5 Things No Event Planner Training Can Prepare You For
There’s only so much a course textbook can teach you. Sure, you can learn about the best types of flowers to use for corsages, or the best lighting setup for a banquet hall with a PowerPoint presentation on queue, but there are some things you can’t prepare for. Some things must be learned out in the real world.
General statements like, “don’t panic” or “keep yourself from stressing out”, are easier said than done. Behind every picturesque event, there are probably a dozen unforeseen (but ultimately resolved) obstacles—that’s the nature of event planning! The first few years are especially tough on a budding planner, but if you really love what you do, it’ll all be worth it.
No matter how hard you study, you still won’t feel prepared when you encounter these 5 things in your event planning career!
1. The wedding hangover
Unlike the hangovers some of the other wedding guests will likely wake up to, your hangover doesn’t involve alcohol. There’s nothing like a planner’s post-wedding hangover, which comes in two wonderful varieties:
- Everything you’ve been planning for has culminated into a single day and you work extra hard to push through the final hours. As a result, you experience extreme exhaustion after the big event.
- The post-wedding relief refuses to come! After the big event, you expect things to slow down, but you find out that there is even more work to be done post-wedding.
The worst thing to do is to plan back-to-back highly-demanding events. Give yourself a breather! It may be wedding season, but your health is the most important thing to consider. If you find yourself constantly feeling drained, sore, and making lots of petty mistakes, you might need to take some time off for a little R&R.
2. The last-minute fix
The wedding cake is about to roll out, and you realize the cake topper is missing! Don’t let panic take over! In your event planner training, you’ve probably learned to come up with a backup plan in case something goes wrong, but it’s impossible to foresee everything that could go wrong. Even if you don’t already have a plan in place, you should have a team of people working with you to help come up with a solution.
It may be hard not to get caught up in thinking the issue may be your fault—but don’t do it! Your clients are counting on you and dwelling on one mistake can be the biggest error you make. Be levelheaded and assess your situation logically and objectively. Take a look at your game plan (an informed decision makes a great decision), use some of your creativity, and communicate with your clients!
Remember the mantra, “Keep Calm and Carry On”!
3. The elusive snooze button
Even when you’re just an attendee to an extravagant event, you can’t help but analyze the planner’s choices. It’s perfectly natural to take in everything, see what’s working and what isn’t, and perhaps draw some inspiration for your next event. After all, experienced professionals may have some ingenious tips and tricks up their sleeves after working for so many years.
But the problem starts when you become too critical—nitpicking and finding problems here and there when they aren’t your problem! If you find yourself redirecting people or rearranging things, then you’re definitely stepping on the hired planner’s toes! You may be on cruise-control after heading a huge, extravagant event with a client of your own, but you have to remember what your role is.
How would you feel if someone else attending your event took over your job? Not very good! You’re there as a guest, so take the time to kick back and enjoy yourself.
4. The perfectionist’s plight
There’s a huge difference between wanting things to be the best version they can be, and becoming an overbearing micromanager. Your attention to detail is one of the main reasons why you were hired to work the event, but if you spend too much time on one thing, you may neglect other areas that require attention. It’s important to know when to stop yourself from becoming a control freak and allow other professionals who are working with you to do their jobs!
Normally the bride is stereotyped to become the bridezilla, but wedding planners can also fall into this trap. Especially if your personal taste for the décor or wedding schemes differ from those of the client, it can be hard to reconcile the two. You can make suggestions based off your professional opinion, but ultimately it’s not your event!
5. The emotional roller coaster
While we don’t expect planners to be bawling their eyes out at a corporate product launch, people can get pretty emotional at weddings and other personal events, big or small. If you’re one of those people who cries when you see others crying, then keeping your cool might be a herculean feat.
On the flip side of the coin, the emotional roller coaster isn’t just the ups and downs that everyone will feel at such an emotional event. Especially in the case of the planner, you might be swept away in all kinds of stresses and anxieties because of what you have to do while everyone else is relaxing.
You may worry that nobody will show up to the event, or feel as if you don’t have enough time to do everything you have to do. Have confidence in yourself! If you marketed the event as best you could, and planned out everything you could beforehand, then things will work out fine.
Event planning isn’t always a smooth ride. You’ll always encounter something you’re anxious about or afraid of. The key is to stick to your guns and push on! Take each new experience and opportunity as a chance to learn. It may be hard to keep your emotions in check during highly stressful times, but it’s all a matter of practice. The more events you plan, the easier it will get!