How to become a party planner (with tips and skills)

Updated 17 January 2023

If you're well-organised, good at planning and enjoy social occasions, working as a party planner may be a satisfying career choice. Party planning is a highly desirable yet competitive industry, but knowing how to build a career in this field increases your chances of success. There are certain steps to take that allow you to develop your career in party and events planning, which frequently include various transferrable skills. In this article, we discuss what a party planner is and how to become a party planner, including the skills that are useful for these professionals.

What is a party planner?

A party planner is someone who's responsible for organising parties and events. This is sometimes also called event organising. These professionals work on a vast range of different events, from corporate gatherings and conferences to weddings, birthday parties and charity events. In many cases, party planners have an individual niche and specialise in working on a certain type of event.

Party planners work on the full delivery of an event, from the initial planning and budgeting stage to actually holding it. This work involves developing creative ideas, collaborating with both clients and suppliers, problem-solving and managing the event when it's underway. This job is diverse and involves a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities.

Related: Different types of jobs in events (with salary info)

How to become a party planner

If you want to know how to become a party planner, there are steps to follow to help you build a career in this area. Party planners come from a variety of different backgrounds, and it's possible to make good progress by developing your knowledge, experience and relevant skills. Follow these steps to work as an events organiser:

1. Develop your skills and experience

To build your career, focus on developing your party planning skills and experience. Finding paid work as an event planning assistant or internships with events organisations helps you gain experience in working on events and gives you an opportunity to develop relevant skills. If you already have a job, volunteer to work on running company events. This is particularly beneficial if you're interested in working with corporate events. You may also volunteer to help organise charity events or help friends and family members plan events to gain more experience.

Related: Learn how to become an event planner without experience

2. Learn more about the industry

While knowing how to manage an event is important, it's also worth learning more about the events industry. Finding a paid or voluntary job is a useful way of doing this, but staying up-to-date with industry news and developments is also helpful. Industry-specific websites and publications are effective ways to access news and information. Continuing to stay aware of developments is important throughout your career.

3. Identify your niche

As you gain more experience in events, you may start to identify your niche. Some party planners specialise in weddings, corporate gatherings or arts events. You might want to specialise in a particular aspect of party planning like catering, decorating or props. As you gain experience working on different types of events, you're likely to realise what your preferences and strengths are. Developing a niche is also a way of building your professional portfolio. Once you know what your niche is, focus on developing your knowledge in this area.

4. Understand the legal requirements

There are various legal requirements associated with party planning. Often, these requirements relate to health and safety and insurance. If you choose to start your own events planning business, it's also necessary to properly register your business. Getting professional experience helps you understand the requirements, but doing your own research is also useful. Before any event, it's your responsibility to ensure the plans meet relevant requirements.

5. Create a business plan

Some events planners, especially those with experience, decide to open their own events planning businesses. If you do this, it's useful to create a business plan. A business plan helps you consolidate and present your ideas. This document is important if you try to get investment or funding for your business. It also helps to guide the activities of the business. Creating a business plan might feel challenging, but it's a vital part of starting your own business.

6. Build relationships with vendors

Whether you're working at your own company or for an employer, building positive relationships with vendors and suppliers is essential for success in event management. These relationships help you develop a strong network, making it easier to organise events and overcome challenges and changes. Sometimes it's easier to negotiate prices and terms if you already have a positive relationship with the supplier. This helps you put on more profitable events.

Related: What does a supplier do? (With definition, tips and FAQs)

7. Develop relationships with clients

Developing relationships with clients is important for sustained success in event management. If you're running your own events company, effective marketing allows you to reach your target audience. Networking is also a useful way of finding new clients, especially at your own events. To attract clients, it's sensible to clearly communicate your niche and strengths, including on your website and in marketing materials.

Related: Event planner: CV skills and how you can improve them

Skills for events planners

Some skills are particularly important for event planners to cultivate, and the best way to develop these skills is by gaining experience. The following skills are important for party planners to have:

Planning skills

Planning skills are naturally important for party planners because planning is central to the role. Knowing how to plan events methodically and adhere to budgets and time frames is vital for this type of work. Party planners can also think creatively to find solutions and suggest new ideas as part of the initial planning stage.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is important for ensuring that every aspect of the event is of high quality. Paying attention to planning individual aspects of the event means that every part comes together successfully. Strong attention to detail also helps party planners manage budgets and time schedules, allowing events to run smoothly.

Organisation skills

Organisation skills help you manage your workload and are also useful for planning. Specialist tools and software are available to help party planners stay organised while arranging events. Planning an event involves many different tasks and responsibilities, but strong organisation skills help you manage all of these tasks.

Interpersonal skills

Strong interpersonal skills are important as a party planner because the job involves interacting with a wide variety of people. This includes both clients and suppliers. Interpersonal skills help you develop positive relationships and work effectively with other people. They also help you communicate well with others. This is important for understanding client requirements and negotiating with clients or suppliers.

Problem-solving skills

Event planners require problem-solving skills and the ability to respond calmly in stressful situations. In this job, you're likely to encounter unexpected challenges, cancellations or changes to client requests. Having problem-solving skills helps you find solutions and ensure customer satisfaction. This includes solving issues while organising an event and when it's actually taking place.

Creative thinking skills

Creative thinking skills are vital for party planners. These skills not only help you find solutions to problems and challenges, but they also help you develop exciting concepts for events. Clients might approach you with general ideas, but having these skills helps you identify ways of turning them into a real event. Thinking creatively and staging ambitious events also helps you reach more clients.

Customer service skills

Event planners work closely with their clients, so customer service skills are important for ensuring client satisfaction. These skills help you understand what the client wants and how to do everything possible to meet their requirements. It's usually important to stay in regular contact with clients while you're developing their event, so being able to support clients effectively is essential.

Related: How to care for customers in the workplace (with examples)

Time management skills

Events have strict deadlines, so party planners require good time management skills. This helps you meet deadlines and use your time effectively. Some events also have strict schedules, and time management skills ensure that the event runs as planned.

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