How to Start a Profitable Party Planner Business [11 Steps]


By Nick Cotter Updated Feb 02, 2024

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Business Steps:

1. perform market analysis., 2. draft a party planner business plan., 3. develop a party planner brand., 4. formalize your business registration., 5. acquire necessary licenses and permits for party planner., 6. open a business bank account and secure funding as needed., 7. set pricing for party planner services., 8. acquire party planner equipment and supplies., 9. obtain business insurance for party planner, if required., 10. begin marketing your party planner services., 11. expand your party planner business..

When embarking on a venture in the party planning business, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the market dynamics. A comprehensive market analysis will reveal the existing demand, competition, and potential for growth, guiding you to make informed decisions as you lay the foundation of your enterprise. Here are key steps to consider:

  • Analyze the local demand for party planning services by identifying the most popular types of events, such as weddings, birthdays, corporate events, or themed parties.
  • Research local competitors to understand their service offerings, pricing strategies, market share, and unique selling propositions.
  • Identify your target demographic by age, income level, and social preferences to tailor your services effectively.
  • Assess industry trends and emerging themes in party planning to stay ahead and offer cutting-edge services.
  • Collect and interpret data from surveys, social media, and industry reports to gauge customer needs and satisfaction levels.
  • Consider economic indicators and local event regulations that could impact the party planning business in your area.

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Are Party Planner businesses profitable?

Yes, party planning businesses can be very profitable. Depending on the type of events you plan and the size of your business, you can generate a significant income. With proper planning, organization, and marketing, you can create a successful and profitable party planning business.

Creating a well-structured business plan is essential for the success of your party planner enterprise. It will serve as a roadmap for your business, outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections. Here are critical elements that should be included in your party planner business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Provide a brief overview of your party planning business, including your company's mission statement, service offerings, and unique selling propositions.
  • Market Analysis: Research the party planning market, identify your target audience, and analyze your competitors to find a niche or advantage.
  • Services Offered: Describe the types of parties you plan, such as weddings, birthdays, corporate events, and the specific services you offer, from venue selection to vendor coordination.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategies: Detail how you plan to attract and retain clients, including pricing, promotions, advertising, and sales tactics.
  • Operational Plan: Explain the day-to-day operations of your business, including the roles and responsibilities of your team, if applicable, and the tools and technology you will use.
  • Financial Plan: Include a budget, a projection of start-up costs, ongoing expenses, revenue forecasts, and a break-even analysis.
  • Milestones and Metrics: Set clear goals and objectives, with measurable metrics to track progress and success.

How does a Party Planner business make money?

A Party Planner business typically makes money by charging a fee for their services. This fee is usually based on the services provided and the amount of time and effort required to plan and organize the event. Additionally, some party planners may offer additional services such as catering, venue rental, and decorations which generate additional income.

Establishing a memorable and appealing brand is crucial when starting a party planning business. Your brand is the face of your company and should reflect the unique value and experience you offer to clients. Here are some key points to consider when developing your party planner brand:

  • Identify Your Niche: Determine the specific market or theme you'll specialize in, such as children's parties, weddings, or corporate events.
  • Create a Brand Identity: Design a logo and choose color schemes and fonts that convey the style and tone of your services, ensuring consistency across all materials.
  • Define Your Brand Values: Decide on the core values and messages you want to communicate to your clients, like creativity, attention to detail, or stress-free planning.
  • Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Articulate what makes your party planning service stand out from competitors, such as unique themes, personalized experiences, or exceptional customer service.
  • Build an Online Presence: Create a professional website and active social media profiles to showcase your portfolio, share customer testimonials, and engage with your audience.
  • Consistency is Key: Ensure that all your communications and marketing materials align with your brand identity to build trust and recognition.

How to come up with a name for your Party Planner business?

Brainstorming is the best way to come up with a name for your Party Planner business. Consider words that are associated with parties such as celebration, festivity and fun. Also think about what makes your business unique and special and use that as inspiration. Finally, keep it simple and memorable and make sure the name is easy to pronounce and spell.

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Formalizing your business registration is a critical step in establishing your party planner business as a legal entity. This process varies depending on your location, but it generally involves a few key steps that will help protect your business and ensure compliance with government regulations. Here are some essential actions to take:

  • Choose a Business Structure: Decide whether your party planner business will be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has different legal and tax implications.
  • Register Your Business Name: If you're using a name other than your own, you'll need to register a "Doing Business As" (DBA) name. Check with your local government to ensure the name isn't already taken and to register it properly.
  • Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses: Depending on your location and the scope of services you're offering, certain permits and licenses may be required to operate legally. Research local regulations and apply for all necessary documentation.
  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN): If you plan to hire employees, or your business structure requires it, you will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS for tax purposes.
  • Register for State and Local Taxes: Register with your state's taxation department to obtain a tax identification number, worker's compensation, unemployment, and disability insurance.

Resources to help get you started:

Explore crucial resources designed specifically for party planner entrepreneurs, featuring the latest market trends, operational best practices, and strategic tips for business expansion:

  • Event Planner Magazine: Offers comprehensive insights into event planning trends and business strategies.
  • International Live Events Association (ILEA): Provides industry reports, professional development resources, and a community for networking.
  • Special Events Blog: Features articles on event trends, case studies, and marketing tips for event professionals.
  • Event MB: Offers free reports and articles on event technology, innovations, and event planning best practices.
  • Party & Event Planner Success Podcast: A podcast series delivering actionable advice and insights from industry experts.
  • Catersource: Provides resources and training for caterers and event planners, including a conference and tradeshow.

Starting a party planning business involves more than just a keen eye for detail and a penchant for organization; it also requires obtaining the appropriate licenses and permits to operate legally and professionally. These documents are essential to ensure that your business activities are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Below are the key licenses and permits you may need to acquire:

  • Business License: Check with your city or county government to apply for a general business license, which is the fundamental permit for operating a business in your area.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): If you plan to hire employees, you'll need to obtain an EIN from the IRS for tax purposes.
  • Event Permits: Certain events may require specific permits, especially if you're planning public gatherings or events that involve food, alcohol, music, or street closures.
  • Insurance: While not a permit or license, having liability insurance can protect your business from potential claims and is often required by venues and vendors.
  • Health and Safety Permits: If your party planning services include catering or setting up temporary food stations, you may need to acquire health department permits to ensure food safety.
  • Alcohol License: Selling or serving alcohol at events may necessitate a temporary or permanent alcohol license, depending on the laws in your area.

What licenses and permits are needed to run a party planner business?

Depending on the type and location of the party planner business, licenses and permits may include a business license, health department license, insurance, liquor license, sales tax permit, and any permits required for holding large events.

Opening a business bank account and securing funding are crucial steps in establishing a strong financial foundation for your party planner business. These steps not only help in managing your finances effectively but also in gaining credibility with vendors and clients. Here are some guidelines to assist you:

  • Research banks and credit unions to find the best business banking options that offer low fees, good customer service, and additional benefits such as online banking and mobile access.
  • Prepare the necessary documents to open a business bank account, which typically include your business license, EIN (Employer Identification Number), and Articles of Organization if you've formed an LLC or corporation.
  • Consider the different types of funding available to you, such as small business loans, business credit cards, lines of credit, or investors, and decide which source aligns best with your financial needs and business goals.
  • Create a solid business plan that outlines your party planning services, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections to present to potential lenders or investors.
  • Explore local and federal government grants, as well as crowdfunding platforms, as potential funding sources that may offer a more favorable alternative to traditional loans.

Setting the right price for your party planning services is crucial to attract clients while ensuring your business is profitable. Consider the value you bring, your expertise, and the market rates. Below are key points to guide you in establishing your pricing:

  • Analyze the Market: Research your competitors' pricing to understand the going rates for similar services in your area.
  • Costs and Expenses: Calculate all your business costs, including supplies, labor, and overhead, to ensure your prices cover these expenses.
  • Value-Based Pricing: Consider the value of your unique offerings and experience when setting prices; premium services can command higher fees.
  • Pricing Models: Decide whether to charge a flat fee, an hourly rate, or a percentage of the party budget. Each model has its pros and cons.
  • Package Deals: Create service packages with tiered pricing to cater to different client needs and budgets.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared to negotiate with clients but know your minimum acceptable rate to maintain profitability.
  • Transparency: Clearly communicate what is included in your pricing to avoid misunderstandings and build trust with clients.

What does it cost to start a Party Planner business?

Initiating a party planner business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $6500 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your party planner business.

Starting a party planning business requires gathering the right tools and supplies to ensure every event is a hit. From decorations to organizational tools, equipping yourself with the essentials will make your job easier and your events more memorable. Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • Basic Planning Supplies: Notebooks, planners, pens, and folders to keep your planning details organized.
  • Event Decor: A variety of decorations such as balloons, streamers, tablecloths, and centerpieces that can cater to different party themes.
  • Tableware: Disposable or reusable plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery for serving guests.
  • Sound System: Portable speakers or a PA system for music and announcements.
  • Lighting Equipment: String lights, LED candles, or spotlights to enhance the ambiance.
  • Furniture: Foldable tables and chairs for guest seating and food display.
  • Catering Supplies: Serving trays, utensils, chafing dishes, and beverage dispensers.
  • Entertainment Items: Games, props, and activities suitable for various age groups and party themes.
  • Transportation: A reliable vehicle to transport supplies to and from event locations.
  • Software: Event management software for guest lists, floor plans, and schedules.

List of Software, Tools and Supplies Needed to Start a Party Planner Business:

  • Computer and Printer
  • Business Software (Accounting, Invoicing, Budgeting)
  • Party Planning Software (Theme Design, Event Scheduling, Checklists)
  • Party Supplies (Decorations, Tablecloths, Tableware, etc.)
  • Party Favors
  • Party Entertainment (DJs, Bands, Magicians, etc.)
  • Advertising Materials (Flyers, Business Cards, etc.)
  • Photography Equipment (Camera, Lighting, etc.)
  • Website Design Tools
  • Social Media Tools

As you embark on your journey as a party planner, safeguarding your business with the right insurance is a crucial step. Insurance not only protects your financial stability but also provides peace of mind for you and your clients. Here are some key insurance types to consider:

  • General Liability Insurance: Covers third-party bodily injury and property damage claims, which could arise during an event.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Also known as Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, it protects against claims of negligence or failure to deliver services as promised.
  • Business Property Insurance: Protects your office space, equipment, and inventory against theft, damage, or loss.
  • Workers' Compensation Insurance: Required if you have employees, to cover medical costs and lost wages for work-related injuries or illnesses.
  • Event Cancellation Insurance: Helps recoup lost expenses if an event you're planning is unexpectedly canceled or postponed.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: Essential if you have a vehicle dedicated to your business, to cover damages from accidents during work-related trips.

Consult with an insurance broker to tailor a policy that fits the unique risks associated with your party planning business.

Now that you've set the groundwork for your party planner business, it's time to get the word out and attract clients. Marketing your services effectively is crucial to your success. Here are some strategies to help you start promoting your party planning services:

  • Develop a Strong Online Presence: Create a professional website and active social media profiles to showcase your portfolio, client testimonials, and services offered.
  • Network: Attend local events, join community groups, and connect with other vendors in the industry to build relationships and gain referrals.
  • Offer Promotions: Entice new customers with introductory offers, discounts for referrals, or package deals for different types of events.
  • Collaborate with Vendors: Partner with caterers, venues, and entertainment providers to create mutual referral programs.
  • Local Advertising: Advertise in local magazines, newspapers, and on community bulletin boards. Consider sponsoring local events for added visibility.
  • Collect Testimonials: Encourage satisfied clients to provide testimonials that you can use in your marketing materials and on your website.

Once your party planning business is well-established and you're ready to take the next step, expansion is the way to go. Here are some strategies that can help you grow your business and take it to new heights:

  • Explore niche markets: Look for untapped areas within the party planning industry, such as corporate events, destination weddings, or eco-friendly parties.
  • Build strategic partnerships: Connect with vendors, venues, and other event planners to create a network that can offer more comprehensive services to clients.
  • Invest in marketing: Increase your online presence through social media, optimize your website for search engines, and consider paid advertising to reach a wider audience.
  • Expand your team: Hire additional staff or freelancers with specialized skills to handle increased demand and offer new services.
  • Diversify your offerings: Introduce new services like virtual event planning, party supply rentals, or personalized party favors to differentiate your business.
  • Franchise your business: If your brand is strong and your business model is replicable, consider franchising to allow others to open branches under your brand name.

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How To Write a Successful Party Planner Business Plan + Template

Business plan

Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for party planner businesses that want to improve their strategy and/or raise funding.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines the vision for your company, but also documents a step-by-step roadmap of how you are going to accomplish it. In order to create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components that are essential to its success.

This article provides an overview of the key elements that every party planner business owner should include in their business plan.

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What is a Party Planner Business Plan?

A party planner business plan is a formal written document that describes your company’s business strategy and its feasibility. It documents the reasons you will be successful, your areas of competitive advantage, and it includes information about your team members. Your business plan is a key document that will convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you are positioned to become a successful venture.

Why Write a Party Planner Business Plan?

A party planner business plan is required for banks and investors. The document is a clear and concise guide of your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.

Writing an Effective Party Planner Business Plan

The following are the key components of a successful party planner business plan:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a party planner business plan is a one to two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your party planner company
  • Provide a short summary of the key points in each section of your business plan, which includes information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast among others.

Company Description

This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how your company started, and provide a timeline of milestones your company has achieved.

If you are just starting your party planner business, you may not have a long company history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company before or have been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your party planner firm, mention this.

You will also include information about your chosen party planner business model and how, if applicable, it is different from other companies in your industry.

Industry Analysis

The industry or market analysis is an important component of a party planner business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends and document the size of your market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the party planner industry are you targeting?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now (and if applicable, how do these trends support the success of your company)?

You should also include sources for the information you provide, such as published research reports and expert opinions.

Customer Analysis

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

For example, the customers of a party planner business may include brides-to-be, parents of young children, or corporate event planners.

You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or party planner services with the right marketing.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis helps you determine how your product or service will be different from competitors, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) might be that will set you apart in this industry.

For each competitor, list their strengths and weaknesses. Next, determine your areas of competitive differentiation and/or advantage; that is, in what ways are you different from and ideally better than your competitors.

Below are sample competitive advantages your party planner business may have:

  • Extensive event planning experience
  • Unique and creative event ideas
  • Strong relationships with vendors and suppliers
  • Diverse service offerings
  • Ability to manage large-scale events

Marketing Plan

This part of the business plan is where you determine and document your marketing plan. . Your plan should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Detail your product/service offerings here. Document their features and benefits.
  • Price : Document your pricing strategy here. In addition to stating the prices for your products/services, mention how your pricing compares to your competition.
  • Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution (e.g., partnerships) will you use to reach them if applicable?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target customers? For example, you may use social media, write blog posts, create an email marketing campaign, use pay-per-click advertising, launch a direct mail campaign. Or, you may promote your party planner business via word-of-mouth or by exhibiting at trade shows.

Operations Plan

This part of your party planner business plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your product/service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone only?
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.

Finally, and most importantly, in your Operations Plan, you will lay out the milestones your company hopes to achieve within the next five years. Create a chart that shows the key milestone(s) you hope to achieve each quarter for the next four quarters, and then each year for the following four years. Examples of milestones for a party planner business include reaching $X in sales. Other examples include adding new services, expanding to a new location, or hiring new employees.

Management Team

List your team members here including their names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific party planner industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.

Particularly if you are seeking funding, the goal of this section is to convince investors and lenders that your team has the expertise and experience to execute on your plan. If you are missing key team members, document the roles and responsibilities you plan to hire for in the future.

Financial Plan

Here you will include a summary of your complete and detailed financial plan (your full financial projections go in the Appendix). 

This includes the following three financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how much revenue you generate.
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, this is the net income or loss.

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Party Planner Business

Balance sheet.

Include a balance sheet that shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Party Planner Business

Cash flow statement.

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:

  • Cash Flow From Operations
  • Cash Flow From Investments
  • Cash Flow From Financing

Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup party planner business.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Party Planner Business

You will also want to include an appendix section which will include:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • Any other documentation which supports what you included in the body of your business plan.

Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and/or grow your party planner company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it.

A well-written business plan is an essential tool for any party planner business. If you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, it’s important to have a polished and professional business plan. Use the outline above as a guide as you write your own party planner business plan.   

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How To Start a Party Planning Business in 12 Steps

So, you want to start a business as a party planner? That’s great! Party planning is a fun and exciting industry, and there’s a LOT of potential for success in this field. However, if you want to learn how to start a party planning business, it’s important to remember that it won’t be easy. It actually takes hard work, dedication, and lots of elbow grease to make it in this competitive industry.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help!

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to start a party planning business in 12 easy steps, right from scratch. We’ll cover topics like choosing the right niche, building your brand, creating a business plan, and more.

So, let’s jump right into it!

What is a party planner.

A party planner is someone who plans, organizes and runs events for their clients. They’re responsible for all aspects of the event, from planning to execution. A successful party planner should have exceptional organizational skills and be able to handle any type of event – from birthdays, baby showers, and anniversaries to corporate events and weddings.

PRO TIP: Discover the full range of what a party planner does so you have a clear idea of what you can expect!

The benefits of starting your own party planning business.

Starting your own party planning business has tons of potential rewards! It gives you the opportunity to be creative, work with clients and build relationships, and make a good living. Plus, when you’re your own boss, you have the freedom to choose how much or how little you want to work – giving you more flexibility than working for someone else!

What Are the Steps to Starting a Party Planning Business?

Starting any business is no easy feat, and that’s especially true when it comes to party planning. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication if you want to make it in this competitive industry. But don’t worry – if you’re willing to put in the effort, we have the perfect guide to help you get started…

1. Choose Your Niche

The first step is to decide what kind of parties you want to specialize in. This is also called finding your niche . Think about the types of events that interest you and the ones you have experience with – this will help narrow your focus so that you can build a successful business.

For instance, as a professional party planner, you can specialize in any of the following types of parties:

  • Baby showers
  • Corporate events
  • Anniversaries
  • Engagement parties
  • Bridal showers
  • Bachelor parties
  • Graduation parties
  • Retirement parties
  • And SO much more!

2. Get Professionally Trained as a Party Planner

It’s essential that you have the right skills to be a successful party planner! When you have proper training and a legit certification on your resume, it gives your clients confidence in your ability to deliver a great experience. As a result, you’ll be able to:

  • Book more clients
  • Network more successfully
  • Offer better party planning services
  • Stand out from your competition
  • Make better money

Not to mention, the right certification course will also give you some business training, too. Since you’re here because you want to know how to start a party planning business, this is obviously a must!

So, consider getting professional training in event planning and take courses offered by reputable organizations like the QC Event School .

PRO TIP: If you’re looking to be a party planner, we recommend QC Event School’s self-paced, online Event & Wedding Planning Course ! This 7-unit program can arm you with a globally-recognized International Event and Wedding Planning Professional™ (IEWP®) certification in as little as 3 short months!

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3. Know Who Your Target Audience Is

Now that you know what type of parties you’re going to specialize in, it’s time to figure out who your target audience is. Consider demographic factors like age, gender, location, and income level. How old are they? Are they married or single? What type of events do they usually host? How much money can they spend on a party planner?

By understanding these details, you’ll get a better idea of who your ideal client is and be able to tailor your services, brand, marketing efforts, and overall business accordingly!

4. Build Your Brand

Once you know what kind of parties you want to specialize in and you’ve been professionally trained, it’s time to start building your brand . As a business owner, your brand is what will make you unique and stand out from competitors.

In a nutshell, it’s that special thing that will help convince clients to book with YOU instead of somebody else!

So, think about how you want to present yourself and your business to potential clients. For example, do you want a fun and colorful brand or a more sophisticated vibe? How do you want to come across in your messaging and marketing materials? What kind of logo and website do you want? How will you capture the attention of your target market?

These are all key questions to consider when building your brand. From there, make sure your brand (and its visual identity) remains consistent across ALL of your marketing materials. This includes:

  • Your website
  • Social media accounts for your party planning business
  • Business cards
  • The tone of voice you use whenever speaking (both online and in-person)
  • Emails, etc.

5. Know Where You Plan To Run Your Business From

As a party planner, you have numerous options in terms of where you want to operate your business. For instance, you can run it from home or rent a space in an office building. Or, you can also become a virtual party planner and offer your services online.

It all depends on your preferences and budget, but whatever you decide – make sure it allows you to accommodate all of the necessary party planning supplies and materials. That way, you can provide the best possible service for your clients!

Interested in virtual party planning? Learn everything you need to know in less than a month with the help of QC’s Virtual Events Training mini course !

6. set your party planning service rates.

When starting a party planning business, you want to make sure that you set the right price for your services. Depending on what kind of parties you specialize in and the amount of time required to plan them (not to mention the cost of materials), your rates may vary from client to client.

So, it’s a good idea to have a few different pricing options available, such as hourly rates or flat-fee packages. Just make sure that whatever you decide to charge your clients is both competitive and fair for the market you are serving in.

Remember: you don’t want to undersell your services – but you don’t want to overcharge for them either!

7. Create Your Party Planning Business Plan

Creating a business plan is the next step in starting your business as a party planner. A business plan is like a roadmap that outlines the key details of your business, including:

  • Your mission statement
  • An executive summary of your party planning business
  • Short-term and long-term goals
  • A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)
  • A detailed description of the services you offer
  • Your target market
  • Competitor analysis
  • Financial highlights and future projections
  • Marketing and advertising plans
  • And so forth!

There are several reasons why you should develop a business plan. For starters, it’ll help you articulate your strategy for success and gain the confidence of any potential investors (such as a bank). It’ll also serve as a reference guide if ever need to make changes down the line.

At the end of the day, though, it’s important to remember that your business plan is unique to your business’s needs and objectives. Furthermore, it should also be reviewed and updated regularly as your business evolves and grows.

Need help writing your business plan for the first time? Small Business Administration has an article that breaks the process down into more detail – and even offers a couple examples to better help you visualize what you should be doing!

