The event planning industry is so vast that it’s easy to confuse roles. Designations such as “even planner,” “event manager,” “event coordinator” are loosely thrown around that clients often mistake them to be one and the same. Those who are also just starting out in the business can make this error, as well. Without a clear definition of who does what and when, the success of an event is placed in limbo.
For starters, event planner and event manager are not the same. Their functions overlap, yes, but their functions are very distinct. This can create problems and unmet expectations for clients who expect the job of a planner accomplished by a manager and vice versa. So let’s clear the air and define roles.
What is an event planner?
The primary keyword here is “planner.” This covers everything that happens before the actual event happens, including initial discussions and brainstorming sessions about preferred themes, dates, venue, creative ideas, negotiating contracts, hiring a catering service, making invitations, developing a budget and more. From the very early phases of the concept down to the actual event, the planner is present and active. It can even cover the few weeks post-event as the planner will be following up on missed items, returns, closing details and more.
The event planner’s main job is to ensure that the client’s vision for his or her event is executed and meets expectations. In short, it is everything that is required to make the event happen. This is classified under the larger category of “event management.”
What is an event manager?
Event management means making sure that all elements set at the planning stage are present, executed and flowing smoothly and according to plan. It involves making, coordinating and managing all the various aspects, as well as organizing all the teams responsible for each phase. The event manager’s job includes overseeing the flow of the event, monitoring it, resolving situations that may arise on site, designing emergency plans, developing parking plans, coordinating with suppliers and more.
The event manager’s job is to make sure that everything on the day of the event is going according to plan. He or she will liaise closely with the event planner (if another one is hired) or the client to see it to success.
Sometimes, an event management firm will offer both planning and management services under one service or by assigning one point person. But if you are hiring different people, you have to understand how each one functions so you can set your expectations and give more specific instructions. If you are starting a new business, it is important for you to clearly communicate the distinction to your customer to avoid any confusion as you plan the next event.