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Posts Tagged ‘October 2007 wildfire’

Recently I was asked to participate in a panel of event professionals speaking to a group of more than 70 students at San Diego State University as part of SDSU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management degreed program.

 

It was a great opportunity to recount my experiences as a wedding planner and convey how much I love what I do. The students themselves impressed me with their poise, savvy, and professional attitude.

 

When one student asked me what set me apart from my competition, or rather, “Why hire you?,” it was a fantastic opportunity to remember one of the great aspects of the special event industry.

 

I responded that being a successful wedding planner is about so much more than being able to plan a successful wedding. What comes into play are the years of experience, resources and connections developed in the industry through working with some of the best in the business, continuing my own professional education, extensive networking, and participating in professional organizations such as the Association of Bridal Consultants.

 

The importance of these efforts and connections became abundantly apparent during the San Diego wildfires in October 2007. When my client’s wedding venue, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, was closed down due to the fires, I was able to call on other event professionals to make this beautiful wedding happen in the midst of a scary and tragic occurrence affecting much of the county.

 

At the time the fires hit, the wedding was only a week away. All of the couple’s wedding vendors lived in areas that had to be evacuated and I had no way to contact them due to strict restrictions on cell phone use. I spent the next four days calling on my rolodex of preferred photographers, florists, cake bakers, and DJs, all of whom promised to step in on the big day in case the event couldn’t take place as planned with the vendors already booked.

 

Most importantly, we needed an indoor venue that would not be affected by the smoke and ash in the air. My friends at the Omni Hotel were happy to make their ballroom available if need be and provide the event at a comparable price to what the couple was paying at the Wild Animal Park.

 

The bride and groom could breathe easy knowing the wedding could still take place and it would still be a beautiful event. Luckily, the Wild Animal Park reopened the day before their wedding. All of the couple’s originally booked wedding vendors were able to return to their homes and provide excellent service to the bride and groom on their wedding day. Their story even made the Los Angeles Times [Their wedding site reopens in the nick of time, Oct 28, 2007]

 

It was great to share with these SDSU students, who are just taking their first steps toward this wonderful career, that striving to be your professional best will always be rewarded and can make the difference in a successful event.

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