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Course Title
Fundamentals of Event Planning


This 60 hour certificate will provide participants with an introduction to the event industry, including basic principles of planning and executing events, meetings and conferences, and to acquaint students with the skills and tools necessary for industry success. Participants will gain understanding of the meeting/event planning industry and required competencies through classroom study as well as practical application, guest lectures, and field trips.



Introductory class in Event Management and Coordination for those wishing to learn basic principles and elements of planning and producing special events.


A. The Event Industry and Its Professions

1. History, current state and possible future of the industry

2. Characteristics of “event leaders”, career opportunities; pre-requisites to success; professional organizations

3. Overview of types of events; corporate, themed, social, meetings, conferences, festival-based, fundraisers, sub-categories of each

B. Event Management Building Blocks

1. Tools, skills and processes common to all events

2. Event administration overview; samples of documents

3. Timelines, budgets, file organization, production schedule, runs of show, scripts, site plans, evaluations

a. Purpose and use of different formats

b. How, When and Why of event “paperwork”

c. Documents produced by vendors; banquet event orders, quotes

d. Event industry software

e. Choosing and managing vendors

f. Site inspections, site selection

g. Exercise—coordinating event elements

C. Research as a Creative and Practical Function

1. Importance of research skills and types of event industry research

2. Research tools; high tech and low tech

3. Exercise --on-line research project; using additional resources

D. Sales and Event Marketing

1. Salesperson’s role in a creative environment

2. Assessing client needs and goals, client profile, steps to a proposal

3. Demographics, psychographics in event design

4. Promotional and public relations strategies; invitations, ads, websites, etc.

E. Legal, Ethical and Risk Management

1. Risk management assessment; factors and related documents

2. Risk management planning

3. Legal compliance

F. Creative Elements

1. Brainstorming, theme development

2. Event design basics; engaging the 5 senses, interpreting the vision and telling the story

3. Décor elements; floral, linens, props, lighting, creating the environment

4. Industry trends

G. Food and Beverage

1. Choosing a caterer and crafting a menu to fit the event; budgetary, logistical and attendee considerations

2. On-site catering, concessionaires; outdoor food vending

3. Types of service, service styles, goals of a tasting

4. Alcohol considerations

H. Entertainment

1. Matching performers and types of entertainment to events

2. Entertainment agents; booking local, national, international talent

3. Contracts, riders, on-site management

I. Technical Production

1. Lighting; element of décor and practical logistics

2. Power considerations; shore power, generators

3. Sound

4. Video production and playback

5. Special effects, staging

6. Logistics; rehearsals, scripting

7. Industry trends

J. Logistical Considerations

1. Security; private and law enforcement

2. Transportation; buses, limos, specialty vehicles, valet parking

3. Outdoor differences; tents, porta-jons, power needs

4. Weather planning

5. Permits, local regulatory agencies

6. Volunteer management

7. On-site communication

8. Exhibitors

9. Registration models

K. How would you solve it?

1. Exercise – real-world scenarios from events, requiring creative solutions

2. Panel of industry experts evaluate student solutions, and reveal what solution was actually found

L. Field trips

Students will visit at least 2 sites during event load-in and set-up, and meet the vendors and planners involved.



Method of Instruction

  • Facilitation of information with group involvement
  • Class discussion
  • Skills practice


Attendance of 75% or more required.

Passing grade of 80% or better on quizzes

Presentation of event planning project that demonstrates event planning skills