A lot of things happen behind the scenes of an event. Largely the months of planning and preparation that occur for that one night or several days event.

When individuals think about becoming an event planner, they often picture themselves enjoying time with the client picking out color swatches or even mingling while the party takes place. While these are some perks to being an event planner, there is a lot of hard work that goes into pulling off a successful party or event.

Before you can even get started planning an event, you must be selected as the planner of choice. Sometimes that means competing against other planners. The “competition process” can include presenting your proposal to the potential client, which is the topic we will be addressing here. This process might be called the RFP (Request for Proposal) process and many times the client will give you an outline of what they are looking for.

If you have made it this far in the selection process, there are some tips you’ll want to follow to make sure you are presenting in a professional manner and are able to make the most of this important face-to-face time with the client.

Below are five tips to presenting your event proposal professionally:

1) Dress to Impress

Don’t show up in yoga pants and your favorite black t-shirt. Although you may wear that in your home office, it’s not what you should wear for your presentation.
If this is your first face-to-face meeting with the client, you’ll want to use your attire to make a good first impression. I’d suggest wearing dress slacks and a business formal top or even a pencil skirt and dress sweater. Think of what you’d wear to an interview and go from there.

As you narrow down your outfit options, make sure you eliminate any options that could be too distracting. You don’t want the client focused on the clang of your bangle bracelets or brightly patterned tie.

2) Use Professional Body Language

While you are presenting, make sure your body language is positive and professional. Don’t slouch, grimace, or look closed off by crossing your arms the entire time.

It is important that you stand up straight, use open body language, and avoid doing any nervous tick behaviors if possible. Things like swaying and tapping your foot can be distracting and take away from the presentation. Ask your close friends, coworkers, or family members if you have any nervous habits you need to work on.

3) Practice Beforehand

If this is your first rodeo or a big presentation you’re feeling nervous about, practices in front of a small crowd or even the mirror beforehand. This is a great way to become aware of body language errors we previously mentioned. It is also a chance to refine your message and time your presentation.

4) Bring along a team member

I always like to have someone with me when I go to present a proposal. Not only does it allow someone to watch the clients’ reactions to ideas I’m presenting more closely, but it allows someone else within our company to be knowledgeable on the event details. This can be important for emergency situations. If you were unable to complete the event planning or be there the day of the event, your associate can seamlessly take over.

Another benefit is their ability to take notes for later and alert you if the client gives any non-verbal cues about disliking an idea or catch little nuances that you might have missed.

5)Practice your redirection skills

When your teammate gives you a silent cue of the client not liking an idea, or if you are able to notice it yourself, make sure you are able to redirect your client to the ideas they did like. This can be tough but with practice and more events, it will come naturally.

When presenting by yourself, watch the facial reactions to your ideas. If something isn’t clicking for the person you are presenting to, turn the meeting around and start asking questions. If you listen closely, the potential client will tell you exactly what they want and how much they are willing to spend.

Presenting your proposal professionally is an important step in getting selected as the planner of choice for an event. Going in with a negative attitude or making the mistake of chewing gum while presenting are things that can make or break your business. You may not get future calls to present if they feel you don’t take your job seriously.

There are also fun ways to spice up your presentation and leave an impression, which I share in full detail in our event planning membership.

I’d love to hear what you do to prepare for presentations. Share in the comments below!

Starting an event planning business can be intimidating, even scary. You may fear the perceived risks that are involved and question whether you can handle them. However, once we release what fear really means “False Evidence Appearing Real” (by: unknown) we have the opportunity to overcome.

Just remember this: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem

I love this quote and its nudge toward jumping all in. Who are you starting an event planning business for anyway? That’s right, for Y-O-U, you!

Does Fear Go Away Once I’ve Started?

Fear and doubt are part of going beyond your comfort zone and growing. Fear still exists as an entrepreneur, even when you’ve been in business for as long as I have. You know what I fear? I fear doing Facebook live. It is a real stretch for me. For some reason, I can’t get past this.

I can talk on the phone, do face-to-face meetings, speak in front of a crowd and many other things, but Facebook Live gets me all the time. However, when I go face my fears and do, whatever it is that I fear, it usually is really rewarding; it’s just a matter of a little practice. And yes, I need to do more Facebook Live.

