An Ode to the Event Planner

To those who know how the pigs-in-a-blanket are made.

This is how you make a pigs-in-a-blanket.

Hi, my name is Ben and I have cried at an event. I remember just sitting there, breaking down, and sobbing on the spot.

The worst part? I was the one that threw the party.

Planning events for a living sounds likes non-stop fun, but those who have stood in my shoes, you should know the real truth.

Event planning may just be the most frustrating and unnerving job on the planet.

Some days filled with intense trepidation: There aren’t enough RSVPs. The caterer won’t call you back. You’re suddenly forced to explain to your boss why you didn’t budget several thousand dollars for a permit for that 3,000-square foot garden.

These moments of terror are woven into the fabric of event planning. “Disasters” of all sizes happen at every event, and every single time, the great event planners of the world hang their coat on the backs of a rented chair and get to work solving every time-sensitive puzzles — one smart back-up plan at a time.

Anyone remember this one?

Part of event planning, simply, is enduring the pitfalls. It is the act of falling elegantly. Pulling off an event where the guests didn’t have a horrible time is generally considered a success. But if you can power through the perils, pivot, reconfigure, and move forward, you win big.

What event planners really do.

Very few professions demand so many unique skills across so many different disciplines.

You’re often the face of the host company, the mediator of multiple agendas, the schedule coordinator, the PR and communications liaison, the budget and finance master, the invitation designer, the talent therapist, the door man, and sometimes yes, the orderer of the pigs-in-a-blanket. (Not to mention the person that is called upon to move heavy tables or unload cargo vans. Or set up the igloo tent.)

If you plan events for companies, you’re expected to understand the goals, business implications, and roles of every department — and what success looks like to each one.

You are forced to make fast decisions, manage your team with empathy, think creatively, work meticulously, and, maybe most importantly, never complain (out loud).

Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and build the igloo tent yourself.

Why they do it.

Event planners sign up to tumble down the mountain. But it’s simply too rewarding not to jump.

Because we understand how experiences produce collective power. And we take great pride in knowing that crafting the right ones can create a profound and positive effect on people’s lives.

Event planners recognize the massive potential energy of events, and we design every detail to make sure our guests feel the electric impact of an unforgettable experience. Real-life moments catalyze sincere emotional connections that leave lasting impressions. These resulting memories can even direct our future decisions and shape our preferences.

Another 2009 Thrillist throwback to a magical night at M2 in New York.

I’ve seen new businesses blossom, jobs get created, fundraising goals surpassed, and even people fall in love and marry as a result of my events. Whole lives can change from a chance encounter or an especially dynamic performance, and event planners are the agents of that serendipity.

So to all you event planners reading this: Thank you.

You’re the magic makers. (And the table movers.) And you often don’t get the recognition you deserve, but I see you, and I salute you.

To all of the managers and directors: Give your event planners a raise.

Or, at least, a very public pat on the back. They make you look good.

And to the guests: Take notice.

I bet you didn’t count the steps from the door to that interactive mural, but an event planner did. You may not see them at your next party, but they’re there — meticulously counting gift bags, dolling out petty cash for kitchen repairs, sneakily adjusting the presentation volume, and watching you walk in.

They’re keeping the mess at bay so you can have the time of your life. Acknowledge their efforts. Recognize their contributions. And make a kickass new memory. That’s all we ever wanted, anyway.

Want to say thanks to your favorite event planner this holiday season? Send them this video. My team here at Splash put into words what you couldn’t.