Event planners organise all kinds of events, including weddings, anniversaries, reunions, product launches, concerts, festivals and award ceremonies. They coordinate all aspects of these events, from choosing and booking venues to hiring caterers and entertainment to ensuring everyone has a good time.
Duties and responsibilities
- Meet clients to understand the purpose of the event and to determine client requirements
- Plan the scope of the event, including budget, venue, date and time
- Coordinate services for the event, including accommodation, catering, entertainment and security
- Research venues, suppliers and contractors
- Inspect venues to ensure they meet the client’s requirements
- Negotiate and manage vendor contracts
- Obtain any necessary permits
- Ensure insurance, legal, and health and safety obligations are followed
- Hire, train and manage support staff
- Maintain records of event aspects, including financial details
- Review event bills and approve payments
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Nights, weekends and holidays
The work of event planners is largely office based, although they will regularly travel to visit clients, suppliers, venues and partners. They also often spend time away from home if the event they’re working on is being held in a different city or even abroad.
As an event planner, you’ll work normal office hours, but you will have to put in extra hours, especially when leading up to an event to finalise preparations. It’s not uncommon for event planners to wake up at 5am on the day of the event and go to bed at 5am the following morning, although this largely depends on the type and scale of event they’re overseeing.
Event planners may have to work on holidays like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, so their social life and personal relationships can become strained. The work is often fast-paced and demanding, and it can be particularly stressful when coordinating multiple events at the same time.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in event management
You’ll typically need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in event management in order to work as an event planner. You could also pursue this career with a degree in communications, business management or business.
Generally speaking, gaining some work experience in hospitality can improve your job prospects, as can voluntary certification. If you would like to specialise in wedding planning, for example, becoming certified by the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP) can be helpful for attracting clients.
You will typically begin your professional journey as an assistant before progressing to a management role and, potentially, director position. The further you progress in your career, you will likely be assigned larger and more complex events which can involve high-profile clients like celebrities and internationally recognised brands.
With experience and an established network of contacts, you could move to freelancing or setting up your own event planning business.