New York Event Planning 101: Married To Your Work? The 7 Similarities Between Event Planning & Dating

New York Event Planning 101: Married To Your Work? The 7 Similarities Between Event Planning & Dating

Working at a fast-paced PR firm in NYC definitely has its perks but even in this beautiful and busy city, every professional tends to hit a certain amount of monotony in their career. Yet, there’s a time in every PR professionals life when the clouds clear and the roads open; your client gives you permission to take your head out of the pitching and social media bubble and plan an event. Not just an event, a launch party, for the most influential taste makers of Manhattan & New York.

Here at L.E.R. Public Relations, we are privileged to have such close proximity to some of the greatest venues, sponsors, and vendors along with access to some of the world’s greatest clients so through our experiences and with all of the events we, at L.E.R. PR,  produce, we’ve noticed a certain trend that emerges both locally and globally with event planning, which closely resembles the ups and downs of dating.

Phase 1: Frenzy.

Normal Rockwell's "Before The Date"

Date: Pretty sure I can speak collectively but you be the judge: Before you go out on a date with a guy/girl you really like, you know the thought of it can sometimes give you the butterflies. You plan your outfit a month in advance, brush your teeth every 5 minutes until they show up to pick you up/you leave to get them, re-touch your hair every mirror you encounter, etc. You work yourself into an absolute frenzy which peaks when you hear that doorbell ring.

The same thing happens during event planning.
If you’re lucky your client will give you the news of an event a full year before the event but chances are they’ve given you 1 or 2 months to plan, reserve, and execute the event. So naturally, panic sets in. You look at your calendar and try to map everything out to ensure you can logistically do the event. You call every vendor for the best price, you check every venue for availability, you try to find as many sponsors as you can, all while maintaining the regular responsibilities your client trusts you to complete.

Phase 2: Arousal.

Date: As the night goes, you will most likely calm down and begin to enjoy yourself. As you continue to have an engaging conversation, to share funny stories, to swap jokes, to dance, to sing, whatever makes you happy, you’ll begin to wonder how could it get any better. You may begin to think if there’s a future for you and how long that future will last. Your smile will be ear to ear with the prospect of a new love.

As the planning goes, you’ll find the perfect venue which helps you visualize the end result. You’ll be able to imagine the hors d’oeuvres being passed around by waiters in tuxedos, you’ll see your guests mingling throughout the event with cocktails in hand, you’ll see your client swimming in the reporters spotlight and know that he/she will be the hottest news on Page 6. You’ll find the perfect gift bag sponsors who will send over the greatest products and gift certificates at no cost for your guests. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find a liquor sponsor to cover the tab.

Phase 3: Roadblocks.

Date: At some point during the courtship, you’re bound to stick your foot in your mouth. When getting to know another person things like family values, politics, religion may come up in which you may not exactly see eye to eye. It’s often hard to let a stranger have their own opinion especially when you don’t agree with it. You may hit that moment of awkward silence when you’re convinced that its all over.

Event: Your event planning is skyrocketing, you couldn’t be happier with how its turning out and then you give your client your most recent and detailed progress report and he hates it. It’s too much money, it’s not what he had in mind, and you can sense him begin to doubt your judgment and on top of that the liquor sponsor threw a curve ball and will no longer sponsor the event.

Phase 4: Meet in the Middle.

The awkward silence is glooming, and the hard feelings of your first fight are lingering but you know one of you will have to be the bigger person who will break the silence. Once this is over, you can usually work together to come to even ground whether you decide “to each his own” or vow to never bring up politics on a date again. Either way, you learn a little bit more about the other person, you learn their wants and needs, you learn what makes them tick, basically what makes them who they are.

Event: This really is almost verbatim. With each new task that your client trusts you with, you’re bound to learn more about what they prefer, what their break points are, and what you need to do to retain their respect. After much discussion, you should be able to work with them to ensure they get the event of their dreams, not yours, after all, they’re the ones footing the bill. After coming to a point in which the client is happy and you believe it is the best step for their event and their business you can move on to the next phase.

Phase 5: The Stars Align
Date: Now that you’ve overcome your differences, you should have a better idea of who is sitting across from you. Sooner or later you begin to anticipate what will set your partner off and also how to compromise when you do.

Event: At this point all the details should be coming together. You’ve negotiated the perfect price for your budget, you’ve got the perfect DJ, the perfect guest list, the perfect venue, the perfect caterer AND you found a bigger and better liquor sponsor. Everything is coming together and your client couldn’t be happier and you couldn’t be more relieved.
Phase 6: The Main Event

Date: The date is in full swing, you’re learning about each other, you’re talking about your likes and dislikes but will it go anywhere? Although you may think the main event in dating is the date itself but in all actuality it’s whether you are asked/accept the invitation for the second date.  The buildup of the first date is over and the only thing to do is let everything play out and wait and see.
Event: It’s the day of the event and you continue to think about all the things that could go wrong, you pray that your contingency plans are thorough enough to cover all the bases, and the whole time you have to keep a smile on your face to keep your client confident and keep the guests buzzing around happily. You have to take all errors in stride and try not to panic as minute details go array and try to see the event from the guests point of view. Chances are they won’t notice that the table clothes are pearl and the napkins are eggshell, although those are details to worry about before the event, don’t uproot a table to fix such a minor problem. Pick your battles and ignore the spats.

Phase 7: Follow Up

Date: The date is done and whether your partner is incredibly ecstatic or unhappy there isn’t much else you can do except pray that your performance on the date has granted you access to a second or third date. In the best case scenario, everything went smoothly with no major hiccups and as time goes you continue to be happy with your choice and it truly will be a happily ever after. But, whether you are a true believer of the three day waiting time to call or if you don’t think it really matters, just make sure you call or else that amazing first date you had was all in vain.

The event is done, the press has come and gone, the guests received their swag bags, and there’s nothing to do but wait to see how well the public embraces your client and his company. It’s time to buckle down, check Google Alert and pray that it blows up with your client’s name because when it comes to a launch… the main event is only half the battle. Of course, you have to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves and got what they were looking for, but the following weeks are critical to truly judge the success of the event.

As you can tell in my last step, the true judge of the event planning/dating process is the amount of effort you’re willing to put in before, during, and after.  You may hit it off in the beginning and if you don’t follow through thoroughly, you’re bound to fall flat on your face.

You really only get what you’re willing to give, so work hard and you will never be unsatisfied with your results.

L.E.R. Public Relations is a boutique PR firm / agency in New York’s Soho area. The agency offers PR & marketing services for luxury, fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle, hospitality & entertainment clients. Services include media relations, event production, marketing, social media & branding. For more info on our clients and expertise please visit