Imagine being the person in charge of planning an inauguration or royal wedding. Working as an event planner offers opportunities to balance creativity and style with a love of detail. Event planners arrange special events, ranging from small, intimate affairs to conventions for thousands. But it’s not just about splashy parties; corporations, nonprofit organizations and universities include event planners on their staffs to organize meetings, fundraisers and university graduations.
Regardless of size or purpose of the function, the role of an event planner is to ensure that a client’s event happens effortlessly and without undue stress. She handles the myriad details and logistics of planning an event that fits within the client’s budget in a venue that best meets the client’s needs. The planner coordinates the setup, function activities and post-event follow up at the selected event location. She must also be willing to work long hours and give up weekends and evenings to ensure that the function happens without problems.
An event planner must enjoy working with people, as the job often requires a high level of diplomacy and strong communication skills. Overseeing successful functions requires knowledge of software applications for project management and planning. Organizational skills and an eye for detail combined with the ability to meet tight deadlines ensure that an event appears flawless to attendees. The event planner also needs excellent business skills to negotiate contracts, manage budgets and meet multiple deadlines.
Meeting planners coordinate meetings, workshops and other corporate events for companies of all types and sizes. They may be permanent members of a corporation’s staff with the sole responsibility of planning both small and large-scale meetings, such as shareholder meetings or awards banquets. Other meeting planners are entrepreneurs who contract their services to organizations and corporations that do not employ full-time event staff. Another category of meeting planner works in hospitality management, at hotels for example, where on-staff meeting planners coordinate group sales, catering and events for the facility.
Wedding planners have the pleasure of working with couples to plan bridal showers and parties, weddings and receptions. Their role is to help the couple plan a dream wedding while staying within budget. Successful wedding planners have contacts throughout the wedding industry, from florists and caterers to reception halls and bridal shops. Not only do they handle the logistics of the wedding, but the planners also know the current and future trends in wedding styles, including popular wedding destinations, fashion and traditions.
Convention planners frequently coordinate events for thousands of attendees, such as national conventions for professional associations. Convention planning often involves managing multiple locations and venues for a single event. It also requires negotiating transportation between event sites and hotels. The convention planner synchronizes convention activities, provides tourist information about the area and coordinates special events during the convention. This type of planner typically is one member of a larger, multi-person staff, with each team handling different aspects of the convention.
Stephanie Maatta has been a writer for more than 10 years, with articles published in professional journals including "Library Journal" and "Reference Librarian." Many of her publications focus on professional development and career advising. Maatta holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science in library and information science from Florida State University.