How to Start a Unique Event Planning Business

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Use unusual flowers or table settings to design unique events.
Use unusual flowers or table settings to design unique events. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Some people like to party professionally by starting an event-planning business. Creative weddings, unique birthday parties, unusual holiday fetes and one-of-a-kind corporate events all fall under the planning capabilities of an event planning company. This business type allows you room for creativity and engaging on the personal level with customers. Start a unique event planning business by matching your creative skills with services that will be offered by your company.

Research the market by flipping through the phone book, visiting company websites and asking people about their experiences with other event planners for their own celebrations. Some businesses turn out cookie-cutter events; identify businesses that are producing the kind of unique celebrations that you hope to coordinate. Look for a niche; if your town already teems with wedding planners, pitch yourself as an expert in creative bat mitzvah bashes or cutting-edge corporate luncheons.

Apply for permits, licenses and liability insurance. Events may be fun and celebratory, but you’re also running a business. You’ll need a business license and tax identification number. If your event planning business will sell merchandise, such as party favors or invitations, then you will also require a retail license.

Build a portfolio that you’ll be able to show to potential customers. If you haven’t already handled event clients, offer to organize your niece’s baby shower or neighbor’s family reunion. Snap photos of unique touches, such as handmade party favors, intricate invitations or food buffets decorated with candles and blooming flowerpots. Upload photos to your event planning website, along with favorable comments from satisfied clients. You can also use photographs to decorate marketing materials including business cards, flyers, pricing lists and menus.

Meet with other professionals in complementary businesses to start creating referral partners. Caterers, table rental companies, photographers, florists, hotel concierges, limo drivers, DJs and lighting professionals are all possibilities. Attend conferences and trade shows or visit local businesses. Exchange contact information, review their services and compare pricing to offer a variety of choices to your event clients. Since you’re promoting unique services, look for party professionals who are known for unusual or creative work.

Visit offices to distribute flyers or other promotional materials for your event planning business long before the holiday party or company picnic season begins, so that potential customers have a chance to review your services and ask questions. Incentivize customer referrals by offering discounts when clients suggest that their coworkers, friends or family members contact you for bookings.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although you want to build a brand image for yourself by creating unique events known for special touches, it's also crucial to maintain high standards for other elements of the professional including punctuality, organization and attentive customer service. Missing dates, offering half-hearted consultations to clients or forgetting to facilitate vendor payments can be disastrous.

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