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what is event planning

When you’re first deciding how to be an event planner there are many things you need to do.

There’s an overwhelming amount of information and action to take – especially if you’re looking online.

How do you move forward and take stride when you’re just starting in the industry?

First, decide if event planning is right for you. Many newbies love the idea of planning events but they don’t ask themselves, “What is event planning?”

With so many job titles and job descriptions, many people confuse event planning and event management.

What is Event Planning?

Event planning is the process of budgeting, scheduling, choosing a venue or event site, coordinating permits and licenses, arranging entertainment including bands and speakers, and meeting with caterers to choose a menu. The term event planning is used when planning weddings, meetings or parties.

Event Management is the process of overseeing and managing the entire event from start to finish, including the event team and/or volunteers. Typically, event managers have more experience than a planner and manage the entire project. The term event management is usually used when referring to large-scale events like festivals, conferences, or concerts.

Regardless of which title you choose to give yourself, there are 3 key qualities that an event planner must have to succeed.

  1. Time Management – you must be able to coordinate multiple schedules at once, in order to be a successful event planner.
  2. Resourcefulness – thinking quickly on your feet is critical to planning events – no matter what size – because even the best laid plans don’t always go as planned and you’ll need to know how to seamlessly fix issues without your client or the event guests knowing.
  3. Budgeting – one of the most important skills to have as an event planner, yet often ignored because many of us like the creative side of event planning more than dealing with the bottom line. However, in order to be a successful event planner and make a profit, you must know your numbers. If budgeting scares you, sign up for a class at a local college to learn the basics.

3 Reasons Event Planning is Not For You

What if you love planning events but you aren’t sure it’s the right career path for you?

Giving yourself permission to plan events on the side or for fun is absolutely OK, but if you’re wondering if it should be a full-time job, ask yourself if you struggle with these 3 skill busters.

  1. Procrastination – if you’ve been dabbling in event planning for more than 6 months, this may not be the right career choice for you. Taking action quickly, being responsive and decision-making is all part of the job.
  2. Discretion – lacking discretion and understanding how and when to send client updates is fundamental. If you feel the need to update your client about ever (little) detail when you should spend time fixing problems and/or finding solutions, event planning is not right for you.
  3. Listening Skills – not having the ability to listen and understand client needs leads to mistakes and bad decisions. Effectively listening to your clients, vendors and team makes your job a lot easier.

event planning business

I want you to hear Sarah’s story.

Sarah started her event planning business earlier this year and she’s still employed by someone else. Sarah is trying to shift from being an employee to planning events full time.

At work, colleagues and clients surround her all day so she’s worried that she’ll miss her built-in social life, but the desire to make a bigger impact on her life and her community drives her to work while she’s building her event planning business.

Sarah also fears she won’t be able to make her business profitable and make enough money to support her family.

Taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship can be challenging, especially when you know you have a steady income. One of the biggest obstacles that holds most aspiring event planners back from starting their business is the fear of not making enough money.

Having a job while you’re building your event planning business is a great way to bring in money and keep yourself on track financially while you build your business on the side.

Start Your Event Planning Business

If you’re in a similar situation, use your day job to keep a roof over your head and to learn valuable business skills that you’ll need in your event business. Watch today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV and learn 4 ways your day job can help you build a sustainable event business.

meeting agenda

Imagine this…

You land a meeting with your dream event client and you’re really excited about it, but you’re worried because you don’t know how to prepare a productive meeting agenda that makes you look like a pro.

I ran into this when a client asked me to meet them to discuss an event proposal I had submitted. This client ran two large events per year and it was an amazing opportunity for me to get regular business and to expand my client base.

For this meeting, I knew my main objective was to get hired but I needed to prepare for this (very important) meeting because I knew they’d be asking me questions about my experience, how I could help them plan and manage their two events, and how to help them grow the (overall) event too.

I was worried because my website wasn’t ready and I didn’t feel like I was as polished as I needed to be to showcase my event skills and talents.

It’s easy but more stressful to go with the flow and cross your fingers hoping that it’ll all work out. And, preparing a step-by-step meeting agenda shows your clients that you’re a professional, it allows you to bring up important ideas so your clients see how you’ll help them with their event, and preparing with a meeting agenda helps you stay calm!

A meeting agenda is a plan that outlines what topics you’ll discuss (and in what order) during your meeting.

