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Deciding if a Career as an Event Planner is Right for You

Updated on October 25, 2012
Tables set up for an event.
Tables set up for an event. | Source

Are you considering a career as an Event Planner? Are you looking for more information before you decide?

This article will explain what an event planner is, their 'must have' qualities, the three main categories of event planners and the different types of events they plan. You will also learn what kind of education or training is required, the hours worked and how much money you can expect to make as an event planner.

What is an Event Planner?

An event planner or event coordinator is a person responsible for planning and organizing an event. Depending on the event they may be responsible for overseeing everything from setting up the event to clean up after the event and everything in between.

What traits or qualities should an Event Planner have?

Event Planners have to work with all types of people in many different industries. Even if they are self employed they still need to oversee and manage multiple vendors. An event planner should:

  • work well with all types of people
  • be a good listener
  • be detail oriented
  • be extremely organized
  • be able to multitask
  • be able to handle high stress situations
  • have excellent time management skills and be able to meet deadlines

Business meeting planned by a Corporate Event Planner.
Business meeting planned by a Corporate Event Planner. | Source
Wedding bouquet.
Wedding bouquet. | Source
Pirate themed birthday party.
Pirate themed birthday party. | Source

Are there different categories of Event Planners?

Event planning can be broken down into three main categories. They are Corporate Event Planners, Wedding Planners and Special Party and Celebration Event Planners. Each category has a number of subcategories that fall under it.

Corporate Event Planners

Corporate Event Planners are often employed directly by a business and organize meetings, seminars, conventions, trade shows and other special events held by the company.

Wedding Planners

Wedding Planners, also called Wedding Coordinators may plan some, or all of the following: the engagement party, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, the reception, the honeymoon,

Special Party and Celebration Event Planner

Special Party and Celebration Event Planner is experienced in planning a variety of parties and celebrations such as themed birthday parties, Sweet 16's, QuinceaƱeras, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations and just about any other type of party or event you can think of.

Where might an Event Planner work?

Event planners may work for the following types of businesses:

  • corporations, both large and small
  • nonprofit organizations
  • professional groups and associations
  • government agencies
  • hotels or venues such as convention centers or banquet facilities
  • private individuals or groups

What are the typical working hours for an Event Planner?

The hours worked by Event Planners vary. If you work for as a Corporate Event Planner planning seminars, meetings and trade shows your hours will most likely fall between the normal 9 to 5 workday.

If you are a Wedding Planner you can expect to work weekends especially during the busy summer months while a Special Event Planner may work days, nights and weekends depending on the type of event being held.

If considering a career as a Wedding Planner or Special Event Planner you should consider the disruption to your family life and the additional stress it may cause if you are forced to miss important family events or your significant other is forced to attend various functions alone on a regular basis.

What type of schooling or training does an Event Planner need?

A degree is not necessary nor is a high school diploma but that doesn't mean event planners do not have a degree. Many Corporate Event Planners have degrees in business or marketing and have chosen to focus on event planning.

Although it is not necessary, Wedding Planners can become certified as a Trained Wedding Planner, a Certified Wedding Planner and a Certified Master Wedding Planner through the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP).

Many times, all that is needed to become an Event Planner is a knack and an affinity for the job along with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Key to map below.


How much money can I expect to make as an Event Planner?

The U.S. Department of Labor categorizes event planning under "meeting and convention planning." The map below and the key to the left shows the 'mean wage' by state as of May 2011.

Remember, some events can be extremely large and qualified event planners are in high demand. Many event planners charge a percentage of the total cost of the event. This can be especially lucrative if you are skilled at planning high end weddings.

A solid network of vendors such as florists, musicians, bartenders, printers of invitations, venue managers, limousine services, hairdressers, travel agents and more can make you invaluable to your client and win you referrals from these other vendors.

Annual mean wage of a Meeting and Convention Planner as of May 2011.
Annual mean wage of a Meeting and Convention Planner as of May 2011. | Source

Suggestions for Pursuing a Career as an Event Planner

If you work for a company that holds events, seminars, workshops, etc. express your interest in event planning and ask if you can help with the next one.

If friends and family and friends always praise your parties spread the word that you want to start doing it professionally. You can take on as many or as little as you want while keeping your day job.

Visit your local library and review their books on event planning.

Purchase one of the great books available at Amazon on event planning.

Check into courses at your a local community college or look into taking an event planning course online. An online class will allow you to learn at your own pace and help you determine if a career in event planning is right for you.


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