1. Parties parties parties
- There's often the misconception that being a party planner, you party a lot. That's not always true. I'm sure there are event planners who attend many events but as for me, I like to spend my free time doing something super low key like going to a chill dive bar with friends or staying in to watch the food network. After being on your feet for 14 hours straight watching other people get crazy, some r&r time is badly craved.
- Just because you've planned the party, doesn't mean you're there to enjoy it. So all those planners who say they're coordinating a "glamorous celebrity event" aren't there to have fun. They're working. Or at least they should be. They're also not there to socialize or "smooze" with famous people. In fact, if you're truly a professional you treat everyone the same. All guests are VIPs in my book.
2. Heavy lifting
- Oh yes. Many people don't realize just how much labor is involved. There's always something to pick up, carry, move, strike... and I'm a firm believer if you won't do it yourself, you shouldn't be asking someone else to do it (aka an assistant or vendor).
- And if you're a lady working an event, be ready to lift heavy boxes/tables or whatever.. in heels. Last minute or unexpected changes are just apart of the job. So even if you meticulously laid out everything beforehand in your flats/comfortable shoes, you might just have to shift everything 5 mins before the event goes down... in your heels.
3. 12 hr + workdays
- Not always, but most of the time your event workdays are going to be more than 12 hours. Expect to arrive at the site at least 3 - 5 hours beforehand for setup and to stay 2 hours after to strike. Of course if you have a bigger staff to help out, then it might just be quicker. However if it's your own business or you're an assistant, you'll most likely be the first one there and the last one to leave.
4. Bye bye social life
- Since most events happen during the weekend, you probably won't be able to meet up your friends for a movie, drink or get together till probably after 2 or 3am in the morning on Saturday/Sunday or even at all. That's just the way our schedules are. We're freer during the weekdays (unless there are appointments and meetings) and then extremely busy on the weekends.
- Oh and holidays don't exist in the event planning world.
5. Paying your dues
- Assistants/Interns: Be ready to do just about anything and not question why. In my own personal experience, it's not pretty. I remember lugging trash bag after trash bag full of thorny rose stems ->up a hill ->to a dumpster ->while it was pouring rain. Also, washing boxes of glass hurricanes and chipping away the stubborn dried wax till my most of nails ripped off and fingers were raw. I can go on ... and on but I think you get the picture.
- Basically, the bare minimum of being an assistant will require you to carry boxes, sweep, jump in a car and drive miles to find a random item, pick up trash, deal with ice, serve, iron, clean... all that fun stuff.
- My advice is just to learn and soak in as much as you can. Even if it's something like a mental check to yourself that in the future you won't do certain things the way your boss did. If anything, all that dirty work will just make you a better planner in the future. It trains you to deal with the toils of the job and appreciate how much work goes into each event. Also if there's no one else but you, you know you can do anything because nothing is "beneath" you.
It's really not all bad. Those are just some behind the scenes stuff that many people don't know about. There are definite perks to choosing this career path. If you're able to stick it through, being a special events coordinator is fantastical. It really is. You'll get to meet some amazing people and be apart of events that blow your mind.
If you're going in with the mentality that you just want to help people celebrate life, then I say go for it. Because really that's what it's all about to begin with.
I still get goosebumps standing in the middle of an event in all its glory. Just the overwhelming feeling of pure joy, excitement and love from people who are living in that moment. It's beautiful.