Table setting at a luxury wedding and Beautiful flowers on the table. wedding decor, flowers, pink and gold decor, candles. Festive table decor. Party planning business article.

7. Get the Necessary Licenses and Insurance for Your Party Planning Business

When starting a party planning business, you’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses and insurance. The type of license you’ll need will depend on your location and the services you offer as a party planner.

Generally, though, some of the licenses you may require include:

  • Business License
  • Liquor License (if applicable)
  • Food Handler’s Certificat e (if applicable)

In terms of insurance coverage, this will vary depending on the type of activities and services you offer as a party planner. At the very least, you should look into getting general liability insurance to protect yourself from any potential claims or lawsuits.

You can also speak with an insurance broker to discuss more specialized coverage that may be suited for your business (such as event cancellation/rain insurance).

8. Get Some Experience Under Your Belt

Unless you already have some experience planning events, it’s a good idea to get some practice before launching your party planning business.

This could involve taking on some volunteer projects or low-budget gigs at first. That way, you’ll have the opportunity to gain more experience and build up a portfolio of successful parties to showcase!

Another awesome idea is to take part in a stylized photoshoot . Working with a photographer and stylist, you can create a few mock parties to provide potential clients with visuals of what they might expect when working with your business. No, you probably won’t get paid to organize a styled shoot – however, the high-quality content you can then use in your portfolio will be worth its weight in gold!

Lastly, another idea for getting real-world experience is to turn to people you know, such as friends and family. Offer to plan small gatherings and get-togethers, or even help out with other people’s events. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about the industry, even if it isn’t in a paid capacity.

9. Put Together a Solid Professional Portfolio

Your professional portfolio should be the envy of any potential client. Therefore, it’s important to put together one that stands out and is reflective of your skills as a party planner!

How To Build a Party Planning Portfolio

When building your portfolio, make sure to include visuals of any parties you have organized in the past and provide details such as:

  • Short description of the event
  • Purpose of the event
  • Goals/objectives achieved
  • Challenges faced
  • Details of how you overcame them
  • How you exceeded expectations (if applicable)

The more detail and visuals you can include in your portfolio, the better. After all, it will give potential clients a good idea of what they can expect when working with you!

10. Build Your Business Website and Social Media Presence

Creating an online presence is necessary for any business, especially if you’re starting a party planning business. This will help potential clients discover your services and showcase your work online.

Your Website

When setting up your website, make sure to include information about yourself (including experience and qualifications), the types of services you offer, and examples of past work. You can also create some sort of booking service/application form on your website to make it easier for potential clients to get in touch with you.

Social Media Accounts

In addition to your website, you’ll also want to set up a presence on the various social media platforms, such as:

This will help build an online community and increase awareness of your business. You can then post pictures from past events, details about upcoming parties you’re planning, industry advice, and other awesome types of content. Just make sure that you’re posting on a regular basis and always replying back to anyone who comments or DMs you!

11. Determine (and Implement) Your Marketing Strategies

Having a solid marketing strategy is key to the success of any business, so it’s essential that you come up with one for your party planning business too. How will you reach potential clients and how are you going to market yourself?

Some ideas include:

  • Creating online ads (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc.)
  • Making use of influencer marketing
  • Working with local media outlets (newspapers, TV, etc.)
  • Maximizing email campaigns
  • Attending industry events and networking
  • Creating a newsletter
  • Utilizing traditional outdoor advertising (billboards, flyers, etc.)

Real talk: your marketing strategy can be the very thing that makes or breaks your party planning business. I know, no pressure, right? We’re not trying to freak you out or anything… But seriously, make sure to think through your strategies and come up with ones that fit your budget and target audience!

How to start a party planning business in-post image 3

11. Start Networking

Networking is another important step in the process of starting a party planning business. The reason for this is quite simple: networking will help you get the word out about your services, as well as give you the opportunity to learn from other party planners.

So, how should you network?

Well, the best way to network is to attend industry events and meet-ups. Here, you can make connections with other professionals in the field, share ideas, and learn from each other. You can also join online forums, groups, and association to continue building up your network.

12. Keep Learning and Stay Up-to-Date With Industry Trends

Finally, in order to stay relevant and up-to-date with the latest industry trends, it’s important to set aside time to continually be learning.

This may include attending workshops or seminars related to party planning, reading books and articles from experienced professionals in the field, or subscribing to industry websites/blogs for updates. By doing this, you’ll be able to stay on top of the latest trends and make sure that your parties are always ahead of the curve!

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know how to start a party planning business from scratch, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this journey:

Q: How much does it cost to build a professional party planning business?

A: How much you have to invest in your business depends on what kind of services you plan to offer and how much overhead costs (such as rent, utilities, advertising, etc.) you have to pay. Generally speaking, the cost of starting a party planning business can range from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands, depending on your budget.

Q: Can you start a business as a party planner while earning your certification, or should you wait until you’re certified?

A: That’s really up to you! If you’re confident in your skills and have enough experience, then there’s no reason why you can’t start building your party planning business while you’re still earning your certification. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have enough experience yet, it may be best to wait until you finish the certification process before jumping in.

Q: How long does it take to start a party planning business?

A: How long it takes to start a party planning business really depends on how much research, planning and preparation you’re willing to put in. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the type of services you offer and how quickly you want to get started. Once you have a plan of action and have taken the necessary steps to bring your business vision to life, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful party planner!

Q: How long should you expect to wait before seeing a profit?

A: It again depends on a few factors, such as the types of services you offer, how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in the business, and how much of a budget you’ve allocated for marketing and promotion. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year before you start seeing consistent profits.

Q: Is party planning a good side hustle?

A: Absolutely! Party planning is a great side hustle for people who love planning events and have an eye for detail. It’s also a great way to make a part-time income without having to take on full-time hours. Plus, as your business grows, you can always consider taking on more clients, expanding your services, and making your business a full-time endeavor down the road.

Q: How much do party planners make per year?

There’s no definitive answer to this question as every party planner’s income is dependent on their services, expenses, and how many events they take on. Generally speaking, though, ZipRecruiter reports that party planners in the United States alone tend to make anywhere from $13,500 to $79,500 USD annually.

Q: What are some must-have supplies that all party planners need?

A: Some of the most important supplies you should have as a party planner include things like decorative items, catering supplies, sound systems/PA equipment, and event planning software. These will help you ensure that all of your parties are well-prepared, organized, and run smoothly.

In terms of running your party planning business, we recommend investing in the following items:

  • A business plan
  • A registered business name
  • Organization tools, such as a calendar and daily planner
  • A proper website domain
  • Marketing materials (flyers, brochures)
  • Accounting software
  • And any necessary legal documents such as insurance, contracts, etc.

PRO TIP: Check out our full list of the BEST tools to help you grow your party planning business successfully!

Q: where can you buy party planning supplies.

A: You can buy party planning supplies from a variety of suppliers, both online and in-person. Online stores such as Amazon or Party City are great resources for finding decorations, catering supplies, sound equipment, and more. Local party supply stores can also provide you with everything you need to make your parties memorable.

Q: How do party planners get clients?

A: The best way to get clients as a party planner is through networking and building relationships. You can start by attending local events or industry conferences and introducing yourself to potential clients. Additionally, you should also consider marketing your services on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.

Another business-savvy way to attract and book clients is by offering them some sort of pricing incentive. For example, you could offer discounts on services or free consultations in exchange for referrals. This will help build your reputation, and it’s a great way to get new clients.

Finally, don’t forget about word of mouth! Ask friends and family to spread the word about your business and refer you to anyone who’s looking for a party planner.

Table setting. A woman decorates the table for the holiday. High quality photo. Party planning business article.

Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information you need to start a successful party planning business from scratch. When it comes down to it, running a successful business is all about staying organized and having the right resources at your disposal. With the right planning, dedication, and effort, you can turn your party planning business into a thriving success!

Become a party planner in as little as 12 short weeks by starting your self-paced, online certification training with QC Event School. Enroll today !

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How to Write an Event Planning Business Plan + Free Template

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Planned a few events in the past?

And, if you feel that event planning is your forte, and you have ideas that are both creative and functional, event planning might be an exciting endeavor for you!

Although most people start out by working under someone, everyone dreams of starting their own event planning business.

Also, you are about to go ahead and start yours; wait a moment!

You might have sufficient knowledge for planning events, but navigating the complexities of the event planning industry needs a well-thought-out roadmap. And that roadmap is a comprehensive event management business plan.

Yes, you read it correctly. A business plan can be of great help while starting your own event planning company. It not only sets the foundation for your venture but also enhances your opportunities for success.

So, we have created a Sample Event Planning Business Plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect event business plan should look like!

Now, without any further ado; let’s explore all the details you will need to write in your stunning business plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Clearly define your goals, mission statement, service offerings, and management team in your business plan.
  • Perform thorough market and industry analysis to identify target customers, and adapt to the latest trends.
  • Present a realistic financial plan, including startup costs, revenue projections, and a break-even analysis to attract investors.
  • Effectively draft your pricing strategy and unique selling propositions to meet the specific needs of your target customers.
  • Provide a clear outline of your business operations to efficiently deliver your planning services and seize new opportunities.
  • Craft your marketing techniques, sales tactics, and promotional activities to reach a wider audience.
  • Recognize your key competitors, and develop strategies that make your event planning business stand out in the competitive landscape.

How to Write an Event Planning Business Plan?

  • Get a Business Plan Template
  • Write an Executive Summary
  • Provide a Company Overview
  • Conduct an Industry and Market Analysis
  • Describe your Product and Service Offerings
  • Outline a Sales and Marketing Plan
  • Introduce Your Team
  • Outline Business Operations
  • Prepare a Financial Plan

1. Get a Business Plan Template

Before you start writing a business plan for your event planning business, it is recommended to get a business plan template first.

It’s like having a valuable resource for your business planning. It not only simplifies the business plan writing process but also helps you include all the essential elements in your plan.

However, you can effectively organize your thoughts and accurately draft a strategically sound business document according to your specific requirements and preferences.

Not only that, it sets the stage for a comprehensive, professional business plan that empowers you to highlight your vision, attract potential investors, and navigate the competitive event planning landscape.

If you are a budding entrepreneur or looking for a polished template, choose Upmetrics’ business plan template now and ensure that you won’t skip any important facts in your plan.

Say goodbye to boring templates

Build your business plan faster and easier with AI

Plans starting from $7/month

business plan party planner

2. Write an Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first and foremost section of your event planning business plan. It provides a brief introduction to the entire business plan.

Make sure that it is clear, concise, and engaging, as it will create your first impression and attract investors or readers to delve further into your plan.

Start this section by describing your idea behind an event planning and type of business; for example, are you a startup business, want to grow an existing one, or running a business chain?

Communicate your business objectives and emphasize how you will be different from other event-planning businesses. Here is an example of event planning objectives using Upmetrics:

example of event planning objectives

Next, give an overview of each of the subsequent sections, including offered services, market opportunities, marketing strategies, and financial projections that will be explored in greater detail within the plan.

Not only that, you can end this summary with a compelling call to action, inviting potential investors or readers to the next meeting if they are interested in your event planning.

Generally, this section is written after the whole event business plan is ready. It is often the easiest way to do so as you have simply gone through and written all the key sections of your plan.

3. Provide a Company Overview

Now, provide detailed information about your event plan business. It contains ownership, legal structure, office location, business history, and other such business-related facts.

Begin with the intro of what type of events you are organizing. For instance, it will be corporate events (catering to businesses), social events/celebrations(wedding planning, birthday parties, etc), or niche events(specialized in just one type).

Discuss a little bit more about your business history, including when you started event planning and what milestones you have accomplished. Also, accentuate your mission statement.

Take reference from the below example describing the mission of the event planning company:

In an ever-changing, fast-paced world, success is determined by good choices for lasting effects. Eventel strives to be the best choice for clients by helping to ease their event planning burden.

Through consistent, predictable professionalism, Eventel will ensure a worry-free and hassle-free event at a reasonable price.

Event also has internal clients to serve. The event will strive to provide the same predictable and professional working environment to its employees and contracted vendors, justly compensating them for their services.

It is also a priority to make a comfortable living wage for its owners, founders, full-time staff, and their families.

Keeping in tune with the needs of the market, utilizing the latest technology and trends, all while ensuring the client receives the individual attention they deserve, is the vision and daily mission of Eventel; The Event Planning Specialists.

In addition to that, you can mention your startup summary and future business goals, as this section gives an in-depth overview of your business.

4. Conduct an Industry and Market Analysis

Starting an event management business requires a strategic events industry and market analysis. So, take some time to go further and locate more accurate data.

Try to include certain key elements in this section:

Market size and growth potential

You need to study specific data about various markets in which you are trying to get into and ensure profitability. So, describe your market size & growth potential and whether you will target a niche or a much broader market.

For instance, the USA industry revenue for event planners has grown at a CAGR of 4.1% over the past five years and reached $5.6 billion in 2023. So, it is crucial to define the target market segment.

Target market segment

Start this section by describing your target market. Define your ideal customer and explain what types of services they prefer. Creating a buyer persona will help you easily define your target market to your readers.

Do proper market research and try to create a buyer’s persona in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles.

Take reference from the below example written using our innovative AI writing assistant :

Competitive analysis

Identify and analyze your direct and indirect competitors. Recognize their strengths & weaknesses, and describe what differentiates your business from other planners.

Direct competitors can be other event planning businesses, while wedding planners, local venues, caterers, or conference centers can be indirect competitors.

Point out how you have a competitive edge in the market, such as superior event management options, user-friendly methods/tools to book your services, and adequate pricing plans with better services.

Not only that, describe emerging market trends in the industry and explain how you will cope with all the directions. You can also list regulations and licensing requirements that may affect your company.

5. Describe your Product and Service Offerings

Next, specify the scope of your products and service offerings. As an event management business, you can describe the size and type of events you cater to, including a variety of event planning services.

This section must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors or readers understand the value of your business.

While drafting your  event planning services and products, you can take reference from the below example:

Eventel provides event planning in a wide range of applications. We guarantee satisfaction in the areas of appearance, performance, and taste. 

The following is a sampling of the types of events we plan every year:

  • Corporate events or meetings, Training, and Retreats
  • Conferences and Workshops
  • Birthday parties, Anniversaries, Graduations, and Holidays
  • Weddings, Receptions, and Showers
  • Company picnics, banquets, and award ceremonies
  • Caterer coordination and decor
  • Trade shows and fashion shows

Effectively define your pricing plans for event planning services. Also, communicate your services to the customers by sharing a detailed description of the procedure you use while working with clients.

Mention if your event planning company offers any additional services. You may include services like lighting & sound, vendor negotiation, guest concierge services, etc.

6. Outline a Sales and Marketing Plan

Writing the sales and marketing strategy section means a list of tactics you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing strategies:

Social media marketing

Use social media platforms to present your company’s essence. Regularly post exquisite snapshots or videos of your planned social events, decor, and behind-the-scenes moments.

User-friendly website

Assure that your event management company has a user-friendly website that provides basic information about your services, pricing, and contact

details. Also, share informative blog post content or event videos.

Pricing strategy

Describe your pricing strategy—how you plan to price your services and stay competitive in the local market. You can mention any discounts you plan on offering to attract new customers.


Build an extensive vendor network to expand your reach and draw their existing customers. This might do wonders for your business and enhance your brand image.

Offline advertising

Effectively reach your target audience using offline advertising methods like brochures, newspapers, social gatherings, or events. Also, try to offer a personalized approach or stress-free planning to retain existing clients.

7. Introduce Your Team

A powerful management team is paramount for demonstrating your business’s ability to thrive in the event planning industry.

Letting your readers or investors know about your business leadership or key managers will help them have a clear idea of who is running your event planning company.

So, start this section by introducing key team members and highlighting their event planning skills & previous experience.

Jot down their qualifications and specific responsibilities. You can also shed light on how your experienced event planners contribute to the success of your business.

management team example for event planning business

Next, describe the compensation plan for the leadership team and event planners, including salaries, bonuses, and other benefits. This can help key stakeholders to ascertain how much percentage is allocated to salaries.

If you have a board of advisors for your event management business, then mention them along with their roles and experience.

8. Outline Business Operations

Now, it’s time to outline the processes and procedures involved in your day-to-day business operations. Detail how you will eventually plan to manage your business effectively.

Staffing & training

Highlight your staffing needs by mentioning the number of employees, planners, or coordinators. Also, include their qualifications, the training required, and the duties they will perform.

Operational process

Outline the processes and procedures you will use to run your event planning business. It may include initial client meetings, decor, party favors, caterer coordination, set up/clean up, etc.

Equipment and machinery

You can also include the list of equipment and machinery required for event planning, such as office supplies, camera & photography equipment, event planning software, etc.

Explain how these technologies will help you maintain quality standards and improve the efficiency of your business operations. Refer to the below example written using Upmetrics AI assistant:

9. Prepare a Financial Plan

For a successful event planning business, you need to prepare a well-structured and in-depth financial plan with a realistic financial projection. It comes last in the business plan but is the most important section for investors.

So, mention all the below key components in your financial plan:

  • Profit and loss statement
  • Sales forecast
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Financial needs
  • Tax considerations

From the above, you can identify the funding needs and evaluate the funding resources for your event planning company, including bank loans, SBA-guaranteed loans, angel investors, and personal savings.

In this section, you need to make a few assumptions. It will greatly affect the financial forecasts of your business. Refer below table to make important assumptions:

financial forecasts example of event business

Well, having a realistic financial plan in your hand not only helps you present your business’s fiscal health but also emphasizes its sustainability.

However, calculating all the financial statements from scratch can be an overwhelming task. But, not to worry; use Upmetrics’ financial forecasting tool to formulate all your financial projections.

All you need to do is provide the information you have, and let the tool estimate financial factors, and create visual reports for you. No manual data entry, recalling Excel formulas, or preparing graphs—nothing.

Here’s an example of a projected cash flow statement for an event planning business:

projected cash flow statement for event planning business

Download Free Event Planning Business Plan Template

Need help writing your event planning business plan from scratch? Well, here you go; download our free event planning business plan template now and start writing.

This modern, user-friendly event management business plan template is specifically designed for your event business.

With a step-by-step guide and example, it assists you in creating your own plan without missing any crucial details.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Prepare Your Business Plan with Upmetrics AI

Finally! You know how to write an event planning business plan with the help of our free sample business plan template. So, you are one step closer to starting or growing your business confidently- pretty exciting, right?

But you know what else is exciting? Your business planning process can be even faster and easier than this. Yes, you heard it right; it’s possible with the power of the Upmetrics AI assistant tool .

So, take a sigh of relief and focus only on planning the most happening events in the town!

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Frequently asked questions, what are the key components of an event planning business plan.

Writing a professional event planning business plan involves the following key components:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Industry and market analysis
  • Product and service offerings
  • Sales and marketing plan
  • Management team
  • Business operations
  • Financial plan

How often should I update my Event Planning Business Plan?

Your event planning business plan should be reviewed and updated at least once in a year or more often if there are significant changes in your business environment or services.

What are some tips for writing an Event Planning Business Plan?

Consider the following factors before writing an Event Planning Business Plan:

  • Define your niche and business objectives
  • Clearly mention unique selling points
  • Be realistic in the financial statement
  • Understand your target customer
  • Stay agile in a dynamic industry

How much does it cost to start an event planning business?

A fair estimation for an event planning business can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. It can vary widely depending on office space, equipment, and initial inventory.

About the Author

business plan party planner

Vinay Kevadiya

Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more

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How to start a party planning business

  • Jeremy Greenbaum

How to start a party planning business

If you have a passion for organizing events, love bringing people together and enjoy creating memorable experiences, starting a party planning business can be a rewarding and exciting venture. In this guide, we'll take you through the process of launching a party planning business, from developing your concept to creating a professional business website . It’s time to turn your party-planning dreams into a reality.

What is a party planning business?

A party planning business is a service-based enterprise that specializes in organizing and executing various types of events, such as birthdays, weddings, corporate gatherings and special occasions. In this type of business , you will work closely with clients to understand their vision, coordinate logistics and ensure that every detail of the event is meticulously planned and executed.

Party planning businesses have become increasingly popular as people seek professional assistance to alleviate the stress and complexity of organizing events. By providing expert guidance, creative ideas and impeccable coordination, party planners help clients bring their vision to life and create unforgettable experiences for their guests.

Why start a party planning business?

The demand for professional party planning services is on the rise as people value convenience, expertise and the desire for exceptional celebrations. In fact, the global party planning industry is projected to reach $1,552.9 billion by 2028 , giving it a compound annual growth rate of over 11%. In the US, that growth rate is up to 18% .

Besides having major growth potential, this field can also be extremely fun and creative. If you have a genuine love for organizing events and making people happy, starting a party planning business allows you to turn your passion into a fulfilling career. As a party planner, you have the opportunity to unleash your creativity and bring unique ideas to life. Each event presents a new canvas for you to design memorable experiences tailored to your clients' preferences.

Speaking of clients, planning parties allows you to connect with clients on a personal level and make a positive impact on their lives. The joy and satisfaction of seeing happy clients and their guests enjoying a flawlessly executed event can be immensely rewarding.

Benefits of starting a party planning business

In summary, starting a party planning business comes with benefits such as:

Diverse clientele: Party planning businesses cater to a wide range of clients, including individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations and community groups. This diversity allows you to work on various types of events and expand your network.

Endless creativity: From themed parties to unique décor and entertainment ideas, party planning offers limitless opportunities for creativity. You can continuously explore new trends, innovative designs and exciting concepts to impress your clients and stay ahead of the competition.

Collaboration opportunities: As a party planner, you have the chance to collaborate with different vendors, such as caterers, florists (read also: how to start a flower business ), DJs and photographers. These collaborations not only enhance the quality of your events but also help you build a strong network within the event industry. And if you're interesting in taking that on yourself, check out our guide on how to start a dj business .

Personal and professional growth: Running a party planning business allows you to develop essential skills in project management, negotiation, budgeting and customer service. Each event presents an opportunity for growth and learning, enabling you to refine your expertise and expand your knowledge.

