To people outside the industry it may seem like the job of an event planner is a fun and sociable career. This is true to an extent, however behind the screen of socialising and networking it is a difficult and often stressful job which requires a lot of skills. If you think that event planning is about putting parties together then you are very much mistaken as it is much more about vision, details, organisation and the ability to put together events both large and small without a hitch. Event planners will quite often work for an event planning company, however it is just as common for them to work freelance too. Freelancers are particularly popular when it comes to planning weddings. Charities and other not-for-profit agencies tend to hire event planners as part of their staff.
When it comes to organising conferences, businesses may take it upon themselves to hire an event planner in order to coordinate conventions and corporate meetings. These events tend to be large scale affairs which require the planner to arrange things such as catering, travel, hotel accommodation and additional activities for all of the attendees. Usually the planner will also be required to arrange any multimedia equipment as part of the room setup as well as putting together handouts for the attendees. This must of course all be done within a specified budget.
Nonprofit fundraisers will usually make use of a hired staff member for all their event planning. They planner allocated to the event will usually work closely with the company CEO and board members to brainstorm any ideas. Once a theme has been decided upon, it is down to the planner to implement it from start to finish. Typical responsibilities when putting together such an event will of course include finding and booking the venue, advertising, inviting attendees, organising catering, working with vendors and finally - setting up the event itself. Because of the non-profit status of the event it is likely that they will have to work within a very strict budget.
Weddings will of course take highly detailed and meticulous planning and it for precisely these reasons that couple will choose to use an event planner. The wedding planner will work extremely closely with the couple as they will be responsible for booking the venue, planning the meal, hiring the entertainment & photographer, helping guests choose a hotel and then planning the schedule for the day.
There are no specific requirements in terms of education if you wish to become an event planner. If you are looking to work for an event planning company then most employers will ask that you have an undergraduate degree in a related field (business, communications, management, etc). If you have a college degree then it will definitely help you if you have relevant experience as most employers will want to hire someone who has at least planned some similar events or one or two large scale events. If you are looking to get some experience then it could help if you volunteer to plan a local event or perhaps an event for friends and family.