There are several loosely defined terms found in the event industry. For example, "event" by itself typically means any party or ceremony. This use of different words causes confusion and misunderstandings, especially when it comes to job titles. One clear distinction involves event planners vs. event coordinators. Event coordinators are a key element to any successful event. In their simplest form, they help ensure that the day goes smoothly by checking in with all suppliers and vendors on site. Coordinators act as liaisons between planners or clients and outside vendors of services (caterers, florists, etc.) and materials (linens, glassware, etc.). Event planners are different from coordinators because they are often involved in the initial conception of what an event will be, including who it's for and the overall theme. A planner will usually work with a client to help refine ideas and make decisions on things like décor, food and beverage, entertainment, and activities. Coordinators execute the plans created by planners. Planning usually takes place months in advance of a major event, while coordinating occurs onsite on the day of.
Event planners and event coordinators serve very different purposes
Typically, event planners make decisions about what matters such as when who and how things should be done. Event coordinators are responsible for making sure the execution of the details goes smoothly and that all vendors show up on time to perform appropriately. Event planners decide what the event will look like, but they don't necessarily do it.
Duties of an Event Planner
An event planner's goal is to clearly establish the customer's vision, needs and budget. The event planner must first understand each customer's personal style before planning an event that suits their unique personality.
Once the event planner has a clear understanding of what type of event the client is looking for, they will brainstorm an appropriate venue and look at different types of décor and entertainment options. They will then work with the client to layout which aspects make an event memorable (i.e. food, decoration, music) so that their vision can be executed properly.
Becoming an event planner takes years of experience. Planners take on a lot of responsibility to ensuring the client is happy by designing an event that fits their needs and expectations. They must also have an eye for detail because the success of any event depends on how well they manage all their vendors.
To plan events effectively, event planners must be in tune with what is going on in the industry and have a vast network of resources to draw inspiration from. They also need a lot of artistic vision because they are usually the ones who create a theme based on the client's desires.
Planners are also great communicators because they communicate with all vendors and directly with the client throughout the planning process of any given event. To remain gainfully employed, planners need to be able to perform these duties in a timely manner while still producing an event that meets their clients' goals.
Before becoming an event planner, it is common to work as an event coordinator for several years. This can be a stepping stone to planning events.
Responsibilities of an Event Coordinator
In contrast to a traditional event planner, an event coordinator does not get involved in the design of each individual event. Instead, they work on managing the different components needed for an event to run smoothly.
A planner creates the vision for an event and a coordinator helps make that vision a reality. Coordinators look at vendors, organize delivery dates, and often handle logistical tasks.
Large organizations may have two coordinators for every planner, while small operations might only have one coordinator. Regardless of the size, there is typically a direct line of supervision over the coordinator position. Both large and small event planning requires significant organizational skills - which can be difficult when all decisions are made on short notice before an event begins. Coordinators should be able to adapt quickly and change plans as needed.
This is a great entry-level position for those looking to start careers in event planning. Working as a coordinator gives you a strong foundation to grow into the role of an event planner and job security (providing you are good at your work).
An internship or volunteer experience with a non-profit can be advantageous to break into the event coordination field. You'll get hands-on experience in this area and build your professional network at the same time.
Get set to plan your next event
Planning an event is a big undertaking, and can be surprisingly overwhelming for many people. The good news is that there are professionals who specialize in this type of work! Event planners will take care of the planning stage months ahead of time, while coordinators execute onsite during the day of.
If you need help with your next major event, contact Events Fantastic today! We offer full-service coordination to ensure all aspects go off without a hitch on site.