How to start an event planning business

Take your passion of planning parties and turn it into your own business doing something you love. We've covering what you need to get started. Learn more.

reserved place setting at an event

Event planners play a crucial role in ensuring that the party not only happens, but that everything goes perfectly (fingers crossed). Whether it’s a wedding, a conference, a trade show, or a social event, coordinating and facilitating major events is a high-pressure, high-stakes job.

It takes a whole lot of creativity, organization, and people skills to thrive in the event planning industry. Yet, if you’ve got those qualities, the job can be quite lucrative and rewarding.

Setting up a business doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, financial investments (at least some), and a whole lot of hard work. But if you’re careful and approach the process with the right attitude and expectations, your event planning small business will be up and running in no time.

Let’s get to planning!

Know what you’re getting into

If you’re new to the business world and asking yourself how to start a party planning business, it’s easy to think that the job is all glitz, champagne, and celebrations. While those things may happen at a special event you help run, behind the curtain can be a lot less glamorous. For any event, there are a thousand boxes you, the professional planner, have to check off in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the client and attendees. This includes:

  • Creating an event design
  • Arranging entertainment
  • Finding the venue
  • Booking vendors
  • Sending RSVPs and marketing information to attendees
  • Balancing a budget
  • Coordinating with staff and subcontractors
  • Decorating the space
  • Handling the catering and bar staff
  • Supervising the event

A person who’s suited for this line of work should have some if not all of the following characteristics:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Organized
  • Great time management skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Savvy negotiator
  • Budget-conscious
  • Creative
  • Marketer
  • Entrepreneur

For those who are curious how to start your own event planning business, it may be wise to give the job a test run by first working for an event planning company or experienced party planner as a personal or production assistant. By working with a social event expert who shows you the ropes, you can see if the job is a good fit before you dive in head first.

Find your niche

One of the first steps to starting your own event planning business is find your niche. When you’re the best at a certain type of event it will help you stand out and win more work. 

It’s important that you narrow down what you do and do well, especially in the beginning. Although you may be tempted to advertise yourself to prospective clients as a jack-of-all-trades party planner, don’t. This is not the recommended marketing strategy. A general title will make it much harder to distinguish yourself in the market and find clients.

Typically, there are four primary types of events:

  • Social
  • Corporate
  • Nonprofit
  • Association

Within these there are subsets that event planners tend to specialize in. Even if you’re just talking about the differences in social events, managing a fundraising gala and coordinating a wedding are uniquely different jobs—each has its own unique requirements, challenges, and demands.

Perhaps you’ll be able to offer a full range of event planning services, but when you’re just starting off, narrow it down so you can perfect your flagship service offering as a new business owner.

Build a business plan

Whether you’re starting a party decorating business or full service event planning business, one of the key steps is to build out a tailored business plan. By fleshing out this document, you’ll have a comprehensive plan of attack that can guide your business decisions and entice investors. Your business plan will accomplish the following:

  • Create a business structure for tax purposes
  • Highlight your goals
  • Outline the actions you’ll take to achieve your goals
  • Paint a clear picture of the market and your competition
  • Organize the day-to-day activities
  • Set out a budget and growth metrics
  • Create KPIs

Create a website

A website is one of the most important ways a business can spread the word. It’s your virtual calling card. Fortunately, there are smart web builders that allow you to bundle a domain name and hosting services and create a website in just minutes. For this step, remember to take the following actions:

  • Build out your blog to improve search results
  • Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices throughout the site
  • Design a site that’s visually appealing, clearly states what you do, and is tailored to your target audience
  • Make the site easy and intuitive to navigate

Get insurance

Any time a large group of people gather together there are inherent risks of someone getting hurt or property being damaged. If either of those things happen, a liability claim could ground your event planning business before it ever launches. Without general liability insurance, you’re exposed to liabilities like:

  • Bodily injury
  • 3rd-party property damage
  • Legal fees
  • Advertising errors

With it, you’d be protected and have the peace of mind you need to operate your small business confidently.

But what if you don’t want round the clock insurance? With a gig-based business, traditional insurance is often a waste of money since you’re paying for coverage when you don’t need it. What you need is insurance that works when you do.

You need Thimble’s Event Planner Insurance for the modern small business. Our affordable on-demand policies go by the hour, day, or month.

With Thimble, you can go from being exposed to liability to protected from it in under 60 seconds. Enter a few details about your business and you’ll receive your quote instantly. Once you hit purchase your Certificate of Insurance (COI) will be ready for you on the Thimble app and in your email inbox.

Start marketing yourself

Once you’ve covered your bases with a comprehensive general liability insurance policy, you’ll be set to hit the ground running.

Congrats, you now know how to start your own event planning business!

As you go about building your company and marketing your services, remember that success takes time. Stick to your business plan, partner with other trustworthy companies, and take calculated risks. Do that, and your parties will soon be the talk of the town.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is intended to provide general information only. For specific legal advice, please contact an attorney. For advice regarding your particular insurance needs, you should speak with your broker or agent to ensure that you have the appropriate coverages and limits.