As event industry professionals, we are often asked to think on our toes-- and pivot. A hurricane changes course, and suddenly your outdoor reception for 200 needs to move inside. A groomsmen tears his pants 5 minutes before the bridal party is introduced into the reception, and you have about 2 minutes to make a stranger disrobe in a hallway, so you can hastily stitch his pants back together.
It’s no secret that the stories that come out of the events industry are awe-inspiring on a good day-- but unfortunately, our industry hasn’t been seeing many good days recently. Seemingly overnight, thousands of small business owners and members of the hospitality industry started receiving frantic phone calls, emails, and ultimately, cancellations for painstakingly curated events.
Events ranging anywhere from first birthday parties and bat mitzvahs, to weddings, concerts, and college graduations. People all over the country have been affected in one way or another as a result of cancelled events.
But for the first time in many of our lives, that has also resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
So what does a planner do when she’s told she can’t plan public gatherings anymore? What does a portrait photographer do when asked to not photograph anymore, or a catering company that feeds thousands weekly is suddenly no longer able to execute those events, and therefore can no longer afford to pay their teams?
While I don’t know the long-term answers to those questions, I CAN say that I have been astounded by the creativity of the people in this industry, who have found ways to create joyful moments in spite of desperate times.
The photographer who can’t photograph in public for the next month? She began taking photos inventory for her husbands growing work working business, while still other photographer friends leaned into the idea of front porch photo sessions, or even teaching photography classes to friends online who may have always wanted to learn.
The caterers who could no longer serve at events chose instead, to feed their neighbors, and set up food delivery programs to help friends in need.
The planner began throwing popup porch parties for friends who needed to remember that there were still so many things left to celebrate.
As a planner, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I work best when there are plans A, B, and C in place. Unfortunately that’s just not practical for where we’re at in the world right now-- which is a scary reality to accept.
What is practical however, is reminding your friends and neighbors that they are not alone; that we can support each other, even when we don’t see each other every day.
Our world is going to be forever changed by the choices we make in the upcoming weeks and months to come, but the one thing I can be certain of is that the creatives in the world are going to be the ones there to remind us to smile, and find ways to celebrate one another whenever we can.