Life On The Job


Events Coordinator: Steven Duggan


Steve Duggan

The following is from an interview with Steve in Total Jobs:

Celebrity event planner and designer Steven Duggan has certainly done a lot with his career. Now at the top of his game with his own events company, Steven has organised parties and special events for big name celebrities including Sir Elton John, Adele, Simon Cowell and Leona Lewis.

So it seems only right that we asked Steven how he became a event planner, what it’s really like and what skills he thinks you need in order to become a successful event planner…

How did you become an event planner?

Planning parties and organising special occasions for people has always been a strong passion of mine. I had a vision and stood by what I wanted through hard work and dedication to the industry.

I found myself being accepted into a very large and successful event planning company that specialised in parties such as ‘My super sweet 16’ and extravagant events worldwide. I gained experience through several other companies which then led me to risk it all and form my own company which has become the gem it is today!

His work



What’s been your favourite event to do?

Some of my most famous clients have to be Adele and Elton John. For Adele I created an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party for close family and friends. It was wonderfully intricate party which I thoroughly enjoyed. Elton’s party was equally wonderful for his valet’s birthday party.

The most satisfying event we ever created was the ‘Willy Wonka’ event for a company Christmas party. It wasn’t the largest party we created but the detail and essence or magic and fantasy was truly captured. Features such as large artificial oak trees smothered in hanging sweets, large flower and sweet props, toadstool furniture and live Oompa Lumpas walking through the event themed to Disney’s classic tunes. There were hills to climb, lollipops to hang out of, overhead festoon lights and tables full of wonka treats!

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I love making people’s dreams become a reality. Through initial meetings with the client I try and interpret their ideas, as everyone has their idea of a perfect party. Once I have everything designed and built I can stand back and watch the look on the clients face. But that’s far from my job over as I need to ensure that everything runs smoothly throughout the event.

What are the downsides of the job?

Downsides?! Haha I suppose you could argue that the hours can be slightly anti-social sometimes as I have to work evening and weekends around the standard 9-5.

I also often finding myself jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to check some minor detail for a party. But that’s me being a perfectionist, and the hours come with the nature of the work!

Work



What skills do you think are important in an event planner?

There are many skills which you need to have to be a successful event planner because the job role itself is so diverse and you need to be in control of any situation. Everyone turns to the event manager if something isn’t running as it should.

You should first and foremost be confident and a “people person.” You are constantly in contact with other people, negotiating with suppliers or meeting with a famous client so you have to be able to meet them all and be professional at all times.

Obviously you need to be organised (and I’m not just talking about the state of your bedroom at home) and be able to have a million things on your mind. Come event time it’s your responsibility to know exactly where everything is going and when.

Being able to keep calm while you’re being shouted at by several people at one time is key. If you can’t deal well with stress you’re in the wrong game!

Work


An average day for an events planner…

Every morning the first thing I do is reply to all of my emails and begin our daily meeting. In this meeting we update the client list, do a campaign breakdown on the wall and set targets for the day. I think it’s important to motivate the team first thing in the morning to make sure we achieve something that day and feel good about it, so we always begin on a positive.

The events business can be very tough especially when you are pitching such a large spend in the middle of a recession, so we treat each situation very seriously as the clients’ money is essentially in our hands. We arrange a point of contact in the morning to reassure our clients and keep them updated with the progress of their event, which is always appreciated.

I deal with everyone from previous clients, potential clients, suppliers, our PR agency and other contacts in the industry with similar interests.

If I have an event to design, I’m either preparing a proposal with drawings and fine details to do with the event, putting together a quotation or forming new company documents. Designing our events takes a lot of time and thought, mainly because we feel so passionate about all of the features and layouts being drafted.

Some of our events are large scale so for this I would be using some architectural techniques including space plans and people flow charts.

The budget of the event does not change the way we do things even if it is a small dining experience, every client receives the same treatment.

My advice to anyone who wants to work as an events planner

In today’s job market it’s all about experiences that you’ve gained. I don’t necessarily want someone who has got the best grades from the best school. I want someone who has experienced different things from their lives already, learning life lessons from themselves.

I get a lot of people applying for jobs, I would love to employ the majority of the applicants that I get, but realistically I can’t afford it. It’s a tough business to get into, so don’t be defeated. Be persistent and different! And do as much work experience as you can! (Source: Total Jobs)

Education

Steven  studied Interior Architecture at Trinity College Dublin and then later studied Events and PR at King's College London.

He began his career working on My super Sweet 16 parties for MTV and found himself drawn to the art behind creating events. (Source: Hello!)

He started his own company in 2010.

Links

Steven Duggan - website

Steven Duggan website


Luxurious Magazine

Luxurious Magazine


Hello!

Hello
 

YouTube: Event planner to the stars

https://youtu.be/ZlT-TbjMmlM

 

YouTube: Narnia Christmas party

https://youtu.be/Xp_8rseBBrc

 

YouTube: Steven Duggan Events Weddings at Four Season Hotel Hampshire

https://youtu.be/CsgQnbeamlE

 

 


Activities

Invitations are going out!

 MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary  

Critical & Creative ThinkingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical & Creative Thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

1. View the Themes that Steve Duggan has developed:

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2. With a partner, look at these themes and decide which one you like the most. Choose this one to  design a beautiful invitation befitting Steve!

Ensure each invite includes all relevant details to the event including:  

  • Who is inviting them

  • Date & Time

  • Venue

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