How to become an event decorator (definition and skills)
Updated 28 April 2023
A career as an event decorator may be ideal for you if you enjoy getting creative with decorations and planning events. Event decorators work closely with clients, event planners, and vendors to plan the decor, create a theme and ensure they organise everything well. Learning how to become an event decorator can help you if you decide that this is the right path for you. In this article, we explain what an event decorator does, discuss how to become one and highlight some of their essential skills.
What does an event decorator do?
Working as an event decorator can be rewarding for people who seek dynamic jobs. It involves working on all elements of the space or event, including the lighting, colours, furniture and other design features. Event decorators are typically responsible for the overall atmosphere and physical appearance of an event. As an event decorator, you may work on various events, including corporate functions, weddings, conferences and parties. Each event is different, and creativity skills are thus critical in this role. Other roles of an event decorator include:
Meeting with clients: Event decorators often meet their clients to determine their event needs, including the theme, colour and budget. They may also meet regularly before the event to discuss their progress.
Communicating with vendors: Depending on their agreement with clients, event decorators may communicate with vendors to ensure they get the decorating products they need in time and at a reasonable price. They may also meet vendors to view the decor items before deciding on the ones they need.
Creating decor budgets: Event decorators may create event decor budgets for their clients or employers. It's important that your employer or the client approves the budget before you begin the planning process.
Performing pre-event checks: On the day, event decorators visit the venue before guests arrive to ensure everything is in order. They can resolve any issues that arise before the event begins.
How to become an event decorator
Here are six steps on how to become an event decorator:
1. Obtain a degree
While many employers have no minimum requirement for their event decorators, some require that you hold a degree. Earning a degree can separate you from other candidates, improving your chances of getting a job. Consider looking for a degree in event management, event decoration or a related field, such as marketing, design or hospitality management.
2. Gain practical experience
Gaining practical experience can help you gain a competitive advantage over other candidates. You can gain experience through an internship while obtaining a degree or by applying for any role that allows you to work around other things. You could also volunteer to help in event planning to help you gain hands-on experience before pursuing a full-time career. Consider volunteering for a non-profit organisation that plans charity events or volunteer for event planning companies. You could also try asking an event decorator if you can shadow them as they perform their work.
Another great way to gain experience is to offer complimentary decor services to your friends and family. Although they may not pay you, you can get a chance to practise and showcase your decorating skills, building your portfolio. Also check for people in your area planning events or parties and ask them to allow you to decorate or assist the team doing the decorations.
3. Prepare your portfolio
Once you've gained practical experience, you can start preparing your portfolio. This is an effective tool to help you secure work. Include photographs, marketing materials, testimonials and media coverage of any event you may have played a role in organising. Create a portfolio that sets you apart from other candidates.
4. Update your resume
The next step is to update your resume. Highlight all your event decorating experiences, skills you've gained relevant to the role and educational achievements. Include keywords or phrases you see in event decorating job posts to align your achievements and qualifications with your potential employer's needs. Consider tailoring your CV to each specific job you apply for.
5. Apply for event decorating positions
Using your prepared resume and portfolio, apply for vacant event decorating positions. Attach a personalised cover letter to each job you apply for, highlighting why you're the right candidate for the role. Review the job ads list to ensure you have the qualifications that the hiring organisation is looking for. You can apply on company websites or job websites or ask professionals in your network to recommend you for any available positions. After working under a company or an individual, you might decide that you want to work for yourself.
If you decide to start your own business, here are a few tips to consider:
create an online portfolio or professional website showcasing your work and testimonials
network with event planners and other industry professionals
use social media platforms for advertising and promoting your work
attend conventions and trade shows related to event decoration
work on your customer service skills to help you attract and retain customers
choose the services you want to offer
identify and pursue your target clientele
6. Build your network
To be a successful event decorator, learn to build your network. Through your network, you can find jobs or companies looking for event decorators. Network by attending forums for event decorators or events to help you meet other professionals in your field, such as event planners and vendors.
What are the essential skills of an event decorator?
Event decorators use several skills to create well-organised and beautiful events. Some of these skills include:
Attention to detail
Successful event decorators pay attention to detail to ensure that their guests and clients have a memorable and positive experience. To be successful in the role, consider having checklists, itineraries and to-do lists to help make sure you take care of everything. Pay attention to even the most minor details to satisfy your client's requirements, improving your chances of retaining customers.
Event decorators communicate with employers, clients, vendors and other event planners. Strong communication skills are essential to understand each employer or client's requirements and implement their vision. These skills can also help you convey information with clarity, confidence and respect.
Decorating an event requires you to coordinate several things at once. Excellent organisational skills can help ensure you decorate an event on time and per your client's or employer's requirements. These skills may also help you effectively handle multiple tasks at once.
As an event decorator, you may work on different events, such as weddings, parties or company events, among others. Each of these events is different. Creativity skills can help you decorate each of these occasions uniquely, making them memorable and engaging. Improve your creativity skills by attending other events and staying up to date with trends in your industry.
Successful event decorators try to remain calm, even in challenging situations. They can make quick decisions when unforeseen things happen. For example, event decorators may use their problem-solving skills to find the best solutions when weather conditions change or to make sure there are enough supplies for the event.
As an event decorator, your clients or employer may expect you to get the highest quality decor products at the lowest price. It's essential that you have excellent negotiation skills to help you negotiate prices with different vendors. You could also use negotiation skills to request a higher salary or more benefits from your employer.
Budgeting skills are essential, especially if you decide to start your own event decoration business. These skills can help you create an excellent event while keeping costs low. You can source decor items at a low cost and employ competent staff to help you decorate an event uniquely while staying on budget.
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