Event Planning 101

When many people think of event planning they think of weddings, galas and other extravagant parties. While these are occasions that require an event planner, many other corporate events such as meetings and conventions requiring the expertise of an event planner as well. Event planning is key to the success of IMC. Events can be used to showcase new ideas or products, raise awareness and or profits for a cause or simply celebrate success. A few students from our class are currently exploring the event planning process, helping to plan a 10 year celebration event for a local charter school. Students are learning first hand all the intricate details and preparation that come along with event planning.

An event planner is someone who coordinates every detail for the specific occasion. They deal with finding and securing an appropriate venue, choosing food and beverages and finding a supplier for AV equipment if needed. With this being said, event planners should be comfortable with details and deadlines. While preparation for an event is the bulk of the work, don’t think that on the day of the event you’ll be relaxing. During the event itself, you are responsible for making sure things run smoothly including registration, raffle prizes, food service etc. The industry does have it’s upsides too. Event planners often get to travel a lot and visit beautiful hotels and destinations either regionally, internationally or both depending on where the events you plan are being held. You are also constantly meeting new people, some who are highly influential in todays world.

Those in the event planning field can either find work for corporations that have an event planning department in house or they can work for an outside company that is contracted to do work. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, event planning is expected be grow faster than average for all occupations in the upcoming years. The average salary for employees of the field in May 2008 was about $44,000 per year with a high of around $75,000. Event planning provides it’s employees with many options to find work as well as a career with a growing future.

As with most careers a great place to start is with an internship. Nonprofit foundations, wedding planners and schools are just some of the many businesses that could offer potential internships or volunteer opportunities. Classes that the UNCW Communication Department offers such as interpersonal communication in addition to IMC and Adv. IMC will help better prepare you for the job as well.  Although there may be a lot of details and pressure involved with event planing, the people you meet and places you can go are endless.

Jess Smith