In the world of entertainment and performance, the word “event” is used synonymously with a number of terms designed to define a particular fathering that takes place at a set location and which generally follows along a predetermined schedule of terms of what goes on and when. An event can be a party, fundraiser, reception, contest, or even a meeting. Event coordinators and party planners most commonly see these events hosted by companies or organizations and are referred to as corporate events. Depending on the role and industry of the event specialist, sometimes the events consist of performances such as live music events, sporting events, and performing arts shows like ballets, operas or stand up comedy. Or, for the more advanced and some might say tolerant even planner, the word event can refer to a landmark event like Bar Mitzvah, wedding s or the elite Debutante Balls.
Despite the occasion, all events require a plan, a determination of what will take place and approximately when, in order to satisfy the intended goal of the event. Whether the goal is to entertain an audience with a sequence of rehearsed actions or it’s to simply gather a group of like minded individuals in a room for a wild, unstructured party, someone or a group of people must be in charge of planning the event before hand and during the entirety of the party or performance. This can get complicated and bring on stress that the event host or the star of the party does not often want to hinder their own enjoyment. So many times, an event coordinator, also known as an event specialist, a party planner, event planner, event producer, or if appropriate, a meeting planner. Event professionals can write independently but the most profitable events end up in the hands of large, often nationwide, event coordination firms that employ several planners, who in most cases each get delegated separate accounts by the event company’s head director.
To be an event production specialist is not a job for those looking for a position where the weekdays are routine, weekends are days off, and predictability is common. An event coordinator must be adept at multitasking solving problems that arise in the midst of the most important part of the occasion and able to plan out every aspect of the event months ahead of time. Event planners also must not be thin-skinned, or sensitive to criticism or bossy clients. Finally they must be extremely organized and detail oriented. The client, no matter what event type is taking place, is counting on the event coordinator to essentially take the whole project off of their hands and keep the entire event in control.
A declaration to handle an event form “concept to completion” is a slogan used so often by so many event coordination companies that it has almost become a cliché. But to be an exceptional event planner, one must truly stand by this promise. It is committing to three main parts: maintain control and facilitate the planning process, the event details and remaining at the event to see it through from set up to breakdown.
Usually the planning process begins wit the host or client establishing contact with the event specialist of choice. The client often has a vague sense of what the desired result will be but needs help making such decisions as schedule planning, venues selection and which, if any, other vendors to hire. These three main components typically remain uncertain up until the last minute, as there are so many options, which is why the even planner must be on top of things and maintain good connections with other professionals in the industry. Optional components to coordinate it an event include decorating transportation to and from like busses or limousines, caterers, DJ/Band, lighting director and sometimes a professional photographer. It is the job of event planner to collaborate with various vendors to negotiate prices and options and then report back to the client to discuss the best opportunities. Coordinating all of these factors together can be tricky as there are many things to consider such as an exact date of the event, exact count of attendees, and budget limitations so constant communication among all parties is key. It is not uncommon for the caterer to meet with the decorator or the photographer to the lighting tech and same with any of the service providers. These meetings are sometimes attended by the client but also can be taken care of by the coordinator alone.
Once the event planner gets a comprehensive idea of what the client is looking for, and some general selections of providers is narrowed down, the most important and some might argue the hardest part of the event planning is deciding on a location. In most situations, if the host (client) hasn’t already picked a desired spot, the event planner considers all of the event specifics, including budget and makes a few calls to the facilitie4s he or she thinks would suit the client’s event best.
There are more things to consider than one would think. When choosing a venue it must be noted whether the place can fit the amount of people expected, whether the venue provides their own sound and/or video if applicable and whether or not a DJ or band needs to be outsourced. Then there are budget considerations. There is usually a pr9ice for r4enting the venue itself for an evening, a fee (often inclusive) to cover the staff hired for the event, and an arrangement regarding alcohol and other drinks.
Finally, the venue must have the proposed event date available. If they do not, but the client places a huge emphasis on obtaining a particular place, usually they (the client) can adjust their plans to a date that is available. The event coordinator, upon calling each venue, will start by placing (usually several dates) on hold. (Typical policy of a venue is to place holds on their calendar for free and then require a deposit or partial fee to secure the room for that time. So the even planner has a lot of room to work with if s/he plans the event several months to a year ahead of time as long as nobody challenges the date.
Finally, after placing holds, the event coordinator arranges to meet with the events specialist at each venue to have a tour with the client in tow.
The venue selection is probably the most important part of the process, as once a facility is chosen, the other vendors (caterers, decorators, photographer, DJ, etc) as well as the client and event coordinator can begin to plan.
Finally, after numerous phone calls, meetings and decision making processes, the event day rolls around/ The event coordinator is responsible for taking care of all the details necessary for the event to run smoothly- so much so that the client (though they often do on their own accord) shouldn’t have to arrive a the venue until the invited guests do.
And now for arguably the most challenging part of the event coordinator’s entire job with this particular account and the big test of his or her event planning and producing abilities is the body of the event in it’s live entirety. As mentioned before, the planner must be able to see out of all sides of the head and have a sixth sense to anticipate problems before they happen. The event coordinator must be in constant communication with every party involved in running the event. And finally, the planner should keep an eye on the client and make sure he or she is having just the kind of time that was expected and is appropriate. Then, the crowd leaves, the lights go out, at some point the client pays the event coordinator if this hasn’t been taken care of already and everyone goes home. Hopefully, if the event coordinator did a proper job, the client will call on them again for another event. Thus, he or she has been successful. It is usually the task of the maintenance workers at the selected venue to clean up the bulk of the mess that was made.