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How to Become an Event Planner?

Are you considering a career as an event planner?

This job is perfect for people who are very organized and have great attention to detail, allowing you to work closely with clients ensuring their important events are truly special.

However, it can take time and dedication to establish yourself as an event planner. Even after you have become qualified, you need to build up a positive reputation.

So, let’s find out how to become an event planner and discover if this could be the perfect career for you.

how to become an event planner

What Does An Event Planner Do?

Event planners are also known as event managers, event specialists, and event coordinators. This role mainly involves organizing and coordinating special events and meetings. The event planner is responsible for managing different aspects of the event to make sure that it runs smoothly.

Event planners usually meet with clients to discuss their budget and vision for the event. They will then visit the event venue to see the layout. In some cases, the event planner may also be responsible for finding the location for the event.

Other typical duties include

  • Arranging transportation to and from the event.
  • Planning the cost, timing, and program for the event.
  • Reviewing bills and approving payment.
  • Assigning duties to onsite staff.
  • Arranging and overseeing event activities.

how to become event planner

The Average Salary

The salary an event planner receives will depend on their experience, location, and specialization. The average salary for this role is around $15 per hour. However, event planners who run their own business and have a strong reputation can command much higher salaries.

The Work Environment

This role involves spending a lot of time on the phone arranging different details for events. Event planners need to work quickly and efficiently to make sure every detail is perfect. As the date for an important event approaches, the job can become quite stressful.

Event planners need to be able to manage stress well and remain focused on the job. This role can involve a fair amount of travel. In addition to visiting the event venue, it is often necessary to meet with clients and service providers.

Key Skills To Do You Need

Event planners need a wide range of both hard and soft skills to perform their duties well. While some of these skills can be taught, others are personal skills that need to be developed naturally. Here are the main skills that a successful event planner should possess.

Attention to detail

It is essential to be able to focus on minute details and make sure they are correct. This can include double-checking the spelling of guests’ names or the exact shade of decorations. ‘The devil is in the detail,’ and it is essential to make sure even the tiniest detail is perfect.

how to become the event planner

Organization

You need to be able to keep track of a large number of tasks as part of this job. It is important to be able to prioritize tasks and keep careful records. This will help to make sure that everything gets done on time.

Networking

You need to form close working relationships with a range of professionals like photographers and caterers. It is important to remain on friendly terms with these professionals. This will allow you to call on them when you are planning an event that requires their services.

Communication

You need to be able to explain what you need from different people clearly. Have strong verbal and written skills. And make sure you understand exactly what clients want, and you share the same vision.

Creativity

You need to have a flair for design to create themes for different events. It is a good idea to put together a portfolio of themes and designs for different occasions. This will help you to share your vision with clients and show them what you can do.

Problem-solving

No matter how carefully you plan events, things are sure to go wrong from time to time. You need to be able to think quickly and come up with creative solutions to different problems.

Step By Step Guide

If you love planning events, you may decide to do it full-time. Trying to work out how to get started can be tricky. Here are the main steps you should take to become a professional event planner.

Earn a Bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree can help you to secure a higher salary and take your career to the next level. Marketing and hospitality management are good majors for this career. Useful minors could include art, interior design, and flower arranging.

how to become event planners

Get some work experience

Taking on an entry-level position in a related field is a great way to gain skills and experience. Working as an assistant to an event planner is a great way to find out if this career is for you. You can learn important tips while earning a salary and make important connections with other people in the industry.

Choose a specialization

There are lots of different types of event planning, such as corporate events, weddings, and fundraisers. Choosing a specialization allows you to hone your skills and make a name for yourself. This can be especially useful if you eventually decide to start your own event planning business.

Get a certification

Earning a professional event planner certification will impress potential employers and help you land important clients. Certification shows that you have received formal training and understand the different elements of the job. You need to have a certain amount of experience for different certifications and pass a formal exam.

Join a professional organization

This is a great way to make connections and boost your job opportunities. This is particularly important if you operate your own business. You will receive information on the latest industry trends through the organization and be invited to special industry events.

Start your own company

This is the final step on your career path that can be very rewarding. Starting your own business allows you to choose your clients and projects and work on your own terms. While running a company can be a lot more work, it is a great way to make a name for yourself.

How To Get The Right Qualifications?

Technically, no formal studying is needed to organize events for friends and family members. However, certain qualifications are needed to do this job professionally. Here are the main ways to start on your journey to becoming qualified.

