Editor's Page: Leading Leaders Photo by Nadine Froger Photography

Editor's Page: Leading Leaders

Special Events editor Lisa Hurley on wedding expert Lynn Fletcher's philosophy of "leading leaders"

There's a lot going on in this issue, from swoon-worthy coverage of wedding floral to future technology that just could change the way fabrics—from napkins to tents—are handled at events.

Our annual feature on weddings looks at four big trends—from the role of same-sex weddings to the mighty, mighty millennials—shaping the wedding industry. Turn to page 21 for the full story.

But the centerpiece of this issue is our coverage of The Special Event 2015. If you were there with us January in Anaheim, Calif., I hope this brings back some great memories. If not, then I hope our recap inspires you to join us in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 12-14 for The Special Event 2016.

One of my favorite experiences at this year's show—as ever--was sitting in the audience at the Gala Awards. It's a night that showcases outstanding event after outstanding event, from all over the world. Of course it's a thrill to see first-time winners finding out just how exciting it is to stand in the spotlight with a hefty trophy in your hand. And it's a kick seeing the old-hand winners showing the industry yet again they are at the top--and why they remain there.

I like all acceptance speeches—probably the impromptu ones a bit better than the scripted ones—but my favorite this year was Lynn Fletcher's comments when accepting her trophy for Best Wedding: Budget $1,000 and Above Per Guest.

Lynn, founder of Lynn Fletcher Weddings of Calgary, Alberta, and her team brought home the Gala Award for a complex event that transformed equestrian facility into a modern-day vision of the Palace of Versailles. The event team coordinated daily deliveries of decor pieces in the run-up to the wedding, including 16 tents, 500 panels of fabric, gilded mirrors, massive theatrical-quality backdrops, and linens fabricated in France. Despite this daunting project, Lynn told the Gala Award audience that the event was a success because, "It's easy to lead leaders."

Event pros are notorious control freaks, and for good reason. Big events have so many big moving parts, yet the guests may complain later about something as seemingly insignificant as the lukewarm coffee.

Lynn's approach to event management shows the power of unleashing an empowered team. Of course, plenty of preparation is essential. But people who are properly prepared and understand the big picture are in a far better position to execute the plan and to respond to snafus than those who are afraid of being berated by the boss.

There is a photo of Lynn, Gala trophy in hand, on page 19. You'll see right away she is a lovely person, and one with a lovely attitude toward her event colleagues.

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