How much do event planners earn?

July 3, 2024

The event planning industry is a dynamic and exciting field, known for its creativity, meticulous attention to detail, and the sheer joy of bringing memorable experiences to life. Whether it’s coordinating a grand wedding, orchestrating a corporate conference, or managing a music festival, event planners play a crucial role in ensuring everything runs smoothly.

For aspiring event planners, understanding how much you can earn in this industry is essential for career planning and growth. Salaries can vary widely based on factors such as experience, location, and the specific type of events you specialise in. From wedding planners to corporate event coordinators, each niche offers its own unique rewards and challenges.

Here we’ll look at an overview of the financial landscape of event planning, providing you with valuable insights to help you navigate your career path in this vibrant industry.

What do event planners do?

Event planners are simply the army behind the scenes who make sure everything goes off without a hitch at all kinds of events. They wear a ton of hats. Starting with sitting down with their clients to figure out exactly what they want. Then they’re off to the races – finding the perfect spot for the event, crunching numbers to make sure everything stays on budget, and coordinating with all sorts of vendors to bring the vision to life.

They’ve got a knack for turning a blank canvas into something amazing, whether it’s designing layouts or coming up with cool themes. And let’s not forget about all the nitty-gritty stuff like managing guest lists and making sure everyone shows up where they’re supposed to.

On the big day, they’re running around like crazy, making sure every little detail is just right. It takes a special kind of person to juggle all this – someone who’s super organised, creative, detail-oriented, and great at talking to people. At the end of the day, their job is to make sure the event is a smashing success.

Types of Event Planners

Corporate Event Planners

Corporate event planners are like the Swiss Army knives of the business world. They’re the go-to people when a company needs to pull off anything from a slick product launch to a massive conference or even a team-building retreat. They’re all about making the company look good while keeping employees or clients engaged and impressed.

They’re coordinating with the execs at the top one minute, haggling with caterers the next, and then rushing off to make sure the AV setup isn’t going to crash mid-presentation. They’ve got to have their finger on the pulse of the latest trends to keep things fresh, but also know how to stick to the company’s brand and message.

Wedding Planners

Wedding planners pull together every aspect of a couple’s vision and turn it into a once in a lifetime day. From initial consultation to post-event cleanup, they’re part therapist, part designer, and part miracle worker. One day they’re taste-testing cakes and sipping champagne, the next they’re in the midst of feuding family members or hunting down the perfect shade of periwinkle for napkins.

They’ve got to be ready for anything – rain on the big day, a missing ring, or a supplier failing to show up. Wedding planners are the calm in the storm of all the emotions, making sure that when the couple walks down the aisle, everything’s perfect.

Party Planners

Party planners are the life of the party – before it even starts! These fun-loving pros are all about creating good times, whether it’s a children’s birthday bash or a wild 50th celebration. They’re the ones who know how to turn a boring room into a wonderland or make a backyard barbecue feel like a five-star event.

They’re well versed at reading a crowd and knowing just what will get people mingling, dancing, or having a blast. From picking the perfect playlist to making sure there’s enough ice, they ensure that the only thing guests have to worry about is having too much fun.

Non-Profit Event Planners

Non-profit event planners are the experts at making something out of nothing, all in the name of a good cause. They’re the ones organising charity galas on a shoestring, putting together awareness walks that actually get people walking, and hosting fundraisers that don’t feel like they’re just after your wallet. It’s a tricky balance – they need to create events that are meaningful and impactful without breaking the bank.

How Event Planners Get Paid

Fee Structure

Event planners typically offer several fee structures to clients, depending on the nature and scale of the event. They’ll pick the best fit based on what you’re planning, how much you’re looking to spend, and where your event is happening.

Common models include:

A flat fee – where the planner charges a predetermined amount for their services regardless of the event size.

A percentage of the total event budget – where the fee is calculated based on a percentage of the overall expenses allocated for the event.

An hourly rate – where the planner charges based on the hours spent planning and managing the event.

These are not always set in stone. Good planners are usually up for a bit of negotiation. They’ll work with you to find a price that suits your budget and allows them to deliver the best option.

Commission-Based

Commission-based payments in event planning happens when some event planners get a cut of what you pay to suppliers like venues, caterers, or entertainment. In some ways it’s win-win. The planner gets a little kickback, and the suppliers get more business.

But it can get tricky. Sometimes planners might push clients towards certain suppliers not because they’re the best fit for your event, but because they’re getting a kickback. The tricky part is that this setup can put planners in a tough spot. They might end up recommending a supplier that’s not quite right for you or your budget, just because they’re thinking about their own bottom line.

Salary vs. Freelance

Choosing between working for an event planning company and going freelance offers event planners two unique paths, each with its own perks and things to consider.

As an employee, planners benefit from stability with a steady income, access to resources, and potential opportunities for career advancement within the company. Additionally, employees often receive comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare cover, retirement plans, and paid leave, which contribute to overall job security. However, this path may constrain flexibility in project selection and limit earning potential compared to independent work.

