Posts Tagged ‘event planning’

March 22, 2013 2:46 pm

Interested in Party Planning Courses?

So you want to be a party planner. That’s great! Congratulations on making a decision to take control of your career and take your place in an exciting industry. So, what’s your next step? You might want to consider enrolling in party planning courses. QC Event School is here to help.

We offer three different courses in event and wedding planning, but for anyone interested in becoming a party planner, I would suggest the Event Planning course. All our courses are done entirely through distance education, so you can work entirely on your own time. Over the course of four comprehensive units, you’ll gain all the skills you’ll need to break into the party planning industry. Learn how to plan any kind of party for any kind of client – corporate events, meetings, ceremonies, birthday parties, baby showers, religious rites, and more. You’ll be fully equipped to approach any project with confidence.

Alongside your planning lessons, you’ll also receive full business training to help prepare you for starting your own business, if you so desire. You will learn how to choose a business name that best reflects your brand and services, how to write a business plan, and how to market and promote your services so that you can start to get clients. You’ll also learn effective project management skills and how to build relationships with clients and vendors. By the end of your course, there will be nothing stopping you from living the career of your dreams!

For more information, be sure to visit the QC Event School website at, and subscribe to our email list to get regular updates on course developments, promotions, and the latest industry trends. If you have any questions about the course, be sure to leave them in the comment section below!

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Determining how to base your fee structure as a wedding planner is one of the hardest things when you’re starting out. It certainly was for me! When I was in school I was taught to base my fees on my clients’ wedding budgets. As a young planner, the industry standard was 10 per cent. That meant if my client’s wedding budget was $50,000, my fees would be $5,000. I thought that was a pretty good, simple deal, until I had an enquiry for a wedding with a $10,000 budget. Did that mean that my fees were to be $1,000?

All of a sudden this percentage-based charging didn’t seem like a great idea anymore. With the number of hours I’d be devoting to their contract I would end up making about $6.00/hr. Very quickly, I realized I would need a minimum charge regardless of the budget just to cover my labor and costs of doing business. The problem was at that time in my business’ young life I didn’t really know the average number of hours I would put towards a contract. So I talked to other planners, got a sense of what they were charging, and tried to guestimate how many hours of work I thought I would have to put in. A minimum fee was established and I set forth to gain my first full planning contract!

Everything moved along as planned and I secured my first “full planning” clients within a matter of three months (yes, it does take that long – sometimes longer!). A contract was drawn up and my fees were based on 10 per cent of their budget, which was $25,000. All was good, that is until we started delving into the planning process, securing vendors, and making decisions. It quickly became apparent that the budget was going to change. Some weeks it was up, others down. Once we got to the week of the wedding, it was time to reconcile my charges with my clients’ final expenditures. I ended up owing them money. However, that wasn’t the thing that bothered me most. It was having to reconcile at all. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have felt uncomfortable having to ask for more money if my clients had gone over budget. Might I have felt a little weird benefiting from their over-spending? My answer to that question was a definitive “yes,” and I quickly threw my budget-based fee structure out the window in favor of flat-fee based quoting.

Now don’t get me wrong, flat-fee based earning is no perfect solution either! How do you know how many hours you’re going to put towards a given contract? Gather as much information as you can about your clients’ wishes before you start working to give you something to go on when trying to estimate a time commitment. But let’s face it, it’s not an exact science, and I do believe we win some and lose some with this type of charge. Despite that, it better reflected my values and required no interim accounting (which I loved). Plus, I thought it was fairer to my clients that they know exactly what their commitment is at the outset. Six years later, I still base my fees in this manner. It works for me and I will never go back to percentage. There are times when I hear of large earnings from colleagues who were involved in top-budget weddings based on percentage-based charges. It makes me wonder, momentarily, if I made the right decision some years ago. It’s just human nature to question things a bit!

