Wednesday Wisdom: 15 of the Best Event Planning Niches

The industry outlook for event planning is extremely positive. It’s growing faster on average than any other occupation and is expected to maintain this upward trend well through 2026, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in order to add event planning to your resume, you’ll need to get specific in terms of what kinds of events you specialize in. Each one presents its own unique challenges and rewards, which is why taking the time to consider your options is a smart move.

Choosing one or two event planning niches will determine what types of event planning services you offer – not to mention how much you’ll most likely earn! Here’s all the info you could possibly want on choosing a niche along with details on each listed event planning idea for your business that’ll help find the best ones for you.

How to Choose the Best Event Planning Niche

Experts say that limiting your event planning niches to one or two different types will make your business easier to market, promote, and grow. Here’s an overview of how most people decide what to focus on:

  • Market Demand. Choose an event type that is in high demand near where you live and/or want to work. For example, if you reside in a rural area that is hard to travel to, you probably won’t have many conferences coming your way.
  • Desired Income. This is especially important if your event planning business will be your main career and not just a lucrative hobby (both of which are equally valid options by the way). To figure out what you could potentially earn, gather data like average industry salary reports, how many events you can realistically take on per year without burning out, and which areas you already have client leads or a network in.
  • Passion. Learning how to find your event planning niche can be challenging. So if you’ve figured out which high demand niches meet your salary needs but you still have some options to choose between, it’s best to go with your gut.

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15 Main Event Planning Niches

All event planning niches fall under two main categories: corporate and private. Corporate events are typically business related while private events are for individuals, but there can be some overlap between them. For example, a business might hire you to do a baby shower at their office for an employee. Or a company holiday party might take place at someone’s home using their personal funding.

Besides these possibilities, there might also be opportunities to specialize in one corporate niche along with one private niche, depending on the decision factors we mentioned above. Say you have a knack for adventure tourism and itinerary planning but can’t decide between focusing on corporate or private events. One solution would be to offer both corporate bonding retreat planning and bachelorette party packages with action-packed activities such as skydiving, hot air ballooning, etc.

In other words, don’t be afraid to get creative with your selection process! Now let’s dive into these niche event ideas for planners.

Corporate Event Planning

Choosing between corporate events versus private events comes down to three things: your level of desired emotional attachment, your interest in following tradition, and your previous work experience. Corporate events are great for event planners who prefer not to get too personally involved in relationships with clients and consider themselves more of a rule breaker type.

Salary: The average corporate event planner salary is anywhere from $36,000 to $68,000 depending on your experience level, niche, and location. If you are employed as a full time event planner by a business, you can even expect benefits packages and possible raises and/or bonuses over time.

But what you gain in perks you sacrifice in freedom – you’ll be planning events regardless of whether or not they interest you and you won’t have much say in your day to day schedule.

How to break into corporate event planning: The nice thing about corporate event planning is that it can blend nicely with your current profession. You’ll have the option to start your own side business, ask for more event planning responsibilities at your current job, or use your work contacts to help you strike out on your own.

1. Corporate Meeting & Seminar Planner

According to EventMB, over 46% of event organizers plan seminars and workshops. This might be due to the fact that these event types happen so much more frequently and consistently than most others! Also, if you’re curious about the differences between meetings and seminars, check out this helpful event planning guide.

Example Events:

  • Personal Development Seminars. Tony Robbins has a very popular one called, “Unleash the Power Within”, featuring the guru himself along with guest presenters over a three and a half day event.
  • Small Business Owner Workshops. The Small Business Expo regularly features a series of workshops alongside their main event where attendees can learn experts, discover new strategies, and keep up with the latest trends.

Resources & Tools:

2. Corporate Bonding Retreat Planner

Industry experts say that corporate retreats are trending again. Only this time they’re far more luxurious, adventurous, and more highly anticipated than ever before thanks to things like helicopter tours and authentic culinary classes making up their itineraries.

Example Events:

  • Espionage-Themed Adventure Game. The team at Genentech got to bond over this 007 style day retreat.
  • Island Takeovers. One event planning company actually chartered a yacht for a group of employees at Lyft who got to spend the day on a private island.

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3. Charity & Non-Profit Event Planner

Why not use your event planning powers for good? If raising awareness or money is your jam, maybe you can help increase the number of people currently participating in causes near and dear to their hearts (in America, fundraising statistics say that’s only 18% of the population – maybe you can bump that number up further)!

Example Events:

  • Fundraising Gala. The world famous MET gala attracts celebrities and fashion moguls alike to raise money for Anna Wintour’s renowned benefit.
  • Nonprofit Conference. Engage for Good is actually a conference for professionals in the industry.

Resources & Tools:

  • Check out the Social Tables Guide to charity event planning for how to create an event of this kind in 5 simple steps.
  • This amusing GIF compilation from Classy that explains what it’s really like to be a nonprofit event planner.

