This is a decoy picture. Remember? NO Photographers Allowed.
Why were no photographers allowed?
The answer awaits you below…
We should have known it would be staggering.
It was. The residence put the Disney castle to shame.
Getting up the long, long, drive with chauffeured vehicles dropping guests off in a downpour was merely the beginning. It took guests a while to get out of the cars—they were elegantly turned out in gorgeous (but what I’d consider dangerous) clothing. Then, there was the roundabout. It was raining sideways. Everything slowed to a crawl.
Load-in was simple. All the details had been confirmed beforehand. Once inside, we found our nook overlooking The Gardens. A sheer glass wall opened up to a patio where an extraordinarily well-appointed catering operation was set up. It looked like they had taken the insides of an entire restaurant, including everyone on staff, and planted them there.
No Photos – Why?
Photos? None. NO PHOTOS were allowed. The nice part of being a part of events where nobody is taking pictures is the ease and largesse that ensues. People stop preening and posing and relax. Particularly those who are often in the spotlight.
What is it like to work with celebrities, A-listers, the extremely powerful, and the very wealthy?
For me, the only weird part is that frequently someone will peer into my face to see if I am struck with awe. I am not. Nope. Not at all. Everybody cooks with water.
Sometimes there is a slight flutter—they are not used to not being recognized. I apologize for not recognizing them if they are famous, and explain that I never recognize anybody because I don’t watch any media. First, there is a look of dumbfounded astonishment. Then, they usually let out a big sigh, and then do a double-take to see if I’m laughing. I am not laughing. Am I telling the truth? Yes. Then they relax.
The Number One Thing
What is the number one thing I’ve noticed working at very, very high-end events? It’s the level of respect, kindness, generosity, and relief that folks show us. It is the same way we try to treat everyone who crosses our path.
For example, immediately asking if we would like something to eat. Thanking us for being there. Introducing us to their families and staff.
Make a Difference
One of the ways I found that we make a difference was at one of our first extravagant and whimsical weddings.
The guests were of all different backgrounds and ages. It became very clear in just a few moments that several guests had mobility issues and others, hearing impairments. With the permission of the bride and planner, we quickly found the quietest space in the venue and staked out a small area in it. When people had issues hearing us, we invited them to come with us to the quiet area. We also had small, collapsible stools that allowed us to go directly to guests, so they wouldn’t have to come to us.
One of the very first high-end events we did was a milestone birthday celebration for a woman. The first thing I noticed was the glow that the staff had—they were all genuinely happy and it showed in everything they said and did. The staff AND the FAMILY also came out to greet us while we were parking, and offered to help us load in! It wasn’t necessary, but again, we appreciated the gesture.
In contrast, there are events where people try to squeeze every drop of ‘value’ from everyone they interact with.
At a private country club event a while ago (pre-covid), the hostess spent the entire evening herding people in and out of the space she had allocated for us. She was determined to get her money’s worth. In the end, I doubt she even enjoyed her own party.
The ways that people connect and the environment they create is not based on their position or their possessions.
Creating a Welcoming Environment
I can’t NOT mention two of the many parties we did at the end of October this past year—they were both spectacular. The people were completely different in terms of lifestyles, but absolutely in sync with what it means to create a welcoming environment. Both hosts went above and beyond to make sure that we were comfortable. Guess what happens when people are comfortable? They are happy. And what is the experience your guests will have? Happy!
My advice—for what it’s worth—always hire and work with great people. Explain what you want and WHY you want it. Then let them do what they do best.
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