Mae West famously said that “too much of a good thing can be wonderful,” but I'm not so sure.
Just before we went trick-or-treating on Halloween, I took my young son to the hardware store for some odd light bulb. The rows and rows of Halloween decorations that had fascinated him just the week before were gone, out, vanished. In their place, clerks were setting up rows and rows of Christmas trees, Christmas reindeer, Christmas Santas.
My son at first was enchanted, then began to seem faintly uneasy. “You know, something's missing,” I said to him. “And it's Thanksgiving!”
I've surprised myself that I've become a little jaded about special events, and it's simply because I've seen so many gorgeous ones. I decide against covering this or that wedding because it doesn't seem particularly special — and these are weddings that are far more beautiful than my own was.
What brings back all my energy and enthusiasm for events is the annual visit from the members of the Special Events Magazine Advisory Board to pick the Gala Award nominees. The board members spend several days in our offices poring over the entries.
Our judges are, of course, event experts. Each has been in this business for years, and many have Gala trophies of their own. They have designed, created, seen thousands of splendid events, and if anyone has a right to be jaded about events, they do. But they aren't.
While the judges are at work, we editors scurry around refilling coffee cups and collecting scoring sheets. And this is when I often watch one judge look up from an entry and call over another judge to say, “Wow, you've got to see what they did here!”
The judges are genuinely impressed by a beautiful design, clever logistics or a striking tent, and they want that work to be recognized. You can see the work they chose to honor in this issue, both in the Gala Award nominee list and our annual look at great tented events.
This issue also brings our annual list of 25 top DMCs, which begins on page 35. The Association of Destination Management Executives is launching a new program to raise the level of professionalism with its Destination Management Company Accreditation distinction.
Special event professionals consistently show me an appreciation of fine work plus the determination to aim higher. You encourage and inspire me. That's a great gift.