So which way is right? The answer is that the right choice is what is right for you. Each business owner has to make the decision based on their own business values, needs, and abilities. But take solace in the fact that nothing that you decide is set in stone and adjustments to your fee structure or pricing can be made down the road should you decide that changes are warranted. So, which method of charge will you use starting out? Here are a few points to consider as you’re weighing the options:

Percentage based fee structure

  1. Rumored to increase your earnings in the long run
  2. Some planners don’t feel this structure is in keeping with their own value set
  3. Some clients balk at this variable structure since they don’t know their exact financial commitment until all the spending is complete
  4. You will not know your exact earnings until the planning process for each contract is complete
  5. A lot of paperwork is involved with this structure
  6. You may want to estimate your fees on the low side so that when you reconcile at the end of the planning process, your clients will owe you, and you don’t have to pay out

Flat fee structure

  1. Rumored to provide you with lower potential earnings when compared to percentage based fees
  2. Easy accounting for you- one quote and you’re done!
  3. You don’t necessarily benefit from being involved in higher-budget weddings with this fee structure (unless you increase your quote based on the wedding budget)
  4. There’s no going back with this type of fee structure. Your quote sticks even if your client increases their budget or accelerates their plans down the road (unless you include some sort of contract clause to cover you in certain instances)
  5. In my experience, some couples have greater sticker shock looking at a dollar figure as opposed to knowing they’ll be charged a given percentage. I think it’s just having that big number placed before their eyes, which is why I like to break the total fee down into monthly payments for them. It’s not so overwhelming that way!

Regardless of your choice, talk to other planners and educate yourself on industry standards and regional norms. That will help you to know what your local market will bear in terms of pricing. Plus, by keeping pricing standards in line with our competition, we encourage couples to choose their planner based on performance, reputation, portfolio and personality, not price. This is important since we are still developing our credibility as an industry, and the more we can do to improve expectations industry-wide, the better it is for everyone concerned, ourselves included!

Best of luck with your decision!  Till next time!

Written by Lynn LeeWedding planner Lynn Lee

Lynn Lee has over 10 years experience in the event and wedding planning industry. These days, she’s focusing her attention on her growing wedding planning business, Weddings Unveiled. Her weekly blog posts include business tips, wedding trends, and expert advice.




Why should you choose distance learning event management courses? Here are just a few reasons why taking a distance learning course with QC Event School might be the perfect career move for you.

Learn on your own time

Enroll in distance learning event management coursesWhen you’re learning from home, you are the one who chooses your schedule. You don’t need to commute to a physical campus, and you can work your studies around a busy schedule, free from harsh deadlines and time constraints. QC Event School has students from all walks of life – students looking for a first-time career, mature students looking to switch to a new field, stay-at-home parents who want to run a home business that won’t interfere with family life. No matter where you’re coming from, distance learning works.

Experience hands-on learning

Distance learning does not mean that your assignments will be based on readings and tests alone. Quite the opposite. Your assignments have been designed to have you practicing your new role in event management. You’ll be expected to begin contacting local vendors to begin to build professional relationships. You’ll be asked to tackle realistic case studies to prepare yourself for working with difficult clients. All the work that you complete will be reviewed by a personal tutor who is also a professional event planner. You’ll know exactly what you’re doing well, and be given the tools you need to improve.

Call for help

Just because you’re learning from home does not mean you’re learning alone. QC Event School prides itself on student support, and invites all students to contact the school for assistance (or just to chat about the course, or the industry!) along the way. The dedicated staff of Student Support Specialists is available by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, and LiveChat – drop them a line!

For more information on QC’s distance learning program, visit


Business growth…the title alone probably conjures up positive thoughts for many of you. As entrepreneurs, we’re encouraged to seek more, to build, to conquer, and to grow to our full potential. After all, isn’t the goal typically to manage large, big-budget weddings, perhaps several per day? To step into the role of lead planner, overseeing a staff of support personnel who help make it all happen? This what we see when we visit sites like and We work hard to gain the kind of reputation where demand for our services forces us to increase our internal staff numbers. I adhered to this thinking when I first started out, thinking bigger was definitely better. But after a couple of years, I realized I needed to go in another direction, one that was a better fit for me, my goals, my values, and my personality.