When Others Add to Your Fears

Often family and friends will discourage you from going into business on our own. They think they are giving you advice that will help you, but it can be discouraging when you’ve decided to ‘do your own thing’. I remember when my parents told me I needed to get a ‘real job’ as if what I did was a hobby.

You’re Not Alone

Many people are in the same position as you. Trust me when I say you are not alone. Let’s examine the top five fears commonly found among those wanting to start an event planning business and how Event Heroes can help:

1. Not Enough Money

When isn’t money presenting itself as an obstacle? Money is a tricky thing, isn’t it? We work for an income to support ourselves and our families so that we can do things we enjoy. Did you know that if you work full time from ages 18-67, you will have worked 92,120 hours (source) during that time? That’s A LOT!

Wouldn’t you rather spend that timed doing something you LOVE?!

What I’m trying to say is that investing in yourself and your event planning dream is worth it.

With our Event Heroes training, you are paying for quality training that will get you jump started in your business. When you follow our business practices, you’ll make back your investment with a couple of events.

2. Overall Fear

Fear can be several things. Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough… Just let go of them! Fear can be paralyzing. The more you dwell on it, the more you second-guess yourself. This is all wasting time when you could be out there growing your business!

With the support found in the Event Heroes community, you can ask questions as you begin your journey. This helps alleviate any fears that may arise. We want to be with you every step of the way.

3. Not Enough Time

I just finished attending a group where we talked about making the most of our fringe hours. Those are the hours in between activities or daily tasks where you can spend time on things you enjoy.

You will never find time for things you enjoy; you must make time. Sometimes the dirty laundry and dishes can wait, put your passions first. If you love event planning, make time for it.

4. Lack of Support

If you find that you don’t have emotional support from your friends or family, it can be hard to pursue your dreams. I personally find that if others doubt my abilities, I’m more motivated to succeed. Just tell me I can’t and watch me make it happen, just to prove you wrong.

If you’re looking for support in the form of mentorship, motivations, and cheerleading, let the Event Heroes community fill that role for you.

5. Inexperience

We all start somewhere, and my guess is that you DO have some experience under you belt. Most people who come to me for event planning advice found their interest sparked while planning a party, wedding, or event for a friend or family member.

Sometimes you may surprise yourself if you sit down and write out all your experiences related to event planning. There’s probably a lot more there than you thought!

If lack of business or formal customer service experience is a fear of yours, then know that we have a system in place to address this! We interview many professionals in the event and business world to help you know how to best operate your business.

Putting Your Fears Behind You

I’ve always taken my business seriously and have been able to raise my kids while doing what I love. Now, that’s not to say you should quit your job and jump in with both feet. You can make a great side-hustle income working in the evenings and weekends until this does take over and become your full-time business if you so choose.

However, if you can jump in with both feet, there is nothing like “fail or succeed entirely” to motivate you to do what you what to do. And it’s harder to let yourself down, because you know you can do it – you’re awesome after all!

How to Get Started Confidently

Starting a business alone can be scary and time consuming as you learn the ropes. Let us help you overcome your fears and minimize the learning curve to get you scheduling and planning events sooner than later! Heck, our system will even save you time and MONEY in the long run. You’ll be up and running and ready to tackle events in no time.

Ready to start your Event Hero membership? Sign up today.

Watch for me to do more Facebook live soon as I face my fears!

You’re interested in starting your own event planning business and you’ve decided to start looking into a training program. There are several on the market to choose from so how do you decide which one is the best for you. Or perhaps, you’ve taken event planning classes in school and feel confident that you have mastered the lessons and technical information required to plan an event. But what do you do with all that information now? How do you take everything you’ve learned and turn it into an actual business with paying jobs?

This is where the Event Heroes stands out from other event planner learning systems. The Event Heroes coaching system was developed by Tracy Fuller-White, owner of InnovativEvents a successful 7-figure event planning business based in the mid-west as a way to help budding entrepreneurs move from conceptualization to actualization.

