How much does an event planner make annually?

Written by linda johnson
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An event planner meets with clients to help plan events, writing proposals for meetings, parties and weddings, and contracting musicians, photographers and caterers. Event planning is a fast-paced, amazingly varied career that can bring in £16,250 to £48,750 annually, as of 2009. Some key factors separate the high dollar earners from the crowd.


Large corporations often have event planners on staff to coordinate company events, annual meetings, trade shows, award ceremonies, executive retreats and more. They will develop everything from the theme to the invitations to the decorations. So If the company has an annual Christmas party, you can bet the event planners have been working hard. Event planners who work for large corporations and have three to five years of experience averaged an annual base salary of £27,542, according to a 2005 study. But those with 10 years of experience increased their salaries by three per cent. Experience also led to promotion, and meeting planners who moved up to senior status reported a £6,500 annual increase over those with less experience and status.

Corporate Advancement

Meeting planners in corporate life need to do more than maintain the status quo. To keep advancing in status and in income, they need to improve their skills in overall business savvy, management and strategic planning. To continue their climb, they often become experts in communication and marketing, mastering Web 2.0 potential for reaching out to the corporate public.

Association Level

Almost every industry and affinity group has its own association, whether it is a group just for hotel managers, medical specialists or model train collectors. Marketing professionals, tourism groups and government and public health officials all belong go to these associations to keep up to date on industry standards and trends. Their conventions, trade shows, meetings and events all have to be planned and coordinated. Because associations are usually non-profit, their meeting planners have a lower pay scale than corporate planners. In fact, at all levels of experience and status, association planners earn an average of 16 per cent less. Base salary differences are even more dramatic at the director level in associations, as they make as much as 36 per cent less.

Independent Planners

One-person shops make up 45 per cent of independent event planners, including those specialising in weddings, private parties and fundraisers. They may have started out at corporations, associations or event planning companies, then decided to to out on their own, usually taking a pay cut to do so. A very small percentage of independent event planning companies have more than 11 employees, the majority having a staff of two to 10. In these small companies, profit margins are not hefty. Yet, having a lower overhead and leaner staff makes it possible for the smaller event planning businesses to charge less and provide more personal service. Those in the private sector value working one on one with an event planner and appreciate the economies they achieve in planning weddings and parties. Although the earning potential may not be as high for an independent event planner, the work and job satisfaction can be more gratifying.

Average Income

Overall income averages for event planners vary in the United States. For instance, in California, independent planners made £19,500 to £26,000 a year in 2005, while in Texas, pay started at £16,250. The good news is that planners who handle events as diverse as movie premieres, weddings, trade shows and banquets often receive tips.The standard gratuity is15 to 20 per cent of the cost of the service. For the long hours and weekends event planners put in, tips are certainly warranted. It may take about 150 hours for an event planner and staff to produce an important event, whether it is a political rally or an awards ceremony.

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