Several times a week, I am approached by talented women looking for employment, whether on an internship or part-time basis, or as a full-time career move. I always feel bad that I am unable to offer them a position, but I have chosen a different route than seems to be the norm. I do seek growth but of a different kind. Growth for me is achieving a reputation and a brand that enables me to do the type of events that are truest to my nature.

I’m interested in planning better events, not more events. I want to take part in events where I play a pivotal part of the planning process. I want to enjoy a close relationship with my clients and their family, and help them to achieve their goals with ease. I want to create events that mirror both my clients’ and my own values. It’s taken five years of often excruciatingly long hours and a commitment to excellence in all that I do to get where I am today. Now, my brand consistently attracts the exact clientele I want!

There are several reasons why I opted for a different type of growth – growth in quality versus quantity. All of those reasons are unique to me alone and my position in life, and yours will be too. Here is a list of just a few of my reasons, to give you an idea why I made the business decisions I did:

  1. Being closer to retirement than many planners, growth wasn’t necessarily a good fit for me because of the time commitment involved in overseeing multiple events and staff.
  2. I find my connection with my clients the most rewarding part of my career, and to give that experience up to my staff wouldn’t be as satisfying to me.
  3. I am a bit of a type A personality (okay, not just a bit…), and have a hard time giving up control.
  4. I tend to feel most stressed when I feel out of control. Therefore, keeping control of a smaller number of events would improve my quality of life.
  5. Put simply, at the age of 50 my values do not include making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Someone at the beginning stage of their career would probably have different financial goals than I do.
  6. I value being wholly available to my clients, so providing a high level of service to a small number of couples is a better fit for me.

Although the decision not to grow in the usual sense was sometimes a difficult one, I have no doubt that it was the right move. Entering my sixth year, I am enjoying every event with which I am involved and really feel like the business is a true reflection of who I am and what I can offer the industry. You too will develop a business plan that will evolve over time until it becomes exactly what it should be for your own values and personality. I assure you, it will be a wild, rewarding ride getting there.

Best of luck and happy planning!

Written by Lynn Wedding planner Lynn LeeLee

Lynn Lee has over 10 years experience in the event and wedding planning industry. These days, she’s focusing her attention on her growing wedding planning business, Weddings Unveiled. Her weekly blog posts include business tips, wedding trends, and expert advice.




March 13, 2013 3:46 pm

Featuring Demarra Smith, QC Graduate

graduate feature demarra smithMeet Demarra Smith. Demarra graduated from QC Event School’s International Event and Wedding Planning course nearly a year ago. Shortly after, using her creativity, dedication, and just a pinch of style, Demarra successfully launched her own planning business, Bello Events. After working in the medical field for years it was a major career change, but Demarra now loves what she does each and every day.

We’re so pleased to bring you her story, get her perspective on the event and wedding planning industry, and showcase some stunning photos of her work. Make sure you check our her website, and social media pages!

Company Name: Bello Events
Description: Event planning services
Region: Southwest Michigan, United States

Phone: 1-269-389-0368
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

QC: What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner?

Demarra: My motivation came from wanting to do something that I am passionate about. I wanted to get into an industry where I could enjoy working again. Now, I look forward to work!

QC: What are some highlights of your career so far?

Demarra: One of my biggest highlights so far is starting my own business! I also enjoy all of the professional relationships I have made. I have met a very diverse group of professionals from near and far in the event industry, and they have all taught me some valuable knowledge.

QC: How did your course prepare you for working in the field?

Demarra: This course prepared me for working in the field by giving me real life situations for planning a successful event. When I took this course I had to do the research for each assignment within my area. I made phone calls and talked to different vendors, and received quotes for different services. By doing this, it helped me have a better understanding about how to approach different situations for various events.

QC: Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?

Demarra: My advice is to stay focused, be dedicated, don’t give up, and continue educating yourself after you graduate. QC teaches us very well, but there is still so much to learn afterwards.

