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Part Time Event Planning? Opinions wanted, please!

I don't know if this is the place for this, but anyway, here it is. 

I am a teacher and I've always wanted to be a teacher aside from a short period of time in high school where I couldn't decide if I wanted to go into teaching or event planning. I always obsessed over weddings, friend get-togethers, and birthday parties and not for the reason you would think. I LOVED the idea of planning and organizing those. 

I went with teaching because I knew it wasn't a fleeting passion, which I wasn't sure about the event planning. Well, after planning my own wedding, it has been reignited and I've been giving some serious thought to the idea of doing event planning. I don't want to quit teaching so I've been thinking, is it possible to do part-time? By that I mean limiting myself to 1 or 2 events at a time. I managed to plan my wedding and a few fun birthday parties and events for my bridesmaids (lget-togethers for my bridesmaids as a thank you where they never had to spend a penny or were forced to come) while teaching, so I do think it is possible to plan 1 or 2 events while keeping my teaching career.

Is that just a terrible idea? I'd start off with helping some of my friends who are engaged (If they WANT my help. I would never force it, but just offer my help and for free) to build some experience and a portfolio and then market myself around the area when I felt I could provide a quality service for a cost. 

I'm totally open to brutally honest opinions on this, as long as no one is outright rude. But if you think that's not a good idea, then let me know! 

Re: Part Time Event Planning? Opinions wanted, please!

  • Thank you, both!
  • If you're really interested in this and are concerned about the workload, consider going either part time as a teacher, or taking year off and working as a supply teacher while planning.  Not sure what your board is like, but with mine, I could take a year off and sub and still come back to a job after (not necessarily the exact one I left, but being on contract, a job for sure).  That might give you the flexibility to try planning while keeping the security of income (supply teaching) and possible job after if it doesn't work out as well.  

  • The first thing I thought while reading your post was "How will she have time to do both?"  Obviously you know the answer to this better than I would, but Kimmi brought up some great points about having to make yourself available for both jobs at the same time.  I would agree with her and Starmoon that maybe you could try your hand as a DOC for a little bit.  If you think you can handle the workload/scheduling you can always branch out from there. 

    Another thought: I'm not sure how it works with your job, but I am not supposed to work for anyone else (myself included) during my time on the job.  The policy is pretty specific that any self promotion such as blogging or taking "business calls" would be against their terms ("cause for termination").  So if I were proposing to do what you want, I would have to do everything outside of my 8-4:30 job time (Plus I'm in the car a solid 30-45 mins each way!).  Again, I don't know how it works for you, but it is something to be aware of.

  • Thanks for all the opinions and great points. I do like the idea of maybe starting at DOC and offering additional advice outside of that without committing to day-time florist visits and the like. 
  • Ditto PPs. It may get you in trouble at your teaching job to be even checking emails for another job during the day. My staff work from home and I still had to recently terminate someone because her second job was interfering with her primary career. Being a teacher, I would imagine more eyes are on you so it may be more difficult. I know plenty of teachers with second jobs, but usually they're strictly weekends/summer/after 5.

    That being said, being a DOC would be a great start! You'd get your feet wet, get to know a few vendors, and most of your work would be outside of teaching hours. I also think it would be good to start offering help to friends, like you suggested. It would give you a chance to see how much work goes into it.
  • Could you see if there is a wedding planner that is looking for an assistant?

    I had these boards, a firm budget and a husband that was pretty easy to please and a@short+sassy a of what I wanted but dealing with a stranger is probably harder than you think. You and your friends probably have similar tastes which makes things easier (not to mention that you helped for free).

    Starngers could have: Unrealistic budgets, drama within families, with everyone looking at pinterest for inspiration, the idea that its the perfect day and should get whatever they want, changing minds from intimate to destination to AHR etc.

    Are you good at telling people what they don't want to hear? Are you fine with being "on" all the time (how many people on these boards freak out when they can't contact their planner every other day for 18 months leading up to the wedding)?

    Not saying you couldn't do it, just wanted to add on to @short+sassy rt+sassy was saying about it being a risky idea to just jump into esp. coming from a super stable paycheck. 

  • I like PPs suggestions of starting as a DOC or finding a full-time event coordinator who is looking for a part-time assistant. Years ago, I worked as a salaried event coordinator for a catering company and during our busy season was working 40+ hours a week in the office and 20+ hours a week at the actual events. My point is taking on event planning part time is more hours than a typical part time position. 

    The varied and long hours each week (and wanting to give my law degree a shot at being useful) is what led me to decide it wasn't the job for me even though I love the planning itself. But to satisfy that passion I have helped friends and family plan their parties and weddings like you suggested. I have offered to take on portions of the planning for free if they wanted my help so I think if you did that with your engaged friends, it's a great place to build up experience before jumping in to a paid position. You don't have to take on the entire event to get experience or satisfaction either. For example, when my uncle recently threw my aunt a surprise birthday party at a restaurant, he was unsure of what to do for the menu so I helped him navigate the options. My cousin is getting married and he needed help weighing the pros and cons of their first choice photographer and going through the contract (helps that I work in contract law haha) so I took on that portion only. 

  • Ditto pps.

    I do know someone who branched out to start a small catering/event planning deal with a friend. She kept her regular job, but her regular job was on her own terms for the most part (she's a high-end interior decorator and designer). Her services spread through word of mouth. I've been to a few of her catered events (she mainly does bridal and baby showers with less than 50 people) and they were all charming, tasteful and extremely well executed. Plus the food was delicious. So it can be done. 

  • As a fellow teacher, I especially agree with @kimmiinthemitten ... It would be super hard to return phone calls during the day, and we all know how many brides need / want urgent answers.
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