H e’s a master of many trades — event coordinator, team director, diplomat, comedian, and handyman. But if you’d ask Shulem Schwartz to describe his job, he’ll tell you it comes together in one role, at one place, night after joyous night.

Shulem Schwartz works as the manager of The Palace wedding hall. At this Brooklyn venue, one of New York’s busiest simchah halls since its inauguration in January 2010, Shulem presides over an operation that spans the clock, keeping calm and focused as a tide of emotion sweeps over his clients.

But it takes a lot more than organizational skills to pull off a successful wedding. In his years on the job, Shulem has honed his innate diplomatic, improvisational, and negotiation skills. More often than not, those talents prove invaluable at this emotionally fraught time.

AMONG THE POPULAR WEDDING VENUES in Brooklyn, The Palace is considered one of the largest and busiest: It sometimes accommodates as many as 2,000 guests. Among its 150 or so events a year, it has hosted many a VIP wedding — both of the Torah world, as rebbes and roshei yeshivah have married off their children, as well as the frum celebrity set.

“The perfect wedding means the flawless compilation of a million details,” Shulem explains. “If even one small detail goes wrong, it will have a domino effect on the entire simchah.”

While he has a dedicated, professional staff at his command, Shulem takes ultimate responsibility for every event. “I’ve never missed an event,” he says. “Even when I went to Israel for a family simchah scheduled for the day after a wedding here, I booked the latest flight and only left to the airport after the main course was served.”

When does his day actually start? “That’s difficult to answer,” Shulem says. “Really, you have to be available 24 hours a day — because as the olam is still dancing at today’s wedding, I’m on the phone finalizing the details for tomorrow’s simchah.”

A typical 1a.m. phone call might come from the suppliers who are purchasing produce for the next night’s simchah. At this hour, they’re usually en-route to the Hunts Point produce market in the Bronx.

“Sometimes the suppliers will call me from the market and tell me that a certain vegetable isn’t in stock,” Shulem says. “Maybe the customer chose size A potatoes and the market only has size B in stock, or there are no white asparagus to be found — we don’t use the green ones because of kashrus concerns. We won’t substitute ingredients; the menu is the menu.”

So what is a supplier to do in the wee hours of the morning?

“Striving for perfection means not accepting a no,” Shulem insists. “In these cases we’ll reach out to local supermarkets.”

And what if no one in the vicinity has this particular item that night? “That almost never happens,” he says, “but worst case scenario means we call the mechutanim and offer them an upgrade on their menu instead.”

At 4 a.m., the meat supplier arrives at the hall with a fresh load of meat, cut precisely as pre-ordered. At 8 a.m., the cleaning staff arrives to remove every last vestige of the previous evening’s simchah.

“The entire building must be flipped over in time for when the next kallah arrives,” Shulem says. “We want each kallah to feel that her event is the only chasunah of year.”

At 8 a.m. the kitchen staff begins their day’s work in the hall’s two large kitchens. At one counter, a team is patiently slicing the meat as defined in the menu. A few feet over, a worker whips up the batter for the next three staffers to dip the meat into. They in turn will pass the portions to another team of cooks who fry it to a perfect crisp — as two full-time mashgichim keep a watchful eye on the process.

With three large halls — one chuppah room and a massive ballroom — each with an average of 10,000 square feet, and another gallery measuring some 4,000 square feet — mornings see a sustained clearing, vacuuming, washing, and polishing operation. An average of three hours is spent cleaning the entire building.

After a staff lunch break, it’s time to set up the ballroom. The headwaiter divides the work among his team, who start by polishing every piece of flatware and buffing the glassware before it gets laid out on each individual setting. Setting the tables alone take approximately two hours. (Excerpted from Mishpacha’s Behind the Scenes, Pesach Mega-Issue 5777)