Take a look at some photos of Demarra’s work…

graduate feature demarra smith

Photo credit: Brittany Toornman

graduate feature demarra smith

Photo credit: Brittany Toornman


March 6, 2013 5:04 pm

Creating Memories for Your Clients

As business owners, we are always looking for ways to ensure that we continue to thrive. With the growth in our industry over the past decade, the competition gets fiercer every year, so we are constantly challenged to be creative, to be fresh, and to offer the best service and support we can muster! I think one of the ways that we can do that is to look closely at our clients and suppliers to see beyond their immediate needs. I’m not talking about their wedding planning needs. We’re getting paid to do that, it’s not an option, and we better do it well or we’ll quickly lose the next client to the competition! I’m talking about the extra little things you can do for your clients and vendors, I’m talking about creating memories that make working with you special. That way, when your clients’ friends ask, “Who should I hire as a wedding planner?” your name is unquestionably the one that rolls off their tongues. You’ll be memorable enough that your vendors adore working with you and tell all their own clients and other vendors how wonderful it is!

So, how do we create memories? How do we make these people feel special and appreciated, the way we all want to be made to feel? The answer to these questions is probably going to be different for each of us. After all, it’s what we each bring to the table that makes us unique and valuable as entrepreneurs. I’ve also been generating some ideas as to how I engineer special moments for my own clients and fellow vendors. I’ve always been proud of the relationships I develop with these individuals, but only recently did I really look closely at my own processes, realizing that I too had much room to improve! This is going to be a huge focus for me in this coming year as I take my business into year six, and I have allocated a significant portion of my budget to accommodate. Given my brand, my focus as a planner is as someone who creates meaningful, memorable, personal events. Quite frankly, it’s long overdue!

I’ve been brainstorming ideas and keeping my ears open for suggestions from others. Here is just a sprinkling of some that have already surfaced:

  1. Sending a hand-written thank you card to vendors who went the extra mile for you or your client at an event. Yes, I mean to use the dreaded snail mail!
  2. Make note of client/vendor birthdays when you can and send them birthday cards on their special day. For a real treat, enclose a gift card to be used at their favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Christmas cards, new home cards, congratulations on your promotion cards, all cards are fun to receive!
  3. Next time you have a meeting with a client or vendor over coffee or tea, take note of their preferences and order takeout next time you’re on the way to a meeting with them, with their drink in hand. What a great start to a morning meeting!
  4. If someone has something special coming up in their lives (ex: vacation, special celebration, bachelor party), make a note of it in your calendar and when the date rolls around, follow up a couple days later to share in their excitement.
  5. Surprise your client with a thoughtful touch at their event. Maybe they expressed loving a certain thing that you could integrate into their day? Or maybe they really wanted something but the budget just couldn’t handle it? They’ll be totally surprised when they arrive to find out that you secured it for them on your own dime.
  6. Next meeting, bring a little sweet treat to nibble on. French macaroon, brownie, favorite yummy. Maybe even in their event theme colors!

I have no doubt that you will have some amazing ideas of your own. There are countless opportunities to be thoughtful and it really just boils down to being attentive. With smartphones and tablets, it’s so easy for us to jot a quick note to ourselves next time we have an opportunity and refer to our notes next time we can use them. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but the way we make people feel is priceless. And that is good for our souls and good for business!

Enjoy creating those memories. Till next time!


Written by LyWedding planner Lynn Leenn Lee

Lynn Lee has over 10 years experience in the event and wedding planning industry. These days, she’s focusing her attention on her growing wedding planning business, Weddings Unveiled. Her weekly blog posts include business tips, wedding trends, and expert advice.

March 1, 2013 3:43 pm

Bridal Shows

I’d like to talk about bridal shows today, since this is prime time for shows! In my own local market, we host several wedding shows, both big and small. The biggest one, and the one that appeals to the higher budget wedding, just recently took place. The show included booths exhibiting the work of 11 wedding planners, one of which was hosted by Kennedy Events. I wanted to highlight Shannon Kennedy’s booth for you today, since I think it’s a great example of what to do when you’re investing in wedding shows as part of your marketing plan.