The goal of creating a meeting agenda is to keep you on track and inform your event clients of the topics that you’ll cover during your meeting.

It’s a good idea to send your client the agenda prior to the meeting so they can add items (and you can prepare) before you meet them.

Today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV is perfect if you have an important client meeting and you need a step-by-step system to prepare your meeting agenda. It’s the perfect checklist to plan any meeting agenda. 

(Beware: in this video, the Aussie sun was so bright it’s hard to see me and the Australian birds have A LOT to say about this topic too!)

plan an event

Learning how to plan an event requires multitasking skills and (often) quick thinking.

In order to succeed, you need to know and understand the basics so you plan your event effectively. Event planning is a fun and rewarding career, and becomes so much easier once you take the time to learn and develop your skills in negotiation, communication, budgeting (the most successful event planners do this really well) and project management.

Before you jump ahead and pick an event venue, it’s important to take time to create a plan so you know how to plan an event properly.

How To Plan An Event

By using these 10 steps, you’ll be better prepared and understand the logistics of every event you plan:

  1. Know and understand your event objective. Why are you having the event? What is the purpose of your event? Knowing your event objective is the key to your event success.
  2. Once you understand the scope of your event, identify your team that will help plan and manage the event.
  3. Choose an event date. It’s a good idea to have a few date options in case your first choice isn’t available. Don’t forget to check statutory holidays!
  4. Review event venue choices. Before signing the venue contract, go and see the venue in person and meet the venue manager. Looking at pictures on-line is very different than ‘getting a feel’ for the place. I recommend you view at least 5 properties/venue options so you know what they offer, available dates, you’ve met and seen their team, and you’ve seen the grounds around the venue.
  5. Establish your event budget. A fundamental piece when learning how to plan an event, your budget determines which venue you’ll use, the kind of food served at your event, and the entertainment you’ll hire. When creating an event budget, it’s important to include an ‘estimates’ column to help create a realistic cost overview.
  6. Create an administrative plan. At this point, you may choose to use event management software to track your budget, workback schedule, and guest registration. If buying software isn’t in your budget, use Trello – a free project management platform that helps you track and manage the details of your events.
  7. Once you’ve created your event budget, it’s time to choose the food and beverage that’ll be served during your event. Remember, this can take (up to) 30-40% of your event budget AND people always remember the food so choose wisely if you want to make a lasting impression.
  8. Determine your event entertainment and/or speakers. It’s important to identify entertainment options that are suitable for the event’s objective.
  9. Create a publicity plan and a partnership/sponsorship plan (optional). Depending on the size and scope of your event will depend on whether or not you need to create a publicity plan and/or a partnership plan. From the beginning stages of planning to the event wrap up, incorporate this step if it’s suitable for your event planning process.
  10. Event Wrap Up (aka post-mortem). Often overlooked, yet a very important piece of learning how to plan an event, your evaluation process allows you to learn from your mistakes and measure your successes. Using your event objective as a guideline, decide your success criteria and how to improve your next event.

If you’re ready to learn how to plan an event, watch this episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV. In this training video, you’ll learn:

  1. Why having an event objective is the secret to event success
  2. Why food is the most important part of your event
  3. 5 critical tricks to consider before you book a venue
  4. How to increase your event attendance rates
  5. Discover sneaky add-on services that may increase your credit card bill (without your knowledge)
  6. and more…

Summer is upon us and I’m back to wearing sundresses and flip flops, which is my favorite outfit EVER!

This week I’m flying home for a family reunion and the Event Planning Blueprint team is taking time off to enjoy the summer, catch up on rest and plan the launch of our program How To Be An Event Planner.

I love hearing how people spend their vacation time and since you’re probably taking time off too, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

For the next five weeks we’re going to revisit our most popular event planning blog posts and videos. These are great if you missed an episode or need a refresher.

It doesn’t matter how many articles or episodes you’ve read or seen it’s great to watch or read them again and listen from a different perspective.

Many of you have been reading, watching and commenting for years (thank you! xo), but there are thousands of event planners that are new to our community so this is a good chance for them to learn from our best and most popular event planning blog posts.

Popular Event Planning Blog Posts

Free Event Planning Training

As an event planner, you have to wear a lot of hats and perform under pressure. How do you know if event planning is right for you? In this free event planning training, learn how to plan an event – successfully – and determine whether or not a career in event planning is right for you.

