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When people think about the title “Event Director,” they tend to assume that I get to go to a lot of parties and I live the glamorous life that Hollywood portrays for our profession. What they don’t see however, is the work it takes to host a large-scale event. On TV, party planners are out mingling, dressed in their best, while sipping cocktails with their friends. In reality, I am sweating, running around, checking on details and volunteers, forgetting to eat or drink and trying to remain calm. Especially these last few weeks, this Event Director has been busy planning two huge community events, within the span of two weeks — and oh yeah, did I mention I’m getting married in 9 days?! So here’s a behind the scenes look at what it means to be an Event Planner:

1. To-Do Lists are Your Life — When you have multiple agendas going at one time, the only way to know which way is up & what has been completed is to map it out step-by-step. Organization is key. I would guarantee all event planners have multiple lists and are driven by the idea of crossing something off of them. I also have invented something called ‘sleep listing’, because the night before the event I can’t sleep thinking of all the things I have to do. I’m mentally going through the motions of items to complete the next day. So I guess to-do lists and under eye concealer are your life — so you can at least look like you sleep. 
2. Invest in Comfortable Shoes — Although looking cute for all your attendees is ideal, it becomes necessary to have comfortable, cross-country running capable, type of shoes. On event days I am on my feet not-stop for roughly 8-12 hours. Heels are out for sure. May as well add a fanny pack to carry all of the things you need with you throughout the event, because you have to be your own personal attendant that day. Looking like a mall-walker may happen — it’s a risk of the job.3. Your Office is a Mess — At any time during an event I could have tents, banners, goodie bags, raffle prizes, flags, coolers, lost-and found items, power tools, yard signs, or a variety of other random objects in my office. A great opportunity to play I-Spy or build a fort with all of the boxes.

4. Volunteers are your Best Friends — Those that show up to work for you out of the pure goodness of their heart (after much begging) are your favorite people on the earth that day. Without them, you would lose what little sanity you have left. 

5. Your Co-Coordinators are on Speed-Dial — During the past two events, I talked to and texted the two other co-coordinators more than some members of my family. It gets to the point where you don’t even introduce yourself or attempt any small talk. You just call, and ask your question, assuming they are reading the same email you just received 3 seconds ago with a new dilemma to solve.

6. Purchase a Large Vehicle — I drive a Ford Fiesta, which is basically the smallest car that company makes. When needing to move all the supplies and items to the event venue, a larger vehicle is necessary. I’ve discovered that my car is roughly 43″ across — trying to fit a raffle prize of a big screen TV in my backseat. I’ve also discovered who owns a pick-up in my friend list. Coincidence? I think not.

7. You Can’t Make Everyone Happy — No matter how well the event goes, or how much you plan before the event, something will go wrong and someone will have something negative to say. You learn to have thick skin and use the criticism to make the next event better. Because with this job, you are always thinking ahead. The moment one event ends, planning for the next begins immediately. Hence, the need for lists.

So, while Samantha from “Sex & the City” makes this job look easy — it can be challenging and demanding just like any other profession. You could be doing anything from busing tables to doing TV interviews in the midst of a very loud concert. You have to be ready for anything that comes your way, including smelling like essence of the events. Thanks BBQ on the Bricks for the saucy aroma & not so much thanks to Oktoberfest for the perfume de sauerkraut and beer. 

Next up, my wedding — but this time I get a personal assistant. I hope she’s ready with her comfortable shoes.

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Blair Cissell

Blair Cissell is trying to figure out this whole "adulting" thing. She is a fairly recent college graduate, is married to the man of her dreams & just had (in her opinion) the cutest baby in the world. She has left the full time work force temporarily for baby, and is figuring out this whole stay-at-home-mom life. Writing has always been a passion, that she uses to express her (limited) experience on love, relationships, parenthood and growing-up while exploring the beauty & power of words. 

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