Soiree Special Events

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Day in the Life - Part 1 (the setup)

A hearty Soiree congratulations goes out to one of our latest couples, Jelena & David! They are the couple I mentioned here, who worked with me to plan their entire wedding in three months. Believe me - it was no small task! I figured I'd take some photos of the day so you can see what it's like to be a wedding planner on the big day.

10:15am - Party Rental, Ltd. (who helped me fixed a minor emergency) delivers our last-minute linen order to my home. The back of my weddingmobile looks like a tornado hit:10:30am - Our groom, David, calls me to see if we can have the bridal party shuttle pick up at another hotel before heading to the Mayflower. No problem, David! I promptly get on the phone with Bayside Limousines to make the change. They are rockstars at that sort of thing.

11:15am - David calls me with a last-minute addition to the guest list. We'll put her at table 3. I'll print, cut, & glue together an extra escort card for her even though without the template the printer used it looks slightly different than the others. I just hope nobody notices.

11:45pm - Lunch with the husband at Potbelly and then two back-to-back trips to Target for extension cords for the guitarist and the forgotten bug spray (just in case!). Boy do I love me some Target.

1:00pm - I get a call from Lynn at Fiore Floral, saying they are in major traffic on their way to drop off the bouquet and bouttoniere at the hotel. Apparently the National Triathlon is today? Multiple closed streets in the city means our transportation schedule could be really thrown off. We MUST start the ceremony promptly at 5:00 so we can get our officiant, Bill Cochran, to his next wedding!

1:05pm - I call Mallory (sidekick for the day) who is waiting at the Mayflower to get the bride & groom into the antique Rolls Royce and bridal party into the shuttle bus. She'll be timing the trip just in case she'll need to send the wedding guests earlier than scheduled. Luckily the triathlon ended at 1pm so we keep fingers crossed that roads will start to reopen soon.

1:30pm - Laura arrives on site at the Red Cross building in downtown Washington, DC. We can't get into the building yet so I take a photo of myself and some of the stuff I'll be setting up:In this basket we have escort cards (alphabetized), table numbers, ceremony programs, a basket to hold said programs, some Sharpies for the signature frame guest book, and a couple copies of the wedding program translated into Serbian for the bride's parents:1:35pm - The site coordinator, Rebecca, pulls in behind me and helps get some other earlier deliveries in through the gate. Looks like most people want to be ahead of the game! We have Perfect Settings, Catering by Windows, Digital Lightning, and Fiore Floral all ready to load in on their tiny elevator. Luckily Rebecca is flexible in letting them in early so we can get started.

1:40pm - I check out the beautiful floral arrangements in the back of the van and realize there are no stands for the ceremony pieces. Double-checking the contract, indeed, we forgot to add stands! Lynn offers to drive back to their shop in Rockville but that will set off the rest of their delivery schedule for the day. I decide to investigate alternate options.

1:45pm - David calls again with another guest list change. Their guitarist will be staying for dinner after all. Let's put him at table 11. I pull out a blank escort card and do my best to nicely write his name and table number. This one will be noticed for sure among a sea of beautiful professionally printed cards. Unfortunately with limited time and resources this will have to do.

1:55pm - With the help of Rebecca and Sheila (also with the Red Cross), we commandeer some cardboard boxes from someone's office and steal trash cans from the hallways like pirates would. Wedding Pirates. A flipped trashcan indeed makes a nice ceremony arrangement holder:A borrowed table cloth lends itself well to covering a trash can stand:2:45pm - The setup outside in the garden appears to be going well! Chris at Catering by Windows is a super hero and chose just the right color linen and Chivari chairs to match. This is where we'll have cocktails since the weather is so beautiful and perfect:
3:00pm - Our bridal party arrives for photographs and the bride & groom pull in right on time. I get corsages and boutonnières pinned and bouquets passed out before ushering everyone outside. I realize that we forgot to include a bouquet for the Junior Bridesmaid on the floral order! We'll use the free toss bouquet so she'll have something pretty to hold for the ceremony. Too bad it's prettier than the bridesmaids bouquets :)

3:15pm - The ceremony chairs are set and ready to go. Rebecca informs me that we need to clear a bit of a fire lane on the edges, so I move a few chairs to appease their risk management folks. I set some programs out on the first row of seats so the parents don't need to carry programs down the aisle. I also place the Serbian programs on the first few seats of the groom's side. Rebecca and I remember that there will be a guest in a wheelchair coming, so we remove a few chairs by the elevator for her chair to fit.
4:15pm - The reception room is starting to look pretty good! I do a quick walk through and realize there are some tables set with the wrong number of place settings. Our banquet manager was working off of an old version of the floor plan. No worries, though, there's just two small changes to make. They get on it right away:4:20pm - The guest in a wheelchair arrives and I meet her outside to show her the way inside to the elevator. She makes her way up to the ceremony safely and decides to get up and sit in a regular Chivari chair and leave the wheelchair off to the side. I'm so glad we moved a few chairs so the wheelchair would fit! As long as she's comfortable, I'm happy.

4:30pm - The band, Doctor's Orders, also seems like they're on track although a few of them are still arriving. They're doing their best to work around the equipment and cables of Digital Lightning, who are doing their best to work around the band:4:45pm - Fifteen minutes until we begin the ceremony. We HAVE to start right on time so we don't sabotage the officiant's next wedding. Mallory arrives right on schedule with the wedding guests on the shuttle so I fill her in on her job over the next ten minutes. She'll hang with the bride while I walk the rest of the bridal party around the building and cue the guitarist. So far so good.

4:50pm - The owner of Ice Kristals, our ice sculpture company, calls me and wants to know if his delivery guys have left yet. If they don't leave soon, they'll miss their next delivery time. Can I call him back right away and let him know how they're doing? Why sure, I'm not busy! I send Mallory upstairs to the reception to check on the ice guys and she calls me with an update. A quick returned call to their office appeases the owner and we're ready to go on the ceremony. Luckily the ice luge looks pretty sweet and I don't have time to get upset, so I let it roll off my back.
That's it for now! Did we start on time? Stay tuned -- tomorrow I'll have Part 2!

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