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Career as an Event Planner
I am hoping I can find someone on this wonderful network who can offer some insight into the wedding/event planning business.
In my previous life(before being a stay at home mom for 4 years), I was a retail inventory planner and buyer. So, I do have an organized mind as well as an eye for beautiful things and I LOVE planning...
When I get started on a project, I am obsessed with it, but enjoy it so much. Planned my own wedding in 2000(the whole thing by myself, no family involved and hubby left it up to me), and those were some of the happiest months of my whole life... carrying my binder around, scouring the internet, visiting site, vendors, etc. Did the same thing for a European vacation the following year, and now that my son is about to turn four. I am planning his birthday party with a pirate theme and finding myself obsessing over even the smallest details.
I think this is my calling because it is something I truly love. My dilemma is that I thrive on the planning, organizing, etc, but am NOT good with the actual day of the event coordination. I have never been a ''johnny on the spot'' problem solver. I need time to think things through and respond to them, and I've never wanted a job where I am solely responsible for a ''life and death'' situation(ie doctor, pilot, lawyer)..not that a wedding snafu is life or death, but it is potentially one of the biggest days of two peoples' lives, and I don't want that resting on my shoulders.
So, is there such a job that only does the up front planning and not the ''day of'' stuff? If so, any ideas how to break into the field...certification at a community college help or just go and work for someone and get on the job experience, etc. Do I try to start my own business or work for someone else?
To make things a little difficult, we have recently left the Bay area and so I'd have to start over as I don't have any contacts here in the business.
Any advice comments would be so helpful. Thanks. PS.I still love reading BPN newsletters and miss the wonderful camraderie of the community there. I'll plan your party but don't invite me!
There's too much detail to delegate it all to someone who's just at the event. You say you don't want the responsibility of a couple's big day resting on your shoulders, but even the pre- planning is that sort of responsibility. You're directing them on how to spend their money, so if they're not happy with choices made, then it comes back to you. You also have to be part psychologist as you deal with all sorts of people.
No matter how well you plan, there are always last minute issues. One of the questions I asked when hiring event coordinators for a company I worked for was "tell me about an unexpected problem during an event & how you handled it." All the planners I know, me included, love the on your feet problem solving. Go to craigslist.org & search for event jobs, and you'll usually see that as part of a job requirement.
As for getting your feet wet, it's hands-on experience that counts. There are special event planner associations that have workshops & are good for networking: ISES (International Special Events Society) or MPI (Meeting Planners Int'l). Or get a job as a House Mgr at a venue that does special events, or work in the events department of a hotel, venue or company. A lot of big companies, like Charles Schwab, have their own in- house event planning departments that plan special events, national and international meetings, etc. You can meet event planners that sometimes need on call help with event planning, and that will get you a lot of valuable experience. anon
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