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What Does an Event Manager Do?

Lainie Petersen
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

An event manager typically is involved in planning and overseeing events such as parties, receptions, and conventions. Depending on the event manager's employment situation, he may work on behalf of a vendor, such as a hotel or other venue in which events are often held, or may work independently of a specific vendor. The amount of responsibility assumed by event managers varies, but in many cases they assume primary responsibility for the logistics of the event and the coordination of all vendors who will be contributing to the event.

While many people are able to plan small parties and social get-togethers in their own homes, coordinating larger events, particularly when several third-party providers of goods and services are involved, can be a significant challenge. A good event manager is able to work with a host or hostess to get an understanding of his or her vision for the event, evaluate the budget and resources already available, and then select vendors appropriate to the event. On the day of the event, an event manager is typically responsible for making sure that goods and services are delivered as promised and that the event runs smoothly.

If an event manager works for a banquet hall, hotel, or other venue, his role may be slightly different than that of an independent event manager. Many event venues have strict policies regarding the use of outside vendors, so an event planner in such a venue would primarily act as a liaison between the individual or organization who wants to host an event and the property's approved or in-house vendors. The event planner could advise his client as to appropriate services needed for the event, such as catering, flowers, or even a dance floor and DJ. He would also ensure that the venue space is appropriately set up for the event and that caterers and other vendors and support staff perform their duties as required.

Independent event managers, on the other hand, may be charged with even more responsibility. The event manager may be responsible for locating a venue and then negotiating the cost of renting the space and its amenities. If the venue permits third-party vendors, such as caterers and florists, the event planner may likewise be responsible for ordering food and decor for the event room. Like other types of event managers, though, she will also be responsible for on-site coordination the day of the event.

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Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By LTimmins — On Aug 11, 2011

@AnnBoleyn - How do event managers start out in this field? I understand that there are college courses available, but how easy (or difficult!) is it to get those first few jobs or clients?

By EricRadley — On Aug 10, 2011

@elizabeth23 - It could also be because smaller event management companies are more involved and dedicated. In a larger company you might get people pointing fingers and saying that certain tasks are someone else's job.

I do agree however; a successful event managers should be on the ball and know what's going on with all the various aspects of the event.

By AnnBoleyn — On Aug 10, 2011

@snickerish - You should decide whether you'd be running your own event management firm or working for a larger company as their in-house event manager. It is normally a bit more risky starting up your own business but ultimately more rewarding.

By geekish — On Aug 09, 2011

@snickerish - I would suggest taking an event management internship. This is how my friend found her own personal cons about the industry. She decided it was a great fit for her, but the reason she did not decide to go into the field was the hours.

She just could not see herself working weekends for very long and at the event management agency she interned for she found herself working weekends no matter how much she enjoyed it. So she found many many pros in during the internship, and the only con she found ended up being her deciding factor.

So while you may not mind working weekends, you may find that one con that "breaks the camel's back" so to speak as far as making or breaking your decision on a career in event management.

By snickerish — On Aug 08, 2011

I love to meet new people, plan small parties, and do all of the decorating - it never feels like work for me. For this reason I am thinking of going into event management.

Any other cons about the event management lifestyle that I should know about? (I saw the note about the stressful situations that can be involved! But most of the time I feel I strive on stress.)

By elizabeth23 — On Aug 08, 2011

@julies- I know a couple of different people who are event planners, one in a big city and another in a small town. It seems to me that smaller event management companies work out better than larger ones when you are planning an event- they communicate better and are more flexible if something goes wrong. I would definitely go to one of my friends for a planner, rather than looking to a larger group of many planners to do it.

By John57 — On Aug 07, 2011

I worked as an event manager for a national hotel chain and really liked my job. There was always a wide variety of duties and I had a lot of contact with different people.

I always work best when things are fast paced and I am faced with a deadline, so this was a good job for me.

There can be quite a bit of stressed involved if the people that you are counting on to deliver supplies don't show up on time, or have the wrong day down on their calendar.

There were many times when I was ready to pull my hair out, and I learned the hard way that it always helps to have a backup plan.

There are many different skills that are important to have if you are looking for event management jobs. You need to work well with a lot of people, hold up well under deadlines and be creative and organized.

For some people this is a perfect fit, and for others it is way too much stress. The most rewarding part of the job is when the event goes smoothly and your client is content and ready to use your services again.

By golf07 — On Aug 06, 2011

Another important thing that helps make an event manager successful is to stay within the budget you have been given.

When you are planning a big event and working with several different people and vendors, it is easy to have big plans. Unfortunately, along with those big plans usually comes a big price tag.

The best event manager jobs are those that pull off an event in a way that satisfies the customer and does not go over budget. This is the best way I know to make sure everybody is happy.

By julies — On Aug 05, 2011

My sister has her own business as an event planner and this is a perfect fit for her. She was always creative, organized and loved to plan parties and gatherings.

When she went to college she had no idea that she would end up making her living by event managing, but it has worked out very well for her.

She loves having her own business and does a great job of coordinating everything so the events are well planned and go smoothly.

I don't think I would do well at this kind of job. It seems like she is constantly on the phone. Between talking to her client and making sure all the details and arrangements are done right, she is on the go all the time.

She also has really good people skills, which is really important if you want to be a successful event manager.

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
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