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How to become an event planner: A Step-by-Step guide for beginners

How to become an event planner: A Step-by-Step guide for beginners

Event planning has become one of the most promising career paths in the current labor marketplace.

This is not only because of the sheer number of clients who’re always on the lookout for creative event planners but also because the ever-evolving technology is fueling the industry much further.

Event planning, however, is an overarching term that consists of a number of professions within. It’s a diverse field and one that requires the individual to be energetic, creative and skillful at handling change and unforeseen circumstances.

One of the pathways to enter this industry is to become an event planner. Becoming a professional event planner requires, among other things, a good amount of experience and quite obviously, formal training.

So, let us see what are the things that you need to do in order to become an event planner who is ever readier to take on new challenges and woo his/her clients.

Decide what kind of event planner you would like to become

Event planning, as mentioned earlier is a vast field and this implies that like every other diverse profession, you have to choose a niche that best suits your personality and preferences.

A niche is simply an area of specialization that you would like to work in. For instance, event planning can be divided into three broad categories; corporate event planning, non-profit event planning and social event planning.

Each stream has its own advantages and disadvantages. You need to pick the one that you think will give you the right type of work-life balance along with a reasonable amount of pay.

To get an idea of the different types of event planning jobs, let’s see the various professional paths that you can follow as an event planner.

Freelance consulting/Social event planning

If you think that you enjoy flexible hours and want to stay away from all the office politics, while working from your home office comfortable with a small team of vendors, you may well consider becoming an event planning consultant.

You can take on jobs that interest you the most, and perhaps become a party planner. You may choose to work for certain niches such as organizing private weddings, birthday parties for kids, small functions for a hotel and much more.

Corporate event planner

If you feel that you work well in an office environment where you can be a part of organizing events for well-known brands, then becoming a full-time event planner can be the right path for you.

Corporate event planners have a tight schedule and must be very collaborative as they need to work with a number of different third-party vendors to plan events. Corporate events can be large and mostly involve promoting a particular brand.

Although this can be fun at times, it can, however, be quite demanding, since it can require you to work long hours and meet tight deadlines.

Non-profit organizations

Event planners who work for the non-profit industry get to work on some of the most enjoyable and satisfying assignments.

This is because events for NGOs can include fundraising campaigns, athletic events that raise awareness about a certain cause and even involve working with for-profit organizations for Public Relations purposes.

As such, it can be quite diverse and suitable for someone who loves trying something new and challenging.

Becoming an event planner, therefore, means to understand yourself and know which niche is the best fit for you.

Understanding an event planner’s duties

As you may have already realized, being an event planner can involve juggling several duties at any one time. However, their duties can be divided into three distinct categories; duties before an event, duties during the event and duties after an event.

Duties before an event

Before an event takes place, an event planner needs to collaborate with clients to understand the scope, dynamics and associated costs of the event. This also includes when and where will the event be taking place.

The next important thing is to coordinate with vendors. The event planner essentially takes bids from various vendors who include equipment providers, caterers, etc.

As an event planner, you will need to thoroughly understand what the client is trying to achieve through the event. Based on this, you’ll need to contact relevant speakers who can present on the topic.

During the event

The next line of responsibilities occurs during the event. A professional event planner knows how important it is to keep the guests happy throughout the event. As such, you will need to make sure that all of their demands are met and that everything is running smoothly.

You will need to assign tasks to your team and ensure that every member of the team is performing efficiently.

Also, you need to keep making notes as to how the event is turning out to be. These will be useful for compiling a report in the next step.

After the event

Once the event is over, the one important thing that an event planner must do is to compile a report of the entire event. This will include things like, the costs and revenues that were accrued, how many people turned up etc.

At this juncture is the moment to create post-event surveys and reach out to attendees asking their opinion about the event. All of this will help you plan better in the future.

Gaining experience and training

As you may have realized, becoming an event planner involves a number of tasks and requires a whole lot of skill sets in order to be successful in the field. As such, every event planner needs to start off by going through formal training and gain some experience to become an event coordinator.

a BA in hospitality, communications or public relations is a good idea to earn. You may also do a degree that specializes in event planning. This will allow you to study courses related to event management, marketing, etc.

You may then need to do some entry-level jobs in event planning by getting into event management firms. Getting experience working in a studio is also ideal as it will get you a better understanding of how the event planning industry works.

Pursue formal training

Apart from earning a degree, you may also pursue further training. You can do so by registering for some online courses that offer training courses in various event planning disciplines. QC Event Schools, for instance, offers a comprehensive event planning training course in corporate and wedding events.

You may also attend webinars to keep your knowledge about the industry updated.

Build a portfolio

Throughout your event planning career, a compelling portfolio will help you a great deal in getting larger gigs and clients.

Double check to make sure you have kept notes from the challenging events that you got to organize. Also, categorize your event plans according to niche. For instance, wedding events should be separate from corporate events.

Getting Certified and working as an event planner

If you really want to hit the ground running, it’s worthwhile to become a certified event planner. This will not only increase your credibility but will also help you attract more reputable clients.

You will, however, need to have at least three to five years’ experience in order to become certified.

Complete a certification program with a reputable event planning association

One of the most recognized certifications includes the Certified Meeting Professional certification from the Convention Industry Council (CIC) and the Certified Meeting Planner program from the Meeting Planners International (MPI).

Become a member of a relevant trade organization

Once you complete a certification, you automatically become a member of the respective trade association from which you completed the program. You may, however, be required to pay an annual fee to renew your membership status.

Event planners who are members of such associations benefit from lifelong learning as they offer continued education and conduct seminars that will help you keep up-to-date on current industry trends.

Start working as a certified event planner

Once you’ve become certified and have achieved membership in a trade association, you may as well start taking on bigger projects and perhaps create your own business.

In order to start your own event planning company, you’ll need to gather up a team and ensure that you have strong contacts with different vendors. Also, make use of the many online event planning platforms such as GEVME to get started and establish a website to reach a wider audience.

Conclusion

Event planners have some of the most in-demand skills globally today. As such, this comprehensive overview guides you in terms of how to become an event planner and will help you gain a firm standing in the thriving event planning industry.

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