For months, I had been preparing to partake in the Wedding MBA conference in Las Vegas. This conference is for all wedding specialities (planners, florists, photo, video, etc) to come together to discuss new wedding trends, common business mistakes and how to better serve our clients better. Having never been to Vegas, I was beyond excited to visit Sin City (mostly for business…with a little fun mixed in). My traveling business buddie aka Mom and I loaded up our bags and headed to O’hare. Only after I got through security did I realize that I left my phone at home. I was completely detached from my contacts, my email and social media. Little did I know how this one small mistake would paint itself into a larger picture 12 hours later. (on the bright side, mom still had her phone, but I felt utterly naked without mine) we really are attached these days.
Last Sunday, mom and I spent the day walking up and down the strip, looking at the hotels and enjoying our “1 special meal” at New York New York. We ended our dinner around 9:30 PM and were walking to MGM around 10 PM. Little did we know, we were a 6 minute walk away from the worst massacre in modern American history. While we were casually making our way back to catch a Gondola ride at the Venetian, we witnessed 10 squad cars fly down the strip. I turned to mom and said, I wonder if someone is robbing a casino. Because, that is what happens in Vegas, right? Someone looses everything and then decides to try and get it all back…no matter the consequences. I firmly believe that that Gondola ride (which we got to 10 minutes after it closed) was the only thing that kept us from walking down to check out the last three casinos on the strip…one being, Mandalay Bay. As we made it back to our hotel, Caesars Palace, we noticed that there was an increase in security…on bikes, walking around and everyone seemed on edge. Once again, it was for that casino robbery, right?!? This is Vegas…every square inch of this town is on camera, it has to be safe…right? At this time, no one knew what had happened. The news had not been notified and for a brief moment in time, Vegas was in survival mode…though, no one knew. Flash forward to 4AM PST I wake up to a phone call from a frantic husband telling me to turn on the news, stay in my room and that there is an active shooter on the strip. From that moment, my Vegas experience was forever changed. Everyone remembers their first time a little differently. My first Vegas trip will be emblazoned with the words #VegasStrong While I was not personally affected by this horrible tragedy, I witnessed a city of strangers come together to offer rides to the hospital, giving the clothes off their back to create tunicates and donations of blood. This is what makes America the greatest country in the world. In times of desperation and tragedy, we turn to our fellow neighbor and rise up to the level of our preparedness.
My business conference carried on in true Vegas fashion. I learned how to be a better wedding planner. I learned how to deal with situations that might make our hair stand up on end. I also learned about the latest and (sometimes not so great)est wedding trends and how I can implement them for my clients. Don’t get me wrong, it was not all work…I did enjoy sightseeing, checking out the amazing 7 Magic Mountain art exhibit and spending quality time with my colleagues and my mom 😉
I did hear one thing that really stuck with me this past week. During the wake of tragedy, people always say, “Gosh, this really puts things into perspective!” or “This is just a wedding, the little things are so meaningless during tragedy.” These comments could not be further from the truth. What I do matters. What you do matters. I am a wedding planner. I am the keeper of dreams and the memory maker for my clients. I might not be able to capture a mass shooter or donate a liver to someone in need. I CAN keep fighting for my clients. I CAN help them create a magical day. During tragedy, people inevitably turn to the good times in their lives. They turn to happy memories, they turn to the light. I am the keeper of those dreams and the maker of those memories for each and every client I have the pleasure of working with. THAT is what I can do in the wake of tragedy. Together, each doing our own part, we will win. We will not let fear tear us down. For together, we will remain #VegasStrong