Common Mistakes: Commissioning the Wrong Planner


I think planning is probably one of the most complex and layered parts of the event industry. Years ago when I first started, I made the mistake of accepting a job as a planner in addition to doing the design, and I remember spending a whole afternoon making 20 phone calls just to set up one meeting. This was just one minuscule part of planning, but for me it was an eye opener.

I have had the pleasure (and pain) to work with many planners in my 30 years of business, and I can safely say that getting the wrong planner can be a huge pain in the ass. Not just for me, but also for the unsuspecting clients. Saying that you are a planner does not make you a good one. If you designed your own wedding or party and you enjoyed it, great, but that does not make you a planner.

Here, in my humble opinion, is what makes a great planner:

  • Experience, experience, experience. I think one can safely call him or herself a good planner after working on at least 20 events. (Even then, it depends on what kind of events.)
  • Knowledge. Knowledge can be acquired through practice or by taking a very informative course to give you a base. (The best course I know of is offered by the Wedding Planning Institute.)
  • Great attention to detail and the ability to improvise. I think a good planner is one that can turn a bad or tense situation good without the client ever knowing. (In every event, something always goes differently than we planned.)
  • Last but not least, leave the drama at home. Again, maybe it’s just me so forgive me, but I have encountered more than one planner who was a crazy maker.

I am completely in awe of the business of planning with all its layers and intricacies. I applaud everyone who wants to get into this exciting business, but please remember it takes time and effort. Yes, you can go ahead and call yourself a planner and start your journey, but it takes a bit longer to become a good one.

I’d love to know what you think determines a good versus bad planner. Please share in the comments.