How I became an Event Planner

My story of accidental success!

Event Planner; Event Coordinator; Become an Event Planner

About 15 years ago (give or take a few years), I inherited the monumental task of putting together the infamous Sadie Hawkins’ Day Dance. It was considered the best dance of the year, mainly because it was off school property. SO, girls could were their hoochie-mama club gear, and there weren’t any teachers separating couples that got too close. On top of that, all the ticket sales were donated to a local charity. It had to be perfect.

I spent hours sketching out the dance floor layout for the best DJ placement, and, of course, my outfit. I contacted venues, cool parent chaperones, signed contracts, and mobilized a small army of girls to sell those tickets! We sold out well before the day of the event.

I made list after list of everything that needed done to make sure I was dancing to the perfect song, in my perfect black tube top (don’t judge, it was 2000’s), under the perfect 90’s light show, sipping on some non-alcoholic cocktails. And you know what happened?

It. All. Went. To. Shit.

A huge blizzard came through that day. Power at the venue was turning on and off. Vendors were trapped on the highway, kids were calling every 5 minutes to see if we were still on. It was a mess. I was exhausted. My heart was on rapid fire all day.

But I improvised. I was not about to call it off. Not only because I wanted the party, but I didn’t want to deny our charity the $2500 we had made in ticket sales. Luckily, my extraordinarily detailed planning had paid off. I was able to use my contacts to get snow plows, a generator, a DJ on the fly, and local restaurants willing to donate snacks and utensils.

Event Planner, Event Coordinator, Party Planner
Front Row, 3rd from the right

The best part was no one at the party seemed to notice that the DJ was my plan C, and my friend with a huge truck drove to Wal-Mart to pick up all the drinks the caterer couldn’t bring. I had essentially pulled it off. Was it perfect? No. But I did get to dance and wear my favorite tube top.

That night I went to bed with a smile on my face. I had accomplished something when most people would have given up. I thought to myself, “Maybe I could make this a career.” It was fun. It was empowering. It was creative. Then I laughed because who would pay me to do this full time?

The next month I declared Physical Therapy as my major for my first year of college. Obviously.

A few weeks into classes, I came to the conclusion that I could not touch random people’s feet. I then bounced around in Communication majors longer than I should have, finally deciding on English Literature. Later, I completed an MFA in Creative Writing.

During that time, I served and bar tended in several country clubs and wedding venues building up an impressive resume of Bridezilla- calming techniques. But I also happened to work part time on an Art Exhibit fundraiser that brought Event Coordinating back into the realm of possibility. It wasn’t just weddings and dances. There was a whole world of planning and designing that I didn’t know existed.

Event Planner, Event Coordinator, Fundraisers, Party Planners
120 pieces of Surrealist art being hung. Quite fitting.

When the fundraiser ended, I struggled to find any event planning or coordinating positions in my area. They just weren’t there. I contemplated starting my own company. I thought about trying out for Project Runway, so I could design wedding dresses. I tried blogging about up-cycling old furniture, but couldn’t afford it long term. I started writing more than one book. I worked in a bank. I did social media for a construction company. But ultimately I came back to serving and bar tending for venues. It was disheartening.

However, just when I was about to just accept my fate as full time bar tender, a job posting for a Special Event Coordinator at a new casino magically popped up in my news feed. I applied not really hoping for much. I actually got a call the next day. I couldn’t believe it. I would have to prove myself, obviously, but they gave me shot. And here I am.

Event Planning, Event Coordinator, Party Planner, Hosting, Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby Party

Now, not only have have tamed Bride-zillas, I have planned, designed, organized, and executed themed parties, concerts, comedy shows, festivals, trade shows, conferences, corporate events, award banquets, art shows, fundraisers, and dinner theater. The best part is people know my work. They trust my opinions, even if it sounds a bit crazy. They ask for my help in fashion, beauty, and decorating their house. It’s nice to be appreciated for your random talents.

And that’s why I am here. My boss tells me I need to tame my creativity some times. He doesn’t want areal dancers at our New Year’s Eve party, and he can’t take me seriously when I wear bows in my hair. So, I want to share it all with you. The ideas build and build. They have to spill out somewhere.

You’re Welcome.

 

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