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Special Events

I Learned it in Special Events

Welcome to our annual wedding issue — a rich mix of design, menu and venue ideas for unforgettable ceremonies.

Our reader base is broad — everything from event rental to decor to corporate to social. In every story we create, we strive to examine special events in ways that help all our readers work more effectively. Even if you never produce a wedding in your entire career, we hope you learn something from these pages that will make your next event even better.

Learning opportunities are everywhere. I learned plenty as president of my condo association some years ago. No. 1: People want things but they really don't want to pay for them. No. 2: The water heater for the building always stops working on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. No. 3: Plumbers charge triple-time on Labor Day weekend.

Much of being successful and happy in life is learning what matters and what doesn't matter. Here is what I learned from special events:

It doesn't matter that the owner of the catering company wears an Armani suit and alternates between a Porsche and a Jag. It matters how front-line catering staff perform their job and treat the guests.

When a client or a guest complains to you, it doesn't matter whose fault it is that the problem happened. (That can and should be looked into later.) It doesn't matter if you can't give that person everything he says he wants to solve the problem. It matters to hear him out, acknowledge that he has a concern and tell him he has a right to expect things to be right. Be honest about what you can and cannot do to fix the problem. Then do it.

It doesn't matter how many form letter or e-mail blast thanks-yous you send to clients or colleagues. It matters that you pick up the phone to place one personal call or — better yet — send one handwritten note. (I have a box on my desk of thank-you cards I've received; they make me smile every day.)

It doesn't matter how many events you've done. It matters that you analyze the work you did afterward to see what went wrong and what went right. It matters that you apply what you learned to your next event.

You are welcome to send me story ideas, comments and critiques; my e-mail is [email protected].

What you think matters to me.

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