Education

The first step is gaining a bachelor’s degree in a subject related to this field. Strong choices include communications, public relations, hospitality management, and marketing. If you are planning to run your own company in the future, a degree in business could be the best option.

Training

If you are lucky, you can find an event planning company that offers paid training. This allows you to work closely with other professionals and learn from the best while making a basic wage. Many universities and colleges also offer special event planning training programs. These programs combine practical event planning work with lectures and last for between two and four years.

Special Certifications

Event planning can be a very competitive industry, especially if you live in a big city. Gaining special certification will help make an impression on potential employers. Here are some of the best industry certifications that you can secure.

Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

This certification is offered by the International Live Events Association and is open to people who have at least three years of experience. You need to demonstrate the necessary skills, ability, and knowledge and pass the CSEP exam to gain certification.

Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

This certification is necessary for people who want to specialize in planning corporate conventions and meetings. You need to pass a special written exam that covers all aspects of meeting management.

how to become the event planners

Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE)

Earning this certification helps you to establish yourself as an expert in catering, hospitality, and the events industry. The certification can be obtained through the National Association for Catering and Events. You need to complete a special training program and pass an exam to gain certification.

Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP)

This certification is open to candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field. You also need to have at least two years of work experience and submit a formal letter of application. This special course teaches professionals how to organize and run their own business, and the certification is highly coveted.

Professional Event Planner Associations

As an event planner, you are only as strong as your industry connections. Joining an association or group is the perfect way to meet large numbers of people in the same industry. While the membership fees for some associations can be high, they often help connect you with the best networking opportunities.

Event Planners Association

This organization is open to members of the event and entertainment industry. It provides members with access to certification programs, network events, and legal document templates. Members are also provided with special industry software that they can use to design different areas of their business.

how to become an event planners

PCMA

If you decide to work as a business event strategist, make sure you join the PCMA. As a member, you will gain access to special training programs and other educational opportunities. The PCMA also provides members with access to essential market intelligence and special publications.

National Association of Event Planners

This organization was established to promote integrity and the highest standards in the event planning industry. The National Association of Event Planners provides professionals with special resources and training programs. This helps members to gain new skills and advance in their careers and is an important resource for business owners.

National Association for Catering and Events

If you want to make connections with professional caterers, make sure you join this organization. There are regular networking events where you can meet the people who will provide you with essential event planning services. The National Association for Catering and Events also offers a range of certifications and training programs.

International Association of Exhibitions and Events

This association was founded in 1928 and caters to event and exhibitions industry professionals. Members gain access to a wide range of resources and tools as well as industry news. Other benefits of joining the association include discounts on special services and webinars.

Wedding International Professionals Association

The wedding planning industry is very large and diverse, and you need to be part of this organization to stay relevant. The association boasts local chapters in major cities like New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Phoenix. Numerous networking events are held throughout the year, as well as webinars, mentoring programs, and other types of events.

International Live Events Association

Helping put together concerts and other live events can be a lot of work, and this association provides the necessary connections. As a member, you would receive a wide range of benefits like discounts on shipping, car rentals, and technology. The association also arranges special networking events, training programs, and business management tools.

Event Service Professionals Association

This association is perfect for people who are just getting started in their careers. The Event Service Professionals Association offers a range of special scholarships and mentor programs. They also regularly run special networking events and training programs.

Make Their Wedding Day Even More Special!

Do you love a beautiful wedding with all the romance in the air? Then why not make a living out of it and specialize in weddings!

Take a look at our recommended reading list to get you started with The Wedding Book: An Expert’s Guide to Planning Your Perfect Day, or for some insight, The Knot Guide to Wedding Vows and Traditions and even the ever-popular Wedding Planning For Dummies to begin with.

Next, we also recommend trying the Best Ceremony Ever book, The Knot Book of Wedding Lists, as well as The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer, and if you’ve got to keep it affordable, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer, and How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget all available online in 2022.

Lastly, you might want to take a look at How to Start and Operate a Wedding Floral Design Business to create the perfect floral arrangements, or perhaps you can do the styling as well as with The Bridal Stylist: Style, Image & Fashion Consulting for Weddings and finally, The how to guide for styling weddings & events.

Final Thoughts

Working as an event planner gives you the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

You can use your special skills to transform regular events into unforgettable experiences that make people happy. This job can be very rewarding, especially if you love organizing people. However, this job can be very difficult and stressful at times. When things don’t go quite as planned, you are likely to be the person who gets the blame.

You need to have thick skin to do this job and be able to remain calm and polite under pressure.

Good luck, and have fun planning your next event!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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