Ecopreneurship Opportunity: Green Wedding and Event Planner

Are you well-organized and enjoy making plans?  Do you live sustainably, so that you’d understand all the green options that could go into planning an event with multiple moving parts?  Do you enjoy working closely with people to help them fulfill their dreams?  Do you have a passion for parties and events?  Are you comfortable working outside the 9-to-5 schedule?

If so, starting a green wedding and event planning business may be your path away from the cubicle world and toward being your own Green Business Owner.  Event planners design and execute a variety of events (including weddings, celebrations, and conferences) on behalf of others. Growth in the industry is a function of how extravagant people can get with their events, and sustainable event planners can capitalize on the growing interest in green among the extravagant.

So what does a green wedding and event planning business entail?

Event planners are responsible for designing and executing a variety of events (including weddings, celebrations, and conferences) on behalf of others. Depending on the type of business, integrated services ranging from invitations to musical arrangements and set-up are included. To do this as an eco-friendly event planner, you’d benefit by having a terrific network of contractors in your area that can provide eco-friendly services for your events, including cleaning companies, sustainable printers for your cards and invitations, digital photographers, green dry cleaners, organic caterers, etc. Rest assured, all the eco-friendly implements for any event are available, right down to eco-friendly confetti.

According to the International Special Events Society, event planning is a global industry worth approximately $500 billion. While you must take any claim from a for-profit organization that benefits from interest in the industry with a grain of salt, a little common sense says, “How many people do you know who still plan their own wedding, let alone their family reunion?” Growth in the industry is a function of how extravagant people are getting with their events, and how much of a logistical nightmare it can be to coordinate so many moving parts.

The broad scope of event planning means that business owners need to think carefully about all aspects of the experience ahead of time. If you pride yourself on ensuring sustainable behavior in all aspects of your life (home, office, transport, food, etc), running a sustainable event-planning business may be right for you. Customers appreciate creative ideas that use best practices in sustainability.

What required knowledge or skills are necessary?
Event planning requires a close relationship to customers, a high degree of organizational skills, and significant creativity in design and execution. You must be detail-oriented enough to keep event details top of mind and to estimate your costs accurately, but flexible enough to change plans last minute. As a sustainable event planner, you will need to learn about sustainable practices in every aspect of your business. You should enjoy working with people and appreciate the impact of well-planned party or event.  Some event planners make it official and become a Certified Special Events Professional through ISES.

How much money is required to start and how much can you make?
The major costs you will incur are legal fees, event-planning license, and transportation. You can start your business without spending money on office space and other employees.  Income potential is actually quite high, depending on how many jobs you want to take per year, and if your area is a year-round event city.

What is the best location for a green wedding and event planner?
If you are interested in social event planning, cities and suburbs are the best locations. As long as you invest sufficient time and money in advertising and marketing, you do not necessarily need office space. Ensure that you have adequate transportation and are well acquainted with other services offered in the neighborhood (e.g. party sites, catering services, etc). If you are interested in corporate event planning (conferences, workshops, etc), you should aim to be close to the business district in your city.

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Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business:  Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com

Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.

6 responses

  1. reading again makes things clearer…it is interesting that even when one has done things as long as i have there is always room for improvement. love the clarity of the writing

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