How Do You Become an Event Planner? When the party starts or the champagne cork pops, there’s no greater feeling of satisfaction. It makes the many months of deadlines, long days, and longer nights seem worthwhile. That is until the next event starts.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be an event planner to plan an event. It’s something we all do at least once in our lives. Whether we’re planning a surprise birthday party or trying to manage a wedding.
So, what’s the secret to an amazing event? How do you become an event planner? And what are the ins and outs of the industry?
That’s what we wanted to explore. Let’s get the party started!
What does an event planner do?
Weddings. Conferences. Business conventions. Meetings. You name it, an event planner plans it. That’s the job in a nutshell.
It’s the humble art of spinning a dozen plates – florists, photographers, location selection, invitations. Event planners do it all. They’re a one-man – or rather woman – machine, capable of handling any and every hiccup that may occur.
That makes it one of the most flexible and intensive professions.
Here’s an example:
A client comes to an event planner with a conference they want to host. The event planner will discuss their vision, noting down what will need to be done. Here, they’re trying to capture the essence of the client’s vision.
Then, the event planner (or event company) springs into action.
Potential conference locations are scouted and booked. Caters and decorations are bought and hired. Speakers are organized, entertainment is provided.
Finally, on the big day, they work tirelessly to ensure the conference runs smoothly. If anything goes off-the-rails, it’s on the event planner to get the show back on track.
What do you need to become an event planner?
Most people who start in event planning begin with a Bachelor’s Degree. Hospitality management, tourism management, public relations, and marketing are popular and useful starting points.
However, a degree isn’t essential.
What is critical is the experience! That’s where internships and entry-level positions come in. You want to find a way to shadow professionals and develop a portfolio of past events.
Think of the skills you’re going to need: multi-tasking, organizing, long-term planning, calm under pressure, excellent written and verbal communication, an eye for design, contract negotiation, fantastic interpersonal skills, and more.
You can’t learn all that in an afternoon. It takes years of dedication and experience. That’s what an events company is looking for: talent, yes, but most importantly, a passion for learning and engaging.
Is an event planner a good career?
It’s a demanding career! But it’s definitely worth it.
If you like being out of the office, meeting new people, and rising to a challenge: event planning is for you. But don’t expect an easy ride. For many clients, the events you plan are one of the biggest days in their lives. Or a landmark event in the company calendar.
That means a lot is riding on your success. There’s no room for error.
Planners can also work long days, starting early and finishing late. The hours are irregular, particularly in the run-up to a big event. There are always numerous tasks to complete and deadlines to meet.
So, if you’re not precise in your organization it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
Thankfully, you’re not alone. Although some event planners prefer to fly solo; many work as part of a company like BW Productions. Your team is therefore always on hand to offer some much-needed support in a crisis.
After all, the course of event planning never did run smoothly.
Cakes get delivered late. Entertainers cancel. But in the end, it’s all in a day’s work for an event planner.
Do event planners get paid well?
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for an event planner in South Africa is R 132,780 per annum. However, payscale.com puts the average slightly lower at R 107,000 per annum, ranging from R 8K to R 329K.
That gives you an idea of how the pay can range. And just how much you can earn as an event planner – especially if you’ve got a reputation for greatness.
Overall, that’s an incredibly generous salary. And deservedly so.
This means that after all the hard days and long nights, you’re rightfully rewarded for your time. And that’s without talking about the immense satisfaction the job provides.
Few jobs get to see months of work come together in one momentous occasion. But event planners do! We see the smiles on everyone’s faces and smile too. Wouldn’t you?
How much do event planners charge?
That depends. I mean, how long is a piece of string? Are you planning a wedding, conference, company picnic? The size and scope of the event will largely determine the final cost of the event – and the price of the event planner.
You’ll also want to be aware of the quality of the event planner. A junior event planner is likely to cost much less than someone with twenty years of experience in the industry. But then, you get what you pay for. Experience matters!
As a rough guide, payscale.com puts the average hourly rate of an event planner at R 103.81. But, as discussed, that can change radically depending on what’s required.
If you’re looking for an estimate, please get in touch with us for a quote. We’re more than happy to talk through the possibilities.
How many years does it take to become an event planner?
No one event became an event planner overnight.
Starting from square one, you’re going to need a degree or 1-2 years of experience. If you did a degree, you’d want to complete an internship or find entry-level work. That may take a further couple of years.
At this point, you can call yourself an event planner. So, in all, it took around 2-4 years.
But in truth, that’s just the start of the journey.
Event planners spend a lifetime mastering their craft. There are always new qualifications to complete and skills to acquire. Nor are all event planners, masters of every event. Some specialize in weddings, others in corporate conferences.
Like heart surgeons and psychiatrists are both doctors, but neither could do the other’s job. The same is true for event planners. You find what you love, and you stick with it.
What are the different types of event planning?
Here’s a snapshot into the different avenues you can take in the world of event planning:
- Freelance consulting
The lone wolves of the event planning world. Solo event planners enjoy flexible hours and doing their own things. Often, they work with a small team of loyal vendors they rely upon to make their events happen.
This is the hardest path to walk, however. You don’t get any of the backup event companies to provide. Instead, you’re on your own.
That does give you the freedom to pick your niche: kid’s parties, weddings, funerals, small functions, and more.
- Corporate event planning
This is where you’ll find big money. Think of the massive corporate events that occur. And then try not to faint from the unimaginably tight schedules to which they must adhere. Corporate events often involve promoting a brand. It’s fun but also difficult.
If you prefer working in an office environment with a big team, this is for you!
- Non-profit organizations
Sometimes you just want to give back. That’s where fundraising campaigns for NGOs excel. It’s an opportunity for event planners to work alongside charities and organizations devoted to making the world a better place.
Here, the goal is to raise money and awareness for a cause. That requires passion, drive, and commitment.
What do you think?
There’s never been a more in-demand time for event planners. Events are bigger and bolder than ever before.
So, what do you think? Is event planning for you? Do you already spend your time thinking up parties for your friends or organizing their social lives? Do you have what it takes to cut it in event planning and make your mark?
If you think so, then go for it! The industry is always in need of fresh talent with something to say.