How to Start a Party Planning Business

by Contributor; Updated September 26, 2017
Wedding Reception Table

Party planning requires very little start-up money, so it may be the perfect choice for those with no capital. As an events coordinator or party planner, you will be involved in organizing all details of occasions such as anniversary celebrations, family reunions, weddings, retirement parties and baby showers.

Step 1

Team up with an experienced party planner to gain experience and learn the trade before you start your own business. Alternatively, you can offer your services for free a few times, so you can get experience and build a portfolio. Enlist family and friends if you're not confident and then request feedback from them.

Step 2

Decide how you will charge for your services. Most party planners work by the hour or request a flat fee (which can go up into the thousands). Others charge 5 to 10 percent of the party budget.

Step 3

Build a portfolio. Take photographs of the events you coordinate and request testimonials from satisfied clients.

Step 4

Understand food and beverage. As a party planner, you should be able to do everything from putting together a martini bar to planning a menu for a tropical-themed party. You will also need to develop good working relationships with catering companies, vendors and suppliers.

Step 5

Know all about entertainment choices. From karaoke equipment and magicians to disc jockeys and live bands, you should be able to scout out all types of entertainers. Depending on the type of event, you may have to organize tournaments or contests, games and even auctions. Preparing party favors and gift bags may also be part of the job.

Tips

  • An events coordinator is like a manager. You will be in charge of hiring a caterer, finding the entertainment, creating invitations and party favors, contacting equipment rental companies and choosing the decor. While this is not the rule, many planners also attend the event to make sure that things run smoothly on that day. Making yourself available to these types of events is a great plus with clients. If you specialize in special events such as fundraisers, galas and awards ceremonies, you may need to also handle marketing and accommodations for the visitors. Consider getting a CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) certification. It's a great head start if you have no previous experience.

Warnings

  • Don't start your business by agreeing to plan a large party or event. All the details involved can get overwhelming. If your first or second event is large, consider enlisting the help of a party helper.

Photo Credits

  • paulrichstudio/iStock/Getty Images