Challenges of running a party planning business

While starting a business has numerous benefits, it's important to be aware of the challenges that come with it. Here are some common challenges you may face:

Time management: Planning and executing events require meticulous attention to detail and effective time management. Juggling multiple projects, coordinating with clients and vendors and meeting deadlines can be demanding, especially during peak event seasons.

Budget constraints: Balancing clients' expectations and budget limitations can be a challenge. It's crucial to find creative solutions, negotiate with vendors and effectively communicate with clients to deliver exceptional experiences within their financial constraints.

Vendor management: Building relationships with reliable and trustworthy vendors is essential. However, finding the right vendors who align with your clients' needs and standards can be time-consuming. Maintaining these relationships and ensuring consistent quality from vendors is crucial for successful events.

Event logistics: Managing logistics, such as venue selection, transportation, guest seating and equipment rentals, requires careful coordination and attention to detail. Overlooking any aspect of event logistics can result in delays, misunderstandings or last-minute complications.

Starting a party planning business involves several essential steps. By following these steps, you can establish a strong foundation for your business and set yourself up for success:

Define your party planning services

Develop a comprehensive business plan

Set up your business

Build your professional network

Develop pricing packages and contracts

Establish online presence with a Wix website

Market your party planning business

01. Define your party planning services

Identify the types of events you want to specialize in and the services you will offer. Determine your target market based on factors such as event size, budget range, location and specific event themes or styles, as well as your unique selling proposition . Defining your niche will help you focus your marketing efforts and differentiate yourself from competitors.

02. Develop a comprehensive business plan

Create a detailed business plan that outlines your goals, target market analysis, marketing strategies, pricing structure, financial projections and operational plans. You’ll also want to create a detailed financial forecast, including how you plan to raise money for your business , monthly expenses, revenue projections and profitability analysis. These documents will serve as a roadmap for your party planning business and guide your decision-making process.

Once you've written your party planning business plan , write a concept statement to outline your vision.

03. Set up your business

When you are figuring out how to name your business , try using dedicated tools like Wix’s business name generator and register your business with the appropriate local authorities. Determine your business entity ( sole proprietorship , partnership , LLC , corporation ) and obtain any required licenses or permits to operate legally. Additionally, consider getting liability insurance to protect your business.

Some examples of potential party planning business names include:

CelebrateJoy Events

FestiveFiesta Planners


SparkleSoiree Services

PartyPerfection Pros

JubileeJunction Events

BlissfulBash Planners

EliteEntertain Events

RazzleDazzle Celebrations

ChicCharm Events

VelvetVibe Parties

GalaGrove Planners


RadiantRevelry Events

MajesticMingle Planners

04. Build your professional network

Establish relationships with vendors, venues, caterers, entertainers and other professionals in the event industry. Collaborate with reliable partners who share your commitment to quality and professionalism. Building a strong network will ensure that you have access to reliable resources for every event.

05. Develop pricing packages and contracts

Create pricing packages for your party planning services based on the type of event, services provided and estimated hours of work. Develop clear and comprehensive contracts that outline the terms and conditions of your services, including payment schedules, cancellation policies and liability disclaimers.

06. Establish your online presence with a Wix website

Create a professional website using a user-friendly website maker like Wix. Showcase your services, portfolio of past events, client testimonials and contact information. Implement an inquiry form to capture leads and make it easy for potential clients to reach out to you.

07. Market your party planning business

Implement a strategic marketing plan to promote your party planning services. Consider online and offline marketing tactics, such as social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, attending industry events and networking with local businesses. Utilize your website and social media platforms to showcase your expertise, share event inspiration and engage with your target audience.

Thinking of starting another type of business? Check out some of these creative service business ideas  to help get you started.

Promote your party planning business

Promoting your party planning business effectively is essential for sustainable growth and client satisfaction. Here are five key steps to effectively manage your party planning business:

Streamline processes and workflow: Develop efficient processes for client communication, vendor coordination, budget management and event execution. Use project management tools and software to track progress, assign tasks and streamline workflow. Regularly review and refine your processes to optimize efficiency and productivity.

Maintain strong vendor relationships: Nurture your relationships with vendors by communicating effectively, providing clear guidelines and promptly addressing any concerns or issues. Maintain an updated vendor database with detailed information, such as pricing, specialties and past collaborations. Establishing trust and reliability with vendors will ensure smooth event execution.

Prioritize customer service: Deliver exceptional customer service by actively listening to your clients, promptly responding to their inquiries and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations. Tailor your services to meet their unique needs and preferences. Providing a personalized and attentive experience will build trust and loyalty among your clients.

Leverage social media and visual content: Utilize social media platforms to showcase your past events, share event inspiration and engage with your target audience. Utilize visual content, such as high-quality photos and videos, to highlight your creativity and expertise. Encourage clients to share their experiences and reviews on social media, further enhancing your online presence.

Build client testimonials and referrals: Request testimonials from satisfied clients and feature them on your website and social media platforms. Positive reviews and testimonials build trust and credibility among potential clients. Implement referral programs that incentivize existing clients to refer new clients to your party planning business. Offer discounts, exclusive packages or rewards as a token of appreciation for referrals.

How to start a business in a specific state

Registration and licensing requirements can vary by state and local jurisdiction. Therefore, it's important to research and comply with the specific guidelines of your location so you’re operating legally and protecting your business. Here are some helpful resources:

Start a business in Pennsylvania

Start a business in Tennessee

Start a business in Connecticut

Start a business in Texas

Start a business in New York

How to start a business in Washington

Start a business in Georgia

Don’t see your state here? Just use the search bar in the Wix Blog to find all the information you need.

No matter where you promote your business, make sure to keep your branding consistent. Use Wix’s logo maker to create a logo that you can feature in all of your digital assets. Check out these photography logo ideas for inspiration.

Party planning businesses on Wix

Pop Tier Party Solutions : PopTier Parties is your go-to destination for creating unforgettable and personalized party experiences. From themed decorations to entertainment, they curate every detail to make your special occasions truly magical.

Social Peanut Planning : Social Peanut Planning specializes in crafting seamless and stylish parties for any child event, birthday or baby shower. Their expert team brings creativity and attention to detail to ensure your gatherings are a resounding success.

The Peachtree Party Planner : Located in the Greater Atlanta Region, The Peachtree Party Planner is a premier event planning service dedicated to extravagant and stylistic themed parties. Meet your new secret weapon when it comes to impressing your party guests.

For more inspiration, you can check out these service business examples to help you get your creative juices flowing.

What are some of the qualities of a good event planner?

Looking to be successful with an event planning business? You'll need to posses and hone some of the following skills:

Effective communication

Good organizational ability

Leadership qualities and experience

Problem solving

People skills

Great time management

If you're interested in other business ideas...

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How to start a party planning business FAQ

How to start an event planning business from home.

As general advice - research the market, define your niche, create a business plan, set up a home office, build a website, network with vendors for party planning supplies and offer exceptional service to launch your home-based event planning business successfully.

How to start an event planning business with no experience?

How to start a party planning business with no money, related posts.

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How to start a party planning business.

Starting an event planning business can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor. In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of how to start a party planning business, ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge and insights to become a successful party planner. Whether it’s the allure of the industry’s profitability, the evolving dynamics of event planning, or the niche specifics like wedding planning, we’ve covered it all for you. 

Why Start a Party Planning Business?

how to start a party planning business

The journey to start a successful event planning business comes with its share of perks. Not only do you get the opportunity to showcase your creativity and organizational skills, but there’s a substantial market out there ready to be tapped.

In 2022, the US party and event planning service market bounced back valiantly, boasting a size of $3.2 billion. Following a few challenging years with an annualized dip of -9.1% from 2016 to 2021, the industry regained momentum with a growth of 4% by the start of 2022, making it again one of the top service business ideas for aspiring entrepreneurs. This resurgence signals a shift, with corporate events, holiday parties, and professional social occasions, like company picnics, emerging as the frontrunners for potential growth.

Diving into this business now can offer you a chance to ride this wave of recovery, as many sectors are actively looking to revitalize their event calendars. You get to play a part in creating memorable experiences and helping people reconnect in delightful settings.

The Event Planning Industry Today

how to start a party planning business

Getting a clear picture of the current industry landscape is vital before you roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in the events industry. Recent shifts and developments have reshaped how the industry operates in recent years.

Small Business Deals

Technology, for one, has significantly influenced the industry. From virtual event platforms to sophisticated event management software, embracing technology can give your business a competitive edge. Moreover, consumer demands constantly evolve, with a notable inclination towards personalized and unique experiences. The contemporary clientele seeks more than just an event; they crave an experience that resonates with them personally.

Furthermore, significant global events have urged businesses to rethink their strategies. Flexibility and innovation have become the keystones for survival and growth. Keeping a pulse on these trends and adapting your business model can pave the way for a successful and sustainable event planning service.

What Does an Event Planning Company Do?

how to start a party planning business

If you’ve ever been to a seamless event and marveled at how everything just seemed to fall into place, you’ve probably experienced the work of a skilled event planner. But what do these wizards behind the curtains do? Let’s peel back those curtains and uncover the myriad of roles and responsibilities an event planning business typically handles.

From Vision to Reality

At its core, an event planning company is responsible for turning a vision into a tangible reality. This means they’ll tackle everything from the nitty-gritty details to the grander aspects of an event. The planner works closely with clients to understand their requirements and preferences, drawing up an actionable plan to ensure everything proceeds without a hitch.

The Intricacies of Planning and Coordination

While the word ‘party’ sounds like all fun and games, a lot of groundwork goes into it. This includes budgeting, selecting the venue, arranging for equipment, coordinating with various vendors, managing invites and RSVPs, and ensuring proper transportation and accommodations for guests if needed.

Execution – The Final Countdown

On the day of the event, an event planner morphs into a maestro, orchestrating every detail. They ensure everything is set up as planned, resolve any last-minute hiccups, manage the event schedule, and ensure guests have a pleasant experience.

Types of Events An Event Planner May Handle

how to start a party planning business

An event planner’s role is varied, but their skill set is transferable across various event types. Let’s delve into some of the most common events they handle:

Corporate Events

These are often large-scale events organized by businesses for their employees, stakeholders, or clients. It could be product launches, conferences, workshops, or team-building retreats. Each comes with its own set of requirements, from professional settings to interactive activities, and an event planner ensures the event aligns with the company’s goals and brand image.

Arguably one of the most significant events in a person’s life, weddings require meticulous planning. From venue selection to décor, catering, entertainment, and coordinating ceremonies, an event planner makes the special day truly memorable for the couple and their guests.

Birthday Parties

Birthday parties are joyous occasions, whether a child’s first birthday or a grandparent’s milestone celebration. Planners help with theme selection, activities, food, and ensuring the birthday person is the center of attention.

Holiday Celebrations

Holiday events have a unique charm, from planning a business holiday party to vibrant New Year’s Eve bashes. An event planner can craft experiences centered around the holiday’s theme, ensuring everyone soaks in the festive spirit. For example, a Christmas party may feature a Santa for hire , while New Year’s Eve bashes may include live music late into the evening.

Charity Galas and Fundraisers

These events are increasingly popular and require a balance of entertainment and a deeper purpose. Planners ensure the event entertains, effectively conveys the cause, and encourages donations or support.

Specific Tasks Handled by an Event Planning Company

The beauty of an event often lies in its details. Behind every successful event, there’s a plethora of tasks that an event planning company takes on to ensure everything is just right. While we’ve touched on what event planners do broadly, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific roles they manage on a day-to-day basis:

Booking Venues

Finding the perfect backdrop for an event is crucial. Event planners:

  • Scout potential venues based on client preferences and event requirements.
  • Negotiate prices to fit within budgets.
  • Handle contracts, including terms for cancellations or changes.
  • Ensure the venue complies with health and safety regulations.
  • Coordinate logistics like parking, accessibility, and event flow within the venue.

Arranging for Catering

Good food can elevate the event experience.

  • Work closely with clients to finalize the menu, taking into account dietary restrictions and preferences.
  • Source reliable catering services known for quality.
  • Handle tastings to finalize dishes.
  • Ensure timely food service during the event.

Managing Invitations and RSVPs

Proper communication sets the tone for an event. Planners:

  • Design and order invitations aligned with the event’s theme.
  • Manage mailing or e-invitations to the guest list.
  • Handle RSVPs, keeping track of attendees.
  • Make provisions for special requests or requirements from guests.

Coordinating Entertainment and Activities

Ensuring guests are engaged and entertained is vital. To achieve this, planners:

  • Source entertainers or hosts, be it a DJ, a band, or a keynote speaker.
  • Arrange for technical equipment like microphones, speakers, or projectors.
  • Plan activities, games, or workshops that align with the event’s objective.
  • Manage event schedules to ensure timely transitions between segments.

Handling Decorations and Themes

The visual appeal sets the mood. In this regard, event planners:

  • Collaborate with clients to decide on a theme or aesthetic.
  • Source decorations that resonate with the chosen theme.
  • Collaborate with decorators or florists to bring the vision to life.
  • Ensure timely setup and teardown, keeping the venue’s policies in mind.

Budgeting and Finance Management

A crucial behind-the-scenes task, planners:

  • Create a comprehensive budget outline based on client inputs.
  • Monitor expenses, ensuring they stay within allocated budgets.
  • Handle payments to vendors, venues, and service providers.
  • Provide financial summaries post-event for transparency.

Unraveling the magic of a memorable event means diving deep into these intricate tasks. When thoughtfully managed, each detail culminates in an experience that leaves an indelible mark on the attendees.

Key Steps to Start Your Own Event Planning Business

how to start a party planning business

Venturing into the event planning business? Beyond the glitz and glamour of the events themselves, there’s a structured approach to planning events and setting up a successful business in this space. Here are some foundational steps for how to start a business in this exciting industry :

Market Research Local Event Planning Services

Before you dive into the event planning business, you’ll want a lay of the land. Here’s how you go about it:

  • Identify your competitors: Look for other event planning companies in your area. Understand their strengths, offerings, and pricing structures.
  • Understand your target audience: Are you focusing on corporate events, weddings, or private parties? Understanding your niche will help in tailoring your services.
  • Gather feedback: Speak to friends, family, or potential clients to understand what they look for in an event planner. Their insights can help shape your business.
  • Analyze trends: Stay updated with the latest in event themes, technologies, and preferences. This ensures your services remain current and in demand.

Crafting Your Event Planning Business Plan

Every successful venture starts with a robust hires . Here’s what yours should include:

  • Mission Statement: Define what your business stands for and what you hope to achieve .
  • Services Offered: Detail out the range of services you’ll provide, from end-to-end planning to specific tasks like catering or décor.
  • Pricing Structure: Decide on your pricing. Will you charge a flat fee, a percentage of the event budget, or hourly rates?
  • Marketing and Promotion: Outline strategies to promote your business, be it through social media, word-of-mouth, or partnerships.

Registering Your Business and Legal Requirements

It’s not just about planning parties; you’ll need to ensure your business is above board:

  • Choose a Business Structure: Will you operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, or a corporation? Each has its tax and liability implications.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business with the appropriate governmental bodies depending on your locale.
  • Licenses and Permits: Research and obtain any necessary licenses or permits. Some locations may require special permits for public events or large gatherings.
  • Insurance: Consider getting business insurance. Given the nature of events, liability insurance can be a lifesaver in case of unforeseen issues.

Financing Your Party Planning Business

Even event planning service requires some initial capital:

  • Startup Costs: Calculate costs for setting up your office, marketing materials, a website, and any initial hires.
  • Secure Funding: Depending on your needs, you could self-fund, take a business loan, or look for investors.
  • Maintain a Budget: Especially in the early days, track your expenses and income meticulously. This not only helps in managing cash flow but also in future financial planning.

How to Become a Successful Party Planner

how to start a party planning business

So, you’ve set the stage with your event planning business. Now, how do you ensure that your venture not only survives but thrives? Let’s delve into some crucial event planning service tips and practices that can pave the way for your success.

Essential Tools and Software

In the digital age, leveraging technology can make all the difference:

  • Event Management Software: Invest in software that helps you manage every aspect of an event, from budgeting to scheduling and vendor management.
  • Design Tools: Platforms like Canva or Adobe Suite can be handy for creating promotional materials, designing invitations, or presenting event mock-ups to clients.
  • Communication Tools: Apps like Slack or WhatsApp Business can streamline communication with clients and vendors. Moreover, video conferencing tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are invaluable for remote consultations.
  • Feedback and Survey Platforms: Use tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to collect feedback post-event. It’s a goldmine for improvement!

Networking and Partnerships

Your network is your net worth, especially in the event planning service industry:

  • Attend Industry Events: These can be conferences, workshops, or seminars. It’s a fantastic way to meet potential clients, vendors, or even competitors.
  • Forge Strategic Partnerships: Partner with related businesses like catering companies, décor agencies, or venues. Mutual referrals can significantly boost clientele.
  • Join Associations: Consider memberships in event planning associations or groups. They often offer training, resources, and networking opportunities.

Marketing and Social Media

Visibility is key in the event planning industry:

  • Build a Stellar Website: Ensure it showcases your portfolio, client testimonials, and services. An integrated blog can also boost SEO and provide value to visitors.
  • Leverage Social Media: Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are visual-heavy and perfect for showcasing your events. Regular posts, stories, and reels can help engage a wider audience.
  • Engage in Content Marketing: Share articles, videos, or infographics related to event planning. It positions you as an expert in your field.

Building Client Satisfaction and Repeat Business

Happy clients are your business’s best promoters:

  • Over-communicate: Ensure your clients are always in the loop. Regular check-ins and updates can instill confidence.
  • Go the Extra Mile: Little gestures, like sending a thank-you note post-event or giving a small gift, can leave a lasting impression.
  • Seek Feedback: Post-event, actively ask for feedback. This shows clients you value their opinion and are keen on improving.
  • Loyalty Programs: Consider offering discounts or added services for repeat clients. It encourages them to come back and can also lead to referrals.

Required Skills and Qualifications for a Professional Event Planner

how to start a party planning business

The exhilarating event planning industry demands a unique mix of skills. Here’s what you need to have in your toolkit, both in terms of soft skills and formal qualifications, to shine in this industry:

Communication Skills

In event planning, communication is the bedrock of success:

  • Clarity and Precision: Clear communication prevents mishaps, whether it’s understanding client requirements or conveying those to vendors.
  • Listening Skills: Paying attention to the needs and feedback of clients, vendors, and team members ensures that everyone is on the same page.
  • Negotiation Abilities: Event planners often juggle budgets, and negotiating with suppliers or venues can ensure top-notch services without breaking the bank.

Time Management

Every event is bound by time, making this skill crucial:

  • Prioritization: With multiple tasks vying for attention, understanding what to tackle first is essential.
  • Scheduling: Using tools or software to lay out tasks, set reminders, and ensure nothing is overlooked can be a lifesaver.
  • Flexibility: Things don’t always go as planned. The ability to swiftly adjust and reorganize is a trait every event planner needs.

Creative Thinking

Events are as much about experience as they are about logistics:

  • Innovative Solutions: Whether it’s a last-minute venue change or a sudden rainstorm, coming up with quick, creative fixes is key.
  • Design Sensibility: An eye for aesthetics helps in creating memorable event atmospheres.
  • Trend Awareness: Keeping tabs on the latest in event themes, technologies, or entertainment can give your events a fresh appeal.

Formal Qualifications

While not always mandatory, some qualifications can give you an edge:

  • Certifications: Many institutions offer event planning certifications. These can be valuable in showcasing your expertise and commitment to the profession.
  • Related Fields of Study: Degrees in hospitality, public relations, marketing, or business can provide foundational knowledge beneficial in event planning.

How to Set Up Your Event Planning Business Operations

how to start a party planning business

Getting your operations up and running smoothly is fundamental. Here’s how to structure this crucial aspect of your event planning service business:

Choosing a Location

  • Home Office: Many event planners start out from home offices. It’s cost-effective and offers flexibility.
  • Co-working Spaces: As your business grows, co-working spaces can provide a professional setting without the hefty price tag of a private office.
  • Rental Offices: For larger operations with a team, renting an office space might be the way to go. Ensure it’s easily accessible for clients and staff.

Hiring Staff

  • Freelancers vs. Full-time: Initially, you might rely on freelancers for tasks like design or marketing. As the workload grows, consider hiring full-time staff.
  • Roles to Consider: Assistants for handling administrative tasks, marketing professionals for promotion, and coordinators for managing events are some of the first hires many planners consider.
  • Training: The event industry is dynamic. Regular training sessions can keep your team updated on the latest trends and best practices.
  • Building a Cohesive Team: Team building activities and regular feedback sessions can foster a collaborative and efficient work environment.

Marketing and Branding Your Party Planning Business

how to start a party planning business

In the event planning service industry, how you present and market your business can set you apart. Here’s a roadmap to making your brand the talk of the town:

Digital Marketing for Your Event Planning Service

Digital platforms offer a vast audience waiting to discover your brand:

  • Website Optimization: A user-friendly, visually appealing website that’s mobile-responsive and SEO-friendly can draw potential clients.
  • Social Media Engagement: Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are perfect for showcasing event visuals. Regular posts, behind-the-scenes stories, and client testimonials can enhance engagement.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising: Platforms like Google Ads allow you to target specific keywords related to event planning, driving targeted traffic to your website.
  • Email Marketing: Periodic newsletters with event tips, discounts, or industry news can help you stay in the minds of past and potential clients.

Networking at Local Events

Personal connections are invaluable for a party planner:

  • Exhibitions and Trade Shows: Setting up a stall or even attending can get you direct contacts.
  • Community Events: Participating or volunteering in local community events can offer organic promotion.
  • Business Chambers and Clubs: Joining local business networks can help you forge ties with potential clients and collaborators.

Customer Testimonials

Word of mouth is golden:

  • Website Features: Display glowing reviews prominently on your website.
  • Social Proof: Share testimonials on social media, perhaps as short video clips or graphic cards.
  • Incentivize Reviews: Encourage feedback by offering discounts on future bookings or small giveaways for detailed reviews.

