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The Digestif: Reuben Bell

Editor’s note: At Catersource 2021, Reuben Bell called me over to him, saying, “Hey, fellow introvert!” 

We always mean to sit down and have a conversation, but—as all introverts are wont to do—we tend to disappear early from gatherings of any great number when at all possible. How we are both able to run big events goes against a lot of what it means to be an introvert; but in my book, running an event is very different than being a guest at one. And Mr. Bell, president of Blue Elephant Events and Catering, along with his partner, Fausto Pfifferer, are some of the best at what they do. Of course, it takes a village, as Reuben explains in his essay. —Kathleen

One thing that hit home for us during and following the pandemic was the importance of relying on the professional team we have built to create and execute the safest, most seamless events possible. Pandemic tension is still running high with clients and staff, and despite the progress made in vaccinations across the U.S. and abroad, uncertainty still lingers. 

We had a situation recently where a rehearsal dinner for 200+ guests in a historic mill building faced a crisis 10 days out. Lingering fears of COVID transmission and the threat of the Delta variant looming on the horizon, coupled with the fact that 100% of guests were traveling from out of state, caused the couple anxiety and necessitated a change to an outdoor venue. Instead of creating a frantic race to turn everything around, we were able to calmly contact our team and put a new plan in place within 24 hours with a new outdoor venue on the water. We delivered a guest experience that was as good—if not better—than the original plan. 

We value these professional connections more than ever and revel in the solid relationships we have created. Many on the team had good reasons not to be able to make this work, but instead of saying no or automatically offering up excuses, everyone looked at each other and said, “How are we going to make this work?” and made it happen. 

After the last 18 months, I have realized that this year (especially) and moving forward, there is no longer any room for ego or posturing in what we do. It sucks up too much energy and negatively affects the outcome. Life is too short, and our clients are relying on our expertise. Let’s show them what professionals can do!