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How to Work Effectively with Event Planners

Working with a professional event planner can open the door to enhanced creativity, vendor relationships, and stress-free execution of your next event.

Planning a successful event involves countless moving parts, from venue selection to catering to programming. While you can certainly take on these details yourself, working with a professional event planner opens the door to enhanced creativity, vendor relationships, and stress-free execution.

Read on to learn when it’s advantageous to bring an event planner on board, what to expect from the process, typical pricing structures, and how to find the right planner to meet your needs.

When to Work with an Event Planner

Experienced event planners excel at transforming ideas into memorable occasions. If you’re planning a milestone event like a national meeting, industry conference, stockholders annual meeting, a fundraiser gala or large personal event (like a wedding or anniversary party), leveraging a planner’s expertise can prove invaluable.

Planners also shine when organizing the complex logistical elements for those types of events, such as:

  • Developing a detailed budget
  • Selecting a venue
  • Developing a marketing strategy
  • Putting together vendors
  • Designing an event that meets requirements
  • Reducing stress on their clients
  • Creating a production timeline

A planner’s established relationships and negotiating skills also help drive budget-friendly pricing on rentals, catering, entertainment and more. And their hands-on coordination leading up to and during the event can help provide you with peace of mind.

Defining the Planner’s Role

Event planners can take on as much or as little responsibility as clients request. Typical event planner roles include:

  • Initial consultation to craft vision, theme, and goals
  • Venue scouting, selection, and booking
  • Budget development and management
  • Vendor research, recommendations, and coordination (caterers, rentals, A/V, etc.)
  • Programming development (speakers, entertainment, activities)
  • Creative direction on decor, lighting, audiovisuals
  • Graphic design for invitations, signage, swag, etc.
  • Event logistics management (timing, layouts, etc.)
  • Guest list and RSVP tracking
  • Day-of oversight for smooth execution
  • Post-event follow up and payments

Of course, clients can also select specific tasks like venue sourcing or day-of coordination rather than full-service planning. Communicate your vision, then collaborate to determine the ideal planning approach.

What to Expect: Planner Process, Timeline and Investment

After an initial consultation, planners typically present proposals outlining their services, budgets, timelines, and fees. Timelines usually span:

  • 6-18 months for large weddings/galas
  • 3-18 months for corporate events
  • 1-6 months for more intimate gatherings

Event planner fees vary based on region, experience, services, event scale and complexity. Typical fee structures may be based on one or more of these:

  • Hourly fees, from $50-150+ per hour
  • Flat project fees, ideal for specific projects like decor design
  • Percentage of total event cost, usually 10-20%
  • Per head fees based on guest count, ranging from $30-300+ per attendee
  • Lower fees around 10% of total budget are common for corporate and charity events. But for complex weddings, fees from 15-20% are typical with a minimum base fee.

Navigating pricing simply requires aligning expectations upfront through transparent communication. Reputable planners outline all costs across the proposal, agreement, and budget.

Depending on the type of event, initial planning may only require 5-10 hours monthly. But time investment ramps up to 30-40+ hours in the final weeks and days pre-event, plus attendance on event day for hands-on execution. Keep this ebb and flow of time commitment in mind when budgeting.

After contract execution, planners jump into venue selection and booking. Next, they solicit vendor proposals for rentals, catering, entertainment, staffing, and more. Expect regular check-ins as plans progress.

Finding the Right Event Partner

There are many great event planners in the region, but you’ll want to interview to understand which ones have the expertise needed for your type of event. If you are planning a Board meeting, someone who specializes in weddings is not likely to be a fit. There are a variety of trade associations for the industry and checking their listings/posting can help you identify the best fit for you.

Beginning with the End in Mind

Whether planning solo or with an event planning partner, securing the perfect venue space can lay the foundation for event success. In a city like Boston, sites are varied – but the best book up quickly. Assess to ensure:

    • Venue is easy-to-access for your attendants. If it is a local event, how can it be reached via foot, public transportation and/or driving? What are the parking options? If visitors need to travel further to attend, quick commute to the airport and/or rail service can make attendance more likely.

    • Capacity, layout, and amenities align with your vision – and your budget.

    • Pricing and minimums reasonable for your event dates.

    • The site provides preferred caterers and vendors that meet your needs and vision.

    • Recent venue reviews are stellar.

    • Scheduling in-person site tours of your potential venue can happen before you have to commit.

To find a Boston location ready to elevate your special occasion, consider Loft on Two. Boasting over 7,000 square feet of flexible event space in the heart of the Financial District, Loft on Two delivers sunlight-filled rooms ideal for board meetings, corporate functions, fundraising galas, and more.

The Loft’s versatile layouts adapt to gatherings of all sizes, from intimate cocktail receptions to conferences hosting hundreds. Hold your main event in the stunning Assembly, then break into smaller groups in the Annex or Alcove rooms for workshops and breakout, or have a quiet conversation in the Atrium. Whatever your expectations, our expert team will help you exceed them.

Whether planning a sales seminar, fundraising gala, annual meeting or a celebration, Loft on Two brings an eye-catching urban backdrop together with hospitality and service. And the location is a short commute to the airport and across the street from the major rail hub for the Northeast.

Loft on Two simplifies the heavy lifting of coordination. Our expert in-house team can help you manage details from catering logistics to decor rentals, and you’ll have peace of mind with dedicated staff on site throughout your event.