Freelance event planners, on the other hand, enjoy the freedom to set their own rates, choose clients, and manage their schedules autonomously. This flexibility can lead to potentially higher earnings, especially for experienced planners who can attract premium clients.

Nevertheless, freelancing also presents challenges such as income volatility, uncertainty in project acquisition, and the necessity of managing all aspects of business operations, including marketing, client relations, and financial planning.

Ultimately, the decision between salary-based employment and freelance work depends on individual preferences for stability versus flexibility, career goals, and risk tolerance in the dynamic event planning industry.

Different Levels of Salary and Experience

Entry-Level Event Planners

Entry-level event planners typically start with salaries ranging from £20,000 to £25,000 annually, although this can vary based on factors such as location and specific industry.

These positions serve as foundational opportunities for newcomers to gain practical experience in event coordination, logistics management, client relations, and supplier negotiation. Building a strong portfolio during this stage is crucial as it demonstrates proficiency and showcases successful event outcomes to potential employers or clients.

As entry-level event planners accumulate experience and expand their skill set, they can progressively advance to higher-paying roles within the industry. This early career phase also offers valuable networking opportunities that can lead to mentorship, professional development, and future career growth.

Mid-Career Event Planners

Mid-career event planners typically experience a significant increase in earning potential compared to their entry-level counterparts, with salaries ranging from £25,000 to £35,000 or more annually, depending on expertise, industry, and location.

As event planners gain experience, they often specialise in specific types of events such as corporate conferences, luxury weddings, or nonprofit fundraisers, which can command higher fees and salaries due to the specialist knowledge and skills required.

This phase of their career also presents opportunities for advancement into managerial or senior-level roles within event planning companies or the possibility of establishing their own event planning businesses.

Professional certifications, continued education, and networking play pivotal roles in mid-career event planners’ ability to enhance their earning potential and achieve sustained career growth in the dynamic and competitive event planning industry.

Senior-Level Event Planners

Senior-level event planners occupy leadership positions within the industry, commanding the highest salary ranges that can exceed £50,000 annually, depending on location, specialisation, and organisational scope. These seasoned professionals are entrusted with overseeing complex and high-profile events such as international conferences, large-scale corporate retreats, and exclusive social gatherings.

In addition to their expertise in event logistics and management, senior event planners often assume strategic roles where they collaborate closely with executives, stakeholders, and high-profile clients to align event objectives with broader organisational goals. They may also mentor junior staff, manage teams, and contribute to business development initiatives, leveraging their extensive experience and industry connections to ensure exceptional event execution and client satisfaction.

What is the average salary of an event planner in the UK

According to Indeed the average salary of an event planner in the UK is £30,341.

Factors Influencing Earnings

Location

Geographic location plays a significant role in determining the earnings of event planners. In urban areas with higher costs of living and greater economic activity, such as major cities and towns, event planners often command higher fees and salaries.

This is due to increased demand for professional event services, higher event budgets, and a more competitive market that values specialised expertise and experience. In contrast, event planners in rural or less densely populated areas may face lower demand and thus lower earning potential, as there are typically fewer large-scale events and corporate clients in these regions.

Specialisation

Specialising in a specific niche within the event planning industry can significantly impact earning potential. Event planners who focus on weddings, for example, often cater to clients willing to invest substantially in their special day, leading to higher fees and more lucrative opportunities. Similarly, planners specialising in corporate events benefit from handling larger budgets and more complex logistical challenges, which can translate into higher earnings.

Demand for Specific Skills and Experience

The demand for particular skills and experience in event planning directly influences earning potential. Expertise in areas such as budget management, supplier negotiations, creative design, and crisis management can differentiate event planners in a competitive market.

Planners with certifications, advanced training, or a demonstrated track record in successfully executing high-profile events are often able to attract premium clients willing to pay higher fees for their specialised expertise and reliability.

Client Base

Building a reputable client base is essential for sustaining and increasing earnings as an event planner. Established relationships with corporate clients, high-profile individuals, and reputable organisations can lead to repeat business and referrals, providing a steady income stream and enhancing professional credibility.

Repeat clients not only contribute to income stability but also serve as testimonials to attract new clients seeking reliable and experienced event planners. Word-of-mouth referrals, driven by satisfied clients, further solidify an event planner’s reputation and can lead to lucrative opportunities in the industry.

Get Event Insurance with Protectivity

For event planners, ensuring the success of an event is always a priority. This includes satisfying clients and participants while staying within budget. However, the events industry is fraught with potential issues, and things can go wrong. Mishaps and unforeseen problems can lead to expensive bills, affecting both the event’s profitability and your earnings as an event planner.

Incorporating risk assessments and contingency plans into your planning process is essential, and having the right insurance is a crucial part of this strategy. Protectivity offers a range of event insurance policies tailored to the scale and scope of your events. Our policies include public liability coverage up to £10 million, event equipment cover, and event money cover as standard.

To further safeguard your events, you can opt for additional coverage such as event cancellation insurance and employers’ liability insurance, depending on your specific needs.

Learn more about our event policies and request a quote online today.