Event Planning and Event Management: Key Differences

Over the past few decades, the event industry has shown tremendous growth, especially amongst youth. With more and more people now willing to take up jobs in the events sector, creative prodigies from different fields are now showcasing their talent within the event industry… and the world is partying like never before!

That said, people often miss out on some of the key elements that make up the event industry, and the terms ‘event planning’ and ‘event management’ are often used interchangeably. While the two fields are related, they’re actually quite different in terms of the work they do, the clients they serve, and the capabilities they bring to the table.

So without further ado, let’s dive into what separates event planning and event management so that you can be sure you hire the right type of professional for your big event!

Event Planning

If the name isn’t self-explanatory enough, ‘event planning’ is solely concerned with the planning part of the event. Now, this is not to say that event planners have no role in event execution, it’s just that the planning function is the focus of their job.

Every single kind of event from a small bridal shower to a big concert begins with a plan of some kind. This initial planning involves finalizing the overall theme, event date, budget and so on. Event planning keeps going on even after the event is over – sometimes, for weeks after the conclusion of the event!

Here are some of the general event planning responsibilities*:

  • Finalizing the overall theme for the event
  • Estimating a budget
  • Selecting the right venue based on budget and theme
  • Negotiating with the venue owners
  • Sourcing outside vendors for execution
  • Deciding on the menu
  • Hiring an ideal caterer
  • Making arrangements for guest speakers
  • Coordinating all forms of transportation throughout the event

*Please note that planning is an extensive task and this list is merely to give you an idea of some of the roles and responsibilities of an event planner– it is not meant as a comprehensive list

Of course, there are other specific responsibilities based on the type of event that planners work on, which is a topic for a more in-depth article exclusively on event planning.

Want to see me create that article? Drop me a comment below!

Event Management

If event planning is the brains, then think of event management as the brawn. Event management ensures that the event runs smoothly while meeting all the expectations that have been finalized with the event planner. While an event planner decides a venue, it’s the event manager who reserves the location. Event managers coordinate with outside vendors based on the agreements set upon by the planners. Other responsibilities include managing the staff, resolving onsite issues, and managing the complete execution of all the event elements.

So when it comes to differentiating between event planning and event management, think of it in terms of planning and execution.

Choosing Between the Two: Which one is Ideal for Your Event?

It’s natural to do a little research before your event. If you’re not familiar with the event industry, it can be pretty difficult to understand whether you need an event planner or an event manager.

But don’t worry, that’s why you’re here! I’m here to help break down both for you and help you to figure out which is the best fit for your event.

You can easily make out from the two sections above that event planners will mostly stick to the planning part, and they aren’t necessarily the ones who will be executing the tasks. This is where the event manager comes in. Event managers are like the builders of an event. They will do the physical execution of the event, though they don’t have much to offer in terms of helping you plan the event, such as deciding on a theme.

In brief, for events that require little to no planning but are heavy on the execution side,  event managers are an ideal choice. However, if you are daunted by the planning of your event, or are planning something unique, event planners are the right people for the job.

You also have the option to choose both if you need help both the planning as well as management. Of course, this would be a larger investment, but if you truly want event perfection, having both a planner and manager will ensure you get there!

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