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  • Ashley Toney

Becoming A Professional Event Planner


Today I’m going to be extremely transparent with you.


Do you have thick skin?


Are you able to not take things personally?


Do you like constructive criticism?




If the answer is YES to every single question, then keep reading. If you answered NO to at least one of those questions, my recommendation is to close out of this article and read in on another article.


This isn’t for the faint of heart.


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As a professional event planner, I understand what it takes to successfully create, organize, and execute one-of-a-kind events. There is an immense amount of detail and impeccable insight that goes into creating events.


What I am going to get into might offend some people. And I am OK with that. You want to know why? Because I am going to save you months, maybe even YEARS from wasting your time. And I will tell you why.


I have met many brides that love planning their wedding day. I have also met many brides who absolutely cringe at the thought of ever planning another event. This is a prime example of two different personality types.


We’re going to talk about Bride #1: the bride who loved planning her wedding day.


Let’s paint a picture to encapsulate this Bride’s personality type and journey through planning her wedding day.


She is creative.


She enjoys planning birthday parties for friends.


She is the first to host a gathering.


Her house is fully decorated during every holiday.


Since she was a little girl, she has envisioned exactly how her big day will look.


The day has finally arrived, she is engaged and so the planning begins…


First stop, Pinterest! She heads to her Pinterest account and looks at the fully designed wedding board (she started creating 5 years ago) and thinks ‘how do I bring this to life?’.


Before starting to plan anything out logistically, she just starts to binge purchase.


She doesn’t take into consideration that friends and family may have some items she wants for décor. Maybe she can rent some items at more affordable rates than purchasing at cost.


She doesn’t take into consideration that the venue may supply some of those items.


She doesn’t take into consideration that the venue may not allow some of those items she has purchased.


Then she starts creating her guest invitations. What she hasn’t taken into consideration, is that her wedding party invitations need to be sent out first.


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Do you know where I’m going with this?


If not, shall I continue?


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Now don’t get me wrong. Not everything has to be done in a specific order when planning a wedding. However, there is an estimated sequence of events that occur when planning a wedding and some elements you just simply cannot do before other priority items.


Additionally, some elements rely on other elements to get done before you can move forward.


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So she gets her planning done, the big day comes and goes in the blink of an eye.

She loved planning her wedding so much she wants to do it more.


Because it seemed to go so well for her, she thinks she can do this professionally.


So she starts applying to event planning companies and throughout the interviews explains that she “just loved planning her wedding so much she wanted to do it more.”


...


First – I am going to be brutally honest with you. That phrase should never be said in a job interview when applying to work for an event planning company. And I will tell you why.


It is a sure sign that the person is incapable of lasting more than 3 – 6 months for the company.


I have worked for multiple event planning companies that have hired people who come in and want to work for the company because they ‘loved planning their wedding and wanted to do it more’…They didn’t last more than 3 – 6 months…every.single.time.


Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t always the case. It truly does work out for some people and they are meant to be a professional event planner. But most of the time, it just isn’t the case.


My Advice:


1. Do some research before you jump into the event planning industry. Read books, follow professional event planners on social media. Read their stories. Study their behaviors and lifestyles.


2. Once you have done that, regroup and think deeply if this is still something you want to take on.


3. If you find that it is something you still want to chase, then reach out to professional event planners in your area and see if you can join them as an unpaid intern in your free time. You can help with set up for events, administrative work in the office, errands. This will get your foot in the door and provide some experience so that you have a clear understanding of what goes on daily in an event planning office.


4. Work as an unpaid intern for at least 1 month. Make sure you are involved in at least 3-4 events for set up. Sit alongside people in the office and listen to their conversations with clients. Tag along with a planner for a site visit. You want to ensure you have this experience before you make a decision about staying in the industry. These experiences will make or a break a planner.


5. If you manage to succeed in all of the steps above and still wish to chase your desire to become a professional event planner, than AWESOME!


6. You now have the experience you need to start applying for companies in a professional capacity. And you never know, maybe the company who brought you on as an intern wants to hire you as a full time paid employee.


My point is this:


Don’t jump at the idea of becoming a professional event planner just because you ‘think your wedding was fun to plan’. The wedding you planned was yours. It was not someone else’s wedding. When you start planning other peoples weddings and events, you may realize that it’s just not as fun. It’s a completely different ball game. There are processes and procedures that go with working professionally as an event planner for clients. You don’t get to make your own processes and procedures, you don’t get to design your own events, you are designing someone else’s vision. It is completely different.


If you have read this far, I commend you. And I also want to help you. If you are passionate about working in the events industry, then reach out to me! I’d love to be your mentor and help guide you to becoming a professional event planner.





Yours truly,


Ashley