A few weeks ago someone on Facebook asked if there were 10 basic rules to being an event planner. I thought that was a pretty good question and thought back on all the lessons I’ve learned since my first wedding back in 1997. I’m not even sure that I would call these basic rules but they are tips that the elite of all elite have passed on to me throughout the years.
- Rely on organization. A successful event planner needs to be good at making list and checking them off. They need to be good at timelines, schedules, and due dates. It’s that simple.
- Expand only when necessary…not too soon and definitely not too late. A lot of us are so anal retentive that we have difficulty entrusting our vision to anyone else. Remember though, you can’t do everything forever.
- Blow the box up! People always say to think outside of the box. When it comes to the creativity necessary to come up with different ideas every single time, get rid of the box. Forget there ever was a box or any sides to a square of any kind.
- Build relationships. You never know who you will come across in this industry and what or who they will know and vice versa. Building relationships with people will enable a planner to develop a strong network of vendors and contacts.
- Surround yourself with good people and treat them better than you treat yourself. Once upon a time I had a relationship with a major hotel chain…I also drove a bucket. But I can guarantee you that when I showed up to that hotel my bucket was valet parked right up front with the Mercedes’ and BMW’s. At the end of the reception there was always a plate waiting for me and willing hands to help pack up. A planner’s most valuable resources are the people they rely on.
- Copy, Paste Special Values, Edit. Hopefully you’re familiar with Excel and get that reference. There is nothing wrong with taking an idea that you see somewhere else and tweeking it to fit your clients. A good planner has the ability to identify something special and come up with a way to make it even more unique for their own purpose. A good planner also doesn’t just copy and paste….and we never NOT give proper credit.
- Charge what you’re worth. That is actually one of the biggest tips that I’ve been given. I know you’re thinking that’s not a rule to being an event planner but it is. Never discount the value of your services. Not only will it drive you absolutely nuts but your clients may doubt the level of quality you’re willing to provide at discount prices.
- Be honest with your clients. I can honestly say that there were plenty of occasions when a client wanted more than I could provide and I broke myself trying to meet their requests instead of just being honest about our limitation (and the limitations of their budget). A good rule of thumb in planning is to do what you say you’re going to do and don’t be afraid to say no if they ask for more than you’re capable of.
- Relax, Relate, Release. I once had the opportunity to meet my 2 greatest idols in this industry and they could not stop going on to us about how important it was to have someone to vent to. Luckily they had each other. They would get together once a month and go for a walk and just release to each other. They say it kept them sane.
- Try anything at least twice. I used to have an associate who was close minded in terms of food. I would always tell her that we need to be willing to try anything at least twice or else we would never get any clients. My first experience with scallops was at an industry luncheon in Dallas. The plates were already set on the table and the scallops were room temperature. I was lucky enough to be seated at the same table as a husband and wife catering team who promptly pushed my plate aside for me and said “don’t eat anymore of that.” That experience allowed me the knowledge for a future wedding reception where I could discern whether the scallops would cause me a huge insurance headache or not.
So there you have it…the rules that I rely on as passed on to me by people that I consider to be the greats.
Thanks for visiting Diva (in Demand). My blog escapades have followed me across 4 states, 3 jobs, a business venture, and a new husband. There are no mini divas yet but I have loads of nieces and nephews to slobber and wipe their dirty hands on me. I am an amateur pastry chef, certified cake decorator, and seasoned home cook who knows how to pair French cuiseine with fine wine, collard greens and cornbread. You'll find a little bit of everything around here.....where I take talking to myself to a whole new level.