With over 30 years in the business, and years of training and mentoring interns and students, Tracy and her staff at Event Heroes have developed a program that takes the traditional training program a degree further by providing step-by-step directions beginning with taking the first phone call from a potential client all the way through producing an event. And it doesn’t stop there! As part of the Event Hero program we also focus on customer service and retention. And we’ll discuss the importance of following up with your client several months to a year after their event is over.

“We’ve added extra features to the Event Heroes program to make it a complete coaching package for those interested in becoming an event planner and starting their own business.” says Fuller-White.

So, what do you get when you enroll in Event Heroes? Not only do you get full step-by-step coaching on how to plan an event that will provide the WOW! factor all event planners hope to achieve but we also include a full library of downloadable, supporting documents you will use to create your own personalized event planning guidebook.

In addition to the lessons and the library of specialized forms, worksheets and templates we also provide our members with access to our invaluable, curated list of Black Book Partners. These industry professionals are fully vetted and trusted vendors who have agreed to support our Event Hero graduates and offer them additional assistance and guidance as they begin their careers.

As every seasoned event planner knows, finding trustworthy partners and vendors is key to producing a successful event. Being able to start your business with an already established team of partners can save hundreds of hours of shopping and comparing and the nerve wracking hit and miss trials most new business owner experience as they grow their company from the ground up.

Event Heroes also includes 20 Do-It-Yourself Theme Packages. These packages feature detailed overviews for creating the atmosphere and step-by-step instructions and checklist for successful themed parties that will impress even the most discerning clients.

And, perhaps the most valuable part of the Event Heroes coaching program is the live support we offer all of our members! One day per week, we host a live webinar available to all active Event Hero members. These in-depth session will provide additional targeted training on special subjects and an open question and answer session. They will also provide a ‘think tank’ venue for Event Heroes to share ideas and learn from others in the industry.

At Event Heroes, your coaching doesn’t stop the minute you finish our course. We are here to support you as you get started in the business, and as you build your client base and your reputation. We believe that learning is a lifelong activity and the more we share with others, the more we learn. Following that philosophy, our webinars will be dynamic in nature. In addition to targeted topics, we will look to our members for input on ways we can further support them as they grow from new business owners to established, reputable Event Hero planners.

Please feel free to reach out to us here with any questions and we look forward to teaching the Event Heroes way!

Does your event have a theme? Well, it most likely does, even though you might say you don’t want or need one. Okay, it may not an obvious theme like a 70’s disco or a Hawaiian luau, but all events have a theme or some underlying message that runs throughout the event.

It might be something much more subtle than an outrageous idea, but every event should have a theme.

Having a theme certainly helps you organize your event and assists in keeping it cohesive. It helps you create the collateral for the event, like signage and invitations that line up with the messaging and helps the attendees better understand what the event is about. It also helps to hire speakers that speak to your messaging.

So how do you choose a theme? Well, consider what is happening in your organization. It might be a new campaign, a new product or what you want your audience to hear. These are things you should base your theme around.

When deciding on a theme, consider what you want the audience to take away. For example, your theme might be ‘The Power of One’ and the speakers might talk about how one person makes a difference in the company, encouraging each and every attendee to stand up and take responsibility to make a difference in the company and rise above what they do in the company.

If ‘The Power of One’ were to be directed to a group of donors, you might have the speaker share how the amount they donate makes a difference in the organization and how it provides benefits to the recipients.

Here are a few things to think about when theming your events:

  • Know that the theme is the first impression that people will encounter when they see event updates and information
  • Make sure all the material is consistent and carries the same message throughout
  • Hire speakers that will communicate your subject matter
  • Make sure you are specific with your event theme
  • Consider who your audience is and make sure you don’t offend anyone in that group
  • Make sure your theme delivers the message you want your attendees to receive

When theming your events, make sure the theme speaks to the audience, that you use the theme throughout the whole event starting with the invites and any online elements and make it follow through.

Don’t have any ideas for your next event theme? We have you covered! Check out our pre-packaged themes that have everything you could possibly need!

Here are 10 good business practices I’ve learned over the years of owning and operating a business. These little tidbits have helped with my company exposure and name recognition, and took my business from six figures to over seven figures. Small things can make a big difference in your business, especially if you are working from home. Make sure you keep your mind sharp and your face out there for your vendors and clients to remember you.

