Thursday, January 3, 2013

Event Planner Myths Debunked!


I've been doing a lot of research and blog-stalking lately to try to figure out how the professional event planning world works. I’ve discovered a few things:


1.    The current professional market is often geared toward those with plenty of means to do elaborate celebrations and still have money left over to pay an event planner.

2.    Many event planners focus their attention on weddings and do a few celebrations (i.e. birthday parties and baby showers) on the side. From those I’ve spoken to, this seems to be purely a financial decision.

3.    In certain cities, a market for “main-stream”, celebration-oriented event planning has developed and is now flourishing.  These planners are successful because their clients understand the value of a professional planner.


My conclusion from these observations is pretty simple: If people understood how much time, effort and frankly, money, they could save by hiring a professional planner, in addition to the fact that they would get a polished party with little stress, I think many more people would start hiring event planners. So, there’s my mission! To help the general population see that hiring an event planner is affordable, accessible and a fabulous idea! {bias noted}



I’m starting that mission today by debunking a few “Event Planner Myths”…



MYTH #1
Event planners are way too expensive.

THE REALITY: Many event planners are quite expensive {frankly way too expensive for me and my modest budget} but that’s because they are offering extensive services to clients that want very boutique events. The reality is, most of us don’t need or want such grand celebrations. We want meaningful, memorable, and yes, beautiful events that do take time and effort, but a good event planner will be able to do the job in far less time than it would take you. An experienced event planner will already have lots of party ideas, connections to vendors and party supplies on hand, which means they should be able to offer you more for less than what you could get yourself. Which leads us to Myth #2…




MYTH #2
Hiring an event planner is only for those that have tons of money and no time.



THE REALITY: A good event planner will bring a greater value to your event than the amount you will have to pay them, or at the least, an equal value. In other words, all the time, energy, money and stress that they will save you will meet or exceed their service charge. I’ll show an actual cost analysis of this below and I think you’ll be surprised by how affordable an event planner can be, especially if you take into account the value of your time! Which may be the real question: what is the value of your time?




MYTH #3

I like to craft and try things myself, so there’s no reason to hire an event planner.


THE REALITY: This sounds like a good idea at first thought, but ask someone the morning after their celebration if they should have asked for more help along the way and you will almost always hear a resounding, “YES!”. The truth is, when we play host/hostess for our own events, we often end up overwhelmed, overworked and unable to truly enjoy the meaning of the event. A good event planner will be able to take away all that stress and will work with you to find one or two projects that you can take ownership of and really focus your time and attention on to make truly special.



MYTH #4
I can do it just as well myself.



THE REALITY: Maybe. But like #3, many people who thought this before the event were less than convinced after the event. Whether it’s a slight lack of craft know-how or just too many projects and too little time, the difference between an amateur attempt and a professional, polished event is usually obvious.



MYTH #5

I would never hire an event planner because I don’t want somebody to come in and takeover.


THE REALITY: Most event planners recognize that this is your event and they are there to help execute your vision. They are stocked full of ideas and resources that can help you develop and execute that vision with much less stress and time, but the event is still yours. If you’re particularly concerned about this, check in with a couple past clients to see what their working relationship was like and choose a planner based on that feedback.


             Cost Comparison


Quote given by event planner

Service fee

$600

Estimated cost of supplies

$300

$900

Cost to hostess of DIY event

Cost of supplies*                          

$450

Time spent (approx 50 hrs)**

$500

Stress!

??

$950+

*The cost of supplies for hostess of this event ended up being $150 more than what the event planner estimated for a few reasons. One, the event planner was able to estimate at bulk prices. Two, the event planner had experience and knowledge in what items were available and who offered them at the best price. Three, the event planner had larger items like cake stands, serving dishes, tablecloths, etc. available for rent at lower costs. And four, the event planner estimated a reduced, pro-rated cost for the use of tools and “startup” supplies such as a Cricut & cartridges, printing, adhesives, etc. that the host had to pay in-full to have access to.

**The hostess calculated that she spent a minimum of 50 hours on the event, broken down as such:

Pinterest/blog time looking for ideas/Party conception ~8 hrs
Time spent shopping (online and at local retail stores, including drive-time) ~10 hrs
Time spent crafting for the event ~20 hrs
Time spent baking/cooking for the event ~6 hrs
Setup/teardown day of event ~6 hrs

We gave her time the base value of $10/hr, which was the smallest amount she felt comfortable saying each hour was worth taking away from her family, home and other possible sources of income…frankly, a very tiny sum for her work!


CONCLUSION: This hostess ended up with a lot of stress and a less-than-polished final product for more than it would have cost her to hire an event planner to do the entire job for her.

Myths debunked? I've convinced myself at least. :)

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