I’m not sure what I expected when I became an event planner, but I surely didn’t expect for it to teach me so many life lessons. I think I expected to learn new skills, have exciting adventures, and make new connections (all of which are true), but I don’t think I expected to learn about being a better human being, adjusting my mindset into a healthier one, and what really matters in life. There are 3 main lessons that I’ve learned that have completely altered how I view life as a whole, and how I managed my day to day behaviour:
It’s not how it looks that makes the night perfect – it’s who you are with
I know, I know, this sounds so cheesy and cliche, but I’m serious here guys – I have seen way too many people fret over how their event looks that they forget why they are even there, and they end up missing out on so many opportunities to just have fun and make memories.
You don’t need elaborate centrepieces, lobster as your main dish, or a designer dress to have the perfect day. If you ask any married person what the best part of their wedding day was, I can guarantee you that they’ll tell you about how their brother danced on the table, or how the bride’s father couldn’t stop crying during the father-daughter dance. They might throw in how pretty the decor was, but that won’t be what they remember most. It’s going to be the people they saw, and the memories they made. This doesn’t just apply to weddings – it applies everywhere. How extravagant you might want something to be, and as important as it might seem beforehand, I can promise you that what you will remember most is the memories you made with the people you were with. So don’t stress too much about the details – just focus on surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good.
Creating memories with family and friends are more important now than ever before
Thanks to Covid, we went through two years of not being able to gather with our friends, hug our grandparents, or give our children a birthday party. For most, it was two years of constant stress; financial, mental, and physical. I know that for me personally, I nearly lost my house I was living in because I was laid off, my mental health was at an all-time low, and I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to graduate university because they didn’t know how to structure a system for students writing their final degree projects. I was lost, and the majority of my memories from the pandemic are not positive. However, the positive memories I do have are the times that I did get to see my family. It’s the time my mom helped sneak me out to the farm on Christmas day to see her and my dad; it’s the sleigh ride with my boyfriend’s family, or having a social-distance bonfire with my best friends.
Every time I got a phone call at work with someone in tears because covid is preventing them from seeing their friends and family, and they have to cancel or postpone their event, my heart would break for them. They didn’t care about their event if it meant they’d be spending it alone. And frankly, I don’t blame them! But on the other end of this, now that restrictions are lifted and events are happening again, I have never seen people so grateful or appreciative to be with their friends and family as I do now. I think that all of us have learned one way or another not to take for granted the people we have in our life and the time we get to spend with them.
I recently attended the Brandon Chamber of Commerce 2022 Awards Show. It was a night to celebrate businesses who survived or began during covid. It was a beautiful night, and afterward I was speaking with the President of Chamber Board, and I will never forget what they said to me: “there is nothing more incredible than being able to celebrate people in person again, so they can see and feel just how happy for them we are”.
NOTHING will ever go completely according to plan
This was probably one of the things I struggled with the most when I became an event planner. I have a perfectionist personality, almost to a negative degree. I needed to have a plan A, B, and C. But when you work on an event, there are so many vendors and hands involved that you can’t control all the details. And even if you could, you can’t control the weather, illness, accidents, or other people’s behaviour. So in every single event I have ever had the opportunity to work on, there was always something that didn’t go according to plan. This used to drive me absolutely insane! I used to ask “why does it have to rain today? Why did 5 extra people show up without RSVP’ing? Why are the boutonnieres missing pins? ” and this would go on, and on, and on.
But let me tell you something. I have seen things go seemingly perfect for an event, and the client wasn’t having a good time. Not because things didn’t go according to plan, but because they decided that it just wasn’t good enough. And then I have seen events where everything goes wrong, and the client just has such a positive attitude. They just smile, laugh, and decide that this is not worth being upset over. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be the second person in this case.
This doesn’t just apply to events, this applies in all areas of life. No matter how much we plan for something, there will always be things that don’t go according to plan. And we can choose to be upset over the things we can’t control, or we can focus on what we can control: our behaviour. We can choose to let the unexpected details go and just allow ourselves to be happy where we are, and for what is going right. If you’re like me, this takes a lot of rewiring the brain and practicing over and over. But eventually it’s gets easier to let the bad go and just focus on the good.
There is always something to learn in the things that we do every day. I am so grateful to work in an industry that teaches me new skills and life lessons every day, and that it helps shape me into a better human being. If I can give any advice from what I have learned it would be this: make time for the people you love, and let go of the little things. At the end of the day, it’s the happy moments we spend with our favourite people that shape us the most.