1) Be a partner to your clients

Your client hired you to help with a project, idea or specific task. Your job is to make them look good to someone that is important to them whether it be a boss, colleagues or their clients. Make sure you consider yourself a part of their team to succeed.  Being a valuable team member makes it less likely you will be replaced.

2) Keep up with fresh ideas and the newest technology

You’re the expert in your field; your clients look to you for fresh ideas and what is happening in that field that they don’t have time to track. Knowing what’s new and cutting edge will keep you on their minds when they need innovative ideas and a new approach for their problems or opportunities. Being well versed has led me to many upsell situations, and can happen to you as well.

3) Read and absorb industry material

What magazines, blogs, newsletters etc. are you reading? Are you checking in on your competitors? What are they offering that you aren’t? Are they contributing to the industry news?  In this day of easy access to new and exciting information in your industry, you want to make sure you can introduce your clients to new and exciting offerings that fit their needs. They are hiring you for your ideas and inspirations. Make sure you have something to offer.

4) Document ideas that fit your clients’ needs as you come across them

You’re out and about, talking to people and learning what others have done in the industry. If you’re attending tradeshows, networking with other professionals in your line of work or attending conventions, you will probably run across information that you think would be great to pass on to your clients. Make a note in your computer so that you have that information next time you have the opportunity to chat with your client. This will give you information to share as well as a great way to get in front of your client to sign the next contract.

Networking for Your Business 

5) Communicate with past and present clients to stay on top of their mind

Once I got an event from a client just because he had a need and his previous provider didn’t stay in touch. OUCH! – this left an opening that I was able to walk in and close. Make sure you are reaching out to your clients every now and then, this way your name isn’t forgotten and your card isn’t lost in a sea of other similar businesses, but rather stays at the top of the pile.

6) Become friends with your clients

I had a client for several years and I knew little about her story but was careful not to share my own. One day we both happened to be sitting together watching our daughters play volleyball and got into a conversation that we both connected on. This made the sales process, meetings and events so much easier. We now had connecting points and shared experiences on a personal level, not just business. Be careful that you remain positive when visiting with your clients. Don’t slip into nagging, complaining or talking about other clients in a negative way. This will have the exact opposite effect you were going for.

7) Hire experts in areas you don’t excel in

The age-old difficulty for the business owner… letting go! – don’t’ worry you are not alone but the quicker you learn to let go of tasks that someone else can fulfill for you, the faster you will grow. Take me for example; taking six hours out of my week to mow the lawn just doesn’t seem financially sound. Consider this…what is hourly rate? Can you hire someone to do it for less than what it would ‘cost’ you?

If you don’t enjoy it, don’t have the best equipment, or get frustrated and pull away from where you make your money to handle a task, delegate it out! When I finally learned this lesson (one I heard over and over throughout the years) my business doubled! Know your strengths and weaknesses, play to your strengths and hire to fulfill your weaknesses. This saves you time and frustration.

Finding the Perfect Vendors for Your Corporate Event

8) Become an information resource

Do you have one person you can call when you just can’t find what you’re looking for? That one person who knows where to find the impossible? Be that person for your clients and vendors. You know you have the connections and it really doesn’t take much time, but knowing where to find the unusual, who can make it and how to make it has been a wonderful way to keep my name and number handy for my clients and vendors.

I had an experience where the meeting planner requested something from the hotel and the hotel event manager agreed to provide, but then didn’t know how to provide what they had agreed to…they called me and I ended up with a very good client for 10 years. And the hotel looked like a genius for being able to provide the request.

9) Surround yourself with like-minded people

One of my favorite groups I belong to is a group called South Side Masterminds. It’s a group of entrepreneurs from different industries that get together once a month and discuss business challenges, ideas and solutions. We are a very small and closed group, we laugh throughout the whole meeting, and the ideas and businesses that have come out of this group have been amazing. I highly suggest you find your own think tank to get involved with. This keeps you active in the community (especially if you are a solopreneur!) and exposes you to new ideas and thought processes.

