Heading for a wedding: when event management gets personal

As her wedding day draws nearer, Nicola Corboy finds that even a successful track record in PR doesn’t make the organisation any easier

In times of medical emergencies, surgeons and doctors are generally not permitted to treat family members in hospital. That’s because, the thinking goes, they cannot step back and view the situation objectively; their emotions may be frayed and as a result they may not choose the right course of care.

It’s only in recent weeks that I have come to understand this policy. As a PR professional, event management is second nature to me. I spend a fair portion of my working life planning events, researching venues, menus, entertainment, etc, keeping a cool head while organising everything down to the very finest detail. When it comes to organising my own wedding day, however, everything goes out the window.

Us PR people are good at putting the client’s mind at ease. On the big day – whether it’s a press conference, media trip or charity event – we glide around like elegant swans, all calm and control, while under the surface our webbed feet are paddling in triple-time, making sure that everything is exactly as it should be. Invariably, proceedings go off without a hitch and the event is chalked down as a success.

So why can’t I take my own advice when it comes to my own impending big day? All the cool, calculating confidence that my clients see disappears, in its place an anxious, self-doubting wreck. Did we order enough invitations? Will everyone like the music? What if our guests get lost? WHAT IF IT RAINS?!! (A distinctly Irish consideration.)

I’m no Bridezilla – honestly – but lately I’ve had my moments. Luckily, I can count on the support of some very calm and reassuring friends and family members, not to mention the prospective bridegroom who is, thankfully, as cool as the proverbial breeze. Better yet, my ultra-professional colleagues – solid gold event management experts – have been dispensing invaluable advice and guidance as the day looms ever larger.

Their words of wisdom have helped to bring clarity, order and organisation to proceedings, seamlessly fusing all the vital elements to ensure a magical day. Stress levels down, fewer sleepless nights, I’ve even started to enjoy the process. (Unthinkable just a few weeks ago.)

What have I learned from all this? Similar to the medics, when it comes to organising an important personal event, sometimes it pays to take a step back from the operation. Keep a close eye on proceedings, be ready to step in and take control if necessary, but ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ as a good friend recently counselled me.

Take a PR event manager’s advice and leave it to the professionals – you’re in good hands!

Nicola Corboy is a senior client manager with Cullen Communications

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