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Event Planner

What They Do

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners Career Video

Insider Info

Event planners, as the name suggests, plan events -- parties, meetings, sporting events, funerals, you name it. Party planners, for example, make a party a package deal. They provide catering, transportation, music, photography, costumes, decorations, sound systems, tents or anything else that's needed to make a particular party a success.

"The list goes on and on," says Mary Love, an event and decorating planner in Philadelphia. "The client names what they want to do and we go ahead and try to plan it. Event planners will totally take care of an event, from getting the plane tickets [and] the hotel rooms, to picking out the music and the table linens."

Planners work closely with the clients who hire them. They go over details of the party and offer suggestions to make it run smoothly. The event planner also draws up an estimate of what the entire event will cost and tries to ensure the best event within the client's budget.

Once there's an overall scheme for the party, the event planner then arranges for all the necessary items. This can mean calling and arranging a photographer, finding a good disc jockey, or finding a company that has tents available if the party is to be held outside. It may even involve details such as finding a calligrapher to write out guest cards for the tables.

A planner's work depends on the event. On one occasion, the event planner may be trying to find a decorating company that can set up a mock casino for a corporate party. The next day, the planner may have to line up a magician for a children's party.

The work isn't all fun and games. Event planners must have marketing skills to attract clients, as well as accounting and budgeting skills to evaluate and select items for an event. They must also be good managers, able to delegate tasks and provide a good, team-oriented atmosphere.

Planners can work in a wide assortment of locations. "There's a huge variety of organizations that hire planners," says Ted Wykes, who teaches meeting and event planning at the college level. Convention centers, trade centers, corporations, event planning businesses and consultants all hire event planners. People also hire out their own services on contract.

Event planners are leaders. "You should like to organize and you can't be shy," says event planner Yamina Kahn. "From childhood, you're probably the type of person who liked to organize and who likes people."

When you're starting out, be honest with yourself, says Kahn. "Don't take on an event you can't do. Like anything else, you shouldn't promise what you can't deliver."

Parties and other events don't usually happen during regular 9-to-5 hours. "Because you have to be at the party or celebration, it often means working late into the night," says Kahn.

Because event planners often have to help put up decorations, move tables and boxes, some heavy lifting is required. "This job requires a lot of stamina," says Wykes. Event planners have to be on their feet during entire events and be able to run back and forth.

At a Glance

Coordinate and oversee all the components of an event

  • Event planners must pay strict attention to detail
  • Excellent organizational skills are a must
  • To get experience, start organizing events now