In my opinion, Kennedy Event’s booth demonstrated six major considerations when designing a bridal show booth: current market trends, layout, show clientele, branding, consistency, and details. Let’s look at each!

Current market trends

Shannon’s booth both exhibits her knowledge of the upcoming trends as well as appeals to brides looking to feature some of them at their own wedding. This year, we’re seeing softer colors, elegant, luxurious weddings, gold metallics, and a bit of bling, and Shannon’s booth highlights all of these elements. By including these in her booth display, Shannon demonstrates to potential clients that she can represent them well in today’s ever-changing market.


Kennedy’s booth is laid out to welcome visitor traffic with two points of entry. There is ample space around the tablescape to encourage interaction with Shannon and her team. Visitors can also make their way around all the displays so they can see all the wonderful touches that have been included. The booth is uncluttered with just the right amount of details so there is no sensory overload, and just enough pretty to make us all take notice.


This particular bridal show appealed to a higher-end, urban clientele. Kennedy Event’s booth is positioned very well for this. It might not have worked nearly as effectively if it had been part of a DIY or rural show appealing to a smaller wedding budget or crafty bride.


When designing her booth, Shannon clearly focused not only on the above considerations, but also on remaining consistent with her brand. I hope I speak for Shannon in describing her sensibility as contemporary, romantic, lush, feminine, pretty, shimmery, and organized to a “T.” I could have walked up to this booth, without any signage, and known just whose booth it was. This is exactly what Shannon would have wanted since her branding distinguishes her from other planners exhibiting in the show and appeals to the best client for her!


This is a bit of a continuum of the above point. There is consistency within Kennedy’s booth that makes it present so effectively. Her color palette is consistent throughout, as is her style. There is enough variation to make it interesting but enough consistency to present a united display that pleases the eye. She is also very careful to use certain elements throughout like the gold shimmer on the stationary, candle holders, and individual cakes, just to name a few!


And lastly, the details. Shannon excelled here with lots of little touches that excite the senses! Crystal charger, stationery elements, stunning chair garlands, and fabric choices. Kennedy demonstrates to potential clients the ability to attend to the important detailed elements that will create a stunning wedding and one that is unique to each couple. And isn’t that exactly what they all want?

Choosing to exhibit in bridal shows is more than just renting a booth and having some promo materials printed up. For a wedding planner, it is an opportunity to showcase what we uniquely offer our clients. Kennedy Event’s booth is a fine example of what we can all do with an exceptional design, superior planning and execution.

My thanks to Shannon Kennedy and Melanie Rebane for allowing me to share these images with you today!

Till next time, happy planning!


Written by LynWedding planner Lynn Leen Lee

Lynn has over 10 years experience in the event and wedding planning industry. These days, she’s focusing her attention on her growing wedding planning business, Weddings Unveiled. Her weekly blog posts include business tips, wedding trends, and expert advice.



February 26, 2013 7:59 pm

How to Be a Wedding Planner

Are you wondering how to be a wedding planner? Well, the best way is to enroll in a course that can teach you everything you need to know about the wedding planning industry. A course like those offered by QC Event School. If you enroll in the Wedding Planning course, you’ll work your way through four comprehensive units, all through distance learning. Here are just some of the things you’ll learn:

  • How to work with the wedding party, solve any problem that may arise, and maintain good relationships
  • How to work within any budgetary constraints
  • Different cultural wedding variations from a variety of faiths
  • How to add showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinners to your event planning roster
  • How to assist your clients in preparing their wedding wardrobe – from the dress and tux, to the rings and makeup
  • How to choose the perfect venue for any wedding
  • How to find and work with vendors, such as catering, music, bartending, flowers, and more

On top of all that, you’ll also receive full business training. Among other things, you’ll learn how to:

  • Establish yourself as a small business – choose a great name, and write an effective business plan
  • Market your business so that you can get your name out to potential clients
  • Use the principles of project management to stay organized and handle any surprise that may come your way

A career in wedding planning could be just around the corner. With the help of QC Event School, you could be well on your way.