10) Contribute to the community

Online or in your neighborhood, being involved in your community is a great way of sharing your passion, giving back and getting to know others. It’s not all about gaining new clients or finding your next big event, but on occasion it might lead to that. For me, I have always enjoyed helping others achieve their goals and putting their best foot forward for their clients, donors, etc. It feels good to help create an event that everyone benefits from.

I pick two or three events a year to donate my time and resources to, and do my best to make sure their event goes off without a hitch. I have a few very cool events that I have had the opportunity to have an impact on, and there is nothing more rewarding. The relationships I’ve built through these organizations have been priceless!

These are a few of the very important tips we as entrepreneurs need to keep on top of our minds each and every day to make sure our business, and you, stay in the limelight. Remember the roofing guy you met at the 4th of July party? Probably not, because he didn’t connect with you following that one-time meeting, so you probably won’t think of his name next time someone is mentioning how they need their roof redone.

We are all human and each busy in our lives, if our face isn’t seen to those that can recommend us, than we are losing out on business connections that would come our way. They say the best opportunity to sell is when someone else has recommended you. Get out there and be seen!

Attending events, conferences and meetings you are not working is a great way to network and meet contacts who may be looking for event planning services in the future. Networking can be a productive source for future business if you are accomplished at it. However, it can also reflect negative on your company or be a waste of time, if you go about it the wrong way.

As an event planner, you need to hone your networking skills as this is one of the most important ways of advertising that you will use.  Meeting and greeting people and making a lasting first impression is imperative to running a successful event planning business.

Following these simple guidelines and brushing up on your skills will help ensure that any time you meet a potential client, you make the best use of the time you have with them. If nothing else, you will leave a lasting, positive impression on them.

1. Know your audience.  If your specialty is planning events for top level executives, focus on networking in that arena.  Of course it doesn’t hurt to network in other areas, but establish yourself in your niche market first and then expand.  If you work better with less formal events, such as proms or parties, start there until you are confident enough to try a different market.

2. Do your research.  Find out who will be attending an event so you know how you will want to “advertise” yourself and your company.  You don’t want to discuss prom decorations while networking with corporate executives or vice versa.

3. Rehearse what you will say about who you are and what your company does.  Be confident in what you say and know what you are talking about.  Be able to answer follow-up questions, should you connect with a potential client who wants more details.  Don’t leave a future customer questioning if you are an expert in your field.  Know how you will respond if you don’t know an answer.  “I’ll have to talk with my lighting person to get his/her advice and get back to you on that.” is a much better answer than “I don’t know but I’ll find out”.  And most importantly, follow up with an answer that day or the next.

4. Follow up.  Once you have met a possible future customer or even just an interesting connection, don’t let the opportunity go.  Connect with him/her, make a sales pitch if appropriate, meet for coffee to discuss possible future events or just keep in touch to keep your name at the front of their mind so they can easily recall it when they have an event to plan.

5. Keep it fresh.  Have a variety of ways of introducing yourself and explaining your business.  You may meet one person who chooses to introduce you to someone else and you don’t want to sound like a robot repeating the exact thing you just said to the first contact.  Be flexible and keep it interesting.

6. Be helpful.  If during a conversation, you realize that you have a contact that may be beneficial to them, make the introduction.  Don’t be afraid of helping others if you can.  By all means, keep yourself in the loop as much as possible by following up with both parties.  By introducing two contacts to each other, you will expand your network. By showing that you are interested enough to follow up, you will hopefully benefit from the matchmaking that you have done.

7. Make the person you are speaking with the center of your attention.  We’ve all experienced a conversation where the person you are speaking with is obviously anxious to move on and talk with someone else.  Chances are you didn’t work too hard to speak with that person again.  Use common manners and be respectful to the person you are talking with at the moment.

Networking can be the main source of leads for your business.  If you aren’t experienced at networking, practice with a co-worker or friend or in front of a mirror.  If you find it uncomfortable or hard to do at first, remember that it will get easier with time. The more people you meet, the better you will get.

