A party planner is a design and management expert who organizes, promotes, and executes special events. A planner may be hired to work out the details of a corporate fundraiser, wedding, birthday party or one of many other types of large social gatherings. Professionals are often responsible for managing every aspect of a party, from finding a venue and inviting guests to supervising the setup of food tables and decorations. Some party planners work for consulting firms and corporations that specialize in setting up events, though most experts are self-employed workers who offer services to clients on a contract basis.
A group, company, or person typically contacts a party planner when an upcoming event needs to be professionally executed. A skilled party planner can help an event host choose a specific date and time, book an appropriate location, and determine how many guests to invite. He or she typically determines the most appropriate food and beverages to serve given the type of occasion and the preferences of the hosts. The planner often picks out display pieces and artwork, and decides on color themes that will create an attractive, comfortable environment for guests as well. A party planner considers the minutest details when making arrangements in order to ensure event perfection.
Party planners usually spend part of their time in office settings, placing phone calls and corresponding with clients over the Internet. The rest of their work generally takes place at venues for proposed events, supervising the construction of displays, stages, and tables. A planner often remains on the scene during the special event he or she has planned to help keep things running smoothly.
There are no set educational requirements to become a party planner, though many people who want to join the profession decide to pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees. A degree in marketing, management, art, or interior design can be very helpful in finding work. Previous work experience in restaurants, retail stores, or other customer service positions may also improve a person's chances of being hired. Most new professionals look for entry-level positions at catering companies, hotels, or corporations that specialize in planning events.
After a planner gains experience and builds a good reputation, he or she may decide to start an independent business. A self-employed party planner takes on additional responsibilities that come with running a company, such as advertising services, managing schedules, and keeping accurate financial records. A party planner who can build good rapport with clients is likely to get repeat business and have the additional benefit of having his or her name spread around social circles.