With 35 years of wedding and special event experience under his belt, a conversation with Fausto Pifferrer can feel like a crash course in the events industry.
 
An event planner and co-Founder of Blue Elephant Events and Catering, Pifferrer began his career in Philadelphia, first running a catering company out of his mother’s kitchen before ascending into the events industry, working on everything from weddings to luncheons to large scale events. In 2007, Fausto moved with his family from Philadelphia to Saco to open Blue Elephant Events and Catering, which recently moved from their long-time location in Pepperell Square to a new location in Saco that offers exciting opportunities as a venue as well.
 
Fausto is a wealth of information and has agreed to offer some insight on how he runs the show, navigates hurdles, and how he stays so passionate about events this many years into his career. 

 
YOU’RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST EVENT.
I learned this lesson early on. The first wedding that I booked on my own when I first started always stands out in my mind. It was for Mary S.; the bride started my career. I was so proud of myself — it was all paper plates and beer cans and very basic compared to what I would do later on. But this client took a chance on me and launched my career, and I will always be grateful for that. Not long after this wedding, I took a job with an event management company and started to work on larger-scale events. It was then that I realized that once an event is over, it’s over. The only way to measure myself is by that last event. How was the last event executed? Was it a success? What could I have done differently? Because for them, it’s the only day.
 
LEARN FROM THE HICCUPS.
There is always underlying anxiety in planning events, a pressure to exceed the client’s expectations and your expectations. A few years before moving to Maine, I worked on a large public event for a local country radio station in Philadelphia. It was a VIP event with A-List country music celebrities, and early that morning, I found myself hyperventilating and having a panic attack in my car. The pressure of everything was too much; I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. Luckily my partner was there, and he helped talk me through it. After an hour, I got out of the car and executed the event. The show must go on, no matter what. From that experience, I learned that if you’ve done the work to the best of your ability, you have to trust it and get back out there. Since then, I have had events that have had all kinds of hiccups: set up takes too long, last-minute obstacles and challenges throw everyone into a tail-spin. But now I know I can do this. Everything will work out.
 
ARRIVE EARLY.
I like to get to each event as early as I can get on site. If the event starts at 4 p.m., why get
there at noon when you could get there at 7 a.m.? Get there early and start your day off on the right foot. Set the tables, ensuring that everything is pristine and perfect. Nothing bothers me more than an incorrectly set table. Take care of the details early, and reduce your own stress. This allows you and your team to take a breather and regroup before the party starts.
 
REMEMBER: I AM NOT A GUEST.
When I first started doing events, I would wait for the ‘Father of the Bride’ moment at every wedding. You know, where the bride runs to you and gives you a big hug and says, ‘oh Fausto! Thank you for everything!’ If it didn’t happen, I would be devastated. I would forget that my job is to provide a service. I am there to be the eyes and ears for the client. I’m there to ensure that they have the best day ever. It’s not about when or what I’m going to eat. It’s not about getting a good Instagram picture. I’m not there as a guest. As a professional, it is so important to remember that professionalism and focus on the job.
 
FIND A WAY TO “CLICK.”
When I work with new clients, it is often over email or phone for the first part of our interaction. When we first have our meeting in person all that’s left to do is sign the proposal, but it’s that first face-to-face meeting that tells me everything I need to know. We need to click. I joke about every- thing; life is short. Will we laugh together through this? Because if we don’t click on day one, we’re not going to click nine months later either. One meeting tells me every- thing I need to know about whether this will be a good working relationship.
 
EVEN CINDERELLA HAD A TIMELINE.
This is a big one for me. Timelines are so crucial for weddings because everyone’s time needs to be respected. Sticking to the timeline ensures that the day flows smoothly. I like to communicate with my clients about the timeline so that they can have clear expectations, and I keep all of my
 
notes so that if something goes wrong, I can show them exactly where I counseled them. If the party is over at midnight, then the lights go on at midnight, and the party’s over. I always tell my clients: “Even Cinderella had a timeline, and so do you!”
 
DON’T TRUST A COMPANY WITHOUT A BAD REVIEW.
Reviews are a tricky spot in our industry, you need them, but you hate to ask for them. For me, I never ask for reviews because I think it makes them less genuine. Society has reached a point where clients feel they can hold the threat of a negative review over your head to force the desired outcome. To me, how you handle a bad review shows more about who you are than the actual review itself. Everyone makes mistakes, and you learn from them. If you never make a mistake, are you really doing the work?
 
I DON’T LOOK AT GUESTS AS POTENTIAL CLIENTS.
I never bring business cards to an event because I don’t see guests as potential clients. I’m not there to solicit business. This isn’t a bridal show. I’m a service provider, and I am there to work for my client to ensure that their event runs flawlessly. It’s not just about the business. I get butterflies every time I do an event because I am still moved and excited each time. The day I don’t get butterflies is the day I’m out of the business.
 
BREATHE.
We all need to breathe and focus on the silver linings and small pleasures. The 2020 micro weddings from this summer were so beautiful and intimate and fun. For me, this was our first summer off in 35 years. I spent a great deal of time at the beach with my family. Our world has slowed down a bit, made everyone a little more gracious, a bit more grateful. I look to the future with caution and gratitude. I am still here after all
 
 
EVEN CINDERELLA HAD A TIMELINE.
This is a big one for me. Timelines are so crucial for weddings because everyone’s time needs to be respected. Sticking to the timeline ensures that the day flows smoothly. I like to communicate with my clients about the timeline so that they can have clear expectations, and I keep all of my
notes so that if something goes wrong, I can show them exactly where I counseled them. If the party is over at midnight, then the lights go on at midnight, and the party’s over. I always tell my clients: “Even Cinderella had a timeline, and so do you!”
 
DON’T TRUST A COMPANY WITHOUT A BAD REVIEW.
Reviews are a tricky spot in our industry, you need them, but you hate to ask for them. For me, I never ask for reviews because I think it makes them less genuine. Society has reached a point where clients feel they can hold the threat of a negative review over your head to force the desired outcome. To me, how you handle a bad review shows more about who you are than the actual review itself. Everyone makes mistakes, and you learn from them. If you never make a mistake, are you really doing the work?
 
I DON’T LOOK AT GUESTS AS POTENTIAL CLIENTS.
I never bring business cards to an event because I don’t see guests as potential clients. I’m not there to solicit business. This isn’t a bridal show. I’m a service provider, and I am there to work for my client to ensure that their event runs flawlessly. It’s not just about the business. I get butterflies every time I do an event because I am still moved and excited each time. The day I don’t get butterflies is the day I’m out of the business.
 
BREATHE.
We all need to breathe and focus on the silver linings and small pleasures. The 2020 micro weddings from this summer were so beautiful and intimate and fun. For me, this was our first summer off in 35 years. I spent a great deal of time at the beach with my family. Our world has slowed down a bit, made everyone a little more gracious, a bit more grateful. I look to the future with caution and gratitude. I am still here after all
of these years!
 

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