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Special Events

25 Years to Celebrate!

It has been 25 years since Special Events Magazine's founding. Hundreds of issues later, it celebrates a quarter century of trends, ideas and great stories as a champion publication. But like each story, there's a beginning — let's take a look back at how Special Events Magazine became today's industry leader.

Starting out small in 1982, the publication was once a little quarterly insert in a tool rental magazine. The humble start blossomed into its own international publication, adding a trade show conference — The Special Event was born in 1985 — a Web site and a weekly e-newsletter, Eventline.

Whether the theme focuses on a wedding or event entertainment, the publication continually piques readers' interest. One issue in particular was a highlight for Special Events Magazine editor Lisa Hurley. “Hands down, it has to be our September 2002 issue, which recapped the first 20 years of the magazine,” Hurley says, who joined the magazine in 1999. “It was wonderful learning how so many people who are now titans of the industry started out small. Of course, most of them had no idea they would wind up in special events; they had been everything from actors to bankers to social workers. But they had a passion for creating events, and the whole world opened up to events in the 1980s.”

Over the years, the special event profession has truly found a home in society. Hurley has enjoyed seeing how events win great recognition — how beautiful weddings are now the backbone of many magazines and TV shows. And experiential marketing events are the hottest vehicle in branding right now.

A priority at Special Events Magazine is to present information that addresses all the industry's disciplines. This can be wide-reaching. “Even if you're an in-house corporate planner who never has, never will put on a wedding, we hope that some aspect of an article we may run on a wedding — logistics, problem-solving, whatever — will have some application to the corporate events you create and make them more successful,” Hurley says.

In 1999 Special Events Magazine and ISES formed an alliance — one that paired the two, establishing a foundation for more growth. “Over the past 20-plus years, ISES members and Special Events Magazine have worked together, building professionalism in the events industry,” says ISES president Connie Riley, CSEP. “With the help of many dedicated volunteers, David DeLoach and I officially announced the ISES-Special Events Magazine Cooperative Alliance during the Opening Night Party at The Special Event 1999.”

The Cooperative Alliance united hundreds of individuals, presenting endless learning opportunities, while sharing industry trends and global standards. “By recognizing the competency of ISES members, Special Events Magazine allowed us to produce not only the Opening Night Party but the Gala Awards Celebration as well,” Riley says. “Our members are still actively involved in producing these incredible events for The Special Event Annual Conference and Trade Show.”

Talented professionals meet infinite opportunities through both Special Events Magazine and ISES. “In every way that we interact with ISES, we gain deeper insights into important trends and get the chance to peek into the minds of the best in the business,” Hurley says. From ISES to Special Events Magazine: Congratulations on 25 years!

Save the date: The Special Event 2008 runs Jan. 15-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. To learn more, please visit or call 866/486-0731or 708/486-0731. See you there!

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