Posted under David's Musings, Destinations News, Recent Work on April 23, 2013 by David
This past weekend was one of those weekends. Everything happened at once. I don’t love spreading my staff or me that thinly, but it’s just the way it was. We had a huge wedding with all the bells and whistles - complete with flying in 250 guests from all over the world to Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados; a beautiful wedding at The Plaza; and a rock and roll Bar Mitzvah at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester. I wasn’t really worried because I know I have the staff to take care of everything – they excelled, and we have very happy clients.
The reason for this post is that I was reading about the economy being in the doldrums – and then I looked at this past weekend and realized that we’re pulling out of it. No, for the most part, event budgets aren’t what they used to be and certainly clients are scrutinizing every line item more than ever. My point is, they are starting to spend, and by spending – they are strengthening our economy – in a major way.
People tend to roll their eyes when people go all-out with an event, but here is a partial list of all the people we employed with just these three events this past weekend:
1 Complete buy out of a five star hotel and its tremendous staff
1 Complete takeover of a client’s home for a welcome party
1 Complete buy out of a New York hotel’s two ballrooms with staff
1 Complete buy out of the golf club with staff
45+ Full-time and Freelance artistic staff for flower production
3 Party Planners and their teams
1 Professional Travel Planner and his team
3 Professional Lighting Companies and their teams
300+ Airline Seats
? Countless car and bus service chauffeurs to move all the guests
3 Cake artisans
3 Stationers and printers
3 Photographers and their teams of at least three
3 Videographers and their teams
6 Bands and their support teams
3 Professional sound companies
2 Professional riggers
1 Entertainment company for games and dancers
2 Tenting companies
25+ Vendors for supplies like cloth, candles, hard goods, etc.
2 Scenic production companies
5 Furniture rental companies
3 Shipping companies
3 Rental car and truck companies
1 Company to “brand” guest gifts for the wedding
8 Live flower supply companies and their staffs
3 Event rental companies (plates, glasses, flatware, etc.)
3 Crews to tear it all down and return the venues to normal operations
1 Paper flower artist
Places to lodge all the traveling staffs
Catering to feed everyone
And the list goes on and reaches far and wide – for instance, think about the flowers alone. How many farms and families from, literally, all over the world did it take to bring in all of our requests? We had hydrangea and roses and all sorts of flowers from Holland and Ecuador; protea from Sudan; lysianthus from Israel; orchids from Thailand and Hawaii. Then multiply that figure with all the trucks and planes it took to get the product to their respective destinations, it is really astounding how many hands it takes to bring just ONE seedling to a fully grown flower delivered to one of our events. Now – compound THAT with the, perhaps 200,000+ stems we had at all three parties and it starts to blow your mind.
These three parties put food into the mouths of a LOT of families – and that, my friends, makes me proud to be a contributing member of our world economy.
Now, let’s go party!
Posted under In Situ, Recent Work on January 21, 2013 by David
I have always considered The White House, “The People’s House,” the ultimate symbol of our great nation. No matter what administration is in residence, it remains a beacon of all we stand for as the United States of America.
I remember during the Carter years, my Godfather and flower mentor: R. Reed Tate, from my hometown in Virginia, had been invited to help with the décor of The People’s House. Our town was so proud of him; it made an indelible impression on me as a young American.
During the Clinton administration, I had the pleasure to help with the White House holiday decorations under the direction of Robert Isabell. It was the early 90′s and the décor was over the top and simply beautiful. I remember the moment I stepped into the Great Hall and the overwhelming energy that washed over me – I felt the magic of America’s home. This year, my good friend Holly Chapple, introduced me to Laura Dowling, the Head Florist for the White House. I had the opportunity to work with their wonderful team on the President’s Salute to the Troops on the Forth of July. Later, I was asked to help design and consult on this year’s holiday décor, which seemed to bring my life full circle – my mentor, Reed Tate, and I sharing the same honor. It was a pinnacle in my career.
I had the opportunity to explore the official warehouse where all the decorations from holidays past are stored. Because of the economy, it made perfect sense that our charge was a majority of the décor be derived from existing stock.
I was asked to oversee the Red Room (which is among my most favorite rooms in classic interior design), the Green Room, the Lower Cross Hallway, The Diplomatic Receiving Room, and the Palm Room, as well as a few other spots including the guest entrance – all under the the logistical magic of Gabrielle Martinez and her wonderful team at Agency EA. With a team of 80+ volunteers, the entire house was decorated in just three days (with months of pre-planning up front!). It was the ultimate decorating project.
So, on this inaugural day, I am proud to have been a part of a place that centers us as a nation.
Posted under David's Musings, The Secret Ingredient on September 4, 2012 by David
“OK, OK – I’ve had enough” I said breathing heavily and perspiring a bit more than I’d prefer (actually, I think it’s called ‘sweating’). “Can’t we just skip the last set and call it a day?” I said to my trainer, Brent. “I mean I’ve done everything up to this point really well, but you have really kicked my butt today – I can’t do anymore.” Then, with a very matter-of-fact look he said: “Zero or one?” “What?” I said; “Zero or one is all you get. You either complete the workout or you don’t. You can finish your tasks that you have left or you stop now and not complete it. Zero or one. It either is or isn’t.”
Brent’s theory is that we have become, what he calls, “masters of wiggle room.” We’re used to wiggling out of a situation the second we start to feel uncomfortable. Heaven knows, as a trainer, I’m sure that’s what he hears all day – people trying to make excuses and not complete the task at hand because it’s difficult. Personally, I find this to be painfully true. It is always easier to make excuses than it is to see a project through – no matter it be in business or personal life.
I am simply not an athletic person (there’s a surprise). But it’s been really interesting to note that once a realistic goal is set, it’s quite easy to achieve it. For instance, I’ve noticed that when I’m working out, every time my inner voice starts to go “oh no! 6 more? I CAN’T…” As almost if he can see it on my face, Brent suddenly counters with, “Come on – only 6 more to go – you have to complete this set so we can move forward to your goals.” Sure enough: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – every time I do.
Goal based behavior is not the way my mind works. I like to do a little here, do a little there, then come back to here and do a little more. Eventually getting (most) everything completed – albeit not terribly efficiently. By ‘keeping your eye on the prize’ you meet your goals quicker – and the goals are actually met.
This binary way of thinking has really started to creep its way into all the different parts of my life too. I either wrote this blog post or I didn’t. We met the budget for the party or we didn’t…the list goes on and on.
It’s as if someone has thrown the rule book out the window. Once a decision has been made you only have two remaining choices: Zero or one? There is no grey area. You either did it or you didn’t. AND if you didn’t, without beating yourself up, you now have every opportunity to start anew with a clean slate and use the resources and information you’ve learned previously to reach your goal.
How simple can this get?
The Secret Ingredient: It either is or it isn’t.
My trainer is Brent Carter, Converge Fitness, NYC, firstname.lastname@example.org