How to Hire an Event Planner

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From Rob Hard, former About.com Guide

Whether it’s your first time hiring an outside event planner to help you with an event or if you only need to occasionally hire someone, it’s important to make sure you hire the right person or firm. This doesn’t have to seem like a daunting task, but you should make sure you spend time sourcing the best event planners and then screening them carefully. After all, even those who are seasoned pros at this have stories they can share.

Simply follow these steps.
1. What is your event objective?

Most people think that hiring an outside event planner or caterer begins by determining the event’s budget, but the truth is that it’s more important to begin by defining why you want to hold an event in the first place.

Before you reach out to an external or even internal resource who will help you plan that event, you want to be in a position to share the important goals of the event: answer your own relevant questions about who, what, where, when, why and how. There will be plenty of time to make adjustments.

2. Why are you hiring an event planner?

Once you’ve defined your objectives, a few clear ideas will begin to emerge about what theme and message you want to convey at your event. But most importantly, what activities and services do you need the external resource to handle on your behalf?

Will they help with selecting the venue(s)? Will they build menus and make those recommendations? Are they helping with creating important communication items, such as invitations and other event materials? Do they need to source entertainment and speakers? Will they be needed on site at the event? Will they handle event registration?

3. Okay, now it’s time to estimate a budget.
Based on your event objectives, it’s possible to create a general sense of how much it will cost for various elements of your program. This will vary based on the type of event you are hosting, and what it includes.

Many people who organize an event for the first time often fall into the trap of wanting to plan a champagne event on a beer budget (no offense intended to beer-themed events – we love those, too). Even that’s possible — not easy, but possible. And that’s why many people turn to their event planner for help.