How to Become an Event Designer

Event design is such a relative term. What I can do versus what you can do versus what your competitors can do versus what Preston Bailey can do are so completely different.

Different styles, different ideas, different clients, different visions, different strengths, different ideal budgets.

Event design revolves around creativity. Creativity is a muscle. Just like the muscles in your body, if they are not used frequently, they are weak. Your creativity muscle needs exercise. It needs perspiration, discipline, hard work and exposure to things that inspire you.

The more you use your creativity muscle, the stronger it gets.

If you tell yourself that you are only good at timelines and logistics, then you will always only be good at timelines and logistics. If you start working out your creativity muscle, you can become proficient (and even great) at design. You may not be able to do what well-known event designers do, but you can become good at recommending color palettes, creating great inspiration boards, seeing the central elements that your clients like when they send you 20 photos and knowing when certain details just won’t look right with the rest of the wedding or event.

The most important thing to remember about event design is that there is no right or wrong. Your style and ideas will work for certain clients but not for others. This is true for anyone who designs – event designers, interior designers, party stylists, fashion designers.

Here are 6 ways to start working out your creativity muscle:

1. On every holiday (including July 4th and Halloween), create a table display at your home. Use linens, items from the party store, props, desserts, plates (paper or real) and food to create a table display. Change up some of the elements, set different place settings and take photos of each setup so you can evaluate what combination looked best. Getting your hands and mind working together in this way is like pumping iron at the gym for your creativity muscle.

2. Do a styled photo shoot.  Even if you are just starting out as a planner, you can work with other vendors to design a wedding table complete with linens, china, glassware, flowers, stationery, favors and other details.  Many photo shoots are very complex with models, cakes and decor but you can start out simple with just a table design until you feel more comfortable and your creativity muscle and confidence get stronger.

3. Read magazines, design books and blogs that feature parties, events and weddings. Some of my favorite blogs are HWTM, Style Me Pretty, Landlocked Bride, Wedding Chicks and Pizzazzerie. When you look through the photos and featured events, really notice the details. Notice how the colors go together, notice how the details are carried out through the whole event, notice how you could use some of the ideas for events you are currently planning. Making yourself aware of so many details and ideas will fuel your creativity and expand your mind to what is possible.

4. Start noticing creative details at restaurants, networking events and in stores. You can find a whole lot of inspiration and ideas just by browsing through Pier One, Pottery Barn or at your favorite restaurant.

5. Start noticing atmospheres. Next time you are out to dinner, notice as many things as you can about the restaurant. What kind of lighting do they have, what is the background music, what kind of china do they use, what are the chairs like, what is the appearance of the menu. This helps you see and learn how many different details work together to create the entire atmosphere which is the basis of event design.

6. Try out your skills with clients. You can start small by sharing your opinion about a specific detail your clients are considering for their event. Maybe you think the chairs they are renting aren’t quite the right style or that a slightly different shade of linen would look better. Share your thoughts. Being confident enough in your own style and ideas is the best workout for your creativity muscle and is often the first step to growing your design skills.

When working out your creativity muscle, you may not notice day-to-day or week-to-week improvements (much like working out your body at the gym), however in time (over a few months and over a few years), you will notice a significant increase in the strength of this muscle and your ability to design events.  Even if your event design skills go from a “1” to a “5” on the scale of experience and talent, there are potential clients who are at “0” and will gladly pay for your level 5 skills.

Please “like” this post and share it if it was valuable to you!

Photo credit: Studio JK


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  1. What a great post! I can’t wait to go “work out”!!! Seriously, this post is very motivating!

  2. Debbie, this is a great article!! You have given me such inspiration. Thank you for activiating my creative muscle again!

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Debbie.

    P.S. Great post. And, great insight on how to dive into design if that’s where your heart lies.

  4. Roxanne says:

    This is indeed a great article. I’m a new planner myself and I am in the process of doing my first styled shoot {bites nails nervously}. I figured, why not?

  5. Thanks for this great post. I have been trying to become more creative and this post provides some great ideas to help me improve. Going to work that creative muscle right now.

  6. Every time i read your Blog! i feel I’m on the track thank, so much for your inspiration.

  7. Demetrius Cummings says:

    Awesome and so many things you said are “confirmations”….I am so excited to begin my journey as a Wedding/Events Planner…it is a way to share beauty in the lives of others!

  8. WOW!!! I’ve bookmarked your page, Debbie. I’ve always wondered if I can ever be just as creative as some of my friends, now that you’ve shared these great insights, I feel encouraged to try and use these muscles once again. Thanks!!

  9. This post confirmed I have been doing all the right things. I love design. I have designed my home, helped deisgn others homess and I design my own events. ONe of my favorite things to do is doing a tablescape in my dinning room for holidays. This summer I will be styling my own photoshoot I am super excited. Thanks for sharing all these great tips.

  10. Very educative. Thanks.

  11. huma khan says:

    I would like to share that I am in a event company and I am a very hard working girl but I can’t prove my hardworking personality. How can I prove myself?

  12. biola N Adegoke says:

    I really love this,it inspired me. I love designing.

  13. I have a passion for decorating and design and have really been considering pursuing this as a career. This post was very helpful and full of insight and advice. I need a career I would love not just jobs that I don’t like. One question I have – is it better or necessary to go to school for this type of thing or just go to a company and learn on the job?

  14. I just want you to know when I read your blogs, I get so excited! You motivate me to stretch and I now know that I am unique and I can do my own thing and not be intimidated because we are all still learning. Thank you!

  15. Oh! I love it so much. Now I am 18 years old and I’m searching for what I’m truly interested in. I think I’ve found my real career. Thank you so much Debbie for this previous post. I’ll do my best from now on :)

  16. I’m pretty anxious about starting my own wedding planning firm.

    Till now I was just involved as a marketer but I think it would be fun to try this out. How do you think I should go about it? I’m planning to hire a team who already have a good amount of experience with indian weddings.

  17. This article really helped me so much! I’d like to ask for advice about university majors that will help me become an event designer! Thanks.

  18. I absolutely love and agree with everything said in this article. Debbie, thank you for being so motivating and giving us passion with your passion. :)

  19. Dolores Moore says:

    I just read your article and it gave me more motivation to do what I want to do. I just decorated my daughter’s wedding in October and everyone loved it. Now I am doing my niece’s wedding in June. Do I need to take a wedding planner course or wedding and party design course?

  20. I love this information it is very helpful. I can’t wait to start using this.

  21. Mercy R. says:

    Thank you for this article! I’ve been considering a career in event planning and this has given me lots to think about! Keep up the great work.

  22. I am thinking of doing the accredited wedding & event designer course with IWED. Are you familiar with this one? I’m still confused about event planner and event designer – what is the difference?


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