How to Grow Your Event Planning Business

how to start a party planning business

With a solid foundation, scaling your event planning services is the next frontier. Here are some steps to consider:

Expanding Services

  • Diversify Offerings: From intimate house parties to large corporate events, widening your spectrum can tap into new client bases.
  • Skill Development: Offering unique services like thematic decor, sustainable events, or technology-driven setups can set you apart.
  • Training and Workshops: Hosting workshops on event planning or allied topics can offer an additional revenue stream.

Partnerships and Collaborations

  • Vendors and Suppliers: Forge deals with decor agencies, caterers, or entertainment groups for mutual referrals.
  • Collaborate with Non-competitors: Consider tie-ups with businesses like florists, bakers, or photographers. Their clientele can be a direct lead into your target audience.

Customer Retention Strategies

Repeat business is a surefire growth strategy:

  • Loyalty Programs: Offer discounts or complimentary services for repeat bookings.
  • Post-event Feedback: Regularly seek and act upon feedback. It not only aids improvement but also shows clients that you value their opinions.
  • Anniversary Reminders: Send out reminders for annual events, be it birthdays or corporate anniversaries. It’s a gentle nudge for repeat business.

Specializing as a Wedding Planner

how to start a party planning business

Often hailed as the most significant events in many individuals’ lives, weddings demand a unique blend of skills and sensibilities. Picking wedding planning as a specialization within the broader event planning spectrum can be both challenging and highly rewarding. Let’s explore this niche:

  • The Magic and Magnitude: Weddings aren’t just events but deeply personal and emotional. A wedding planner isn’t just organizing a day; they’re crafting memories that last a lifetime.
  • Attention to Detail: The details matter immensely in weddings, from matching the napkins to the bride’s dress shade to ensuring the music aligns with the couple’s love story.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Weddings are deeply rooted in traditions. A wedding planner should be well-versed and respectful of diverse cultural customs, rituals, and etiquette.
  • Stress Management: With high emotions can come high stress. Being the calming presence, mediating disagreements, and ensuring smooth execution is part of the job.

Tips for Focusing on the Wedding Niche:

  • Educate Yourself: There are specific courses and certifications for wedding planning. Investing in these can give you an edge.
  • Portfolio Building: A stunning portfolio with photos, testimonials, and detailed breakdowns of weddings you’ve managed can be your strongest marketing tool.
  • Forge Relationships: Build solid relationships with suppliers catering to weddings—florists, caterers, photographers, and venue managers.
  • Stay Updated: Wedding trends evolve rapidly. From sustainable weddings to tech-driven ceremonies, be aware of what’s new in the wedding world.

FAQs: How to Start a Party Planning Business

How profitable is a party planning business.

The profitability of a party of event planning business varies based on location, specialization, market demand, and business acumen. In the US, the party and event planning market has seen growth, especially after overcoming the challenges in previous years. With dedication, networking, and effective marketing, many party planners have built lucrative careers.

Do you need a certification to start a party planning business?

No, you don’t necessarily need a certification to start an event planning business. However, having a certification can provide credibility, showcase your commitment to the profession, and equip you with essential industry knowledge. It can also be beneficial when seeking certain clientele or corporate contracts.

What is the best way to market event planning services?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but digital marketing, especially through visually-rich platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, has proven effective for many event planners. Showcasing your work, using customer testimonials, attending local networking events, and leveraging word of mouth are also valuable marketing strategies. Regularly engaging with your audience, updating your portfolio, and highlighting unique offerings can set you apart in the market.

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How to Start a Party Planning Business

Last Updated: January 12, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Rachel Weinshanker . Rachel Weinshanker is a Certified Event and Wedding Planner and the Owner of San Diego Life Events, an award-winning wedding and event planning business based in San Diego, California. Rachel has over eight years of event planning experience, and her work has been featured in many notable publications. San Diego Life Events has been awarded the Wedding Wire Couple's Choice Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Rachel is a graduate from San Diego State University. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 15 testimonials and 83% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 237,934 times.

A party planning business can be a fulfilling and profitable opportunity for someone who is social, organized, detail-oriented, and has a flair for entertaining and coordinating events. Unlike other startups, a party planning business does not require much capital or dedicated space. However, figuring out how to start a party planning business does require some basic steps that are similar to all home based ventures, as well as those that are unique to the field.

Starting Out

Step 1 Choose a name for your business.

  • Search online and use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's trademark search tool (or your country's equivalent) to check potential names against existing trademarks. [1] X Trustworthy Source U.S. Small Business Administration U.S. government agency focused on supporting small businesses Go to source
  • You will may need to register your company as a "Doing Business As" name with your state or county government. Consult local business laws to find out. [2] X Trustworthy Source U.S. Small Business Administration U.S. government agency focused on supporting small businesses Go to source

Step 2 Register your new business if necessary.

  • Double-check with your state and local government before you start doing any business. You could run into legal trouble if you aren’t properly registered.

Step 3 Set up your office.

  • You may choose to rent out a permanent office space or a temporary meeting room when seeing clients.
  • Many professionals who work from home see clients in public spaces, such as a coffee shop or restaurant. [3] X Research source

Step 4 Set yourself apart from your competition.

  • Early on, take as many jobs as you can. This will help you establish a reputation as a great planner, which is a great way to set yourself apart!

Step 5 Price your services properly.

  • Look at how your competition prices their services to get a good sense for the range in your area.
  • How much experience do you have? A planner with previous professional party planning experience will command a higher rate than an unseasoned planner.
  • To attract clients, you may have to start out low and gradually raise your prices over time as you gain a positive reputation.
  • Most planners will charge a 15% commission per vendor. For example, if you find and hire the florist, you could charge 15% of their cost as a fee. [4] X Research source

Step 6 Be flexible and prepare for the unexpected.

  • This is especially important when planning outdoor events. Always have a backup plan for inclement weather!

Making a Plan for Your Business

Step 1 Figure out what kind of party planner you would like to be.

  • The two most popular types of party planner are corporate and social. Corporate party planners organize events for companies, while social planners focus on weddings, birthday parties, etc.
  • Many party planners pick a niche based on what they enjoy the most. This can be a specific type of event or a unique style you offer.
  • Most party planners either focus exclusively on children’s parties or only offer services for adult parties. [6] X Research source

Step 2 Consider your education and background.

  • Study your local competition. If there’s something you can do that they can’t, you can gain a big competitive advantage!
  • Establish relationships with local caterers, suppliers, entertainers, and venue owners. It will be your job to organize and coordinate these disparate elements to create a memorable event.

Step 5 Write a business...

  • Using your market research, determine the rates you will charge for your services. Don’t undercharge, but aim to set competitive rates.
  • Estimate your startup costs and secure funding. If you can’t fund the business yourself, you may need to take out a small loan or find investors. [12] X Trustworthy Source U.S. Small Business Administration U.S. government agency focused on supporting small businesses Go to source

Growing Your Business

Step 1 Market your business effectively.

  • Make sure your website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. Try to have your company's name and contact information written clearly on each page.
  • Create flyers that show off your graphic design skills. Distribute them door to door and ask local businesses to display them on their corkboard.
  • Tell family and friends about your new business and ask you to recommend you to anyone they know who is looking for a party planner.

Step 2 Have a strong social media presence.

  • Actively and directly engaging with customers will show them that you care. Respond to folks when they comment on your posts or ask questions.
  • Use hashtags to target specific areas or holidays. For example, if you want to advertise your services for a Halloween party in Chicago, you could use #HalloweenCHI.
  • Showcase your talents by uploading photos and videos of successful parties you have planned. Be sure to always obtain express written permission from your clients if they are featured in them.

Step 3 Solicit reviews from your clients.

  • Register (or claim) your accounts on the applicable review sites that people use in your area.
  • Address any concerns or negative reviews honestly and maturely. Remember, these posts may be a first impression for potential future clients.

Step 4 Volunteer your services.

  • Always be on the lookout to make contact with new vendors the area. You never know when a client may request a specific type of food or performer.
  • Attend event planning trade shows to meet other planners and service providers.
  • Trade shows are also an opportunity to learn about new trends and developments in the industry.

Expert Q&A

Rachel Weinshanker

  • While most party planners handle administrative duties themselves, if your business takes off you may choose to hire an assistant. Even though event planning is an extremely low-risk job, you will likely need to purchase workers' compensation insurance. Check your local laws. [13] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure to have some experience planning parties casually before you commit to starting a business. Not everyone is suited for this surprisingly stressful occupation. Unless you're very talented, it can be difficult to make party planning a career. Know what you're getting into before investing the time and money to create a company. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

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About This Article

Rachel Weinshanker

To start a party planning business, start by figuring out what kind of clients and events you’d like to focus on. Additionally, do some research on the party planning industry where you live so you can think about how to set yourself apart. Next, write a business plan detailing exactly what niche you plan to fill and how you plan to accomplish this. Then, pick an unambiguous name for your business that lets potential clients know exactly what type of services you provide. You'll also want to check your state's laws to find out if you need to register your business. To learn how to market your new business on social media sites, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Start a Party Planner Home Business

  • Home Business
  • Small Business
  • Online Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Operations & Success

Leslie Truex has over 20 years of experience as a writer and a home entrepreneur. She is the author of multiple books on running a home business.

Planning parties might sound fun, but it takes more than booking a caterer and DJ to make a living at it. It also requires diplomacy, salesmanship, multitasking, and above all, a desire to help other people enjoy themselves. Party planner engagements can range from weddings and product launches to corporate seminars and awards dinners. Tasks can include renting a hall, mailing out engraved invitations, coming up with a theme, booking entertainment, deciding on the food, and hiring waitstaff.

The median income for event planners is over $61,000 according to, with the range being from $52,901 to $72,329 per year.

There is no specific education or training required to become a party or event planner, but experience can go a long way in helping you know what to do and what to expect. Further, having a network of professionals from caterers to entertainers will be important in having the resources to supply what clients want for their party or event.

Starting a parting planning business offers many perks including:

  • Can be started with little investment
  • No formal training is required
  • You can start from scratch or invest in a franchise event business opportunity
  • Can be run from home
  • Ideal for people who are outgoing and enjoy working with others
  • Doing business with people and businesses out to have a good time
  • Job variety
  • Potential new clients at every event
  • A six-figure income with the right clientele

It's not all party balloons and confetti in the planning business. Some negatives about the business include:

  • Long or odd work hours. Party planners need to be on-hand during the event, which often runs evenings or weekends. Some may be multi-day events.
  • Every event can be stressful as you only are as good and popular as your last party.
  • It can be difficult to get your first clients.
  • Clients can be difficult and unreasonable in their expectations.
  • Reliance on subcontractors.
  • Pressure to look your best whenever doing business.
  • The client always comes first.

What You Need to Get Started

While there's no specific education or experience you need to get started as a party planner, there are a few skills and to-dos that are involved, such as:

  • If you've never planned a party or organized an event, volunteer to do one to make sure you have the stamina and interest in event planning as a business .
  • Write a business plan outlining your service, prices and financial projections. This is the time to decide if you're going to focus on a specific type of event, such as weddings or conferences.
  • Although not required, you might want to get the Certified Meeting Planner certification  as it can increase your marketability. Clients will feel more comfortable working with someone they think has been vetted. This can also allow you to charge higher rates.
  • Determine what and how you're going to charge for your services. Keep in mind your clientele and the event. Weddings and large corporate events have high expectations and lots of work, whereas an office party usually has less.
  • Create your contracts. Consider having a lawyer to help you to make sure you cover every possible legal ramification.
  • Obtain the needed business license and liability insurance.
  • Create your marketing plan and promotional materials, such as business cards, brochures, and a website. Determine your ideal market and how you'll reach it to get clients. Consider including videos of successful parties, with your clients' permission, of course.
  • Gather images and testimonials of your events to create a portfolio of your success. Also, develop a plan for generating referrals.
  • Develop a network of reliable suppliers and professionals needed to help you pull off your events, such as florists, caterers, photographers, and DJs.
  • Get active in your community, especially with your local chamber of commerce and other business-to-business networking. Not only can you generate business from these events, but also, cultivate referrals.

If you have trouble getting your business off the ground or want more experience before going on your own, consider getting an event planning job.

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Event Planning Company Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Event Planning Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your event planning business plan.

We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their event planning companies

Below is an event planning business plan sample to help you create each section of your Event Planning business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Special Occasions Event Planning is a startup event planning business located in Des Moines, Iowa. The Company is founded by Jennifer Brown, an experienced event planner who has been planning themed weddings and birthday parties as the manager of a local event venue for the past ten years. Now that Jennifer has gained valuable experience managing an event venue and planning special events of various sizes and styles, she is ready to start her own event planning company, Special Occasions Event Planning. Jennifer is confident that her event planning skills, combined with her understanding of business management, will enable her to run a profitable event planning company of her own. Jennifer is recruiting a team of highly qualified professionals to help manage the day-to-day complexities of running an event planning business – sales and marketing, supply sourcing and procurement, customer relationship management, budgeting, financial reporting, and vendor relationship management. 

Special Occasions Event Planning will provide customized event planning services for special occasions big and small. Special Occasions will specialize in themed birthday parties, but will provide planning services for other types of events such as weddings, parties, and corporate gatherings upon request. The Company will be the ultimate choice for unique and memorable themed birthday parties for clients of all ages. 

Product Offering

The following are the event planning products and services that Special Occasions Event Planning will provide:

  • Venue Sourcing 
  • Tables & Chairs
  • Dinnerware & Utensils
  • Caterer Coordination
  • Entertainment
  • Party Favors
  • Photography/Videography
  • Lighting/Sound
  • Bartending/Liquor 
  • Set-up/Clean up

Customer Focus

Special Occasions Event Planning will target individuals, families, and social groups in Des Moines, Iowa. The Company will target people looking to plan a one-of-a-kind birthday party for their child, significant other, friend, or other relative. No matter the customer, Special Occasions Event Planning will deliver the best communication, service, and attention to detail. 

Management Team

Special Occasions Event Planning will be owned and operated by Jennifer Brown. Jennifer is a graduate of Iowa University with a degree in Business Management. She has over ten years of experience working as an event planner for another local venue. Jennifer will be the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and the Head Event Planner. She will lead the more complex events and oversee the event planning staff. 

Jennifer has recruited an experienced administrative assistant, Patricia Smith, to help manage the day-to-day business operations. Patricia has been an administrative assistant in the event planning industry for more than 15 years. Jennifer relies on Patricia’s organization, attention to detail, and punctuality when organizing her schedule, managing clients, and maintaining her files. 

Jennifer and Patricia have recruited an experienced marketing director, John Jones, to become a member of the Special Occasions Event Planning management team. John is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Jennifer and Patricia rely on John’s expertise to execute the Company’s marketing plan and advertising strategies.  

Success Factors

Special Occasions Event Planning will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Skilled team of event planners who will ensure every client receives exceptional customer service and that all reasonable requests are met. 
  • Special Occasions Event Planning’s leadership team has established relationships with local venues, vendors, and entertainers, thus providing customers with a wide selection of options to choose from when planning their special event. 
  • The Company specializes in the themed birthday party niche and is well-versed in the latest trends in the industry. 

Financial Highlights

Special Occasions Event Planning is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its event planning business. The funding will be dedicated towards securing an office space and purchasing equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff and marketing expenses. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Office lease and renovation: $80,000
  • Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $20,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, utilities): $90,000
  • Marketing costs: $10,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Special Occasions Event Planning.

Company Overview

Who is special occasions event planning .

Special Occasions Event Planning is a newly established event planning company based in Des Moines, Iowa. Special Occasions will be the first choice for unique themed birthday parties for people of all ages in Des Moines and the surrounding communities. The company will provide customized event planning services for parties large and small. 

Special Occasions Event Planning will be able to provide all the essentials for any special event from highly rated caterers to the hottest entertainment due to the Company’s existing relationships with industry professionals and vendors. The Company’s team of highly qualified event planning professionals will manage the entire planning process from ideation to execution. Special Occasions even provides clean-up services. Clients can opt for full-service event planning services or purchase specific aspects (such as decor or catering) a la carte. 

Special Occasions Event Planning History

Special Occasions Event Planning is owned and operated by Jennifer Brown, an experienced event planner who has been planning themed weddings and birthday parties as the manager of a local event venue for the past ten years. Now that Jennifer has experienced managing an event venue and planning special events of various sizes and styles, she is ready to start her own event planning company. Jennifer is confident that her event planning skills, combined with her understanding of business management, will enable her to run a profitable event planning company of her own. Jennifer is recruiting a team of highly qualified professionals to help manage the day-to-day complexities of running an event planning business – sales and marketing, supply sourcing and procurement, customer relationship management, budgeting, financial reporting, and vendor relationship management. 

Since incorporation, Special Occasions Event Planning has achieved the following milestones:

  • Registered Special Occasions Event Planning, LLC to transact business in the state of Iowa. 
  • Has signed a contract to lease the office space. 
  • Reached out to numerous contacts to include local venues, catering companies, entertainers, and decor suppliers to spread the word about her new business opportunities. 
  • Began recruiting a staff of accountants, event planners, sales and marketing associates, and office staff to work at Special Occasions Event Planning Services.

Special Occasions Event Planning Services

Industry analysis.

The Party and Event Planning industry in the United States is valued at approximately $4B, with 70,000 businesses in operation, and over 82,000 employees. The market for event planning services is expected to grow over the next several years due to an aging baby boomer population, many of whom have children and grandchildren who will have weddings, birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries, and other special events in the coming years. Additionally, the corporate event planning segment is expected to grow due to more companies pursuing team building opportunities and hosting events that can serve as marketing for the business. 

The event planning market is split into two broad segments: corporate and social. Corporate events such as holiday parties, meetings, trade shows, conventions, fundraisers, and receptions are just some of the events included in this segment. Corporate customers include companies, non-profit organizations, and charities. The social segment includes a wide range of special occasions such as weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, reunions, and more. The largest and most lucrative category in the social event planning segment is wedding planning. 

Industry operators can specialize in one or two niches such as wedding planners or corporate planners. Alternatively, industry operators can provide planning services for a wide range of events. Industry operators that specialize in a specific niche and even narrow their niche to a specific type of event, such as “kids’ parties” or “fashion shows” may have more success because they can become an expert in one area and target a highly specific customer segment. Industry operators who provide a broad range of services to a variety of customers can be successful if they provide high levels of organization, customer service, and unique or highly customized services. 

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

Special Occasions Event Planning will target individuals, families, and social groups in Des Moines, Iowa. The Company will target people looking to plan a one-of-a-kind birthday party for their child, significant other, friend, or other relative. Special Occasions Event Planning will also target young adults looking to plan a memorable, themed 21st birthday party. No matter the customer, Special Occasions Event Planning will deliver the best communication, service, and attention to detail. 

The precise demographics for Des Moines, Iowa are:

Customer Segmentation

Special Occasions will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Millennials
  • Individuals with disposable income
  • Families with children and disposable income

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Special Occasions Event Planning will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Emily’s Event Planning

Established in 2017, Emily’s Event Planning is now a well-known event planner in the Des Moines, Iowa area. The company provides event planning services for large corporate events, weddings, and birthday parties. Emily’s Event Planning is most well-known for its picturesque venue choices. The company has relationships with some of the most in-demand venues in the area. Emily’s Event Planning provides an all-inclusive event planning and management service with packages that include venue rental, decor, entertainment, food, and clean-up services. 

While Emily’s Event Planning has an established reputation in the market for quality event planning services, it has a list of predefined event packages and does not customize its services or take unique requests from customers. 

Fancy Event Planner

Fancy Event Planner has been operating in the state of Iowa since 1982. This company is a small business run by a husband and wife team that specializes in event planning and catering services for weddings, birthday parties, and other special occasions. Fancy Event Planner provides decor, venue coordination, and food service for events of up to 100 guests. The company specializes in providing gourmet dinners, desserts, and appetizers. Additionally, Fancy Event Planner provides hand crafted decor and floral arrangements for weddings and parties. Fancy Event Planner is for customers looking for an elegant presentation in a traditional setting. 

Fancy Event Planner has a limited selection of services and does not offer entertainment, set-up/clean-up, lighting/sound, or liquor accommodations. 

Wonderfully Perfect Event Planning Services

Wonderfully Perfect Event Planning Services is a new Des Moines, Iowa-based event planner that provides superior service to its customers. The company is managed by an experienced entrepreneur who has been working in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. She opened Wonderfully Perfect Event Planning Services in 2019 when she discovered a lack of options for themed party planning in the area. The company provides customized planning services for any event and will strive to ensure all customer requests are met to ensure a perfect event experience every time. 

The company does not have established relationships with vendors, venues, or entertainment in the area and as such, trails behind Special Occasions Event Planning in this area. 

Competitive Advantage

Special Occasions Event Planning will be able to offer the following advantages over the competition:

  • Skilled team of experienced event planners who are able to provide customized planning services and fulfill any reasonable request. 
  • Special Occasions Event Planning’s management team has long-standing relationships with industry professionals and is able to provide customers with a wide selection of options when it comes to venues, entertainment, and catering.  
  • The Company specializes in themed birthday parties and keeps up on the latest trends in the industry. 

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Special Occasions Event Planning will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Special Occasions Event Planning provides full-services event planning from ideation to execution. 
  • The Company’s wide selection of options allows each customer to create their dream event.  

Promotions Strategy 

The promotions strategy for Special Occasions Event Planning is as follows:

Social Media Marketing

The Company’s marketing director will create accounts on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube. He will ensure Special Occasions maintains an active social media presence with regular daily updates and fun content to get customers excited about using the Company’s event planning services. 

Professional Associations and Networking

Special Occasions Event Planning will become a member of professional associations such as the Event Planners’ Association, American Party Planning Society, and the Iowa Special Event Association. The leadership team will focus their networking efforts on expanding the Company’s vendor and client network. 

Print Advertising

Special Occasions Event Planning will invest in professionally designed print ads to display in programs or flyers at industry networking events. The Company will also send direct mailers to local businesses with employees who are in the target market. 

