I’ve done corporate events for my entire career. I love what I do. I love my job. Really I do. Even now, in our busy season, when we seem to work 24/7. It makes me happy. I started doing event planning almost right out of school and haven’t looked back since. It’s stressful. It’s creative. It’s fulfilling. In every sense of the word. I adore working with a team, and being with them in the trenches. I like working with the business to figure out how the event can help spread a message or build goodwill. There’s tons of fun to be had too. I’m not going to lie. We laugh a lot. And sometimes we cry. Unlike baseball, there is crying in corporate event planning.
So with all that said, it still isn’t what you think it is.
Here’s the best way to describe it:
Imagine you planned your brother’s wedding or party. You worked for months to help plan the look, the feel, the whole experience. You advised him on if the vows should be long or short – or if the newlyweds should do a first dance or have a cake cutting. You decided that because of budget, his party should probably be only appetizers, not a full meal. You worked with him to invite the right amount of people and were careful to not offend anyone.
Now imagine that after all that – the day of the wedding or party comes and the happy couple exchange vows or the invitees start coming in – everyone is seemingly happy and content.
Now imagine guests start coming up to you randomly and telling you things like:
- “Who picked this place? I was really hot in the back”
- “The party…umm it was ok, but this morning the hotel I’m staying at took really long to bring my breakfast – kinda ruined the day for me”
- “Why am I not sitting with the groom? He loves me. He told me I’d have really good seats”
- “I wish we could have done it in June. August is so hard for me”
- “I really wasn’t crazy about the vows. They were kinda cheesy”
- “I know you can’t do this for everyone but my kid likes hot, curly fries for dinner. Everyday. Made with organic purple potatoes. Can you get that for us?”
- “Did you actually pick the food on the buffet?”
And guess what. You do get the organic purple potatoes. And you apologize for the hotel not delivering room service fast enough and picking the wrong time and wrong space. You nod your head instead of saying the groom hates that person and specifically asked not to sit with them. And finally yes, you picked the food. You didn’t know it would suck that day. You should have known. Somehow.
You do all of this not because you’re forced to – but because your job is to make people happy. Not just the bride and groom or one family – your job is to make everyone happy. Which, by the way, never happens. So good luck with that.
Welcome to corporate events. Leave your sanity at the door.