The liberals want more spending programs and more business regulation, the conservatives want more tax cuts and fewer regs. The stock market wants to know we've finally hit bottom, and the public wants to know when things will start looking up. But as my father used to say, “People in Hell want ice water.”

In today's terrible economy, very few of us are getting what we want.

Social planners and rental professionals want clients to return to the days of stress-free spending. Independent pros want their corporate clients to schedule events based on their business value and stop worrying if the press will pounce on the venue or menu. And in-house pros want to keep their jobs, period.

If you want to deliver great events without breaking the bank, this issue should help.

In our cover story, assistant editor Christine Landry takes a look at how savvy wedding pros are creating weddings with show-biz glitz, plus how to re-create the bashes without a blockbuster budget. Turn to page 26 to start the show.

This month's “Rental Essentials,” on page 43, showcases the steps rental pros are taking to meet the budget challenges of their clients. Mike Berk, president of M&M The Special Event Co., Carol Stream, Ill., explains how dedicated his company is to serving its clients: “We are attempting to reconnect with all of our clients and prospects and forge new strategic partnerships. We are asking all of them to tell us what they need, and we are willing to work with them to meet their needs. We expect to work much more closely in terms of margins, but we trust that by building and developing these relationships during tough times, we will have better business relationships when business recovers. There are no hard dictates, just an eagerness to do whatever is necessary.”

And if you want to fight back against the “AIG effect” — the scary trend of corporations canceling incentives and other events out of fear of appearing to be fat cats — you can. A coalition of event and meetings industry players is promoting the “Keep America Meeting” campaign. The campaign includes an online petition that will be presented to politicians to demonstrate the importance of the industry as a major job and tax resource. You can sign on, too; visit www.keepamericameeting.org.

Sometimes you have to fight for what you want.