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So, you want to be an event planner? First step, get some experience.

So, you want to be an event planner? Love that for you!

But where do you start? Your passion for events might come from early on when you were planning Senior Prom and coordinating bonding retreats for your high school sports team. Or your interest in coordination might be newly sparked after jumping on to the committee for your child’s school fundraiser. Whether the fire for events has been newly lit or has been burning like a trick birthday candle since birth, if you’re at the starting stages of dipping your toe into the event world, you’re likely wondering, “How do I get experience in event planning?”. Well, here are a few places to get you started.


Whether you have a flock of siblings in prime wedding age or a grandparent who wants to start a weekly bridge club, events are happening all around you! Your aspirations might be to plan events of larger scale but don’t discredit the foundational experience you get from planning everything from baby showers to neighborhood casino nights.

Ask your friends and family if you can help them coordinate the details of their event. Work with your contact to determine how you can best compliment what they already have covered, and take your involvement seriously by following through on everything you commit to. Your contact might need assistance setting up backyard décor, or they might need help months before the event securing a DJ and caterer and mapping out the concept. Offering your time can give you more experience in deadline management, communication, vendor negotiations, stylizing and so much more!


Scope out the non-profits in your area for upcoming events and reach out to see if they have a Planning Committee and if they’re looking for new members. The organizations are usually eager to welcome another person to the group if they are willing to put in the time and effort to truly help in the planning and creation of the event. Be aware that planning committees have a reputation of turning into social hours so stay diligent in your intentions for being there…you want the planning experience!

Volunteer to take on roles that require a bit more effort but make a larger impact to the success of the event. While the decorations and stylizing can seem glamorous, the role of Auction Chair is instrumental to fundraising success. You might event offer to head a sub-committee giving you more time to develop your leadership and management skills.


If your free the day of your local community event, consider passing off your tickets to a friend and instead seeing the event from the other side! Volunteers play a vital role in making an event run functionally on the day of as well as setting the tone for the guest experience.

And while you could reservedly watch the event happen around you as you pour beers from behind the bar, make an effort to stand out to the organizers as a capable and adaptable resource. Pay attention during trainings, step up to help gather a group or pass out information, introduce yourself to the managers. The best impression you make the more the organizer is going to utilize you for last minute needs and one-off assignments. This will give create even greater value from your volunteer time as you will learn more of the BTS of planning and the little details that go in to each event.


What’s better than volunteering your time for free planning experience? Umm...getting paid for it! Events of scale with large production needs hire day of staff to assist with everything from chalking off vendor booths, to setting up entertainment hospitality, to placing out signage. You will need to be ready to work, sweat and get a little dirty, but this is a great way to join a team of professionals and benefit from all of the day of set up practice.

So, you might be asking how you get one of these positions. You could certainly reach out cold to your local event organizer, but there might be hesitation to hire someone they’re not familiar with or have referrals for. BUT, if you volunteer for the organizer and stand out as an elite volunteer, they’ll be begging to have you join their team of paid Production Assistants on the next project.


If you have more time to commit to getting experience in the industry, apply for an internship position. For many states, and based on the program details, there are requirements for these positions to be paid! {check your local State regulations}.

Just like with volunteering, the more you stand out, the more experience you will get. Always keep a good attitude and a willingness to jump in on any project that needs extra assistance. Make it clear to your supervisors in advance what components of event planning you are most interested in getting experience in and make sure the position can accommodate that. If an internship program outlined that it would give you experience in all of the logistical components of planning an event, but you find yourself relegated to stuffing envelopes, getting coffees and filling documents, kindly check in with your supervisor to reassess if adjustments can be made or if you should be looking for another program.

If you find the right program, an internship is a great way to get real experience in all the gnitty-gritty details of event planning. And, you never know where an internship will lead…heck, that’s where I got started!

Now, pick your method, or a few, and get started! The best way to learn how to be an event planner is to start planning events!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson

Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!


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Spilling the tea on all things events...

With easy to follow steps and lesson-learned anecdotes, we're breaking down our practical experience from thousands of event planning projects so you can level up your event planning game!

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