Event sponsors go out of their way to provide financial assistance so that you can achieve your event goals. A successful event can hinge on the amount of sponsors and assistance they provide. Because of the important role that they play, it is vital to make sure that they get proper recognition and that you show your appreciation. Follow the five tips below to ensure that event sponsors feel valued when participating in your event:

1)    Add sponsors’ names to ALL the event’s media announcements
Nothing shows appreciation and adds value to your sponsor like putting their name on all the elements of the show. Add their name and logo to all of the following:

a)    Social media sources – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all the mobile apps as well
b)    All press releases
c)    All printed material


2)    Present them as Experts
If you do a speed networking event, have each sponsor present or host a table highlighting their expertise so attendees can ask questions. This gives them credibility and puts them in the position to sell to your attendees without being “salesy”.

No one wants to be “salesy” and your attendees don’t want to be sold to. This practice is the best way to give your attendees information they are interested in and to allow your sponsors one-on-one time with attendees that are interested in what they offer.

3)    Feature sponsors as speakers for breakout sessions
Have your sponsors speak on their expertise and be the featured speaker for a breakout session. This is a great way to fill your program with speakers that will speak for free.

This method also sets your sponsors up for success. A well delivered presentation will automatically make them the expert in the field and people will approach them for more information following their speech.

4)    Highlight sponsor logos and names 
Use the walk in and out of your general session as time to flash sponsors’ names on screen – this builds sponsor loyalty. They are your audience and funders for your show; show them the LOVE!

The screens in your general, opening, and closing sessions should be used to the fullest. There will be approximately 30 minutes before the event that guests will be entering the room and getting situated.

Use the visual space to thank sponsors, do light housekeeping, remind attendees of special events or breakout meetings but really use that time for sponsorships. If your sponsors have commercials or YouTube movies, you could play those as well.

Imagine the VIP at a very large company you would like to partner with or work for asks about your organization, company, or work. You only have two minutes to impress them before they leave for their next important meeting, GO!

Did you get the importance and mission of your work across or did you clam up as millions of thoughts flooded your mind? Missing this opportunity is like letting the one eligible person at speed dating get away because you couldn’t make a connection before the bell rang. Well it isn’t quite the same… but you get the point, it is important to have a speech well prepared when a similar situation arises.

Short, informative, and persuasive speeches such as these are known as elevator speeches or elevator pitches. Their name comes from the idea of being in an elevator with someone and getting a convincing message across from the time it takes to get from the lobby to your destination point.


An elevator speech should be used as a brief, persuasive speech that sparks the interest of the person you are sharing it with. Follow the 5 steps below to write your own elevator speech:

1) Identify the goal of your speech

Identify who you wish to convey your message to and what idea or message you want to share before you begin writing.

2) Explain what you do and what makes you unique

How you can successfully e-commute

I enjoy working from home. E-commuting out of my home has allowed me the flexibility to do a lot of things not otherwise possible if I were working a 9-5 job.

My favorite things about working from home include: shopping in the early afternoon when there aren’t any crowds, working in comfortable clothes as I sit at my desk, impromptu time spent with friends and family, and not having to face dreadful weather if I don’t have to (I’m talking about you winter vortex!).

All in all, working from home is a luxury but that doesn’t mean it should be taken advantage of. There are still deadlines to meet and my productivity is directly linked to the income I receive.

If you are new to working from home or are just looking for some tips to increase your productivity while working from home follow the steps below:

1) Create an office space

 Photo by Aleksi Tappura

Just because you are working at home doesn’t mean that you should allow your work to spill over into various parts of the house. While it may be convenient to take your work in the kitchen during lunch or the bedroom when you want to relax but still get some things done, you don’t want to lose track of any important papers or documents.

Have a designated office space where you store everything and that other family members know not to touch. Even if your designated space is messy, at least you know where everything is located. So if you do find that some of your work has migrated throughout the house during the day, be sure to return it to this space by the end of the day.

2) Remove distractions

 Photo by Hunter Langston

The ability of distractions to present themselves throughout the day is much more likely while working from home. Having a space that is away from televisions, animals that feel like play time, and laundry duties will help minimize the ability for distractions to arise. You don’t want to get sucked into a movie only to find you have a couple of hours to finish your task or project.

