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Special Events Planning

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Course Description

Think back to the last time you went to a convention, a wedding, or an off-site business meeting.  Everything you saw, from the sign-up posts, to the table decorations, to the folders you've been handed had to be created by someone.  That someone would be an event planner.  This is someone who plans events; large or small, corporate or social. Any event you have ever attended had someone at the helm who shouldered the responsibility of looking after every minute detail, from the key-note speaker all the way down to how many knives, forks, and spoons were needed for the meal you ate.


This course will take you into the world of event planning, giving you a very accurate behind-the-scenes look at a career that is almost invisible, but so very important. Whether you are looking to plan a family reunion, a wedding, an off-site meeting, or a giant product launch, this course will give you the necessary information and insight into what you need to know to pull off a successful event.


Perhaps you are looking for a change of career.  If so, this course will illustrate in great detail the qualities you must possess to be a successful event planner and exactly what the job entails. This is one of the most versatile jobs in the hospitality field, and people with drastically different backgrounds will find that they have the perfect experience to step into their new role as a Special Event Planner.  This course is designed to assist both the seasoned and novice Event Planner to be better organized, save both time and money, and enjoy the entire process.

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous work or academic experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics


I. Today’s Special Event Planner
A. The job in general  - What is Event Planning?

B. Important Characteristics

C. Good Experiences to Prepare you

D. Specializing

E. Is it for you?

II. Why Clients use Event Planners
A. Needs – It’s all about what the client wants/needs.

B. How to help them get it.

C. Interpret and Deliver

D. The Formula

E. The Planning Process
F. Types of Events
G. Putting your personal touch on an event
H. How to convince clients to hire you

III. Your Job as an Event Planner
A. Representing your client
B. Vendor relationship
C. Organizational skills
D. Networking

E. Training

F. Versatility


IV. Going into Business
A. Preparation - Volunteering
B. Training – Degree programs, internships, mentoring programs
C. Details – Where to find positions
D. Legal questions
E. Employees vs. independent contractors

V. Vendors
A. Your job as Director
B. Floral Designers
C. Interior Decorators
D. Bakers
E. Caterers

F. Confirming Details

G. Timeline

H. Troubleshooting


VI. Money, Contracts, and Insurance
A. How to get paid
B. Creating a good contract
C. Built-in protection
D. Legal advice
E. Insurance needs


VII: Preliminary Work for the Event

A. Research

B. Design

C. Developing Ideas

D. Selecting a Site

E. Décor

F. Food

G. Entertainment

VIII. The Event - Showtime
A. Responsibilities
B. Staging
C. Organization – Checklists and Logistics
D. Fire-fighting

E. Timelines

F. Post-event Duties

G. You’re only as good as your last event.


IX. Types of Events – Corporate

A. Business meetings

B. Product Launch

C. Annual meetings

D. Non-profit Events – Galas, etc.

E. Fundraisers

F. Venues

G. Speakers


X. Social Events

A. Weddings

B. Family Events – Reunions, Birthdays, Anniversaries

C. Rites of Passage – Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quincenera, etc.

D. Cocktail Parties, Wine-tasting/pairing meals

E. Pre-event Parties


XI. Relationships

A. Being a “People Person”

B. Client Relationships

C. Vendor Relationships

D. Staff Relationships

E. When the Chips are Down, would YOU want to work for you?


XII. Networking

A. It’s who you know

B. How to become known

C. Volunteering

D. Mingle with other Event Planners

E. Attend/participate in Trade Shows


XIII. Keeping Your Business in the Public Eye

A. Keeping your business healthy

B. What to do when things go wrong

C. Shoot for Success

D. Planning/Looking ahead

Course Materials

All course materials is provided in this class. There is no need to buy additional resources.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a written  assignment that will directly apply what you have learned.
A brief 25 pt. quiz will follow each lesson. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define the role of a special events planner.
  • Describe why clients use event planners.
  • Describe your job as an event planner.
  • Know going into business.
  • Describe dealing with vendors.
  • Describe managing money, contracts, and obtaining the correct insurance.
  • Define the preliminary work for the event.
  • Describe the event.
  • Define types of corporate events.
  • Define types of social events.
  • Describe how to build and maintain client relationships.
  • Know how to network to expand your client base.
  • Describe how to keep your business in the public eye, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction1
Lesson 1 Assignment: Career Evaluation5
Quiz for Lesson 1 : Today's Special Event Planner12
Lesson 2 Assignment: Determining What is Needed20
Quiz for Lesson 2 : Why Clients Use Event Planners12
Lesson 3 Assignment: Being Tactful Under Pressure20
Quiz for Lesson 3 : Your Job as an Event Planner12
Lesson 4 Assignment: Researching Competition20
Quiz for Lesson 4 : Going Into Business12
Lesson 5 Assignment: Locating Vendors20
Quiz for Lesson 5 : Vendors12
Lesson 6 Assignment: Insurance20
Quiz for Lesson 6 : Money, Contracts, and Insurance12
Lesson 7 Assignment: Gathering the Facts20
Quiz for Lesson 7 : Preliminary Work for the Event12
Lesson 8 Assignment: Creating a Checklist20
Quiz for Lesson 8 : The Event - Showtime12
Lesson 9 Assignment: Corporate Planners20
Quiz for Lesson 9 : Types of Events - Corporate7
Lesson 10 Assignment: Social Event Planning20
Quiz for Lesson 10 : Types of Events - Social11
Lesson 11 Assignment: Working on Personal Development20
Quiz for Lesson 11 : Relationships11
Lesson 12 A: Assignment: Networking Goals20
Lesson12 B Assignment: Making Contact and Offering Your Services20
Quiz for Lesson 12 : Networking10
Lesson 13 Assignment: Event Planning Business Expectations20
Quiz for Lesson 13 : Keeping Your Business in the Public Eye10
The Final Exam59
Total Points:470

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