Website/SEO Marketing

Special Occasions Event Planning will utilize its in-house marketing director that designed the print ads to also design the Company’s website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all the services that Special Occasions is able to provide. The website will also list information on the Company’s events and promotions. 

The marketing director will also manage the Company’s website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that when someone types in a search engine “Des Moines Event Planner” or “Event Planner near me”, Special Occasions Event Planning will be listed at the top of the search results.

The pricing of Special Occasions Event Planning will be premium due to the high level of customization and hands-on planning services involved. Customers will feel they receive great value when purchasing the Company’s services.  

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Special Occasions Event Planning.

Operation Functions:

  • Jennifer Brown will be the CEO and Head Event Planner. She will lead the more complex events and oversee the event planning staff. Jennifer has spent the past year recruiting the following staff:
  • Patricia Smith – Administrative Assistant who will manage the budgeting, vendor relationships, and logistics.
  • Sam Johnson – Accountant/Bookkeeper who will provide all accounting, tax payments, and monthly financial reporting.
  • John Jones – Marketing Director who will oversee all marketing strategies for the Company and manage the website, social media, and outreach. 
  • Michelle Garcia – Customer Success Officer who will oversee customer relationships. 


Special Occasions Event Planning will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.

11/1/2022 – Finalize contract to lease the office space. 

11/15/2022 – Finalize employment contracts for the Special Occasions Event Planning management team.

12/1/2022 – Begin renovations on the office and purchase office equipment and supplies. 

12/15/2022 – Begin networking at industry events and implement the marketing plan. 

1/15/2023 – Begin recruiting and training office staff and event planners. 

2/15/2023 – Special Occasions Event Planning officially opens for business. 

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Special Occasions Event Planning are the fees charged to customers in exchange for the Company’s event planning services. Customers will be able to purchase full-service, customizable packages or select specific aspects (such as entertainment or catering) a la carte. 

The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff an event planning business. The expenses will be the payroll cost, utilities, party supplies, and marketing materials.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Key assumptions.

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Average number of events per month: 4 
  • Average fees per month: $20,000
  • Overhead costs per year: $360,000

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, event planning company business plan faqs, what is an event planning company business plan.

An e vent planning company business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your event planning company business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your event planning company business plan using our Event Planning Company Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Event Planning Companies?

There are a number of different kinds of event planning companies , some examples include: Corporate Events, Social Events, and Niche Events Planning.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Event Planning Company Business Plan?

Event planning companies are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding. This is true for an event business plan or an event management business plan.

What are the Steps To Start an Event Planning Business?

Starting an event planning business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop An Event Planning Company Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed event planning company business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.  

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your event planning business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your event planning business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Event Planning Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your event planning business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your event planning business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Event Planning Company Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your event planning business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your event planning business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising. 

Learn more about how to start a successful event planning business:

  • How to Start an Event Planning Business

Other Helpful Business Plan Templates

Photography Business Plan Template Event Venue Business Plan Template Catering Business Plan Template

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How to Start a Party Planning Business in 14 Steps (In-Depth Guide)

Updated:   January 4, 2024 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The party industry is growing in leaps and bounds around the globe. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% from 2023 to 2032, now is a great time to start a party planning business.

business plan party planner

This guide will explain how to start a party planning business. Topics include market research, competitive analysis, startup costs, registering an EIN, applying for business insurance, and more.

With demand increasing across the board, from budget-friendly to luxury, there is ample opportunity to carve out your niche. If helping people mark life’s special moments sounds like your dream job, read on for everything you need to start your own party planning business.

1. Conduct Party Planning Market Research

Market research is important for an event planner hoping to craft a successful business plan. As a new event planning company, you should know about your target market, local market saturation, trending event planning services in the event planning industry, and more.

business plan party planner

Some of the details you’ll learn through market research for your own event planning business include:

  • Several factors are driving this growth. Busy professionals with more disposable income hire planners to pull off events they don’t have time to organize.
  • Parents are enlisting many event planners to create Instagram-worthy birthday parties for their kids. And milestone events like weddings, reunions, and corporate gatherings require professional help more than ever.
  • While the luxury party planning market is saturated, there remains ample opportunity in the budget-friendly space.

To start an event planning company, planners should target various niches:

  • Weddings: Especially budget-friendly packages under $2,000.
  • Kids’ birthdays: Focus on themes like dinosaurs, princesses, and superheroes.
  • Corporate events: Pitch one-stop services from choosing a venue to arranging catering.
  • Holiday parties: Help clients throw stylish Christmas, Halloween, and other themed events.
  • Showers: Baby showers, bridal showers, retirement parties.
  • Reunions: Help plan school, family, or military reunions.

With demand increasing across segments, the party and wedding planning industry provides fertile ground for entrepreneurs to launch all types of event planning businesses. By identifying a specific niche and effectively marketing services, new planners can steadily grow their clientele and bottom line.

2. Analyze the Competition

Thoroughly analyzing the competition is critical when starting a party planning company. Here are tips to assess competitor event planners both in your local area and online:

  • For brick-and-mortar competitors, identify planners located nearby.
  • Visit their websites and social media pages to evaluate services offered, pricing, and types of events planned.
  • Note their years in business, reviews, and repeat clients to gauge customer satisfaction.
  • Observe their branding and marketing to see if a niche is being underserved.
  • To evaluate online competitors, research major planning sites that allow vendors to list profiles like WeddingWire. Search for planners servicing your area across different price points.
  • Analyze the services they offer, packages, and how they describe their business.
  • Visit their individual websites and social media pages to assess their web traffic, followers, and engagement using tools like SimilarWeb and SocialBlade .
  • High traffic and following can signal a strong online presence.
  • Search industry hashtags on social media like #birthdaypartyplanning to find local planners promoting their work and engaging with clients.
  • Their posts can provide insight into their branding, the types of events planned, and the venues/rentals they partner with. Take note of planners with satisfied client comments.
  • Look for gaps in the market – if all local competitors focus on luxury weddings, for example, there may be opportunities for budget kid parties.
  • Identify areas competitors are lacking in like styled Instagram content or robust online packages, that you could excel in.
  • Track competitors over time by subscribing to their email lists and re-evaluating their digital presence every few months.

Ongoing market research will provide the knowledge needed to position your services where competitors are missing the mark. It also helps refine your unique selling proposition and offerings over time as client demand evolves.

3. Costs to Start a Party Planning Business

When starting a party planning company, there are various one-time start-up costs to consider before opening for business.

Start-up Costs

  • Business Registration Fees – $50-$500 Registering your business as an LLC or other corporate structure will incur state filing fees and potentially local licensing fees.
  • Business Insurance – $500-$2,000/year General liability insurance protects your business from property damage or bodily injury claims. Professional liability shields against client lawsuits.
  • Office Supplies – $500-$2,000 A computer, printer, software, phone, folders, contracts, and other administrative supplies will be needed.
  • Website – $200-$5,000 A professional website showcasing services, galleries, and contact forms is essential for attracting clients.
  • Branding – $500-$2,000 Professional logo design, business cards, email design template, and other branding elements establish credibility.
  • Equipment – $1,000-$5,000 Tablets, cameras, decor items, props, signage, and storage for event supplies will be necessary. Renting certain items can minimize costs.
  • Initial Advertising – $500-$2,000 Print ads, digital ads, and brochures help introduce your new business to the local market.

Ongoing Costs

  • Rent – $200-$2,000/month Many planners operate from a small home office when starting before moving to a storefront. Virtual offices are also an option.
  • Utilities – $150-$500/month Expect costs for internet, phone, electricity, and other utilities based on your office needs.
  • Business Insurance – $500-$2,000/year Insurance policies must be renewed annually. Review and adjust coverage as your business grows.
  • Accounting Software – $10-$50/month Programs like QuickBooks help track income, expenses, invoices, and tax documents.
  • Advertising – $100-$500/month Continually promote your services through channels like social media ads, SEO, and email marketing.
  • Travel – $50-$500+ per event Site visits, client meetings, and going to events will incur gas, public transit, or rideshare costs.
  • Professional Development – $500-$2,000/year Invest in ongoing training on event trends, best practices, and skills development.

By estimating costs across these various categories, new party planners can develop an accurate budget and ensure sufficient capital to cover operating expenses as they build their business. Adjusting forecasts periodically lets you scale spending in step with revenue growth.

4. Form a Legal Business Entity

When starting a party planning company, choosing the right legal structure is key. The four main options each have benefits and drawbacks to weigh:

Sole Proprietorship

This is the simplest structure with no formal registration needed beyond licenses. Party planners can get up and running quickly and inexpensively. However, the owner has unlimited personal liability for debts and lawsuits related to the business. Their assets could be seized, making this a risky choice.


A general or limited partnership allows two or more co-owners to share resources and split profits. However, general partners also share unlimited personal liability. Limited partners’ liability is restricted to their investment, but they can’t participate in management. Overall, the shared liability is risky for service businesses like party planning.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Forming an LLC offers liability protection for all members while allowing pass-through taxation. This is the best choice for most party planners starting. It limits owners’ risk if sued and keeps things simple tax-wise. Startup costs are low, and single-member LLCs are easy to run.


C-corps and S-corps offer the strongest liability protection but have complex regulations and double taxation. This bureaucratic structure can get costly with annual fees and paperwork. Unless seeking investors or going public, most small party planners don’t need to incorporate right away.

5. Register Your Business For Taxes

One key legal step for any new business is obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This unique number identifies your business for tax purposes.

Here’s how party planners can easily apply for an EIN:

  • Go to and search “apply for an EIN”. Click the link to reach the online application.
  • Review the instructions and have your information ready – name, address, SSN, and details about your LLC or corporation.
  • When ready, click “Begin Application” and follow the short questionnaire. Select the type of LLC you formed.
  • On the final page, review your business information. Then submit the form to instantly receive your EIN.

The entire process takes about 10 minutes and there is no fee. The IRS will mail you an EIN confirmation letter for your records in 4-5 weeks.

With your EIN, you can open business bank accounts, apply for licenses, and file taxes. It also enables you to hire employees down the road.

Additionally, party planners must register with their state to collect sales tax on services provided. Requirements vary by location but often include:

  • Obtaining a seller’s permit or sales tax ID through your state revenue department.
  • Charging sales tax to clients and filing regular returns to remit taxes collected.
  • Keeping detailed records of taxable sales and any tax-exempt transactions.

Visit your state revenue website for specifics on registering. Fees typically range from $10-$100 depending on the state.

Handling EIN and sales tax registration upfront ensures your party planning business operates legally and complies with all tax obligations from the start. Take the time to get set up properly so you can focus on serving clients.

6. Setup Your Accounting

As a party planner, meticulous financial records are crucial for tracking income and expenses, maximizing tax deductions, and operating legally. Investing in accounting software and an accountant from the start will save major headaches down the road.

Accounting Software

Programs like Quickbooks allow planners to easily categorize every business transaction, generate invoices, manage payroll, and streamline taxes. The software seamlessly syncs with bank and credit card accounts to automatically import and log payments. This eliminates manual entry and the risk of errors.

Hire an Accountant

While accounting software does much of the heavy lifting, partnering with an accountant adds professional oversight. A qualified accountant provides services like:

  • Setting up your bookkeeping, accounting systems, and Quickbooks.
  • Training you on proper record keeping and utilizing features of your accounting software.
  • Performing monthly reconciliations to identify any discrepancies.
  • Preparing and filing quarterly and annual tax returns.

Most planners retain an accountant at least for annual tax preparation and filing. Costs range from $200-$5,000 depending on the extent of services provided.

Open a Business Bank Account

Separating business and personal finances prevents the commingling of funds and avoids red flags with the IRS. Open a dedicated business checking account and credit card only used for company expenses.

Apply for a Business Credit Card

Business credit cards allow you to keep expenses separate while earning valuable reward points on purchases. Limits are based on your business credit profile, not your score. Have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) ready to apply and obtain a higher line of credit.

7. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Before hosting your first event, party planners must ensure they have obtained all required business licenses and permits. Find information for federal licenses through the U.S. Small Business Administration . The SBA also has a local search tool for state and city permits.

Requirements vary based on your city and state, but common licenses include:

  • Business License: Nearly all jurisdictions require a general business license to legally operate. Fees are typically $50-$100 annually.
  • Seller’s Permit: Obtaining a seller’s permit or sales tax ID enables you to collect sales tax on services provided.
  • Food Service Permit: If catering food yourself or hiring food trucks, a food service license is often required. Complete a training course, pay fees, and pass inspections to obtain this permit.
  • Liquor License: To serve alcohol at events, party planners need a liquor license approved by the state or county liquor authority.
  • Raffle/Gaming License: If hosting contests, raffles, or casino games like at a fundraiser event, you’ll likely need gaming and raffle permits. Follow all regulations around reporting and awarding prizes.
  • Zoning Permits: If running your business from a home office, commercial space, or event venue, confirm zoning permits allow for these activities. Make any zoning appeals before signing leases.

Preparing guest lists, floor plans and vendor orders is the fun part of event planning. Don’t let overlooking essential licenses put operations on hold or jeopardize your business. Consult local regulators to identify all required approvals.

8. Get Business Insurance

Obtaining adequate business insurance is crucial for protecting party planners against unforeseen risks that could otherwise sink the company. Being underinsured – or not insured at all – leaves you vulnerable in scenarios like:

  • A guest slips and falls at an event, sustaining serious injuries. Without liability coverage, you could be sued for substantial medical bills.
  • Severe weather damages or forces cancellation of a major event. The client still expects compensation for losses.
  • Expensive AV equipment rented for a corporate party is stolen. Replacement costs could be crippling without protection.

To shield your assets in cases like these, partner with an insurer to obtain key policies:

  • General Liability – Covers 3rd party bodily injury and property damage claims. Vital for party planners to interact with guests.
  • Professional Liability – Protects against damages if sued for negligent services like a poorly planned event.
  • Commercial Property – Reimburses stolen or damaged equipment and decor used for events.
  • Event Cancellation – Provides reimbursement for non-refundable expenses if a client’s event is canceled.
  • Umbrella Liability – Additional liability limits atop other policies. Useful for large-scale events.

To get insured, contact business insurance brokers. Be ready with info on your LLC and the type/scale of events you plan. Review multiple quotes to find the best rates and coverage for your needs.

9. Create an Office Space

Having a professional office space lends party planners credibility and provides a centralized hub for client meetings and event preparation. The optimal location depends on your budget and stage of business.

Home Office

When just starting, operating from a dedicated home office minimizes overhead. Convert a spare room into a functional workspace for administrative tasks. Meet clients at event venues or coffee shops until you outgrow home-based operations. Costs are limited to decor, supplies, and utilities.

Coworking Office

Coworking spaces like WeWork provide an affordable upgraded office environment as your business expands. Open layouts promote networking with fellow entrepreneurs. You’ll get access to business amenities like conference rooms, printers, kitchens, and tech support for around $200-$500 per month.

Retail Office

For established planners seeking a higher-end presence, consider a storefront retail unit. This allows passing foot traffic and walk-in clients. You can meet with vendors in a conference room and display photos of events. Rent averages $1,500-$4,000 per month.

Commercial Office

Leasing space in a Class A commercial office building lends prestige to corporate clients. Expect amenities like gyms, cafeterias, shared conference rooms, and high-end finishes. Budget at least $3,000 per month for rent plus additional build-out costs.

10. Source Your Equipment

From decor to AV equipment, party planners need access to a wide assortment of event supplies. Here are the top options to acquire the necessary materials whether buying new, used, renting, or leasing:

Brand new party rental inventory allows you complete creative control but comes at a premium. Purchase basics like tables, chairs, linens, flatware, and lighting from event retailers like PartyTime Rentals . Visit restaurant supply stores for high-volume glassware, dishes, and service ware.

Score major savings buying used furnishings and decor from resellers. Check used-party supply retailers and local classifieds on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace . Thrift stores like Goodwill can yield finds. Garage and estate sales are also prime venues to discover chic vintage items. Take time to hunt for hidden gems.

Renting is ideal for pricier items needed periodically like speakers, projectors, dance floors, and tents. Event rental companies allow you to expand your inventory as needed on a per-event basis. Rates are typically daily or weekly. Coordinate delivery and pickup.

Leasing select premium equipment from specialty companies enables access to high-end gear like bounce houses, photo booths, neon signs, and games. You pay a monthly fee for the length of a multi-year contract. Build leasing costs into your client fees.

11. Establish Your Brand Assets

Crafting a strong brand identity is crucial for party planners to stand out and be remembered. By investing in professional branding elements upfront, you can consistently convey your vision across every touchpoint.

Getting a Business Phone Number

A custom phone number lends legitimacy versus using a personal cell. Services like RingCentral provide toll-free and local numbers with call routing, voicemail, and SMS capabilities.

Creating a Logo and Brand Assets

A polished logo encapsulates your brand personality and specialty. For party planners, an energetic, playful mark is ideal. Use a logo maker like Looka to design options and then refine your vision with a graphic designer.

Complement your logo with branded social media assets, email signatures, proposals, invoices, and contract templates. Apply colors, fonts, and graphical elements consistently for recognition.

Creating Business Cards and Signage

Business cards are essential for in-person networking and events. Include your logo, stylized contact info, tagline, and any certifications that build credibility. Signage like banners and yard signs help promote your brand at venues. Order professional designs from printers like Vistaprint .

Purchasing a Domain Name

Secure a domain name that matches your brand for a cohesive online presence. Aim for your full business name or a memorable short phrase relevant to party planning. Use domain sites like Namecheap and explore extensions beyond .com.

Building a Website

Your website will be a prospect’s first impression of your brand. While DIY builders like Wix make launching easy, consider hiring a web designer on Fiverr for a polished, client-focused site. Include sections showcasing previous events, testimonials, and ways to contact you.

12. Join Associations and Groups

Joining relevant local organizations and online communities provides invaluable connections for party planners. Surrounding yourself with other professionals leads to collaborations, knowledge sharing, and a stronger local network.

Local Associations

Area party and event planning associations offer both networking and learning opportunities. Attend meetups to connect with fellow planners, discuss trends, and discover new venues. Groups like the International Live Events Association provide support through all stages of business ownership.

Consider joining your local chamber of commerce as well to raise visibility among area businesses. The connections made can lead to corporate event leads.

Local Meetups

Keep a pulse on local happenings and expand your network by attending relevant meetups. Use sites like Meetup to find regular events like wedding vendor mixers, marketing seminars, and industry trade shows.

Exchange ideas in person and distribute business cards to event pros you want to partner with. Look for both general networking and party planning-specific meetups.

Facebook Groups

Engage with the national community of planners by joining Facebook Groups like Party Rental Business Owners and Creative Event Planners who are supportive of newcomers. Having an online support system provides camaraderie and advice from peers globally.

13. How to Market a Party Planning Business

Implementing an ongoing marketing strategy is essential for party planners to continually attract new clients. While leveraging your network and stellar customer service form the foundation, mixing digital and traditional tactics will help amplify your reach and brand visibility.

business plan party planner

Personal Networking

To start, tap into your existing contacts and ask for introductions to their networks. Offer incentives for current clients to refer friends, which is powerful word-of-mouth marketing. For example, provide a 10% discount on their next event for every new booking referred.

Digital Marketing

For digital marketing materials, consider:

  • Search ads through Google Ads targeting keywords like “party planner [your city]”. Track conversions to optimize effective ads.
  • Facebook and Instagram ads focused on your ideal demographic and location. Share beautiful event visuals and promotions.
  • Start a YouTube channel with tutorials and behind-the-scenes event videos to build expertise.
  • Write blog posts about party planning tips to improve SEO and provide value.
  • Email marketing campaigns to engage past clients and promote new services.

Traditional Marketing

For traditional approaches, some options include:

  • Creating mailers with promotions to send to prospective clients like engaged couples.
  • Distributing framed fliers and menus to complementary vendors like caterers.
  • Billboard ads in high-traffic areas introducing your new business.
  • Radio spots on local stations describing your services and special offers.
  • Hosting open house events at your office for the public to meet you.

While digital marketing enables incredible precision and measurement, don’t count out the power of traditional mediums for brands to make an entrance.

14. Focus on the Customer

Providing an incredible client experience is crucial for party planners to earn rave reviews, loyal repeat customers, and word-of-mouth referrals that fuel growth.

business plan party planner

Here’s why going above and beyond with customer service pays off:

  • A wedding, anniversary party, or baby shower comes just once in a lifetime. By tailoring every detail to the client’s vision and making them feel valued, you create a meaningful experience they won’t forget.
  • Satisfied clients will happily refer family and friends planning their celebrations rather than risk them having a subpar experience with another planner.
  • Stellar service translates into genuine, detailed reviews. Your reputation hinges on reviews and testimonials.
  • When you consistently wow customers, they’ll rave about you online and on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire. This social proof captures the attention of prospective clients.
  • Return customers also become a sizable portion of your bookings if you nail their first event.
  • Clients planning annual galas or milestone birthdays will come back year after year if you make the process smooth and enjoyable.

For party planners, client satisfaction directly impacts income. By providing responsive communication, anticipating needs, and handling any curveballs with grace, you assure a 5-star experience that brings clients back while attracting new ones through word of mouth.

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The Brides Best Wedding Planners of 2022

Wedding professionals have gone above and beyond this year.

Photo by Olivia Rae James / Photo by Valorie Darling / Photo by Charla Storey Photography / Photo by James and Schulze / Photo by Jacob E. Tovar / Courtesy of Fallon Carter / Photo by Clane Gessel Photography / Photo by Corbin Gurkin

As one of the busiest years in the world of weddings comes to a close, we'd be remiss not to acknowledge the hardworking professionals behind the scenes: wedding planners. The too-often unsung heroes of the celebrations, wedding planners regularly invest hundreds of hours of work on each event—and that's before the big day even arrives. From designing reception tablescapes to curating vendor teams to executing the logistics of getting wedding parties down the aisle, these creatives make sure no detail is ever forgotten. What's more, they always do it with style. The weddings that took place over the course of the last 12 months were some of the most spectacular celebrations we've seen to date.

