Fifty minutes ago, I’d been discreetly circulating through the hangar, ensuring our guests had all arrived and met my manager. Thirty minutes ago, I’d helped shepherd them to the aircraft for their sightseeing tour over Toronto. Twenty-five minutes ago, our public relations agent came up to me, grinning infectiously – Company X has a seat available on their next and final flight. Would I be interested?
That, of course, was a purely rhetorical question.
So now, I find myself buckled into the seat of a seventy-five-year-old aircraft as the engines roar around me. Although it’s deafening, I’m excited; it’s finally my turn to make my way up the aisle into the cockpit, where I discover that this plane has a sunroof! Standing up tentatively, I can feel my hair being whipped outside. I start laughing at the sheer absurdity – where else could I stick my head out of a flying airplane?
We swoop above buildings, watch the sun play over Lake Ontario, and come so close to the landmark CN Tower that we may, possibly, not be strictly abiding by city codes. Fortunately – and coincidentally – one of our guests happens to be top-level management there.
Nearly skimming the water, we touch down lightly; it’s the perfect landing to a perfect flight. As I scramble out of the plane, more surprises await: I’m handed an “amenity kit” with giveaways inside, and I’m invited to sit down for dinner with some of our guests. I soak in the conversation around me as I (daintily) devour the four-course meal – I’ve barely eaten all day.
The guests begin to trickle out at 9:00, all of them thanking my manager profusely; the evening was a smash success, largely thanks to Company X. After the last guest leaves, we traipse out to the car, exhausted but exhilarated, and open a celebratory bag of candy.
As my manager mows down, I reflect on the past two months. Putting this event together took a surprising amount of work – a seemingly small task, like the invitation, took over 70 emails and hours of work to complete. I also see now how elusive “event planning experience” really is; each event is unique, with its own distinct parameters and quirks. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. And of course, flexibility, quick thinking, and multi-tasking are important for lots of jobs, but especially so for event planning; without those skills, it’s all too easy to drown under the weight of the many details, emails, meetings, last-minute changes, and mishaps that are a part of every event.
Sinking into the buttery leather of the seat, I wriggle my cramped toes. I know that tomorrow, I’ll have to write an article for a company newsletter, and put together a gift for my manager to send our guests; for right now, though, I just congratulate myself on a job well-done. And then eat a gummy bear.