how to become an event planner

Special Event Planner Careers

In this section, we'll look at the pros and cons of a special events planner career—as described by a professional; Chad Hudson, President, Creative Director, and Owner of Chad Hudson Events.

chad hudson
Chad Hudson
Chad Hudson Events

Chad Hudson is President, Creative Director and Owner of Chad Hudson Events, a full service event design, production and management company with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Past events include Guess North American Conference, ABC’s Comic-Con booth, Major League Baseball’s All Stars Gala, movie premieres including The Twilight Saga, Ender's Game, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and numerous Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Super Bowl events.

Pros of a Special Events Planner Career
01

Creative Events

“Despite a lot of the behind the scenes work not being very glamorous, there is still a lot of fun involved in planning exciting parties that people are interested in. There’s definitely a caché that comes with working on a Super Bowl party, a movie premiere, or an Oscars party. I still get excited to work on those events even now; to see the guests that come and the media focusing on an event that you’re producing—it’s a buzz.”

02

Scale and Significance

“Just knowing that you’re responsible for entertaining 5,000 people for an evening gives you a real buzz. Some of these film directors or producers have worked on their films for years, so to throw the celebration or launch event for their project is very satisfying, knowing that you’re contributing to a much bigger project. Likewise with an Oscar party, if a studio or actor is winning an Oscar, it’s one of the biggest nights of their lives and you’re involved in that, so it just makes it really fun to work on.”

03

Travel Opportunities

“We get to go to a lot of interesting places, travelling all around the work organizing events—that’s pretty exciting. This job often takes you to places that you may never have been before, so it can really open your world up.”

04

Variety

“For some people, planning a corporate meeting in a ballroom or convention center is stimulating enough, but for me personally, I’m looking for more unique experiences and diversity in my job. I get bored with doing the same things over and over, so I love that in special events sometimes we’re working on a sporting event, other times it’s a charity event or a movie premiere, maybe followed by a house party—and sometimes we’ll do all of that in one week.”

05

Work Environment

“I really like a fun, relaxed working atmosphere. At Chad Hudson Events, we’re all friends outside of work. I make sure our team all get along, everyone likes each other and we have fun, because we spend so much time together—between office time and time spent on planes or in hotels or onsite. I think with special events, the work environment is less corporate and more relaxed, and that gives a nice sense of camaraderie. My staff comes to work sometimes in shorts and t shirts, you don’t have to wear a business suit unless we have a client meeting, we play music in the office, and staff bring their dogs in.”

Cons of a Special Events Planner Career
01

Competition

“For the type of event planning we do, there’s a lot of competition when it comes to job opportunities, which can make it harder for people just starting out.”

02

Pressure

“There’s also a lot of competition from rival companies; we might be bidding on a job against six or eight different companies, and it can be pretty cut throat. That means there’s a lot of pressure for special event planners to be creative, original, and keep up with what’s hot—because we have to provide the best offering to clients.”

03

Budgets

“Sometimes budgets are tight in this area of the industry. You might be working on an event for 500 or 800 guests but the budget can still be really tight—yet the event still has to look and feel amazing. That can be quite tough sometimes. An event might seem really high-profile, but once you’ve budgeted for the all the essentials, like venue and catering, you might have little or no budget left to create anything that makes it special. It’s very nice when you do have a large budget, but many people might be surprised that we don’t have them that often.”

04

Demanding Clients

“With the type of special events we work on, the clients are often big wigs in the entertainment industry, so they can be quite demanding sometimes. Event planners in this line of work often have to be at a client’s beck and call. You’re often on call all the time, and you have to be available to take phone calls or respond to emails whatever the hour. I sleep with my Blackberry and iphone next to me! It’s not like corporate meeting planning where there’s a fixed working day. If a client decides they want to call at 7am you just have to be available, so you’re always on and have to be ready to work all the time—even through your holidays sometimes.”




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In The Next Section...
01

A Guide to Non-profit Event Planning

A guide to non-profit event planning—with examples of different charity, fundraising, and non-profit events. Continue reading to learn about this large sub-sector of special event planning.