So you want to be an event planner, but what is it really like? Most people think it’s all about the fun part: Decorating and having fun with the guests. In real life it’s all about troubleshooting, dealing with third parties, your team, clients and cleaning up after the party. Bottom line: It’s not as glamorous as you think it is, but if you really love party planning it’s the best! In this new article and video, I’m telling you all about my life as an event planner. Which is part of my business as an agency owner, so let’s get into it!
My first event
I remember my first event really well. I think I was in my very early twenties and I wanted to create a TFP photoshoot day. TFP stands for Time For Photos or Time For Pizza. Photographers, models, stylists and make-up artist use TFP shoots to create portfolio material for free. Everyone invests their time to get ‘free’ photos to promote themselves. It’s the perfect way to fill your portfolio in this line of work. I used to work as a make-up artist and so I wanted to help myself and others with a TFP shoot.
I charged the models €5 for all the expenses and there were about eight to ten models at the shoot. I used the money to pay for the travel costs of the photographers and stylists. And I got everyone something to drink and eat. I asked my parents to help me setup a big tent, so the models could dress themselves privately in the park where we were shooting. The shoot pretty much lasted all day, everyone was happy and I realized this planning thing was the right move for me. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but a real event planner just goes ahead and makes the best of it.
Professional event planning
I started planning events professionally about five years ago. That’s when I opened my marketing and PR agency Bloggers and Brands. Press events are very important in the PR world and I love organizing them. Organizing press events is a whole different game though, as my agency is also responsible for gathering enough guests. In this case the guests are press relations which our clients have a big need for. Then the event itself needs to be interesting and impactful enough to create buzz and publications for our clients.
It doesn’t matter what kind of event you plan, it needs to be done professionally. Anyone can setup a table with some treats and drinks, but that doesn’t make a good event. An event planner needs to plan ahead, often times at least three months before the actual event. This has to do with working with third parties like location owners, vendors, catering, special decor requests, entertainment etc. As the planner it’s your job to plan everything and also execute everything to perfection.
Happy client, happy planner
The main objective as an event planner is to make my client happy. If something goes wrong before or during the event, it’s my job to fix it without the client even noticing it. It’s also very important to remember that your planning for your client, not for yourself. There are a lot of event planners who have trouble creating the client’s vision. Instead they create the party of their dreams, leaving the client unhappy about the results. Another thing I always strive to prevent is getting stuck in the decoration part.
Yes, decorations are important. But the right vibe and being able to communicate the client’s message is the most important. Your events need to be memorable for the right reasons. Which is whatever the client hires you for and so you need to make that happen. This is where good communication comes in. It’s important to stay in touch with your client and let them know where you’re at and where you’re about to go. This gives them a good feeling about letting you plan their event.
Work hard, play hard
My life as an event planner can be very stressful. Especially when third party commitments fall through and I have to pick up the slack. I also have to do everything from creating the plan, the program, setting up the venue and cleaning up after. My clients don’t have to lift a finger, they just have to show up and enjoy the party. Thankfully I work with a team, so a lot of the tasks are taken care of by my colleagues. That wasn’t the case in the beginning when I just started out. Be prepared to start your journey as an event planner with working really hard.
Once you’ve planned a few events you’ll start to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That’s when the party planning becomes easier, dealing with clients is a whole other story though. Clients often have wishes they can’t describe or don’t fit their budget. You have to make them happy nonetheless, which makes being a good communicator your key to success. Get your processes in place, teach your team how to work well and have fun with your clients. Keep your cool and keep that party going!
Still want to be an event planner? Awesome, definitely let me know in a comment below!