C’mon over and in the comments let me know one question you have about event planning.

10 Steps To Start Your Event Planning Business

If you find creating a traditional event planning business plan as dull as I do, then this is the training for you. In this video workshop we put a modern spin on creating a plan that works. This training helps you decide which type of events you want to plan, how to map out your goals, why it’s important to list your resources, how to establish your niche market, how to determine your pricing, and more.

Use these 10 steps as your personal checklist and you’ll be up and running in no time. I’d love to know what you took away from this workshop, in the comments on the blog post, let me know.

How To Start An Event Planning Business With No Money

Are you getting stopped in your tracks because you have a tight budget? In this video, learn how to start an event planning business with no money – these tips are sure to get your creative juices flowing!

Join me in the comments and let me know what is stopping you from start an event planning business.

Are Your Event Contracts Protecting You?

Have you taken the time to get your event contracts in place? If you’re wondering how to safeguard yourself and your event business, listen in as we discuss what you should (and shouldn’t) include in your event contracts.

What are you waiting for? Head on over and in the comments let us know if you have any questions about event contracts.

8 Steps To Charging For Your Event Services

Whether you’re starting your own events business or you plan to be an independent event planner, knowing how to charge for your event services is going to make (or break) your success. For a fresh look on how to charge for your event planning services, watch this video and learn why it’s important NOT to have the lowest price in town.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this blog post, what did you learn and how is it going to help you price your event services properly?

Thank you so much for being a part of this event planning community and for watching, reading, commenting and joining me each week.

Speak soon,

Event Planning Certificate

Do you wonder whether or not it’s important to have an event planning certificate for people to take you seriously or to get started in the events industry – especially when you don’t have a lot of experience?

Let’s say you’re deeply passionate about event planning and all things related to events; you read everything you can get your hands on and spend countless hours surfing the Internet for that one piece of information that’s going to change everything for you.


You’ve never been paid to plan an event nor have you been hired by another event planner or client to plan their events. Is it necessary to get an event planning certificate so you start getting paid to plan events and feel like a professional event planner?

Alternatives to an Event Planning Certificate

That’s exactly what we’re talking about today on EventPlanning BlueprintTV. We’re sharing 2 reasons why you do not need an event planning certificate to be successful, especially when you’re starting in the industry.

Must I have an event certification to be an event planner?

No. Obtaining an event planning certification is not necessary to get started, nor will it assure you get hired. Education is important but without actually planning and managing events, you’re getting little more than theory-based information.

Find an event planning course that teaches you the basics and gain experience by planning your own events or by working with an event mentor to gain hands-on experience.

Is it more valuable to get experience in sales, marketing or even catering than it is to take a general event certification program.

Yes. Make a list of the areas where you need experience. For example, catering. Then, create a list of caterers in your area that you’d like to work with and schedule a call or send them an email introducing yourself and letting them know why you’d like to work with them, how you will benefit their business, and what you’d like to gain from the experience.

event planner salary

It’s important to price your event planning services correctly so you make money and have cash flow to keep your business alive, but how much can you expect to make? What is a ‘typical’ event planner salary?

Money isn’t the only reason you should get into event planning; things like passion, organization and people skills should also be considered. But it’s still important to know how much you can expect to make each year.

Event Planner Salary

Aside from being a celebrity event planner, and depending on where you live and what type of events you plan (weddings vs. corporate, for example), will depend on the average event planner salary you can expect to earn.

Having said that, according to payscale.com, most event planners earn an average income of $45,000/yr and salary.com says the average event planner salary is $51,216$69,887. 

Lynda, a 36-year-young retail manager switched careers because she’s dreamed about being a wedding planner for many years. She started working with a local wedding and event company outside New York City and said her base salary started at $42,000 for the first year and then increased in her second year (based on performance). Lynda had very little event experience, but she had a ton of energy and passion and her employer recognized that.

Monica has been planning events for nearly five years for a large legal firm and is paid $56,000/yr. This year she’s becoming a certified meeting planner and can expect her event planner salary to increase once she’s completed the course.

Tom started his event planning business in 2012 after leaving a job he hated. While he was nervous and scared to leave the comfort of ‘having a job’, Tom also knew that the reward of starting a business would outweigh any worries he had before he took a leap of faith. Tom had to work hard to get his name and business cards in the hands of his ideal client, but it’s paid off and his take home salary ranges between $82-105,000/year. Learn the steps to start an event planning business.

