Event Planning as a Career

Event planning has become one of the hottest new careers and can be a lucrative and exciting business in this fast growing industry.  If you or anyone is thinking of it as a career, it is a great time to show your talents and creativity. From large, casual or small and glamorous, event planners are always needed and in demand to organize and plan millions of events a year.  Event Planners come from everywhere, all walks of life and it doesn’t cost too much to get into.

The special events industry has grown tremendously in the past 10 years.  $500 billion annually is spent on event planning.  According to the most recent Meetings Market Report, 90 percent of event planners anticipate having the same number of events or more in the coming year, this is an indicator of the robust and growing state of this business field.

Event Planning covers almost every event possible. Weddings, birthdays, fashion shows, conferences, graduations, reunions, product launches, Media events, anniversaries, bar and bat mitzvahs, golf tournaments and the list goes on.

Earnings Potential

The average salary for a corporate event planner is around $ 45,000 to $53,ooo or an average of $20 to $40 an hour. The average Independent event planner is paid a minimum of 10% of the total cost of the event. For example, with today's average wedding costing $19,000, that means you'll make at least $1,900 dollars for each wedding you plan, and that’s the minimum rate.  Event planning can earn excellent money, and the benefits only increase with the event planner's skill level.  Some event planners that own their own businesses earns millions a year. Just working part time would equal an excellent new income for you. If you are a good event planner you will receive many referrals and many returning clients, creating more number of events a year. Once you become in demand or fully booked, you can charge more. Remember, when you plan a successful event, each event becomes your “calling card” or your “signature”. People will notice and will want to hire or refer you. Many successful planners have done this, they organize extravagant, beautiful events and new clients start calling them. People will notice your work.

Why Do People Hire Event Planners?

Bottom line- Individuals or companies are too busy and lack the expertise and the time to plan events themselves. Event planners can organize and handle all of the details to make a successful event. Event Planners also offer new refreshing ideas that can make an event more memorable or successful.   If the planners have a great event that went smoothly, they will get referrals, new business and most important they usually do the same event again the following year. According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, it takes about 150 hours for a planner, working with his/her staff, to produce a major event from start to finish.

Qualifications for an Event Planner  

There are no special requirements. You do not need a college degree, certificate or any other formal training. It is not required, although any training or education you receive would be beneficial.  Many large hotels, or convention centers prefer a high school graduate. Strong communication, organizational skills and being able to listen to the client are essential.

Event Planning Courses

This makes it easy- there are many online courses to choose from. You can study and take a course from the luxury of your own home and time. If this is something you are serious about, you should commit to a schedule to get the course done in ample time. The courses usually take about 3-6 months, as little as 5 weeks, depending on your schedule. You will gain a firm understanding of how the industry operates and knowledge in the designing, planning, coordinating, special events, conferences, conventions, and trade shows. Many people that are seriously considering event planning as a career usually take a course part-time while they still work full-time at their job. Then they can begin working as an event planner part-time until you build a clientele and have enough full-time work to quit your other job, which would be ideal.

Below are some of the topics and instruction the courses will cover:

•       Responsibilities and duties as an event planner.

•       The event planning industry including weddings, conventions, meetings, tradeshows, etc.

•       All you need to know about vendors.

•       Contracts

•       Site selections and strategic planning

•       Budget planning and how to work with all budgets

•       Marketing and promotion skills

•       Decorative elements

•       And everything you need to know to start your business right away.


Where Do Event Planners Work

Most event planners work from home or a small office. There are downfalls to both. Carefully consider your options and what is best for you. If you plan to work for a Convention center, Hotel or other business, you usually work at their location.

Jobs and Careers

Some organizations, corporations, hotels and convention centers keep meeting planners and event planners on staff and others hire them from outside firms or hire independent contractors. Large corporations hire event planners to produce several events, from trade shows that have thousands of attendees to golf tournaments or company Christmas parties.

If you decide you want to have your own event planning business then decide what type of event planner you will be. Will you do all events or will you “specialize” in certain areas such as Fashion shows and corporate parties or specialize in just one area, such as a Wedding planner, which you only plan weddings. Making these decisions early on will help you plan your marketing and branding.

Wrap Up

Before taking any courses, make sure this is the career for you. To stand apart from other event planners you want to have a theme or something you are known for, like your “style” or signature style. Some of the best event planners have a style that separates them from the rest. One event planner that I know who does incredible work, He focuses on weddings and parties. His events always have tons of beautiful unique flower arrangements and candles are everywhere. He carried this theme through most of his events; it was “his signature, his touch”. So when you hired him, you knew what you were getting.