Archive for December 15th, 2008

One MORE Party Detail To Worry About!

Monday, December 15th, 2008

So far – knock wood – I’m still getting calls for parties next year. Looks like I won’t have to go looking for a real job, quite yet.

I missed the onset of The Great Depression by a couple of decades, but – here in North Texas – we had a mini-meltdown in the late 1980s that was close enough. More than once back then, I showed up to play for Christmas parties – only to find that an entire company had gone out of business, or had closed their Dallas offices.

The same financial foolishness that triggered our regional downturn twenty years ago is now creating both national, and even world-wide, havoc. This time, I plan to learn from my past. And I would love nothing more than to be able to help you survive, too.

If you are reading this column, you probably have a party in your immediate future. You are going to need a venue, and – depending on the services provided by them – you may also be in the market for a caterer, florist, decorator, wedding coordinator, band, deejay, photographer, and/or cake baker.

Chances are you will base your choices on a wide variety of criteria. But – in today’s economy – one of your biggest considerations should be: will this vendor still be in business when my event occurs? During our local recession in the ’80s, dozens of my competitors either traded their spandex pants for Dockers and day jobs, or else they hightailed it to someplace where business was booming. Either way, each month I heard from clients whose music provider was no longer available. The same was true in all other aspects of the party industry.

This time, even venues are not immune. Six months from now, will your first choice of location still be in operation? If not – what will you do then?

As a hopeless optimist, I hate to be sounding alarms here. It feels out of character for me, and the last thing any of us needs to do is make the situation worse by pushing the Panic Button. But planning a big event is plenty hard enough, without adding the pressure of worrying over whether the vendors you contract with today will be in bankruptcy proceedings tomorrow. My recommendation is that – when making your selections – you factor in whose pockets are deep enough to survive in a tough economy. And – not to be too obviously self-serving here – who has ridden out the financial storms of the past?

So please forgive me if my usual Pollyanna personality has turned to gloomy Cassandra for the day. It’s just that – when the book of your party is written – I would hate for it to start with Chapter 11. And you would hate it even more.