Find a well-lit room with a table/desk and comfortable chair – somewhere that you can get your ideas flowing. If you find yourself easily distracted by social media, there are several online sites that allow you to temporarily block access to social media sites in order for you to be more productive. Examples include and

3) Balance your work and life schedules

Event planning is finding a whole new industry where planners can make a difference. In fact, this might possibly be the greatest impact an event planner can make in their clients’ lives.

People are increasingly turning to event planners to celebrate the end of this life with their families before they move on to the next adventure. Instead of the standard in-the-box funeral, planning an all-out party might be more to your client’s liking. A “final celebration” is an opportunity to control ONE LAST thing in this lifetime. Some people find this a much more appealing way to ‘go out’ than the standard funeral.

If the family doesn’t get the opportunity to celebrate with the deceased, a party instead of a funeral can still be an option similar to that of an Irish Wake that was common practice until the 1970s. Irish Wakes celebrate the life of the deceased and ensure a proper “departing”. Many funeral homes in the U.S. are offering different types of services to make the funeral less depressing and more uplifting.

Here are some ideas for you if you’re interested in this sort of planning:

A Living Funeral

A living funeral is a great way for those with terminal illness to enjoy the nice things relatives and friends will say about them. Just like any party, you can theme this party with something that strikes the honorary guest. Below are the positive attributes of throwing a living funeral party:

*A living funeral allows family and guests to say everything they want to say BEFORE their friend or loved one passes

*This celebration helps family and friends come to reality

*Guests can leave notes behind to help comfort the VIP through the last stages of life

*The honorary guest can bring mementos to share and relive favorite memories with their loved ones

*A living funeral does not replace the traditional funeral, rather acts as a time to get together and celebrate a person’s life while they too can enjoy it with everyone

*The party can be designed to the specifications of the honoree

A Celebration of Life

Sometimes there isn’t the opportunity to celebrate life with the soon-to-be deceased, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to throw a party. This is a good way for family members to celebrate the essence of the deceased and what was important to them. Even though that person may not be around to hear all the nice things said about them, the family is there and will appreciate the kind words.

*Use items from that person’s life to decorate, share, and celebrate

*This celebration can take place after the funeral instead of a potluck

*You may decide to have the celebration located where the family decides to spread the ashes

*This celebration can take place away from home

Lives Lost Too Early

When helping families that have lost young ones or lives lost way too early, you will need to be especially graceful in your approach. Consider incorporating the following suggestions:

*Release doves in memory of the life lost too soon

*Ask friends and family members to bring stuffed toys to donate to a charity

*Celebrate with the fellow children in mind. What is appropriate? What is comfortable? *Consider having a grief counselor on hand to handle the different levels of understanding with the children

Handling these very important times in families’ lives will take a special type of event planner. One that has the traits for understanding, patience, and a strong ability to listen. You will need to be able to contain your own feelings and listen closely to the wishes of the families and the terminally ill.

You will play counselor, confidant, friend, and adopted family during the planning process. Make sure to leave your personal issues at the door; this is definitely a time for the client you are working for. Smile and have kind words. Laughter is a good thing, even in a sad situation.

Who would want to be a life celebration planner? Someone who…

  • Can work well with vulnerable and emotional people

  • Enjoys helping families who are going through a hard time

  • Enjoys being there for someone in a time of need

  • Wants to help someone out when they can’t get things done on their own

What type of personality is required for this event planner role?

  • Really strong people skills

  • Someone with good business and organizational skills

  • Diligent work ethic

Why would someone choose to do this for a living?

  • They had planned one of their own family member’s funerals and felt capable to handle the details in a time of sorrow and in helping relieve stress for others

  • They felt strong and passionate in making their loved one’s funeral represent their life and

    what to do that for others

  • They have a strong feeling about how someone who dies should be remembered and

    well­known and can help those grieving celebrate the loved ones in a way that has lasting


Event Planning roles or specializations can range widely. If you feel you have the traits to fulfill a final celebrations planner, you would be greatly helping families make a transition in their lives that many find difficult to grapple. With the surge in baby boomers approaching and society’s want for greater control in their lives, final celebrations event planning is likely to stick around for a while.