So You Think You’re an Event Planner

16 Oct

Having worked in Public Relations for over seven years, I’ve realized that PR burn out happens to many of us. When you decide to work in public relations, you are first excited by the thought of glamorous parties, meeting people and the late nights. What no one tells you about are the long days that you have to put in to have a successful event.

When freelancing or working in a small company/department, there are less people to delegate responsibilities to, and you the workload gets crazy before the event. I recently found myself running around Detroit’s City Hall in order to get tent and food permits, changing tents last minute because the tent people did the walk through the day before the event (that was a little my fault), managing RSVP’s and reaching out to the media.

The day before the event I was picking up signage, printing name tags and media kits, doing the final walk-through and moving furniture. Weeks of work and late nights all equate to a two-hour event. But if its successful and the client is happy, nothing else matters. Until you get home, finally sit down and then realize you can’t move because you’ve been on your feet since 7 a.m.

So kids, event management is not the glamour that it seems. I laughed at the intern that came dressed in a short skirt and four-inch heels. While the outfit was cute, understand that when managing an event you will be doing everything from moving tables, helping with food, greeting people, etc. That’s why I prefer nice flats with a black suit and black shirt.

What also makes an event successful are the vendors you choose. You see I didn’t talk much about the food, because the caterer was great. Food was well prepared, he brought enough staff and his end of things went very smoothly. My AV guy and photographer both showed up early and did everything requested of and more. My printed programs and signage looked great. And even though there was a small problem with the tent, it ended up looking great. They also supplied tables, chairs and linens and everything worked perfectly.

Vendors are a large part of planning an event, and you get what you pay for and this is an area you don’t want to skimp. Always ask for recommendations and look at other events the company has done.


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