Can you think of the last event you attended where you had a great experience and everything seemed to run smoothly? How about an event that was behind schedule, not organized, and overall not a good experience? Chances are there was an event planner or coordinator involved in one of those and not in the other.
My point is not to “sell” you on always hiring a professional event planner, but tell you when it could make sense. It’s the same as any other task or professional service: Could you do your own oil change? Sure. Do you want to? Well, that’s up to you. Do you have the funds to pay someone else to do it? Perhaps.
What about filing your taxes? Building a website? Installing a fence or painting your house? Taking photos of your family? Yard work? You can choose to hire, or not hire, a professional for any of these services.
Event planning is easy and comes naturally to some people. They love every aspect of it and are happy to spend their time doing it and they have the knowledge or experience to pull it off successfully. Maybe they don’t have the budget to hire someone to help or are the opposite and aren’t worried about what they spend on the event at all so they don’t need someone to track the budget for them.
Then there are those who are nowhere near what I just described, and everything in between. Each event and circumstance is unique, so I’ll try to explain and cover as many scenarios as possible for when and where a professional event planner will be of the most help and save you what is most important to you.
So, why should you hire a professional event planner? If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here are three main reasons: time, knowledge & experience, and cost savings.
I have a lot to cover on these three topics, so I’m breaking it down into three parts to make it easier to digest. Today, I’ll cover reason number one, TIME.
Reason #1: Time
These are in order of what is most important in my opinion. Time is your most valuable resource that you will never get back. I try to maximize my time and spend it doing what I love the most. I’m a huge fan of outsourcing the things I’m not good at or things I don’t enjoy (hello, house cleaning!). If you want to spend your time planning and organizing your next event and you get joy from it, then by all means go for it! I would challenge you to think about the parts of event planning that you truly enjoy, and just outsource the parts you don’t enjoy or can’t do.
This can also apply to a corporate event setting. You may have someone in your office who enjoys planning the events and is happy to take on that project, but is that the best use of their time and do they have the skills to provide the best event for your staff or your clients? Could you use their time better elsewhere within your company?
Here are a few scenarios where hiring a planner could save you time to do more of what you love to do or need to do:
Scenario 1: The creative
You are creative and visual. Your ability to design the theme and envision how everything will look is uncanny. You can easily picture all the elements and exactly what you want to do to “wow” your guests.
On the flipside, you don’t know which event vendors to contact or who could provide the best items to fit your design, you hate details and reading and reviewing contracts, you’re not sure how to develop an event timeline, and you really want to enjoy your party when it’s happening. And don’t even get you started on guest list management and tracking all of those RSVPs, or running around town to pick up all the orders and supplies. Who has time for that anyway?!
What about branding, promoting and marketing a corporate event? Yikes! The devil really is in the details for you and just thinking about it makes you want to pull your hair out. Sounds a little stressful, right?
This is where an event planner can save the day. Do the parts you love, create your vision and communicate it to the planner, and then let them execute. A professional event planner will connect you to the right vendors (or do it for you). They will review all contracts and orders for accuracy and make sure they don’t sneak in any unfair contract language. Your planner will also manage the event budget, RSVPs, seating chart, confirm and reconfirm orders, deliveries, arrival and departure times, and on and on.
While they’re doing all of the logistical and planning work, you can be in your creative zone doing as much as you want to make the event magical, or you may have already moved on to your next creative project. Your event planner will also be there on event day to run it all so you can sit back and revel in your creative glory when you finally get to see your vision come to life! Now doesn’t that sound nice?
Scenario 2: The analytical
You are analytical, all about the spreadsheets, and love reviewing contracts. Your friends lovingly call you a nerd and you’re proud of it. You are the person they go to for budgeting help. They ask “how do you do that formula thing in Excel, again?”, and you might even enjoy finding typos in contracts and preparing your own taxes every year (Sheldon, anyone?). However, the thought of anything creative makes you break out into a cold sweat. You have to see to believe, and “what’s a mood board?” you ask. Maybe you can handle logistics with your eyes closed, but you don’t know anything about crafting a beautiful or exciting experience for your guests and how the details and visuals all tie together.
Again, enter a professional event planner, in this case most likely to do more of the design work for your event to ensure you and your guests have the experience you want. An event planner or designer can create the entire style and design for you, or talk through the event with you to pull out what you are looking for – things that you may not even realize until you talk to a professional who knows the right questions to ask. You have more creative in you than you think.
You have the budget, contracts, and logistics down so it’s sure to go off without a hitch, but the event planner saves you all the time you would have been wasting trying to put together the creative vision and then executing it. Again, they’re also there on event day to make sure the event looks and feels as it should as well as troubleshoot day-of event stress or issues that could pop up.
Scenario 3: The prioritizer
This one is easy. You simply have no interest in planning the event or wish you could but just don’t have the time. Sure, you are happy to host or maybe are doing it out of obligation, but you want to pass over the reigns to someone else to handle it, start-to-finish. Maybe you are a couple planning your wedding and enjoy parts of it like the previous scenarios, but find that you get stuck or get too busy with work and life to keep things moving on time. Again, think about your time. Do you want to spend your entire engagement and this fun, exciting season bogged down with planning and stressing over checklists and budget worksheets? Probably not. Save your time to do more of what you love, hire a planner, and you will instantly breathe a sigh of relief with that off your plate.
As I said before, in a business or corporate setting, you may have someone who wants to plan to the event but it may not be the best use of their time, or there is no one who wants to do it but it’s something that needs to be done. You could waste hours of your time researching venues and vendors and coordinating every detail, but it simply makes better business sense to hire a professional event planner to complete that service so you can use your time wisely growing the business you are in. Easy decision, right?
Next week I’ll dig into reason #2 for why you should consider hiring a professional event planner: knowledge & experience.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but I promise it’s worth the read to know exactly why and when hiring someone with the right knowledge and experience will pay off.
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As I said, each event and circumstance is unique, but I hope the next time you need to plan an event you’ll consider hiring a professional event planner to lighten your load and deliver an exceptional experience for you and your guests.
If you’re in the Pacific Northwest / Greater Seattle area, I would love to connect with you and help plan your next event! Please contact me!