We're pleased to present our Best Planners of 2022. To create this list, our editorial team reviewed overall portfolios of professionals who submitted real weddings or were nominated by colleagues and clients. Narrowing our list down to just 50 professionals out of the thousands who craft stunning weddings was no easy task, which is a credit to all of the amazing work happening in the industry today.

Photo by Lauren Gabrielle / Photo by Joey Kennedy

A Charming Fête

Led by Lisa Costin and Somer Khouri, the team at A Charming Fête designs and produces luxury weddings and events. They work collaboratively with clients to create memorable, tailored full-scale design experiences with seamless execution. The team is best known for their highly personalized design approach, creative ideas, impeccable attention to detail, and dedication to exceeding clients' expectations.

The Wedding Style: "We design collaboratively with our clients to not only compliment their personal style, but to enhance the existing environment and setting. Regardless of the style, we always strive to elevate and refine the overall look. Our signature strength as a company is our ability to transform or enhance an existing space into something magical and fresh. We love to leave our clients and guests wowed and blown away by weekend events."

We Work in Weddings Because: "We are truly passionate about weddings and events. We love what we do. We love to bring happiness and joy to our clients on milestone occasions. We are passionate about thinking outside of the box and transforming spaces to create a one-of-a-kind experience."

Photo by Mallory Dawn / Photo by Sophie Epton

Based in San Diego but working globally, Heather Balliet describes Amorology events as "classic modern romance with a touch of whimsy and playfulness that remains timeless." Balliet's journey in wedding planning began 20 years ago alongside her husband, Troy, after their own wedding; they quickly became recognized for creating events that were storytelling and detail driven. With a love for interior design and color, each event is thoughtfully curated to her couples' personalities.

The Wedding Style: "Understated elegance that is dreamy, intimate, and warm, no matter the quantity of guests. Our signature look and style, although never duplicated and unique to each of our couples, is layered with color, texture, and unexpected surprises."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I am passionate about people, families, and celebrating all things love. Working alongside other creatives in our industry, it feels like the greatest gift to be able to be a part of people's most memorable moments. It allows me to combine all of my passions into one outlet."

Photo by Courtney Taylor Photography / Photo by Heather Nan Photography

Amy Abbott Events

Amy Abbott and her exceptionally talented team based in Los Cabos, Mexico, have been creating unique and curated experiences for over 15 years. Pairing innovative design with flawless execution. Amy Abbott Events creates moving and stylish celebrations which allow guests to savor each perfect moment. Amy and her team enjoy the "human connection" aspect of event planning and relish the countless relationships they have developed with their clients over the years.

This world-renowned team of planners knows that strong connections with clients aren’t just good for business—they are essential to the planning process. Every event should have a personality and a vibe. Amy’s team prides themselves on their ability to make sure their clients’ tastes are perfectly blended and showcased in every detail, creating memories to last a lifetime.

The Wedding Style: "At Amy Abbott Events, we are wedding planning chameleons. We create one-of-a-kind experiences inspired by your vision. Our style is your style, procured by a personalized blueprint for each event. Built step-by-step, we bring your ideas and inspiration to fruition in the most spectacular ways."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I believe that dreams come true. I love celebrating with luxurious abandon, and I believe that from weddings come powerful and loving experiences, with the ability to change and enrich lives in a remarkable way. Weddings are often a culmination of bringing people together from all chapters of the family’s lives. I have seen intense love in our weddings, and it is not just the bride and groom. It can be an uncle who has not seen his family in years or a grandma who has recently recovered from cancer who insisted on making the international journey to watch her granddaughter walk down the aisle."

"The sense of love in the air is simply electric. Once you have been a part of an occasion as intimate and love-filled as a wedding, you are forever connected to your precious clients. The rewards are endless, and our hearts are always full. I work on weddings because it is simply my life’s joy."

Photo by Larissa Cleveland / Photo by Norman & Blake

Ashley Smith Events

Ashley Smith Events is a San Francisco-based planning and design team, but their creatives largely plan destination weddings and celebrations. Their approach is infused with a bit of creativity and fun. The team loves a great dance party as much as a beautiful ceremony. Ashley Smith and her colleagues care deeply about their clients and guest experience.

The Wedding Style: "We have a modern and fresh approach to design. We listen to our couples and we steer them in a direction that will yield the results they are seeking. Our signature wedding style is modern, a touch of whimsy, fun, engaging, and upbeat. We love to let peoples’ personalities shine, which is often done through touches big and small."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I work in weddings because I love them. Yet, weddings are a unique space with its own pillars. We get to work across all realms, such as design, travel, hospitality, entertainment, food and beverage, travel, and sometimes things we cannot make up! But, mostly on a deeply personal level, we love the human connection it grants us."

Photo by Stanlo Photography / Photo by Terri Baskin

B. Astonished Events

At her Washington, D.C.-based company B. Astonished Events , owner Melissa Williams believes that strong relationships are the cornerstone of trust with clients and vendors. She runs her company with this value so much that it shines through in every wedding the team plans—whether it's a glamorous, large-scale event or a timeless, classic affair. She truly enjoys bringing her clients' vision to reality through her innovative designs, creation of unique experiences, and memorable moments for her clients and guests to talk about for years to come. Melissa and her team are so honored to be a part of each couple's love story and see the fabulous "wow" moments unfold on the wedding day, whether it is an experience or something visual.

The Wedding Style: "Detail-oriented. The style is where modern meets timeless."

I Work in Weddings Because: "Weddings represent a very special day full of love and memories that last a lifetime. I am passionate about working in the wedding industry because of my ability to bring my clients' vision—a critical component of weddings—to reality. I thrive in working through challenging tasks and ensuring even the smallest detail has been checked and ready. The happiness expressed by my clients on their special day is uniquely satisfying to me and encourages me to continue to work even harder to design and create new memories for these joyful occasions."

Photo by Kristen Marie Parker / Photo by Olivia Rae James

Bash Please

California-based Bash Please is a wedding planning and event design firm specializing in customized multi-day celebrations. Their goal is to blend refinement and originality, but with approachability and a strong foundation in the principles of hospitality. Bash Please celebrations reflect their clients fully—their shared history, style, and energy. Their company’s approach to wedding and event planning is collaborative, thoughtful, detailed, and honest.

The Wedding Style: "Refined."

I Work in Weddings Because: "It allows us to meet and work alongside amazing people that allow us the space to bring in our creative forces and seasoned production skills to create the perfect orchestration of our client’s celebrations."

Photos by Steve Steinhardt

Beth Helmstetter Events

Beth Helmstetter Events is a full-service event design and planning firm specializing in multi-day destination weddings around the world. They work with their clients to create celebrations that are both guest-focused and authentic to the region they're working in, all while reflecting the personality of the couples we represent.

The Wedding Style: "Refined, elevated, intentional, and intimate with just the right amount of playfulness."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love creating lifelong memories with my clients all over the globe."

Photo by Dennis Kwan Weddings / Photo by Charla Storey

Birds of a Feather Events

Birds of a Feather is a Dallas-based wedding planning firm with a focus on creative design and offering their clients a concierge-level planning experience. Along with their creative partners, their hope is to guide couples through the wedding planning process to cultivate a design that speaks to who they are and ensure that the wedding weekend runs seamlessly.

Guiding their clients through phase-based wedding planning with a focus on limiting the number of meetings their clients need to attend is a priority. Founder Wendy Kay believes the planning experience is just as important as the day itself.

The Wedding Style: "Birds of a Feather specializes in approachable, detail-oriented design with artfully captivating color palettes that have become our signature."

I Work in Weddings Because: "Planning and designing weddings fulfills both sides of my brain. The Type-A side wants to check tasks off of lists, meticulously build budgets, and drive the bus so my couples don't have to. Weddings also keep my Type-B side happy, by allowing me to explore creativity in new and different ways for every client that decides to partner with us."

Photo by Ashley Sawtelle Photography / Photo by James and Schulze Photography

Calluna Events

Calluna Events is a nationally celebrated event planning and design firm producing weddings, social, and corporate events in the Colorado region and beyond since 2004. Recognized for their elevated design aesthetic and a collaborative, high-touch approach to planning, the firm led by Heather Dwight channels nearly two decades of expertise to achieve iconic events rooted in a deep sense of authenticity to honor clients' more celebrated occasions.

The Wedding Style: "Our wedding style marries an intentional and elevated design aesthetic, a collaborative, high-touch approach to planning, a deep sense of authenticity, and our love of organic and natural settings. We are also known for the calm demeanor of our team, who combined have decades of experience, and who put our clients’ story at the forefront of our design and planning process. After 19 seasons, we have a deep and strong relationship with our creative partners and they are the backbone of all our successful events."

I Work in Weddings Because: "Planning a wedding is very personal. We often develop such a close bond with our couples that when we get to the wedding day, it’s like watching friends get married. The emotional connection and intimacy we have with our couples is one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process. The trust we develop with them fills my soul and heart! I love that each and every one of our couples is different and relish the challenge of planning a wedding that is uniquely them. I feel truly grateful that our clients entrust us with the biggest day of their lives."

"I’m also inspired by the collaboration we have with our creative partners and love that I have inspiring friends colleagues who I look up to adore our industry I’ve been so fortunate to work with and meet throughout the years! There’s no industry I’d rather be in!"

Photo by Larissa Cleveland / Photo by Perry Vaile

Cassy Rose Events

Cassy Anderson has almost two decades of event production experience and began her career managing private estates for social and corporate events. Since opening Michigan-based Cassy Rose Events in 2013, she continues to produce distinct events and holds a soft spot for those thrown at private homes and unique, non-traditional venues. Her experience in logistical management and creative direction ensures every Cassy Rose event is distinguished by its fresh, understated elegance and flawless execution.

The Wedding Style: "Playful, fresh, and grounded."

I Work in Weddings Because: "It's this unexpectedly perfect balance of my professional skillsets and my personal passions. I love the project management aspects of this work and the creative outlets it provides. But, more than anything, I absolutely love getting to know my clients and their families. It's truly such an honor to be welcomed into such an intimate family experience and I'm so humbled to be entrusted with the process. It brings me so much joy!"

Photo by Patrick Quezada

Chanda Daniels Planning and Design

Chanda Daniels, owner and creative director of Chanda Daniels Planning and Design , has been planning and designing weddings in the Oakland and San Francisco Bay area for over 25 years. Chanda is an advocate for celebrating all kinds of love equally. Chanda's specialty is creating a wedding weekend experience that looks and feels like her clients' unique love story. Through an in-depth acquainting session, Chanda will learn all about the lifetime milestones that brought her couples to the day of their engagement, then, she will make cohesive connections to their love story throughout the design and flow of their wedding weekend experience.

The Wedding Style: "Refined and classic with elevated details and an epic guest experience."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love having the opportunity to connect with my couples and learn about their families and what brought them together. During the planning journey, we get to connect, and I learn so much about them in the side conversations, driving to venue visits, and laughing during cake tastings. All of that goes into how I craft their wedding weekend. Getting to set the stage for them to enjoy their family and friends is an important task that I don’t take lightly. I get one shot at making this milestone event an amazing one."

"Also, I value the relationship and trust of my creative partners. I want them to be excited when I call. All of those relationships are important to me and that is why I work in weddings. It truly makes me happy to see everyone happy and excited!"

Photo by Mango Studios / Photo by Will Reid Photo

Chic by Nicole

From intimate gatherings to larger scale weddings and events, the Chic by Nicole team is committed to working with couples to bring their visions to life and ensure their events run flawlessly. With their design focused, fashion-forward approach, Toronto-based Chic by Nicole seeks to infuse both a couple's love story and personal style into even the smallest details on the wedding day.

Founded in 2017, this firm offers bridal styling and high-end and high-touch full planning for events in Toronto, Paris, Napa Valley, and destinations worldwide. "We're a small bespoke planning and design firm," founder Nicole-Natassha Goulding explains. "We take on a limited number of projects per year to provide our clients with a memorable white-glove experience."

The Wedding Style: "Our weddings have a European-inspired garden aesthetic. We aim for our designs to be timeless, romantic, and approachable. We've self-labelled our style 'modernized fine art.'"

I Work in Weddings Because: "They encompass everything I love including gastronomy, fashion, and interior design."

Photo by Zha Zha Photography / Photo by Sasithon Photography

Erica Estrada Design

Based in California, Erica Estrada Design is a full-service event, wedding planning, and design company that caters to clients who value a timeless and elegant aesthetic. Founder Erica Estrada has been planning luxury weddings around the U.S. and abroad since 2017. “I love working with clients to create a memorable experience that truly reflects who they are as individuals and as a couple,” says Estrada. She considers herself a "forever student," and strives to stay up to date with the ever-evolving trends of the wedding industry by constantly expanding her network.

The Wedding Style: "I believe in timeless design while utilizing modern elements. We like to curate weddings for our clients to ensure no two look alike."

I Work in Weddings Because: "They are truly so special, and bringing family and friends to celebrate love is so beautiful to witness."

Photos by Alisha Tova Photography

Estera Events

Since 2010, Estera Events has taken the wedding industry by storm thanks to their creativity, exacting standards, and incredibly high expectations. The duo pride themselves on creating bespoke events that are overwhelmingly creative and unique to each couple they work with. Co-owners Bianca Hall and Erica Vanco's ability to immerse themselves in a vision that suits their client's personal tastes and hone in on what design direction to take them is truly what they are known for—all while providing a seamless and stress-free planning experience from initial consultation until the last guests leave your event.

The Wedding Style: "Estera Events operates under one principle rule: for weddings, there are no rules! We love customizing the guest experience of each wedding to truly reflect the couple and who they are."

We Work in Weddings Because: "We get to work both creatively and logistically—which are skillsets we both pride ourselves on! We also get to form incredible relationships and bonds with our clients all while creating the most incredible day of their lives. There is truly no other career like this!"

Courtesy of Eva Clark Events / Photo by Bottega 53

Eva Clark Events

Eva Clark, founder of Eva Clark Events , first began her obsession with weddings on vacation in Europe when she was 10 years old. "While in Spain, I witnessed a wedding that was being held at a 17th-century palace-turned-hotel—the glasses of fresh sangria, intricate lace, and celebratory dancing made a huge impression on me. As a girl from modest Southern roots, I'd never seen anything like it. Little did I know that experience was the beginning of a journey that would lead me across the country and around the world in the pursuits of once in a lifetime event experiences."

Clark founded her Atlanta-based events company in 2003. As a designer and planner, Clark admits that she is thrilled to see the emphasis on personalized weddings that has emerged in the past decade. "I want the couple to feel that their wedding is a true expression of who they are so that their story is the essence of the event," she says. "I want our guests to know precisely whose wedding they are at, from their first impression upon arrival to the send-off. There are no cookie-cutter events here."

The Wedding Style: "Thoughtfully curated and enchanted weddings in the most alluring parts of the globe."

I Work in Weddings Because: "To my knowledge, there's no other platform in which design can have such an impact on one of the most special days in someone's life. Seeing your client's eyes well up with tears makes all of the intense challenges of the job worth it."

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography / Photo by Adonye Jaja

Fallon Carter Events

Fallon Carter is the founder and creative director of Fallon Carter Events . Finding joy in adventure, travel, and al fresco dining, Fallon leaned into global events and experiences. Fallon and her team connect Southern hospitality with international luxury. They explore various destinations and design concepts to create a distinctive experience that balances comfort and splendor for an unforgettable moment in time.

The Wedding Style: "Refined classic."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I value and understand the importance of ceremony, tradition, and a spectacular guest experience. And, I love any reason to host a party!"

Photos by Shawn Connell Weddings

For two decades, Fête by Jung Lee has carved out a unique place in the wedding industry. As event architects, they tailor one-of-a-kind experiences to each couple in a completely bespoke manner. They are one of the few companies that conceptualizes, designs, plans, and oversees all key elements in-house with the emphasis on making dreams come true. Fête's approach is to completely immerse themselves in the couples life together so the team can create the wedding they didn’t even know they wanted.

The Wedding Style: "Chic and fabulous! It is hard to define our style as it morphes with each couple we work with. There is no book with options to go through to pick a wedding. We threw out the book! Instead, we listen to what matters most to you. We have experience in every style imaginable and can deliver. We are very proud of our extremely high level of workmanship and attention to detail."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I felt there was a misunderstood blank space and I felt called to fix it! Part of our brand DNA is the ability to discover your needs and connect the dots. Our team is diverse and that drives innovation. Each wedding I do still feeds my creativity and sense of ultimate fantasy. My goal is for you to feel super-duper special not only on your wedding day, but for each anniversary that follows."

Photo by John F. Martin Photography / Photo by Valorie Darling

Gold Leaf Event Design & Production

Kate Ryan, owner of Gold Leaf Event Design & Production , is ambitious, loyal, and a connector of like-minded people. The Gold Leaf Event team produces custom wedding experiences, collaborating with carefully selected creative partners and showcasing innovative design and seamless planning and logistics. Kate splits her professional time primarily between New York City and Aspen, Colorado, where Gold Leaf Events was founded. The team travels worldwide to keep the seasons of their work original, while breaking into new markets.

The Wedding Style: "The Gold Leaf team approaches each celebration with the intention to leave a unique, inspired, and memorable mark on those who attend. Fortunate to be surrounded by so much natural beauty, our personal style leans towards organic and whimsical elements. More importantly, we navigate the design process with our clients ensuring their personal style as couple shines through."

I Work in Weddings Because: "The event industry is constantly evolving! This gives us the opportunity to consistently be connecting with new creative partners (there’s amazing fresh talent out there!) and results in original and beautifully curated events for our clients."

Photo by Ryan Ray Photography / Photo by Christian Oth Studio

Greenwood Events

Darci and Arden Greenwood, a mother/daughter duo, specialize in celebrations all over the United States. They are based on the principal that luxurious weddings do not always mean showy and pretentious, but rather meaningful and tasteful. Greenwood Events approach weddings with a warm gesture that every guest and, of course, their couples feel completely comfortable and well taken care of throughout the event experience.

The Wedding Style: "Bold but timeless. Colorful but thoughtful. Always considering 'place,' and designing and producing to capture exactly that!"

We Work in Weddings Because: "Guiding our clients to be the best host to their guests is an extension of us actually being the best hosts—and hosting is our love language!"

Courtesy of Gregory Blake Sams Events / Photo by Brian D. Smith Photography

Gregory Blake Sams Events

Gregory Blake Sams Events strives to be intentional with every bespoke detail. These personal touches to each wedding makes the experience feel effortless, authentic, and reflective of the couple and the event’s setting. The Charleston and New York-based firm approaches every wedding with an exacting attention to detail and standard for perfection, no matter the size or complexity. GBSE is dedicated to offering clients a unique and one-of-a-kind experience that is reflective of their taste and personalities—giving them and their guests a feeling of intimacy no matter how grand the affair might be.

The Wedding Style: "Classic, handsome, moody, and lush."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I am passionate about hospitality and residential design, and love drawing on that inspiration when designing weddings. I love nothing more than to interpret a timeless tradition into a unique experience filled with bespoke and intentional details—from the smallest to the more over-the-top—that is a true reflection of the bride and groom."

Photos by Abby Jiu Photography

Grit & Grace

Grit & Grace has a background in fashion, catering, project management, and hotels with a total understanding for incredibly unexpected, logistically sound events. As an envelope pusher, make-it-happen captain, and details diva, the event design team, led by Laura Ritchie, Christie Yerks, and Brittany Hagaman, strive for completely unique experiences that reflect their clients individuality. No wedding is the same, and with clients leaving as dear friends, Grit & Grace truly lives up to their namesake.

The Wedding Style: "Unexpectedly chic with tangible memory making moments."

I Work in Weddings Because: "Designing an event that is truly reflective and personal to a client is a true joy."

Photo by SVE Productions / Photo by Roey Yohai Studios

Guerdy Design

When asked where she is based, Guerdy Abraira's answer is “Out of an airplane!“ As a globe-trotter, Abraira of Guerdy Design quickly fell in love with the art of hosting and event décor. Living and traveling throughout the world as she grew up expanded her palette of various global cultures. Her usual opening remark to her clients is that “she speaks a lot of languages—but doesn’t speak basic.” It is with this intentional impression that she approaches her events. She is keen on innovating versus just note-taking, and her event turnouts reflects this unique and bold approach.

The Wedding Style: "Living and traveling throughout the world as I grew up expanded my palette of various global cultures. It is with this experience that I approach events with a 'traditional with a twist' style, which ensures timelessness with modern or unique touches to solidify my client’s personal styles and aesthetic. It is for this reason that I call myself an 'event stylist.'"

I Work in Weddings Because: "I was born to!"

Photo by Sasithon Photography / Photo by David Perlman Photography

Jason Mitchell Kahn & Co.

Jason Mitchell Kahn comes from the theatre, both in terms of his education and early career as a playwright. He used his love and understanding of how to craft a show as he evolved into creating weddings. Jason also published the first wedding planning book for gay grooms, Getting Groomed , so his clientele tends to be couples in the performing arts and many LGBTQ+ people. He and his team focus on collaborating with couples to tell their story with creativity, compassion, and organization.

The Wedding Style: "Each one is different, as they reflect the couple, but common words used are non-traditional, intentional, inclusive, atmospheric, emotional, thought-provoking, theatrical, and campy."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love the rush of an opening night. I love learning from my couples why they are marrying and seeing how that informs our decisions in planning. It's so incredibly gratifying to be a part of an event so emotionally charged with love and happiness. And, because I've accrued a massive collection of suits and tuxedos and need someplace to wear them!"

Photo by Sasithon Photography / Photo by Amber Gress

Jove Meyer is a true visionary of joy. Meyer crafts vivid, colorful celebrations of love inspired by couples who dare to be different. Ever since he began designing weddings in 2008, he’s prided himself on fostering a relaxed, stress-free planning process while nurturing personal relationships with his clients, as their unique stories lay the groundwork for the beautiful, one-of-a-kind weddings that Meyer and his team manifest. His approach encourages authenticity, celebrates diversity, and empowers marginalized communities—all reflective in an Ally Pledge that he requires all creative partners to sign, vowing them to choose love over hate.

