Rolling with the M.O.B.

What the toughest customers on earth taught me about customer service 

Wedding producers really do stash tools inside their blazers, just like Jennifer Lopez did in The Wedding Planner

How do I know? I was one — for 8 luxurious, sparkling, color-saturated years.

As co-founder of a successful events studio in Oak Park, Illinois, I carried plenty with me on game day: smelling salts for jittery maids of honor, sharp pins to anchor boutonnieres on drunk groomsmen and soft hankies to blot tears that fell before that long-dreamed-of walk down the aisle.

Lately I’ve seen brides melt down on TV, but I’m always a little surprised. In my experience, it was the MOB who created all the drama. (Stands for Mother of the Bride, who frequently made you wish you’d never gotten involved in this crazy business.)

Here are 5 widely applicable lessons I carry inside my jacket to this day, learned from ladies who paid us to make their daughters’ weddings absolutely perfect.

1. There IS no perfect. Don’t bother pointing this out. Aim for fabulous instead.

2. Bad news can become good: just apply lipstick.  As in, “The cake came late … they HAD to add more swirls and pearls so you’d be totally pleased.”

3. Too much of a good thing is wonderful. Most MOBs are like clients at a brand launch. They want every guest to be utterly blown away. Good time to follow Mae West’s advice and add more cowbell. (Or silk draping and French tulips.)

4. Expect the unexpected. You may need to whip up a bouquet for a walk-on bridesmaid or find a front-row seat for the disabled auntie no one told you was coming. Smile! The videographer’s lens sees all.

5.  Word of mouth drives new business. The BFFs will hear every detail within days, so be wise. If guests tripped on the cheesy paper aisle runner you advised your MOB not to have, don’t even ponder who’s at fault. Issue a tender apology. Crow tastes nasty, but referrals are delicious.