Sure, parties and events can be exciting, but that doesn’t mean that what goes into bringing one to life is all fun and games. If you have in your future an event that needs to be planned, take a look at these common myths about event planning before getting started.
Event Planing Myth #1—It’s really fun to plan a party
Whenever I first meet someone in a social situation and we exchange introductions, I am asked what I do for a living. When I reply, “I’m an event planner,” the first response is generally something like, “Oh, you have such a fun job! I love planning parties!”
Planning events is my full-time profession and I have dedicated close to 25 years honing and crafting my skills and expertise. It’s not a hobby, and I do not treat it as such. Event planning requires organization, detail, extensive knowledge, and the ability to negotiate. It requires thinking on your feet when it comes time to set up and execute an event. Is it great to see an event come together? Absolutely! Is it fun? Not always. It can be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. (If you want to know more about the tears, that will be in the book I am writing.)
Event Planning Myth #2 – I can plan this myself. I don’t need a professional event planner.
Many people have planned a party at one point in their life. So when they are faced with a milestone event, they often think, “I can plan that myself.”
It’s a good idea, though, to hire a professional in the field because they’re an expert at what they do—for the very reason you hire an accountant to do your taxes, a dentist to extract a tooth, or a doctor to perform your surgery. The same thing goes for event planners. Professional event planners bring with them years of experience, expertise, advice, professional insights, and guidance that you would not otherwise have when going at it alone.
Event Planning Myth #3—All event planners are the same
OK, now you are convinced that you need to hire a professional. There are many websites and social media profiles out there for event planners. All of them are good, right?
That’s not true. It can be difficult to know who to work with, what makes each event planner different, and what level of support you need. As an experienced event planner, I have dedicated my career to the event industry. I have planned hundreds of events, have a proven track record, event industry certifications, and a well-trained team that works with me. This can’t be compared with someone who plans events as a side gig or is just starting out.
Event Planning Myth #4—All that matters is what a party looks like
These days, lots of people care about photo ops to share on social media. This tends to make people more focused on what the event is going to look like. I understand that and have become accustomed to designing for the “Instagrammable moments.” (I also have my own thoughts on how social media has helped and hurt the event planning industry.) But an event is not all about what it looks like in a photo—it’s about the EXPERIENCE. I plan for the event experience for all guests. That should be the priority. After all, if the event looks great, but people had to wait in the bar line for an hour to get a drink or the food was terrible, that’s what guests will remember.
Event Planning Myth #5—Details don’t matter
When I am referring to the details here, I am not talking about whether there are custom cocktail napkins or charger plates on the tables. I am referring to ALL of the details, including the timeline, flow of the event, parking logistics, having enough seating, proper acoustics, having ample power, etc. Knowing how to plan for all of these details comes from experience. For example, if your floral centerpieces are beautiful, but you can’t see over or around them to talk to other people sitting at the table, that means the details of size and scale were overlooked. Or, if you have someone on stage speaking and you can’t hear what they are saying, then planning for sound and acoustics was not handled properly. These are all details that matter.
Shari Zatman is an event producer with more than two decades of experience. She owns two companies: Perfectly Planned by Shari, which focuses on luxury events (like weddings and mitzvahs), and Eventful Event Producers, which focuses on corporate and non-profit events. Her latest venture is event training, coaching and consulting for event and hospitality professionals. She created a handbook and seminars to work with them to identify problem areas, create solutions and share best practices.