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Career Story: Event Planner And Caterer

Event Planner And Caterer

Job Title: Event Planner

Type of Company: We help our clients have successful and memorable events.

Education: BA, English & Economics, Florida State University

Previous Experience: I worked for several high-end restaurants and hotels before joining the premier catering company in Boston, where I began working with off-site events such as weddings, holiday parties and dinner galas.

Job Tasks: I work directly with clients who are the decision makers for the events. The events can be a single activity, such as a dinner, or something much more complex, like a three-day conference encompassing several meals, speakers, transportation, hotel rooms and many other details, or a wedding, with music, food, an official to marry the couple, and the family issues and stresses that can affect a high-profile event.

It is very important that you be very detailed in order to do well in this field. While each event is different, there are some tasks that are standard to each event. Much of my typical day is spent on the phone, talking with my clients to help craft the plans for their events. Sometimes this can be taken care of in just a few phone calls or emails; other times, it can take many many conversations and emails to settle on exactly the right details. The better you know your client, and the more they trust your judgment and ideas, the smoother things will go in the planning stage.

Much of the rest of my day is spent on organizing the plans for the events, confirming details with the caterer, the musicians, the lighting technicians, the transportation people and any other vendors I am working with for this particular event. These details are all outlined on an Event Order which is distributed to everyone who is involved with the event, so they know what is expected of them, from set-up time to break-down.

I also schedule staff to work the events, such as serving staff and bartenders, hostesses, coatroom attendants and sometimes chefs as well. I create the bills or invoices that will go to my clients with all the various charges for the services they have ordered. I submit payroll for the events, which varies each week as the number of events vary. Lastly, I send thank-you notes to each client, and hope that they will be so satisfied with my services that they will call on me again.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is that events are usually happy, people are in a good mood and the gratification for a job well done is immediate.

The worst part is that the hours are very long, you are always at the mercy of your client's schedule and it is sometimes hard to make time for yourself during certain busy times.

Job Tips:
1. Ask for an internship at a reputable catering company. You can learn a lot in a few short weeks.

2. Work with a non-profit helping them put on a festival or a celebration gala.

3. Start as a server, just to see how the company works and to see if your style and theirs might be a good fit. Most catering companies promote from within.

Additional Thoughts: It is fun! Seldom the same thing any two days running, which is great if you are easily bored.

If I could change one thing, it would have been to have taken advantage of more travel opportunities.

The most important personal qualities are attention to detail, being a good listener and going the extra mile when you can to make an event memorable. Those are the clients who will recommend you and will keep calling on you for your services.

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