Reflecting on 20 Years of Event Planning: Then and Now - Calgary Event Planner

Reflecting on 20 Years of Event Planning: Then and Now

As I celebrate my 20th anniversary as an event planner, it’s a perfect time to take a retrospective journey and assess the changes, transformations, and improvements that have occurred over the past two decades in the industry.

Certain elements that were once commonplace in events have gradually faded away in recent times.

Optics and Liability

For instance, the era of Host bars, where excess drinking was the norm during corporate events like stampedes or holiday parties, has given way to a more responsible approach. Companies now prioritize attendee enjoyment while also considering the potential liability and optics associated with excessive drinking.

Moreover, the prevalence of comedians as entertainment during dinner has diminished. With the increasing emphasis on political correctness, the unpredictability and potential for offense have made comedians a less common choice for corporate events.

Sit Down Receptions

In the past, sit-down receptions were the standard format for corporate dinners. However, a shift towards stand-up receptions has taken place, allowing guests to mingle freely and come and go as they please. This change has fostered a more relaxed and dynamic atmosphere at events. If you want to read more – we write about this a little while back. Stand up receptions-is-your business ready to make the switch.

In recent years, notable changes have emerged in various aspects of event planning.

Event Inclusivity

We have witnessed a tremendous transformation over the past decade. A decade ago, organizing a corporate holiday event featuring Drag Queens may have been considered daring (I may have done this and lost a client over it). However, in recent years, the corporate community in Calgary has wholeheartedly embraced these events, and they have become increasingly prevalent. Which tells me that I was just a tad ahead of the trend.

The focus on supporting local businesses has also gained momentum. The preference for locally sourced goods, services, and food has created a special sense of pride in informing guests that their attendance at an event contributes to sustaining the local economy.

Additionally, dietary considerations have evolved beyond vegetarianism and nut allergies. While lactose intolerance and celiac disease were somewhat known terms 20 years ago, they have become more prevalent concerns in event planning, reflecting the increased awareness and accommodation of diverse dietary needs.

Eco-friendly events have become a prominent theme, as both the community and the global perspective have shifted towards sustainable practices. Conscious efforts to reduce consumption and minimize waste have reshaped event planning strategies and priorities.

Event Technology

The impact of technology on the event planning industry cannot be overlooked. From readily available event registration software to the revolutionary power of social media, technology has provided opportunities for clients with limited budgets to create a significant impact. Even photo booths, which were once large and involved expensive photography, have transformed into simple setups that guests can use independently. Digital photos now allow for easy sharing and dissemination.


Ultimately, one of the most rewarding aspects of the past 20 years has been witnessing the positive changes within the local event community. The introduction of key event partners has significantly transformed the event landscape in our city, fostering a more vibrant and successful industry.

As I look back on my two-decade journey as an event planner, I am grateful for the progress, innovation, and shifts that have taken place. The dynamic nature of the industry continually presents new challenges and opportunities, and I am excited to be part of an ever-evolving profession that continues to captivate and inspire.


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