How to become an Event and Wedding Planner in Alaska

Successfully planning and executing any event can be an overwhelming task which is why many people turn to professional event planners to get the job done. These people will work to design and execute an event from start to finish, typically having a hand in every aspect of the event. As an event planner, you can expect to perform some of the following duties on the job:

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  • Consult with clients to discuss budget and scope of events
  • Communicate with event venues, caterers and entertainers

Create budgets and prepare financial reconciliation

  • Sales and marketing
  • Creating contractual documents
  • Monitor events and troubleshoot problems

To be successful in the field, an event planner needs to be highly organized, detail-oriented, creative, problem-solving, and an excellent communicator. The ability to troubleshoot problems on the fly and remain calm during stressful situations are vital attributes. Those interested in the industry should know that long hours including evenings and weekends, are the norm. However, with the right experience and connections, this career can prove quite lucrative.

A person interested in becoming a wedding planner can expect to perform similar duties as an event planner but are generally self-employed, so some type of formal business training could be highly beneficial, especially if you’re planning to grow and hire employees in the future.

What is Required?

The state of Alaska does not have any regulations requiring those interested in the events and wedding planning industry to obtain formal training. However, many organizations such as hotels and convention centers will need candidates to have some official schooling to consider them for employment. If you have decided to open your own business, having some type of formal education on your resume can go a long way to instilling trust in your capabilities. Many programs will offer on-the-job training such as internships which can be invaluable for gaining much-needed hands-on experience.

Some students will study in event planning or event management, but others will come to the profession from areas such as hospitality, communications, or even public relations.

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK: A medium-sized public university offering 1 Hospitality certificate program
  • University of Alaska, Anchorage, Anchorage, AK: A very large public university offering 1 Hospitality bachelors program
  • University of Alaska, Southeast, Juneau, AK: A small public university offering both certificate and bachelor programs

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 18 percent growth in the events industry from 2020 – 2031. Within the state of Alaska, the number of jobs available is expected to rise by 15,200, which is at least 8 percent. This may not sound ideal given how much the rest of the nation is set to grow, but the sparse population of Alaska needs to be taken into account in this instance. The average salary for an event planner in the U.S in 2020 was $51,560 per year. in Alaska, the median wage is slightly better at $55,890 per year.

Much of this job growth is estimated to be a direct result of the ongoing recovery of the events sector from the Covid-19 crisis.

Working Opportunities in Alaska

Being one of the more remote locations in the states, someone in event/wedding planning would do best to look to the larger population centers when looking for employment. Convention centers, hotels, and government or tourist organizations are good places to look.

The top 3 largest population centers in Alaska are:

  • Anchorage at 293,531
  • Juneau at 32,227
  • Fairbanks at 31,551

LinkedIn currently lists 34 active Events Coordinator jobs and 53 active Events Management jobs in Alaska.