Sometime during the 80’s, “Event Planner” became a real job title. Hollywood can be thanked for the real tipping point of marketing event planning as a profession. Meg Ryan appeared as an event planner in the film, Hanging Up. Then, Jennifer Lopez made wedding planning look glamorous in The Wedding Planner. The opening scene had J-Lo’s character carrying an emergency kit strapped to her body while she prevents a wedding nightmare: a disappearing priest and a father of the bride meltdown. (Our “kit” is a two layer toolbox with wheels – definitely not fitting under a suit jacket.)
Then the pinnacle moment for the event industry came on The Sopranos (All Due Respect episode), when AJ said he wanted to become an event planner. Tony and Carmela banter about exactly what event planning is. Shortly after that, event planners started popping on reality shows like The Hills, The Apprentice and The Bachelor.
The downside is a well-planned event doesn’t make great TV. Many event planners on television are portrayed as unorganized, flighty individuals who flit around in great shoes while attending the party they halfway planned. This television personality provides a nonsensical view of the job under the guise of “reality”.
In real life, planning an event requires an enormous amount of paperwork, devotion to detail, and attention to logistics. Most event planners are smart control freaks who crave adrenaline rather than fame.
Unfortunately the unrealistic view distorts the consumer’s experience as well. Television shows use product placement to lower costs. Many times when the cost of the event is flashed on the screen, it isn’t including the sponsorships. Great events can certainly be done for $20,000, but consumers’ reality turns to fiction when shows claim to have a party for 200 people with a full bar, heavy hors, decor, floral, specialty rentals AND entertainment for $20,000.