“Bill, I’m going to need a large bag of ice, I just ran into a tent pole and my face is killing me..”
This was the phone call my lovely boyfriend received from me one Saturday morning as I was headed back after a not so smooth run-in with a pole that was holding up a large tent at a fundraising event. Not only did it feel like I had a headache on my face, but I couldn’t believe I had actually done it! Luckily there was no bleeding or black eyes (which I would have owned BTW), just a few sore days, which Bill has yet to let me live down. Thanks babe.
All jokes aside, being an event designer can be a little dangerous. While yes, we have moments where we run into a pole because we apparently aren’t fully awake at 9 am, there are real opportunities for serious injuries. For example, pipe & drape poles and plates. Those plates are large metal square accidents waiting to happen. If you don’t drop them on yourself, you’re very likely to pinch your fingers in between them as you are loading them for an event. They need to be heavy to secure the pipe and drape, but they sure do give you a scare every time you pick them up. And the poles, well the poles cause a pretty nice sized bump on your head when they fall directly on top of you because they haven’t been secured properly yet during set up. Do they make helmets for event designers?
Banquet tables are the exact same. I’ve had many “almost accidents” with 8ft. banquets. They are slippery, sometimes bow in places you aren’t expecting, and you may grab them just at the right spot to cause one end to slip right out of your hands. And with tables come the banquet chairs. While setting up a 400 person event I’ve had a stack of 20 chairs fall on top of me, trapping me until someone came to help. This one was a little scary and oh my goodness did it hurt!
Weather also plays a big role when it comes to those potential accidents. Rain and snow are the worst. Have you tried carrying tables and chairs down grass or slippery stairs while its pouring rain outside? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. If you don’t slip and fall, you tweak your knee or ankle just enough to get a little swelling the next morning.
I’ve also poked myself hundreds of times with pins, had close calls with broken glass from vases and mirrors, stabbed myself with thorns I forgot to remove, and have pinched my fingers so badly to the point where I’m shocked I even still have them. You can also often see me sporting some lovely Band-Aids because I’ve cut myself on ladders, tools, door frames, etc.! You name it, it’s cut me.
And let us not forget about all the bruises. OH THE BRUISES! There is never a day that I don’t have at least five bruises on my body. And they can happen anywhere. I’m 100% vulnerable to those pretty black and blue beauties! Loading and unloading a dance floor, bruises. Loading and unloading tables, bruises. Leaning over chairs to set table designs, bruises. Carrying basically anything above twenty pounds that bounces against you as you walk, bruises, bruises, bruises, bruises. I’ve had to come to terms early on in my event career that I will forever be bruised. But I would rather be doing what I love, and be covered in bruises than sit at a desk for 40 hours a week and have perfect skin.
I will admit, I need to take responsibility for many of these close calls. While standing at a whopping 5’1″, I may try to reach for heavy objects that I’m not quite able to safely get, and I may try to lift a few too many bins worth of chair covers, and over estimate my strength at times, but at least I try!
While all these close calls come with the job, it’s always a good reminder every time anything “almost happens” to not overestimate myself. As event designers, we can conquer the world, lets just try not to break anything along the way.
Oh and make sure to have plenty of ice on hand!