4. Conference Planner

Conferences can be large, multi-day affairs with thousands of speakers and participants or smaller, more niche day-long get togethers for specialists of all kinds. You can choose to focus on conference planning by size, location, and/or industry.

Example Events:

  • International Non-Profit Multi-Genre Entertainment Conventions. San Diego Comic Con hosts celebrities and fans of all things geek and sells out every year.
  • Sustainability Conference. Farmers who own small-scale or family farms in California gather for this event to learn how to improve both the environmental and financial aspects of rural communities.

Resources & Tools:

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5. Trade Show Planner

Trade show planning requires a lot of strategy, creativity, and a thorough knowledge of sales. Most beginners find that having a strong foundation in trade show practices and knowledge of corporate event planning is all you really need to get started.

Example Events:

  • Media & Business Summit. E3 is well known for featuring invite-only access to the gaming and entertainment industry’s most exclusive new releases.
  • B2B Trade Show. The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition is a business-to-business trade show is the leading forum for business owners, farmers, and suppliers who work in this fast-growing industry.

Resources & Tools:

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6. Golf Event Coordinator

Yes, it’s a real job. Tournaments and charity events will be your bread and butter in this niche, however you may find yourself becoming a special events planner (or even doing marketing for) the venues themselves.

Example Events:

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7. Networking Event Planner

According to a research by AgencyEA, 75% of surveyed event attendees said that networking and making connections was important to them. You could be the person who makes those opportunities come to life if you choose this event planning niche.

Example Events:

  • Happy Hours. WeMeet hosts a free monthly happy hour for professionals in the San Francisco tech industry who want to mix and mingle.
  • Summits Spin Offs. At Forbes’ 30 Under 30 event, they offered weekend long volunteer opportunities for attendees who wanted to do good while getting a chance to meet and interact with one another.  

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8. Experiential Event Planner

65% of brands say that events and experiential programs are directly related to sales. And despite what you may think about business related events, there is actually a lot of room to be creative in this niche. Experiential events have to leave an impression on their audiences, which often means planning an event that has never been done before.

Example Events:

  • Pop Ups. Despite being an event for an online retailer, BarkShop Live spent one week in Manhattan, camped outside of a dog-centric store, encouraging passerby and their furry best friends to take their toys for a test drive.
  • Product or Service Launches. To promote their new direct flight routes from New York to Palm Springs, JetBlue froze vacation goods in giant ice blocks and invited people to hack away with whatever they had on them. Participants were allowed to keep the expensive prizes.

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9. VIP Event Planner

The Harvard Business Review Analytics Service published a study that named VIP events as one of the top most popular event types, meaning there’s lots of opportunities available for event planners who choose this niche. VIPs can range from top grossing clients to celebrities to company executives, and everyone in between. They can be standalone events or added experiences (by invitation or through advanced ticketing).

But no matter who attends or what the format is, a VIP event planner will be responsible for making the whole experience a little extra special and out of the ordinary.

Example Events:

  • Behind-the-Scenes. VIP attendees of CloudFest were treated to a special Kitchen Party at a luxurious hotel that allowed them to get a sneak peek at the of gourmet and celebrity chefs.
  • Add-On Perks. Festivals of all kinds usually offer VIP packages for sale and Coachella is no exception. Their VIP tickets are double the cost of general admission and include perks like access to a more comfortable attendance experience and specialty dining options not available elsewhere at the event.

Resources & Tools:

  • Eventistry by Alecia has some firsthand tips on how to make VIP events a success along with other event planning tips on her blog that will definitely help those just getting started in the field.
  • Bizzabo has even more VIP event ideas listed on their site.

10. Award Ceremony Planner

Did you know that corporate award winners had 37% more sales growth and 44% higher stock price return than their peers? It’s true! And you could be the person who plans, designs, and puts on the event that makes it all possible.

Example Events:

  • Lifetime Achievement. Events that honor individuals, like the Outlier Award Gala held by Trace3, gives the winner a once-in-a-lifetime experience and adds value to the community who joins in the celebration through networking opportunities and a generally good time.
  • Industry Recognition. The MarCom Awards are an international competition honoring excellence in marketing, offers winner cash prizes and widespread recognition for their achievements.

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Private Event Planning

Sure corporate events are lucrative and allow you to be creative, but what about your ability to work from home, control your schedule, and decide for yourself what your yearly income looks like? Whether you start your own private events business or join forces with an established company, planning private events is a great option for those who want a break from the 9 to 5 or really just love helping individuals plan celebrations for friends and family.  

Salary: Although you may or may not have the option to receive benefits if you choose to work for someone else, a private event planner’s salary is usually only limited to what niche they choose, how many clients they have, and how many hours they are willing to work.

How to start a private event planning business: Starting an event planning business can be an easy and fun process if you have the right tools and information.  