As an independent event planner, are you wondering what a typical event planner salary is, how event planners charge for their services and make money? If so, then today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV is for you.


audio visual training

Event planners don’t often consider the technical knowledge they require to run an event, and let’s be honest, it can be overwhelming when we think about audio visual (aka A/V) for our event planning needs.

You want your event to be professional, no matter how big or small it is, and some basic audio visual training will help you navigate the world of technology so even the basic information doesn’t sound like a foreign language.

The first event I planned on my own was hosted by HGTV and featured home building expert, Mike Holmes from the hit TV show Holmes on Homes, and Home Depot was the sponsor. It was an outdoor event with a large tent (roughly 40′ x 80′) so our audio visual wishlist was very important and special requirements were needed so 300+ people could hear and see Mike Holmes and the other featured guests when they were on stage. We also had to take into consideration that we were outdoors and rain was forecasted for the day — and it was rainy and windy that day!

At that point I didn’t have any audio visual training and relied heavily on the tech guys that I hired (and trusted!) to make sure all the details were worked out. Thankfully it was a success, but looking back it was in my best interest to get the training I needed before the event so the whole process ran smoothly and I could stay within my client’s budget.

It’s easy for details to fall through the cracks when you don’t have the experience or knowledge you need, including getting basic audio visual training, before you’re in front of your clients. Learning the basics goes a long way in making sure your event is professionally run.

Audio Visual Training

In today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV, Will Curran from Endless Entertainment is teaching you basic audio visual training and in this video, you’ll learn:

  1. What kind of screens you need for your event
  2. What common mistakes event planners make when hiring audio visual companies
  3. How to save money on audio visual when planning an event
  4. How to read a quote from an audio visual company
  5. 5 tips all event planners MUST know about audio visual, and more…

Michelle has been considering a career in event and wedding planning. It’s a question she’s been struggling with for over a year.

She’s talked to her friend, Susan, about how she started a career in event and wedding planning, but Michelle feels she lacks experience and isn’t sure she can make up for it with her passion and motivation. She’s faced with the difficult decision to stay in a job that she doesn’t like or change careers and industries altogether.

Starting a career in event and wedding planning may sound like a dream, and for some, like Michelle, it is.
So how do you know if it’s the right career for you or if you have what it takes to excel in this competitive industry?

Is a Career in Event and Wedding Planning Right For You?

Start by doing a self-asssessment of your core values, how you like to work (9-5pm vs. evenings and weekends, for example), your abilities, and your skills (like interpersonal and communication skills).

In addition to interpersonal and communication skills, here are 3 must-have skills needed to be successful as an event and wedding planner:

  1. Business Knowledge – having the ability to know and understand business jargon is the difference between running small, local events or running large, high budget events. To work on your business acumen, register for business classes at your local college and put yourself in situations where you have to make quick and effective decisions.
  2. Project Management – the best way for a new event planner to learn is to find an event mentor and get involved in industry associations.
  3. Emotional Intelligence – as an event and wedding planner, it’s critical that you know how to manage your own emotions so you can adjust to change, work better in teams and are more flexible.

When I started planning events, they kind of fell into my lap. At first, anyway. Then the hard decisions came later once I decided that I wanted a full time event planning career.

I had virtually no experience – at least that’s what I thought since most of the events I planned were for family, friends, or companies I worked for and I wasn’t getting paid to plan them.

If you’re in the same boat now, today’s video is for you. And, if you were in the same boat, listen up since Addie shares some great success tips that you can use.

Whether you’re looking for the right event management training to take or searching for the best event planning school online that suits your budget, time and lifestyle; hundreds of questions and concerns go through your head when trying to decide: Is Event Planning Right For You?

Is Event Planning Right For You?

Most of us face this decision with little knowledge or the tools to decide, but at the end of the day the best decision is to follow your heart and your dreams. No matter what the outcome, once you make a decision and have clarity, the path you choose must be the right one for you – not your mom, your boyfriend or your husband!

In today’s episode of EventPlanningBlueprintTV, Addie and I share what skills you need, how to get experience when you don’t have any, and how to get started when you’re feeling stuck.

TAGS: is event planning right for you

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