The Wedding Style: "Our wedding style is bold, colorful, intentional, and authentic to our couples and their unique love stories!"

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love LOVE and enjoy bringing a couples love story to life through their wedding!"

Courtesy of JZ Events / Photo by Allan Zepeda Photography

A self-proclaimed perfectionist with an exquisite eye and attention for detail, Jennifer Zabinski brings a flawless and collaborative approach and an innovative and joyful spirit to every job she takes on—no matter the size. Jennifer and her multi-tasking, high-functioning team at JZ Events have planned, designed, and executed hundreds of successful events in some of the most exciting and breathtaking locales around the world: Necker Island, St. Barts, Ravello, Cap Ferrat, Amalfi Coast, Aspen, Paris, Florence, and San Francisco, just to name a few. Her reputation as a professional, kind, and conscientious planner and business woman has earned her well-deserved respect among her peers and clients.

The Wedding Style: "My wedding style begins with fostering a sense of trust and a real partnership with my clients. Creating a space where everyone is comfortable speaking their minds sets us apart and fosters a sense of comfort and ease during the planning and design process. We truly listen to our clients' wishes and our main goal is to provide the clearest and most beautiful expression of our client’s vision. This approach has guided our success over the years and it sets us apart. From napkin treatments to custom-designed dance floors, we own the process of planning every event and every detail, from beginning to end."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love what I do and for whom I do it. The vendors and clients I work with inspire me to continue to grow and learn within the industry. Every interaction is different, and connecting with people and seeing their vision become a reality has always been a passion of mine. I also adore when clients become more like friends and family. That trust you build as a planner can sometimes lead to a true and meaningful friendship, which is such a gift."

Photos by Jules Photography

Kia Marie Events

Kia Marie is a Chicago-based wedding planner who plans wedding around the world for extraordinary people. Kia Marie Events has established a reputation for creating remarkable destination weddings, trustworthy event management, and the ability to introduce fresh ideas to their clients. Marie has worked with a large number of clients from many different backgrounds, tailoring each event to meet their specific needs and desires. Her team strives to meet and exceed the needs of everyone involved. They understand the importance of working with (not just for) their clients in order to make their events unforgettable.

The Wedding Style: "Our motto is class, elegance, and style. It's the KME way. We enjoy timeless and effortless weddings."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love a great celebration, love, beauty, and family. Those are major aspects in a wedding and I get to witness that."

Photo by The Collective You / Photo by Corbin Gurkin

Laurie Arons Special Events

Making a name for herself as a society wedding planner in San Francisco, Laurie Arons is now best known for producing complex, immersive destination wedding experiences for couples and their guests. Laurie and her team thrive in the details, with bespoke welcome gifts, individualized activities and guest itineraries, high-touch weekend events with creative surprises, and a seamlessly-executed wedding day down to the minute. Laurie counts among her clients some of Silicon Valley’s top innovators, society families, entertainment moguls, and investment professionals.

The Wedding Style: "My style seeks to honor what is timeless about the tradition of weddings, reimagined for each couple and setting with a fresh and very personal perspective. I strive to design a space with considerable attention to the surroundings so it seems seamless with the existing locale."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I work in weddings because I love getting to know my clients and giving them the best possible experience—both during the planning process and through executing a wedding weekend that creates incredible lifelong memories with their family and friends."

Photo by Dennis Kwan Weddings / Photo by Lynn Dunston

Lea Stafford Events

When it comes to Lea Stafford Events , these modern storytellers are known for celebrating in culturally-rich locations with clients who do not play by the rules and are up to challenge the norm. The cookie-cutter approach isn't what you will find here. Each production is owned by the client's story and lifestyle, and no story is exactly the same.

Led by their experienced founder and creative Lea Stafford, who constantly has fun with her out-of-the-box approach to experience, this firm concentrates on eight weddings a season. The California-based event planning, production, and design house thrive on destination events and experiences covering tailored details by pouring back into the community and practicing sustainability, driving the team to partner with local artisans, all while planning with intention and ethics.

The Wedding Style: "Timeless, chill, and organic with a touch of boldness."

I Work in Wedding Because: "It's a world in which I won't get judged for partying too hard."

Courtesy of Luxe Fête / Photo by Heather Waraksa Photography

Nathalie Cadet-James practiced law for eight years before she found her true passion of designing and planning events. She soon realized, however, that her work was much more than that. Luxe Fête is an event planning and design agency that creates “best of” memories for clients as they celebrate life’s most special moments. Luxe Fête is proud to be recognized as an “industry innovator” and “event guru” because of their timeless yet fresh design approach.

The Wedding Style: "Timeless yet fresh."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love love."

Courtesy of Lynden Lane Co. / Photo by Valorie Darling

The Lynden Lane Co.

The Lynden Lane Co. is a multi-generational event design and interior house based in Southern California, known for creating transformative spaces that transcend trends. They believe in unpretentious luxury and spaces that awaken the senses. With a thoughtful approach, they take the time to understand their clients' lifestyles, allowing them to make decisions that exceed their desires and needs. Their team of industry experts rely heavily on their decade-long experience to bring together the best artists to execute the day, to allow their clients to fully enjoy the experience.

The Wedding Style: "We value art, culture, aesthetic, and dream to push the boundaries. We would describe our style as unassuming, elevated, and curated."

We Work in Weddings Because: "We love the sound of our favorite bands performing live, the vibration of a perfectly planned party, thoughtful lighting, being served appetizers and dessert, and traveling."

Photo by Jenny Chok Photo / Photo by Jordan Voth

Mae&Co Creative

Mae&Co Creative has been designing and producing one-of-a-kind weddings across the globe for almost a decade, and with each season that passes, they grow more and more passionate about pushing boundaries and breaking the mold of your “typical” luxury wedding planning approach. Led by owner and creative director Manda Worthington, Mae&Co strives to connect with their clients and their vendors on a deeper and more authentic level, taking a very holistic approach to the team they build for each wedding. While believing deeply that no wedding should be the same, Mae&Co Creative designs every single detail of the day as a unique reflection of the couple it’s produced for.

The Wedding Style: "Romantic, extravagant, and unique."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I truly love getting to know my clients in such a way where I can understand their styles, priorities, hopes, and dreams and without them having to lift a finger. Bringing it all to life (plus some)—there is no better feeling."

Photo by Heather Nan / Photo by Pepper Nix Photographers

Michelle Leo Events

Michelle Leo Events is an award-winning event design and planning firm specializing in local and destination events. Michelle Leo Cousins and her team offer a one-on-one planning and custom design process that is both intentional and tailored to the unique and individual needs of each client they serve. Michelle's event designs have been recognized and sought out by a global audience and the team as a whole is known for their exquisite event execution combined with Michelle's classic, romantic, and timeless approach to event aesthetics.

The Wedding Style: "Classic, romantic, chic, timeless, organized, smooth, and successful."

We Work in Weddings Because: "We love to be a part of creating, executing, and celebrating life's most important events."

Photo by Hannah Pickle / Photo by Mo Davis Photography

Michelle Norwood Events

Michelle Norwood is an internationally recognized award-winning destination wedding planner, event designer, and world-class hospitality advisor for luxury hotels and resorts. With more than 20 years in the industry, Michelle is highly sought after for her seamless execution, unique eye for design, and warm gregarious spirit. Although Michelle Norwood Events is based in her home city of New Orleans, she services the globe for a diverse and eclectic clientele. From intimate bespoke affairs in remote locations to boisterous stylish celebrations in NOLA, Michelle and her team create experiences that feed the soul.

The Wedding Style: "While my personal touch is seen and felt in every detail, each wedding and event is completely bespoke. The design is carefully curated to tell a story unique to the couple. I assure the story is told in a way that is sophisticated, effortless, and timeless. My style is classic and intimate—no matter how large the guest count."

I Work in Weddings Because: "There’s a quote by Hamilton Wright Mabie I like to defer to. He says, 'Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.' I work in weddings because I am not limited to seasons to engage in such thoughtful celebration. I live in love. It is the joy of my career to connect with couples from all over the world and conjure the perfect setting and style to tell their stories while creating new ones. For me, this is the nectar of life. It’s the best life has to offer—to travel, explore, connect with the local culture and each other all while experiencing local cuisines over sentimental toasts. Really, what could be better?"

Courtesy of Michelle Rago Destinations / Photo by Anée Atelier

Michelle Rago Destinations

Michelle Rago’s greatest strength lies in interpreting her client’s preferences, assessing the possibilities, and translating them into a well-planned and well-designed affair. Her years of hands-on experience, superb sense of design, and mastery of logistics have served her well as she has navigated the complicated landscape of producing destination events. Michelle’s keen curiosity about the world and how aesthetics, cultures, and hospitality intertwine makes her weddings and events something to talk about.

The Wedding Style: "Our style is clean and classic with a modern flair and many personal details."

I Work in Weddings Because: "It is a place where I can express all that I love—design, logistics, personalization, entertaining, and the love of a great party!"

Photo by John & Joseph / Photo by KT Merry

Mindy Weiss Party Consultants

Mindy Weiss is known as one of the most creative minds in the event world—a party and wedding planner who truly brings the unimaginable to life with guest experience, style, and celebration at the heart. No two events are alike when Mindy is behind the scenes; she draws from creativity that reflect the couple and embeds memories for all in attendance. Whether a high-profile wedding at home or an overseas destination experience, Mindy leads with a calming kindness over all else, and that’s what she credits her longevity to.

The Wedding Style: "I love taking all the inspiration my couples express they would love on their wedding day and adding in interesting details and romantic surprises. Whether traditional, modern, vintage, or other, I love transforming a wedding filled with personal style to create memories not only for the couple, but also for the families and guests."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I often think about why I've chosen to work in this unique, ever-changing emotional job of weddings... Why? Because creating memories for others and making their dreams come true is a gift I can give, and I guess I love giving gifts."

Photo by Kate Headley / Photo by Patricia Lyons

Pineapple Productions

Pineapple Productions founder Allison Jackson's earliest influences—a birthplace in San Francisco paired with a childhood spent in the South—bring her approach to weddings to a unique intersection. Allison’s work involves innovative techniques and outside the box thinking as well as a respect for tradition, particularly family and cultural traditions. When it comes to design, she draws from her personal style origins in art, nature, history and travel abroad. Allison's goal is to bring a resilient poise to a new era of American weddings, which above all else she believes should be inclusive, joyful, and deeply personal.

The Wedding Style: "Classic, with a bit of edge."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I believe in the importance of gathering friends and family from across time and place to support a couple’s decision to marry. Personally, I love how weddings call attention to and celebrate life and its different stages in such a joyful way. Each wedding tells a story of where a couple has been and where that couple is going. I find this aspect of my work to be so meaningful and rewarding."

Photo by Dennis Kwan Weddings / Photo by Lauren + Abby Ross

Posh Parties

Heather Lowenthal, founder of Posh Parties , has been passionately planning luxury weddings in Palm Beach for almost 16 years. She got her start in 2003 when she launched Posh Paper, a high- end custom invitation and stationery business. Her creativity, style, and attention to detail was such a success with her South Florida clients, that it paved the way for the launch of Posh Parties in 2006. She believes in quality versus quantity and treats each wedding as if it is her own. Her philosophy is to make each wedding personal and she always makes sure no detail goes unnoticed.

The Wedding Style: " Classic, detailed, and personalized."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I truly love creating memorable wedding weekends and seeing couples' visions come to life."

Photo by Joel Benjamin / Photo by Allan Zepeda

Rafanelli Events

Rafanelli Events has one of the best team in the business, with more than 40 experienced event directors, producers, production managers, and designers. Each of their clients are assigned one team member from each area of expertise to support the 360-degree concepting, design, and execution of their wedding. Founder Bryan Rafanelli shares, "The highest compliment we can receive from a client at the end of their wedding evening is 'Wow, you really got us.'"

The Wedding Style: "The core of our philosophy is to provide the highest quality of service and value combined with a carefully curated design that reflects the style and vision of the client. We always aim for all of our designs to be sophisticated and distinctive, memorable and special. However, I am proud that guests don’t walk into our events and immediately say, 'This is a Rafanelli wedding.' We pay the closest of attention to our clients and how they want their story told and style reflected, from timeless and understated—like my own wedding—to elegant and lavish and everything in between."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I’m a storyteller at heart and love celebrating families unique stories. The best weddings reflect the couple, their story, and their family story!"

Photo by Larissa Cleveland / Photo by Corbin Gurkin

Shannon Leahy Events

As a full service planning, design, and production company with its own in-house floral department, the team at Shannon Leahy Events masterfully executes wildly creative, sophisticated affairs. A SLE wedding is characterized by clean line design, a carefully orchestrated flow, and an incredible attention to every detail.

The Wedding Style: "Outside the box, immersive, elegant, and timeless."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love to bring a client's unique vision to life and exceed their wildest dreams."

Photos by Anée Atelier

Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events

Troy Williams is a 360-degree designer and planner who works from his emotional connection to a couple, and thinks about every angle of a wedding and how it will be seen and felt by all. Simply Troy is an immersive storyteller who loves designing any size wedding—from super intimate to lavishly large—to feel incredibly personal to the couple, while adding an element of surprise to the night for them, too.

Williams has a strong background in handling PR and media relations for the scope of any high-profile wedding. Working events in Hollywood for the majority of his career and now as an event designer for a range of celebrity, charity, social, and corporate clients, Williams is always thinking outside of the box and going to see a wedding from a different vantage point than others. Simply Troy appreciates tradition, but is never afraid to modernize it.

The Wedding Style: "Simply timeless, tasteful, and thoughtful design. Luxury with heart, a splash of whimsy, and an authentic attention to emotional detail."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love creating a heartfelt story that is both seen and felt for a couple and their loved ones."

Photo by Norman & Blake / Photo by Sarah Falugo

smith + james

Located in Southern California, smith + james is a full-service planning and event design studio led by creative director and owner Tory Smith. The smith + james team’s approach to weddings is both heavily curated and experiential with a focus on fun—their clients are always looking to have a blast in the most incredible places around the world. They attribute their success to the fact that they don't take themselves too seriously. They’ll be your ultimate hype girls and keep you laughing the whole time.

The Wedding Style: "Effortless, cool, intentional, and unexpected. We love things to feel really elevated, but nothing should feel stuffy or forced."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love the challenge of bringing fresh ideas into the wedding space, mostly inspired by fashion, interior design, or architecture. For me, it’s all about producing creative moments in creative places. Also, our clients are incredible. We always become dear friends with them, which is the best part."

Photo by Caroline Tran / Photo by Aaron Delesie

So Happi Together

So Happi Together is a full planning and event design firm that specializes in producing timeless celebrations of love, infused with unique details that reflect each couple and their story. Nancy Park and Paean Wang work together on every single event to ensure a customized, stress-free planning process and perfectly polished event day. Their limited roster of clients allows them to offer a truly bespoke experience for each couple and event. Purposeful planning that focuses on the joy of your engagement results in their experiential and immersive design that works well for all of their destination weddings and events.

The Wedding Style: "Timeless romance meets contemporary elegance."

I Work in Weddings Because: "We find joy in being a part of such a unique and special period (from engagement to wedding day!) of a couple’s love story. We are ultimately people pleasing perfectionists who thrive under pressure and find happiness in fostering the happiness of others. Plus, weddings provide the ideal space to marry our love of gorgeous design and logistical details!"

Photo by Salwa Photography / Photo by Clane Gessel Photography

Sonal J. Shah

Sonal J. Shah is the founder and creative force of Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants, LLC . A renowned, premiere celebrity expert on South Asian and cross-cultural weddings, Sonal J. Shah and her firm has built a stellar reputation for conceiving, designing, and coordinating an extensive roster of meticulously choreographed, luxury South Asian weddings. Shah and her team maintain the highest level of service as they strive to have each celebration surpass every bride’s expectations.

The Wedding Style: "Glamorous and luxurious with a lot of attention to detail."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love to make our couple's dreams come true for one of the most important days of their lives."

Photo by Jeff Brummett Photography / Photo by Shannon Skloss

Southern Affairs Weddings & Events

Led by lead designer Robyne Swink and principal planner Brittany McKinney, Southern Affairs Weddings & Events is a full-service planning and design firm based in Dallas, Texas. Their mission is to provide their clientele with perfection in planning with a splash of southern hospitality. To accomplish this, Swink and team aims to curate meaningful, authentic occasions that feel natural and un-forced while staying true to the nature of the couples being celebrated.

The Wedding Style: "Approachable luxury."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I am a hopeless romantic, who also happens to be a creative with a keen eye for details!"

Photo by Sanaz Photography / Photo by Kurt Boomer

Summer Newman Events

At Summer Newman Events , the notion of gracious hosting informs all that they do. They plan with an eye toward perfecting every last guest touch point and work to craft experience-rich celebrations that inspire, enchant, and entertain. Newman and her team embraces romantic, refined, and sustainable design—working to freshen up a classic aesthetic with thought-provoking event elements and artfully-crafted experiences that awe. A full-service wedding planning and design company based in Southern California, Summer Newman Events plans timeless celebrations both in their home state and beyond.

The Wedding Style: "Summer Newman Events’ wedding style is a combination of focusing on romance and timelessness. Hospitality and a well-planned event are paramount! Designs are distinctively meaningful to clients, adding touches that are fun and art-focused, and more recently all designs incorporate some element that makes them more sustainable and eco-friendlier."

I Work in Weddings Because: "My journey working in events started with the entertainment industry. I specifically wanted to work corporate events only. When I got engaged and started planning my wedding, it was then that I realize I wanted to switch to using my talents to helping others experience the love and beauty I experienced on my wedding day. Today, I continue to work in weddings for these same reasons, only now I’ve added educating myself and future clients on all things combining eco-friendly, sustainable, and luxury-focused designs."

Photo by Stetten Wilson / Photo by Corbin Gurkin

Tara Guérard Soirée

Based in Charleston and New York City, Tara Guérard is a planner and a designer, operating a full production company that travels the country creating the most fun and detailed beautiful weddings. Guérard and team begin by determining what inspires you—from the interiors that you love to your sense of style. Armed with this information, it's then time to design every detail of your wedding with your unique taste in mind. She also owns a letterpress stationer, Lettered Olive, to accompany her magical affairs.

The Wedding Style: "Simple, elegant, tailored, timeless, and dreamy."

I Work in Weddings Because: "I love creating a day for special people that is the best day ever."

Photo by Wyn Wiley Photography / Courtesy of The Nouveau Romantics

The Nouveau Romantics

As destination wedding planners, Elizabeth McKellar and her team source inspiration from the smallest moments found in art, architecture, environments, and stories, creating weddings that eschew what is seen on social media and are something entirely new. Pulling from her background in architecture, McKellar transforms often disparate inspiration into destination weddings that feel both natural and unexpected, while honing in on all those small details that elevate the entire guest experience to a once-in-a-lifetime. The Nouveau Romantics have mastered the art of digital collaboration as their busy clientele and team work, live, and travel around the world—embracing the reality of a global world and building an incredibly close working relationship no matter the time zone.

The Wedding Style: "Toeing the line between undeniably bold and absolutely timeless."

I Work in Weddings Because: "There is little more gratifying than seeing a couple, their families, and friends unite into a new baby family, and have a raging party to celebrate."

Photo by Belathée Photography / Photo by Kylee Yee

Tracy Taylor Ward Design

With a flagship office in New York City, satellite office in South Florida, and team of destination specialists working worldwide, Tracy Taylor Ward Design is an award-winning event planning and design production firm recognized for conceptualizing one-of-a-kind, meticulously designed, ridiculously-fun weddings and events, where guests dance until dawn because no one wants the night to end!

To support a cohesive and truly seamless experience for their clients, Tracy Taylor Ward Design offers a range of in-house services including event planning and design, floral and décor production, as well as invitations and reception stationery. Known for their exceptional eye, organizational prowess, warmth, and time-saving proprietary planning tools, “Team TTWD” takes pleasure in going above and beyond to ensure that their clients’ planning process and wedding days exceed all expectations.

The Wedding Style: "Tracy Taylor Ward Design is known for 'effortlessly elegant' events, which can best be described as understated luxury that is chic, clean, and refined. That said, the foundation of our design work is based upon getting to know what our clients’ love, so that we can elevate and translate their wishes into a cohesive event (or events). This ensures that they will be proud of the end result and that their event will beautifully reflect who they are."

I Work in Weddings Because: "Bringing joy to our clients (and their loved ones) with personalized, meaningful experiences is what we live for. There‘s nothing that makes my team and me happier than seeing people smile so hard that their cheeks hurt. We love what we do and, ultimately, care so much about every little detail—not only with regard to producing beautiful designs but also with each step of the planning process—to ensure our clients’ journeys are stress-free and celebratory from start to finish!"

Photos by Elizabeth LaDuca

Whim Events

Whim Events is a full-service event planning firm specializing in planning, event design, and floral design for luxury weddings and corporate events in New England and beyond. Led by Natalie Pinney and Moira Thompson, Whim’s celebrations are individually tailored around building meaningful experiences, allowing couples and guests to feel distinctively treated, incredibly well taken care of and blissfully lost in the moment.

Each celebration is designed collaboratively, drawing inspiration from the client’s lifestyles and nature to create unforgettable moments that awaken the senses and elevate the guest experience from start to finish. As one of the only planning firms in New England to offer planning, design, and floral under one roof, Whim is highly focused on providing impeccable guest hospitality and sound logistics, while designing deeply personal events that tell a cohesive and beautiful story.

The Wedding Style: "Whim Events is known for its natural and organic wedding style—elevated and sophisticated, yet always approachable, magical, and whimsical."

Why We Work in Weddings: "It’s not building a stunning tablescape or an Instagram-worthy moment that inspires us to work in weddings. It’s the feeling we get when our couples and their loved ones feel when they take their seat at the table at a venue we’ve built from the ground up. It’s the stories that people share as they come together. It is the deep relationships we build with couples to create such an important day in their lives. But mostly, we work in weddings because we adore seeing our couples completely lost in the moment, surrounded by their loved ones—a feeling they will treasure forever."

