure to be properly versed in all aspects of event décor!
Check out QC’s Party Planning Course and Event Décor Course for more information.
Corporate Event Planner
There are two main career paths for a corporate event planner: You can either be the owner or employee of a corporate event planning company that works with corporate clients, or you can be an in-house event planner for a large corporation.
In either case, corporate clients have very specific needs and requirements for their events, and that’s why corporate event planning is in a league all its own. Reporting to corporate stakeholders (whether as clients of your company of as your direct superiors), you’ll be expected to have a huge amount of project management and reporting expertise that isn’t really required for other types of event planning clients.
What a Professional Corporate Event Planner Does
As the owner or employee of a corporate event planning company, you’ll be hired by corporations to run occasional corporate events. These can include:
- Larger scale events like annual conferences
- Employee retreats
- Product launches
- Annual holiday parties
- And more
Typically you’ll acquire a list of recurring clients. These are medium-to-large corporations who usually don’t host enough events throughout the year to hire an in-house planner.
What an in-house corporate event planner does
Companies that are large enough or who have a significantly involved client base are likely to have in-house event planners to handle their events. These professionals are employees of the corporation and only plan events for that one company.
Occasionally event planning will be a part of an employee’s job description, without it being that person’s only responsibility. For example, it’s not uncommon for a company’s administrative team or marketing team to take on some event planning responsibilities. In these cases, it’s a good idea to make sure those professionals are also trained in event planning.
Companies who are likely to hire in-house event planners include:
- Large corporations and fortune 500 companies
- Companies who offer luxury products or services to wealthy clients
- Corporations or conglomerates who host many public-facing events
- Service-based companies that host annual conferences and/or local events for their clients.
Check out QC’s new Corporate Event Planning Course
Event Manager and Event Coordinator
Typically event management and event coordinator job titles are found in the field of corporate event planning. A professional event manager is the corporate event planner who leads the event team, and a professional event coordinator reports to the event manager.
If your goal is to work as an in-house event planner for a corporation, you’ll want to start out also looking for job listings that advertise “event coordinator” while you’re building your experience. A typical in-house corporate event planner would work for at least two or three years as an event coordinator before being promoted to event management.