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Do you love parties?

If you think creative and love parties, then party planning could be your calling, says Vimal Chander Joshi.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:48 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi
Vimal Chander Joshi
Hindustan Times

Party in progress’, ‘Wild Girls’, and ‘Bachelorette Zone’, ‘Never trust a man who doesn’t drink,’ shriek the posters in Rittika Sareen’s studios. From selling party props to coordinating with celebrity agents, Sareen ensures rocking parties for her clients.

“When I partied as a teenager, I used to feel the need for planners who could offer all essentials for a party under one roof. Later I went to study design in London and after returning exploited my creative abilities to make props and décor for party venues,” says Sareen, a BA in interior design from London’s University of Arts.

While conceptualising props, Sareen lets her creative juices flow and designs ‘appealing and novel’ products. From playing card and beer glass holders to T-shirts and posters, everything has to be unique. “Every host wants props that have not been seen elsewhere. They (the props) should not lie unnoticed in one corner of a room. So, I conceive quirky designs and concepts which draw eyeballs,” she says. Once a prop is designed, she reaches out to socially hyperactive friends for feedback.

Sareen has a number of products designed to offer her clients — so they have a choice while planning a party. Not many planners, however, do this. Planner Nishant gets them customised to clients’ needs. “Some people come up with very offbeat themes, for which props or costumes aren’t available in the market. In such cases, we have to get them made,” he says.

At times, strange requests can leave a planner foxed. Planner Sahiba Singh was once requested to work on the theme of the Salman Khan-starrer Partner and had to convince the client to change his mind. Rejecting requests, however, is not the norm. She has organised parties on themes such as magic, the lotus flower, the Victorian era, and even candles.

Sareen’s clients are as diverse as her props. “I get to meet university students, doctors, lawyers, businessmen and corporate executives of all age groups. When I entered the profession, I used to think that my clients would only be young people,” says Sareen.

Living upto clients’ high expectations is no mean task. Nishant, who has been in the business for around a decade, says, “the client wants the best deal in the lowest budget possible. Even after you make certain commitments to the client, s/he often goes overboard with his/her demands,” he says.

What's it about?
Party planners make arrangements for parties, mostly private on occasions such as Diwali, Christmas or birthdays, for their clients. They arrange for the venue, organise the décor and buy props to match the theme and invite celebrities, if any, to the party

Clock Work
10 am: Talk to the client to take briefing on event
11 pm: Call up vendors to place orders for décor, props and transport
4 pm: Meet the vendor(s)
7 pm: Visit the party venue
9 pm: Stay on once it begins to ensure everything is coordinated well

The Payoff
If you run your own office, then money is never fixed. And the income also depends on the season and clientele. A party planner might earn anywhere between Rs50,000 to Rs1 lakh or even more during the wedding and festival season encompassing the months October to February. During the lull, one earns very little

Skills
. Creativity is imperative
. You must have a passion for parties. Only a good party person can become a good party planner
. Being able to understand human behaviour gives you an edge
. Good administrative skills as you have to deal with several people from clients to vendors and clinch the best deals
. Honesty and dedication to the job and ability to stick to commitments as the clients’ reputation depends on their parties/events

How do i get there?
You must be creative and an avid party person before you even think of becoming a party planner. You can do a course in event management to become a professional. In case you want to enter the creative side of this profession, you can also study product or interior design. Before setting up an office, planners must have wide network of party-goers who can be their potential clients

Institutes & urls
. Diploma/ postgraduate diploma in events management from National Institute of Event Management, Mumbai and Pune.
www.niemindia.com
. BA (H) in events management from Leeds Metropolitan University, Bhopal
www.leedsmetindia.in
. Postgraduate diploma in events from the College of Events and Media, Pune
. Diploma/ postgraduate diploma in events management from Institute of Events Management, Amity University.
www.amity.edu/aiem

Pros & cons


.

Work is extremely exciting


.

Money is good especially during the festive or wedding season


.

Can move from party planning to event management, which can accelerate one’s professional growth


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It gets gruelling at times to handle demanding clients

It’s all about crises management

A senior practioner talks about her field, its challenges and opportunities

What skill sets do you look for when hiring new recruits?
We don’t go by the person’s qualification. One has to be spontaneous and must have good communication skills. Even if someone has studied event management or even has an MBA degree, we test him/her on these yardsticks.

Does age also have a bearing on a planner’s productivity?
Yes, it does. We normally hire young people in the age group of 21-25 to do the running around and execution while the older folk are hired to deal with clients who are normally the crème de la crème of society. Sometimes situations spin out of control and a younger person might feel clueless about things.

The profession is all about crises management

You worked in the hospitality and advertising sector before foraying into party management. Can one shift between industries?
Yes, after all it’s people’s business. In all the sectors I worked, I used to service people. Other finer details of the profession can be learnt once you enter the business.

How is the party scene in Delhi? Do people spend a lot of money even on pre-Diwali cards party or Halloween?
Yes, people do spend a lot of money. Depending on the venue and the number of people who are invited at the bash, a host can spend anywhere between R2 lakh to R25 lakh. For the host, it is a status symbol. Guests too have high expectations — depending on the status of the host.

How is the Indian party scene different from that of the Western world?
In Western countries, when a banquet or a hotel is hired, the host doesn’t consider it wise to spend on its décor or beautification. When those people pay for the venue, they think it’s pointless to spend over and above it.

On the other hand, Indians like opulence. They want larger-than-life things, which means increased billing and in turn, more business for people like us.

What are the challenges?
The work is very creative and taxing at the same time. You can’t sell an idea again and again, especially when the guest list is the same for two parties.

Recently, we organised a party on the theme of luxury cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini and we organised around half-a-dozen such cars at the venue. We are now organising a Sufi night in which Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is going to perform.

Lalita Raghav, GM (events and wedding), Ferns N Petals Interviewed by Vimal Chander Joshi

First Published: Nov 23, 2010 10:07 IST