Photo by Eden Strader / Photo by Jacob E. Tovar

Wild Heart Events

Jaime Kostechko, founder of Wild Heart Events , has a unique approach to weddings, looking at her events through a hospitality lens that stimulates the senses. Growing up immersed in interior design and with a background in hospitality management, Jaime layers color, pattern, and texture with experiential moments to create unforgettable celebrations full of trend-setting details.

The Wedding Style: "Our events are heavily style-centric, creating memorable designs that are experiential, inclusive, approachable, and revolve around top-notch hospitality. Our design range is broad and tailored to each of our couples to create a look and feel that is authentic to them."

I Work in Weddings Because: "It is an absolute dream to create the best moments of peoples lives."

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MoSCoW Prioritization

What is moscow prioritization.

MoSCoW prioritization, also known as the MoSCoW method or MoSCoW analysis, is a popular prioritization technique for managing requirements. 

  The acronym MoSCoW represents four categories of initiatives: must-have, should-have, could-have, and won’t-have, or will not have right now. Some companies also use the “W” in MoSCoW to mean “wish.”

What is the History of the MoSCoW Method?

Software development expert Dai Clegg created the MoSCoW method while working at Oracle. He designed the framework to help his team prioritize tasks during development work on product releases.

You can find a detailed account of using MoSCoW prioritization in the Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM) handbook . But because MoSCoW can prioritize tasks within any time-boxed project, teams have adapted the method for a broad range of uses.

How Does MoSCoW Prioritization Work?

Before running a MoSCoW analysis, a few things need to happen. First, key stakeholders and the product team need to get aligned on objectives and prioritization factors. Then, all participants must agree on which initiatives to prioritize.

At this point, your team should also discuss how they will settle any disagreements in prioritization. If you can establish how to resolve disputes before they come up, you can help prevent those disagreements from holding up progress.

Finally, you’ll also want to reach a consensus on what percentage of resources you’d like to allocate to each category.

With the groundwork complete, you may begin determining which category is most appropriate for each initiative. But, first, let’s further break down each category in the MoSCoW method.

Start prioritizing your roadmap

Moscow prioritization categories.


1. Must-have initiatives

As the name suggests, this category consists of initiatives that are “musts” for your team. They represent non-negotiable needs for the project, product, or release in question. For example, if you’re releasing a healthcare application, a must-have initiative may be security functionalities that help maintain compliance.

The “must-have” category requires the team to complete a mandatory task. If you’re unsure about whether something belongs in this category, ask yourself the following.


If the product won’t work without an initiative, or the release becomes useless without it, the initiative is most likely a “must-have.”

2. Should-have initiatives

Should-have initiatives are just a step below must-haves. They are essential to the product, project, or release, but they are not vital. If left out, the product or project still functions. However, the initiatives may add significant value.

“Should-have” initiatives are different from “must-have” initiatives in that they can get scheduled for a future release without impacting the current one. For example, performance improvements, minor bug fixes, or new functionality may be “should-have” initiatives. Without them, the product still works.

3. Could-have initiatives

Another way of describing “could-have” initiatives is nice-to-haves. “Could-have” initiatives are not necessary to the core function of the product. However, compared with “should-have” initiatives, they have a much smaller impact on the outcome if left out.

So, initiatives placed in the “could-have” category are often the first to be deprioritized if a project in the “should-have” or “must-have” category ends up larger than expected.

4. Will not have (this time)

One benefit of the MoSCoW method is that it places several initiatives in the “will-not-have” category. The category can manage expectations about what the team will not include in a specific release (or another timeframe you’re prioritizing).

Placing initiatives in the “will-not-have” category is one way to help prevent scope creep . If initiatives are in this category, the team knows they are not a priority for this specific time frame. 

Some initiatives in the “will-not-have” group will be prioritized in the future, while others are not likely to happen. Some teams decide to differentiate between those by creating a subcategory within this group.

How Can Development Teams Use MoSCoW?

  Although Dai Clegg developed the approach to help prioritize tasks around his team’s limited time, the MoSCoW method also works when a development team faces limitations other than time. For example: 

Prioritize based on budgetary constraints.

What if a development team’s limiting factor is not a deadline but a tight budget imposed by the company? Working with the product managers, the team can use MoSCoW first to decide on the initiatives that represent must-haves and the should-haves. Then, using the development department’s budget as the guide, the team can figure out which items they can complete. 

Prioritize based on the team’s skillsets.

A cross-functional product team might also find itself constrained by the experience and expertise of its developers. If the product roadmap calls for functionality the team does not have the skills to build, this limiting factor will play into scoring those items in their MoSCoW analysis.

Prioritize based on competing needs at the company.

Cross-functional teams can also find themselves constrained by other company priorities. The team wants to make progress on a new product release, but the executive staff has created tight deadlines for further releases in the same timeframe. In this case, the team can use MoSCoW to determine which aspects of their desired release represent must-haves and temporarily backlog everything else.

What Are the Drawbacks of MoSCoW Prioritization?

  Although many product and development teams have prioritized MoSCoW, the approach has potential pitfalls. Here are a few examples.

1. An inconsistent scoring process can lead to tasks placed in the wrong categories.

  One common criticism against MoSCoW is that it does not include an objective methodology for ranking initiatives against each other. Your team will need to bring this methodology to your analysis. The MoSCoW approach works only to ensure that your team applies a consistent scoring system for all initiatives.

Pro tip: One proven method is weighted scoring, where your team measures each initiative on your backlog against a standard set of cost and benefit criteria. You can use the weighted scoring approach in ProductPlan’s roadmap app .

2. Not including all relevant stakeholders can lead to items placed in the wrong categories.

To know which of your team’s initiatives represent must-haves for your product and which are merely should-haves, you will need as much context as possible.

For example, you might need someone from your sales team to let you know how important (or unimportant) prospective buyers view a proposed new feature.

One pitfall of the MoSCoW method is that you could make poor decisions about where to slot each initiative unless your team receives input from all relevant stakeholders. 

3. Team bias for (or against) initiatives can undermine MoSCoW’s effectiveness.

Because MoSCoW does not include an objective scoring method, your team members can fall victim to their own opinions about certain initiatives. 

One risk of using MoSCoW prioritization is that a team can mistakenly think MoSCoW itself represents an objective way of measuring the items on their list. They discuss an initiative, agree that it is a “should have,” and move on to the next.

But your team will also need an objective and consistent framework for ranking all initiatives. That is the only way to minimize your team’s biases in favor of items or against them.

When Do You Use the MoSCoW Method for Prioritization?

MoSCoW prioritization is effective for teams that want to include representatives from the whole organization in their process. You can capture a broader perspective by involving participants from various functional departments.

Another reason you may want to use MoSCoW prioritization is it allows your team to determine how much effort goes into each category. Therefore, you can ensure you’re delivering a good variety of initiatives in each release.

What Are Best Practices for Using MoSCoW Prioritization?

If you’re considering giving MoSCoW prioritization a try, here are a few steps to keep in mind. Incorporating these into your process will help your team gain more value from the MoSCoW method.

1. Choose an objective ranking or scoring system.

Remember, MoSCoW helps your team group items into the appropriate buckets—from must-have items down to your longer-term wish list. But MoSCoW itself doesn’t help you determine which item belongs in which category.

You will need a separate ranking methodology. You can choose from many, such as:

  • Weighted scoring
  • Value vs. complexity
  • Buy-a-feature
  • Opportunity scoring

For help finding the best scoring methodology for your team, check out ProductPlan’s article: 7 strategies to choose the best features for your product .

2. Seek input from all key stakeholders.

To make sure you’re placing each initiative into the right bucket—must-have, should-have, could-have, or won’t-have—your team needs context. 

At the beginning of your MoSCoW method, your team should consider which stakeholders can provide valuable context and insights. Sales? Customer success? The executive staff? Product managers in another area of your business? Include them in your initiative scoring process if you think they can help you see opportunities or threats your team might miss. 

3. Share your MoSCoW process across your organization.

MoSCoW gives your team a tangible way to show your organization prioritizing initiatives for your products or projects. 

The method can help you build company-wide consensus for your work, or at least help you show stakeholders why you made the decisions you did.

Communicating your team’s prioritization strategy also helps you set expectations across the business. When they see your methodology for choosing one initiative over another, stakeholders in other departments will understand that your team has thought through and weighed all decisions you’ve made. 

If any stakeholders have an issue with one of your decisions, they will understand that they can’t simply complain—they’ll need to present you with evidence to alter your course of action.  

Related Terms

2×2 prioritization matrix / Eisenhower matrix / DACI decision-making framework / ICE scoring model / RICE scoring model

Prioritizing your roadmap using our guide

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This workshop explores the critical role of business planning for your farm. Doing the same thing you did in 2023 and expecting a different result in 2024 will surely fail. In this workshop, we delve into the significance of reflecting on the past year as a foundation for business improvements in 2024. Discover effective methods to analyze the preceding year and identify opportunities for positive changes, setting the stage for increased success and sustainability.

Presented by: Steve Veazey

Steve is the Maine District Director for SCORE, responsible for all 125 SCORE Maine volunteers and their activities. He has been the District Director for the last six years and has personally been providing technical assistance (“TA”) to small businesses in Maine for over 15 years. Five years ago, SCORE entered into a MOU with USDA to bring small business TA to farmers and ranchers. Since then, Steve has been leading Maine's experienced agriculture TA providers in working with farmers. SCORE has successfully developed a client base of approximately 200 farm clients during the last several years. Steve is also a presenter of agricultural-specific business education workshops around the state and a frequent panel participant on various business topics.

Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.


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Trump hawks $399 branded shoes at ‘Sneaker Con,’ a day after a $355 million ruling against him

Former President Donald Trump unveiled a new line of shoes at Sneaker Con. The gold lame high tops with an American flag detail on the back are being sold as “The Never Surrender High-Tops” for $399.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump attends Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Trump announced a line of shoes bearing his name. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump looks at gold Trump sneakers at Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd at Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Supporter Donna Bernhard of Adamstown, Pa., points at Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Trump brought her up on stage. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs supporter Donna Bernhard of Adamstown, Pa., as he attends Sneaker Con Philadelphia, an event popular among sneaker collectors, and announces a gold Trump sneaker, in Philadelphia, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — As he closes in on the Republican presidential nomination, former President Donald Trump made a highly unusual stop Saturday, hawking new Trump-branded sneakers at “Sneaker Con,” a gathering that bills itself as the “The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth.”

Trump was met with loud boos as well as cheers at the Philadelphia Convention Center as he introduced what he called the first official Trump footwear.

The shoes, shiny gold high tops with an American flag detail on the back, are being sold as “Never Surrender High-Tops” for $399 on a new website that also sells other Trump-branded shoes and “Victory47” cologne and perfume for $99 a bottle. He’d be the 47th president if elected again.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The website says it has no connection to Trump’s campaign, though Trump campaign officials promoted the appearance in online posts.

The unannounced launch came a day after a judge in New York ordered Trump and his company to pay a whopping $355 million in penalties , finding that the former president lied about his wealth for years, scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others by inflating his wealth on financial statements.

That penalty came after Trump was ordered to pay an additional $83.3 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll for damaging her reputation after she accused him of sexual assault. With interest payments, Trump’s legal debts might now exceed a half-billion dollars — an amount it is unclear he can afford to pay.

Trump’s appearance was met with clashing boos from his detractors and chants of “USA!” from supporters who arrived at the sneaker event decked out in Trump gear. The dueling chants made it difficult, at times, to hear Trump speak.

Some had been given signs that read “SNEAKERHEADS LOVE TRUMP.”

“There’s a lot of emotion in this room,” Trump said of the reaction, after holding up and showing off a pair of gold shoes, then placing one on each side of his podium.

“This is something that I’ve been talking about for 12 years, 13 years. And I think it’s going to be a big success,” he said.

As he spoke, the smell of weed occasionally wafted through the room.

Some of those who attended said they were unaware Trump would be there, and continued to shop as a crowd gathered around the stage. Many in the audience said they were not from the city and instead hailed from nearby states and Washington, D.C.

The attendees skewed younger and more diverse than Trump’s usual rally crowds. Trump’s campaign is hoping he will be able to win over more young and minority voters, particularly young Black men, in a likely rematch against President Joe Biden in November.

This isn’t the first money-making venture Trump has announced since launching his third campaign for the White House in 2022. Trump last year reported making between $100,000 and $1 million from a series of digital trading cards that portrayed him, through photo editing, in a series of cartoon-like images, including as an astronaut, a cowboy and a superhero. He has also released books featuring photos of his time in office and letters written to him through the years.

Before he ran for office, Trump hawked everything from steaks to vodka to a venture he called “Trump University.”

The new sneaker website says it is run by CIC Ventures LLC, a company that Trump reported owning in his 2023 financial disclosure. The website states the new venture “is not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign.”

Still, it describes the sneakers as a limited-edition, numbered “true collector’s item” that is “Bold, gold, and tough, just like President Trump.”

“The Never Surrender sneakers are your rally cry in shoe form,” the description reads. “Lace-up and step out ready to conquer.”

A Trump spokesman did not respond to questions about the event, including whether Trump was paid to attend.

Among those in the crowd were Jonathen Santiago, 21, and Danea Mitchell, 20, Trump supporters who drove from Monroe County in the northeastern part of the state for the sneaker event. They said they were excited to see the former president and praised how he interacted with the crowd. They also had kind words for the sneakers.

“The red bottoms were a really nice touch,” Mitchell said.

She shrugged when asked about Trump’s legal troubles. “I think it’ll be an interesting four years if he’s found guilty, but I have no doubt he’ll be president,” she said.

Also in attendance was a group of “cheer moms” from New Jersey who said they were in town for a cheerleading event and decided to stop by for a chance to see Trump.

Karla Burke, 48, said she heard some people booing and making noise, but that most people around her had been supporters. “At the front was a different vibe,” she said.

As for Friday’s penalty in Trump’s civil fraud trial, Burke said it doesn’t change her support. “I think it was unfair,” she said. “They’re just going after him so he’s not the Republican candidate.”

Biden-Harris 2024 Communications Director Michael Tyler slammed the appearance, saying: “Donald Trump showing up to hawk bootleg Off-Whites is the closest he’ll get to any Air Force Ones ever again for the rest of his life.”

Trump flew from Philadelphia to Michigan, where he held a rally in the suburbs of Detroit and railed against Friday’s judgment , which he has vowed to appeal. Both Pennsylvania and Michigan are expected to be critical battleground states.

Colvin reported from New York.

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The Judge Who Dealt a Huge Financial Blow to Trump

For more than three years, Justice Arthur F. Engoron has been ruling against the former president. On Friday, he handed Donald J. Trump a loss in his civil fraud trial.

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Arthur Engoron sits at his bench, looking over a laptop computer.

By Kate Christobek and Jonah E. Bromwich

During closing arguments at Donald J. Trump’s civil fraud trial, Arthur F. Engoron, the judge who has overseen the case for more than three years, made what might have been an unusual comment for any other jurist.

Justice Engoron, a lean 74-year-old with an unruly mop of white hair, acknowledged that his control of the courtroom had not been perfect.

He had allowed repetitive objections from Mr. Trump’s lawyers, despite protests by the New York attorney general’s office, which brought the case. He had often ignored Mr. Trump’s violations of courtroom decorum. At one point, the judge recalled, he had even let a witness answer his mobile phone while on the stand.

Despite all that, he warned the lawyers, “I don’t want you to think I’m a pushover.”

No one is likely to think so now. Justice Engoron on Friday ruled against the former president , finding that he had orchestrated a conspiracy to inflate his net worth , penalizing him $355 million and instituting a three-year ban from running his family business. Despite his absurdist humor and good cheer, the judge showed himself in the end to be a very serious man.

It was the culmination of what was surely one of the more intense periods of Justice Engoron’s professional life. During the trial, he contended with repeated anonymous antisemitic attacks on his family and on his law clerk, Allison Greenfield, and with threats to his own life. Last month, he was roused early one morning to find that a bomb squad had been dispatched to his Long Island home to respond to a report that turned out to be a hoax .

But despite the attacks, and his own clear desire for harmonious proceedings, Justice Engoron consistently came down hard on the former president. On Friday, he continued his streak of lacerating rulings.

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The Civil Fraud Ruling on Donald Trump, Annotated

Former President Donald J. Trump was penalized $355 million plus interest and banned for three years from serving in any top roles at a New York company, including his own, in a ruling on Friday by Justice Arthur F. Engoron.

Justice Engoron was an unlikely antagonist for the former president, who has repeatedly denounced him as a Democratic stooge. He is a former cabdriver and music instructor who served in the New York judiciary for more than 15 years before presiding over Mr. Trump’s bench trial. He served as both judge and jury, which the statute under which the lawsuit was brought requires.

He first began overseeing the case in 2020, and over the months, a dualistic approach emerged: He was solicitous in the courtroom, and scathing in written decisions.

In February 2022, for example, he supervised an explosive hearing at which he and Ms. Greenfield focused on keeping the peace. They listened with equanimity as lawyers for Mr. Trump protested that their client should not be subject to questioning under oath.

Then, in his written ruling, Justice Engoron did not hold back, asserting that the attorney general, Letitia James, had found “copious evidence of possible financial fraud” — evidence that he wrote justified the questioning. A couple of months later, he held Mr. Trump in contempt of court for failing to fully respond to a subpoena, eventually penalizing him $110,000 .

Justice Engoron moved directly into the spotlight last September, the week before the civil fraud trial started. In a pretrial ruling, he delivered a devastating blow to Mr. Trump, finding that his annual financial statements — which contained representations of his net worth — were filled with fraud .

On the morning of opening arguments, Mr. Trump entered the courtroom ready for a fight, telling the reporters in the hallway that he’d soon be on trial in front of a “rogue” judge. Minutes later, Justice Engoron took the bench and, with Mr. Trump seated before him, seemed wholly unfazed: One of his first comments was a joke about the pronunciation of his own name.

“I’m Judge Arthur Engoron, and that is the correct pronunciation of my surname,” he said. “En-GOR-on, not EN-go-ron or, even worse, En-GU-ron.”

He looked amused as photographers captured Mr. Trump scowling at the defense table, and he posed when they turned their lenses on him. Hours later, videos of Justice Engoron smiling at the cameras set to the theme song of the sitcom “Full House” would be played thousands of times on TikTok .

His lighthearted demeanor persisted. He joked as the photographers snapped similar pictures of Mr. Trump each day, commenting, “You look the same.” He said that he wanted history books to mention his vigor as he bounded up the stairs to the bench. He bantered with his court staff and offered lawyers well wishes on their birthdays.

The judge’s tone lent itself to a permissive atmosphere, and Mr. Trump and his legal team quickly capitalized. They routinely delivered long speeches lamenting the unfairness of the proceedings. They persuaded Justice Engoron to allow hours of testimony from expert witnesses, over the protestations of the attorney general’s office. Justice Engoron even permitted Donald Trump Jr. to deliver a glowing slide presentation about his family’s real estate holdings.

“Let him go ahead and talk about how great the Trump Organization is,” Justice Engoron said.

More than two hours later, the eldest Trump son had discussed his family’s history in real estate dating to the Yukon gold rush, along with the interiors of Trump Tower and his father’s love of golf. As the attorney general’s lawyers bristled, Justice Engoron occasionally smiled at the witness.

Justice Engoron’s tendency to give a green light was not simply the whim of an unconventional legal mind. He explained early in the trial that he wished to avoid a retrial of the case, or any second-guessing of his decisions from an appeals court.

“To me, that basically speaks in favor of allowing, rather than disallowing, the questions, answers, expert testimony, et cetera,” he said.

The judge had only a few red lines. He was infuriated by attacks on Ms. Greenfield, his principal law clerk. Her unusually visible role in the case — she sits next to Justice Engoron on the bench and confers with him on legal matters — drew harsh criticism from the defense.

During the first week of the trial, Justice Engoron issued a limited gag order prohibiting Mr. Trump from commenting on his staff after the former president shared a picture of Ms. Greenfield with Senator Chuck Schumer on Truth Social, calling her “Schumer’s Girlfriend.” Weeks later, the judge fined Mr. Trump $5,000 after learning that a copy of the post was still visible on Mr. Trump’s campaign website. At the time, he threatened steeper fines and possible imprisonment.

But the comments about Ms. Greenfield kept coming. In one of the trial’s most striking moments, Justice Engoron called Mr. Trump to the witness stand and questioned him about his statement to reporters referring to “a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside” the judge, “perhaps more partisan than he is.”

Mr. Trump argued that he had been talking about someone else. But Justice Engoron found that Mr. Trump’s answers were not credible and fined him an additional $10,000 for again attacking the law clerk.

“I am very protective of my staff,” Justice Engoron said that day. “I don’t want anybody killed.”

Behind the scenes, the judge was inundated with hundreds of threats from Mr. Trump’s supporters. They escalated whenever Mr. Trump personally targeted Justice Engoron and Ms. Greenfield, court officials said, requiring constant re-evaluation of the court’s security protocols. Mr. Trump falsely accused the judge’s wife of sharing anti-Trump rhetoric on social media and his son of receiving preferential access to the courtroom.

The disorder in the courtroom and the clamor outside of it seemed to have little impact on Justice Engoron’s view of the case and the fundamental issue at trial: Mr. Trump’s liability.

At one point, the judge denied the defense’s motion to end the case on the spot after bankers testified that they had been satisfied with Mr. Trump as a client. “The mere fact that the lenders were happy doesn’t mean that the statute wasn’t violated,” Justice Engoron said.

On an another occasion that Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked him to throw out the case, Justice Engoron was unyielding.

“No way, no how is this case being dismissed,” he said. “There is enough evidence in this case to fill this courtroom.”

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

Jonah E. Bromwich covers criminal justice in New York, with a focus on the Manhattan district attorney's office, state criminal courts in Manhattan and New York City's jails. More about Jonah E. Bromwich


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