As far as how long it takes to start a business, just remember this rule of thumb: it always take twice as long and costs twice as much than you think it will, so double your estimations now in order to achieve your goals within a realistic timeline.

1. Milestone Birthday & Anniversary Planner

Cultural events, adorable children’s parties, and important family events all fall under this umbrella of lovely event planning opportunities for professionals in this niche. Your fee for these event planning services will typically range from $25 to $100 an hour depending on your level of experience, your portfolio, the size of the party, and the location.

Example Events:

  • Celebrity Kids Birthday Parties. One lucky event planner got to organize a Pokemon themed pool party for Britney Spears’s young sons.
  • Township Anniversaries. Who said they were just for married couples? The town of Watsonville celebrated their 150th anniversary with a day-long festival, numerous historic walking tours, and lots of great themed events both on and offline.

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2. Wedding Planner

Whether you choose to offer wedding consultations, day-of coordinating, full service planning – or a combination of all three – you’ll find that the wedding planning niche can be particularly lucrative. Just look at any wedding planner cost analysis and you’ll see why.

Example Events:

  • Destination Ceremonies. Ruffles & Tweed wedding planners put together a private wedding on Elihu Island that required a dedicated coordinating efforts with both vendors and guests. And the bride said it turned out beautifully.
  • Honeymoon Travel. You can specialize even further by offering honeymoon planning as your primary or secondary service offering, like In Style Weddings does for clients like Lindsey who loved her hassle free vacation.

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3. Baby & Bridal/Wedding Shower Planner

When you compare baby showers from now and in the past, you can instantly see the event  has changed a lot. For example, traditional stork images were in and gift giving was out, says one baby shower etiquette book from 1937. Baby showers and bridal showers go well together because they are both typically day time events where women (or those who identify as female) gather together to celebrate milestone events related to womanhood. Plus, if you plan an excellent bridal shower, there is always the possibility that the client will return if she ever decides to have kids!

Event Examples:

  • Professional Wine Tasting Event. For one modern bride’s shower, she decided to work with an event planner to find a sommelier who led guests through what they called Wine Tasting 101.
  • A Parisian Themed Shower. One bride loved Paris so much she asked her planner to make it her central theme, complete with striking black and white stripes, roses, and pearls.

Resources & Tools:

  • This reasonably priced baby shower ebook by Unoriginal Mom has lots of useful printables for planners.
  • Etsy has over 3,000 results for bridal shower planners, ranging from event timelines to budget tools to printable checklists.

4. Bachelorette Party Planner

Sometimes a bride doesn’t want to burden her Maid of Honor or friends with making these arrangements (let alone asking them to foot the bill), which is exactly where you come in. So if you’re a scheduling pro who knows her city inside and out, thinks being besties with the bride-to-be is #goals, and enjoys going out just as much as the bridal party, then this niche is for you. Bachelorette party planners located in cities known for this type of event (think Vegas, Nashville, and New Orleans) might have an easier time finding clients, but small towns have plenty of opportunities for enterprising event organizers who aren’t afraid to get a little creative.

Event Examples:

  • Sophisticated Slumber Party. aMOHzing & aBROzing Event Planning helped one bride keep it classy with an intimate evening filled with friends and upscale versions of their most nostalgic childhood girl bonding activities.
  • All-Inclusive Resort Weekend. One American bride envisioned her bachelorette party as a Mexican getaway, which is exactly what Bach to Basic did for this completely customized international experience.

Resources & Tools:

  • The Bridal Guide has some great methods for how to throw an awesome bachelorette party, regardless of whether the bride prefers spas or shots.
  • Stag & Hen is an online shop with exceptionally cute party souvenirs, accessories, and outfits you can offer in your planning packages.

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5. Holiday Party Planner

What’s nice about this final category is you can become a holiday party planner for both private and corporate events when you’re just starting out, then narrow your focus on one area after you figure out what you like better. For private holiday parties, you’ll want to have a list of great caterers, chefs, and bartenders ready to go in your bag of tricks. It also doesn’t hurt to have some exclusive venue partnerships, since popular event spaces will likely book out way ahead of time for certain holidays, depending on where you live.

Event Examples:

  • Halloween and Haunted House Party. Party Planners LA will transform their client’s home into a full-on professional production, complete with fire swallowers, psychics, and projection mapping for special effects.
  • Community Holiday Events. Holiday parties can be held for entire groups who have the same religion/spiritual beliefs, happen to be related, or even people who just live in the same zip code. The Los Feliz Business Improvement District worked with an event planner to come up with and execute party ideas like complimentary trolleys around town, ornament decorating workshops, and soup kitchen volunteer groups at their village holiday festival.

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After you select an event planning niche, here’s what’s next

After you’ve decided what niche you’ll prioritize for your event planning career, you’ll need to get started with some other business basics. Things like setting up an event planning website, that drive business, should be at the top of your to do list.

Guide: How to Create an Event Planning Checklist