My internship in event planning

Holli

HOLLI

Major: Business Administration –
Tourism & Hospitality
Management Option
Hometown: Lakewood, CO
Year: Senior

Growing up, I was always a typical girl, dreaming of princess dresses, flowers, good food, music, and eating yummy cake. So by the time I entered college, and needed to think about a career, I thought, why not take that little girl’s dream and turn it into reality? That’s when I decided to major in Business, focusing in Tourism/Hospitality Management, with an aim to find a career in the Wedding Planning and Event Coordinating industry.

It wasn’t until this past semester, Fall 2012, when I was able to take everything I learned in school and apply it to a real life setting. I got an internship with a small wedding and event planning company in Durango, called Celebrations. With a focus on wedding coordination, I did everything, from meeting with a bride and groom to learn about their wedding vision, to decorating the event space, to making bouquets of flowers, to breaking down and cleaning up. It was so much fun to bring these visions to life and create something so special for couples.

Weddings, however, were not that only event I got to partake in. This past fall was an exciting one at Celebrations because the abilities and expertise of the small company were tested when we received a phone call giving us 48 hours’ notice to plan and coordinate a 2,000 person event for Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan’s visit for Fort Lewis College. That was a completely different scene than I have ever experienced! We had to overnight pipe and drape curtains from Las Vegas, find a stage, set up a sound system, and assist news reporters and the media with setting up their gear. To make it more challenging, we had to make sure we were following all security requirements put in place by the secret service in terms of barrier placements, materials used, and who was allowed to help out with the event. It was so much fun to be part of the hustle and bustle of a much bigger event that I ever been part of.

Pre-reception set up for a wedding at Purgy's, Durango Mountain Resort
Pre-reception set up for a wedding at Purgy's, Durango Mountain Resort

When I thought things couldn’t get more exciting at my internship, I was given the opportunity to join the board of the Volunteers of America and help them plan Durango’s annual event “Chocolate Fantasia.” As part of the design team, I was responsible for helping the “Zoo” theme come alive. We decided to put up a backdrop at the Durango Fairgrounds and make it 3-D with plants and animals popping out of the sides. We had vines and grass and leaves hanging from every corner of the building, and the best part was bringing in a local trapeze company to dress up as zoo animals while doing tricks above all of the chocolate desserts. It was amazing!

Having an internship was not only fun, but also gave me first-hand experience working in a field I am interested in. I also got college credit for it! In addition to planning awesome events, I learned so much more about running a small business, working with budgets, marketing, and customer service than I ever could have from a textbook or in a class room. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to learn from my internship and gain experience that can be applied in the real world. I highly suggest that all students take advantage of internships during their college career; they are fun, rewarding, and help prepare you for post-college life.

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Awards and Affiliations

Fort Lewis College is Colorado’s
Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges - COPLAC Public Liberal
Arts College
and a member of
The Princeton Review - Best in the West2013-14 Colleges of Distinction AwardForbes - America's Top Colleges