12 Best Party Planners in Chicago


What is a party planner?

Planning a party can be overwhelming, if not downright daunting, especially if you’re expecting a large gathering. Enter the party planner, a professional who’ll take care of every bit of planning for your event.

Also called a party coordinator, a party planner is responsible for the management and coordination of all aspects of a party. Although party planners offer a wide range of services, most of them handle party planning duties that include:

  • They find, qualify, and book vendors, such as caterers, MCs, entertainers, etc.
  • They come up with an idea for party decor and theme
  • They coordinate party setup and ensure thorough cleanup when the event is over
  • They design and install floral arrangements, decorations, and other party hardware
  • They make party favors
  • They coordinate major aspects of the party during the big day

No matter type and size of your party, you can count on a skilled and experienced party coordinator to make it successful. All Chicago party planners worth their salt have the right set of communication, time management, and organizational skills.

How much does a party planner cost?

You can expect to pay between $500 and $750 for party planning services in the US. That’s the national average cost of hiring a party planner, but what you’ll pay will depend on a number of cost factors. These include how complex your party is, the rate of the party planner, and more.

– How complex is your party?

The complexity of your party is one of the most significant cost factors when hiring a coordinator. The more complex, larger, and more elaborate your party, the higher the rate for hiring your Chicago party planners.

For an elaborate party, the planner will have to deal with more moving parts, manage more vendors, and more sources of stress, which leads to a higher cost of party planning services to you. Here are aspects that can make your party more complex:

  • Decorations – Putting together elaborate décor and floral arrangements require a lot of thought and time to execute
  • Guest number – naturally, your party will become tougher to plan when the number of guests is high
  • Venue – if the planner has to find, book, and decorate the venue, that means more planning to do
  • Vendors – you’ll need more vendors to cater to more guests, which leads to complex vendor management, as the planner has to supervise vendors, negotiate rates, pull together vendor contracts, and whatnot
  • Coordination – your planner will need to talk to you, vendors and other people involved more often if there are more moving parts
  • Rentals – more stuff you need to rent means more planning

As you can see, there are many elements at play and each one can add to the complexity of the party. Eventually, this will also factor into the cost equation.

For instance, a small, 15-child birthday party will cost you around $550 in party planning services. On the other hand, a large themed party of 150 adult guests and several outside vendors may set you back $6,500 in party planner fee.

– Rate

Chicago party planners use different payment models. Some charge hourly rates, while others prefer a flat fee or commission. You may also come across party coordinates who charge a percentage of the total budget of the party.

  • Hourly rate: Chicago party planners charge an average hourly rate of between $73 and $200, which is slightly higher than the national average of between $50 and $150. If you want to hire a party planner on a consulting basis, this may be a great option for you.
  • Percentages: Some Chicago party planners charge a percentage of the total cost of the party. The average percentage ranges from 10% and 15%, which is surprisingly a bit lower than the national average (15-20%). If you’re throwing a multi-vendor or large party, you’ll save money through this option.
  • Commissions and flat fees: If your planner prefers to charge a flat fee, you will get the quote after they evaluate the planning needs of your party.

Are there party planners in Chicago?

Yes, Chicago has a wide variety of party planners. The vast majority charge an hourly rate. You’ll also find percentage-based, commission-based, and flat fee-based Chicago party planners.

Why should you use a local party planner?

In general, hiring a party planner can take a lot of stress and guesswork out of party planning. They will take care of every little detail of your party. For example, a great Chicago party planner will help you with finding and booking the best venue.

More than that, the planner will help figure out seating, entertainment, food & drinks, and decorations, making your party a seamless, smooth, and unique event. They’re great at planning, coordination, and vendor management.

Remember, you don’t need a planner to do every bit of planning and execution. If you don’t have a big party budget, you can get a party planner to play consultant to polish your decoration and theme ideas, so you can do the rest yourself.

For a large party, for instance, you can hire a planner to deal with finding the venue, booking entertainment, and vendor management. This will free up your time and attention, so you can focus on day-of logistics, décor, and invitations.

Of course, there are plenty of other benefits that come with hiring a local Chicago party planner. These include:

  • Relationship with local vendors – They have knowledge of the local event planning market. That means your local party planner will have access to services, vendors, and things you can dream of. They work constantly to be in the good books of caterers, venue operators, suppliers, and other vendors, meaning you’ll get the best people at the best rates.
  • Knows the ins and outs of an area – Not only do local party planners have access to a wide array of vendors and suppliers, but they also know the market and area inside out. You can rest assured that you will get a ton of amazing party ideas that go perfectly with the local area and your budget
  • Access to fantastic discounts – This is one of the biggest reasons to go local. These event planners have worked with so many local vendors and suppliers that they know who offers the best rates and services. Local party planners can save you a ton of money through vendor relationships and industry discounts – often upwards of 15%.
  • Easy communication – No matter what your party is, there’s going to be some last-minute changes and mishaps can happen. That’s why it’s best to hire a local planner whom you can reach in the shortest time possible.

Do party planners travel?

Having a professional, friendly, and experienced party planner on your side will take a lot of party planning responsibility off your plate. But do they travel?

Yes, many party planners do travel, but this depends on the person or company. This can be an hour car trip or even a flight if you are putting on a large party.

But for the reasons we listed above, local is nice.

What type of parties can a party planner plan?

Chicago party planners offer a wide variety of party planning services. They have a knack for throwing all kinds of parties, which include but not limited to:

  • Holiday events
  • Memorials
  • Graduation parties
  • Work and wedding anniversaries
  • Teen parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Bat and bar mitzvahs
  • Corporate/end-year/company holiday parties
  • Charity events and fundraiser parties
  • Bachelorette and bachelor parties
  • Wedding parties
  • Baptism and christening parties

In our list, we listed areas of expertise to give you a basic idea of their scope of work. No matter what type of event you’re planning, you can expect the planner to help you with almost every detail. They can help figure out the venue, food and drinks, décor, parking, setup & cleanup, entertainment, vendors, and day-of coordination. Don’t forget that you don’t have to hire a planner for everything – you can get as much or as little planning help as you want.

Can a party planner cope with unforeseen changes?

Party planners have seen it all and done it all. As such, if a situation is truly out of control and puts your event in jeopardy, Chicago party planners can handle obstacles well.

What are the qualifications needed to become a party planner?

  • Well-trained and knowledgeable – there’s no set requirement for a party planner, but many have bachelor’s degrees and relevant experience before branching out on their own. Most of them have earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, business, communication, public relations, marketing, or tourism management.
  • Certified – The best party planners in Chicago boast a variety of events planning certifications, including CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional), CPCE (Certified Professional in Catering and Events), and CMP (Certified Meetings Professional).
  • Event planning essential skills – The best party coordinators are known for their spectacular communication, time management, and organization skills
  • Experienced – Most of them have hands-on experience spanning 2 or more years

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours researching these qualifications. For you, we made sure to include legitimate companies or people, with raving testimonials.

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