Frequently Asked Questions: Do I really need a planner for my event?

Let me ask you this: do you need a doctor to deliver your baby? Or would you prefer doing it yourself? Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration but you get what I’m saying…

If you are giving a small, intimate party, have lots of time and you enjoy entertaining then no, you do not need a planner. However, having a large event (at times) is similar to producing a play or show and this requires time and experience to produce.

I have interviewed more than one client who has mentioned that hotel or location managers often insist they don’t need a planner–well, these folks are wrong. There is a lot that happens before the day of the event that needs to be managed.

Now comes the bad news: there are great planners and then there are the planners who give the business a bad name. Being also a part of the planning industry, I have had the joy and pain in working with both good and bad. Here is my humble opinion on how you can tell the difference:

Good planners: They make the process as easy and painless as possible, respecting the client’s time and level of involvement.

vs.
Bad planners: They think they are the show. They create drama were there should be none. They over-involve the client, and they need lots of attention.

Good planners: They give their clients realistic budget expectations, telling them what things really cost.
vs.
Bad planners: They unrealistically promise clients they’ll get quality for less and drive all the vendors crazy asking them to lower their prices.

Good planners: They get their normal fee from their clients and they do not accept commissions from vendors, which puts them in a better position to negotiate.
vs.
Bad planners: They collect a fee from clients and also quietly blackmail vendors into paying them commissions. (For example, they say something like, “If you don’t pay me a commission, I won’t use you or your services.”)

Good Planners: They are very open to creativity, yet respectful of the vendors and artists they work with.
vs.
Bad planners: They are frustrated designers and seem to think they know what is best for the design. (Though, to be fair, they have seen a lot of designs, which gives them the right to have an opinion.)

So yes, I do think having a good planner is a very essential component to having a successful event. I have often found myself explaining this (and why) to my clients. What do you think?

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