Several times a year there is an event that is greater than all the other events. Whether it's the size and scale of the party of the VIP nature or even the budget - it's huge and dwarfs every other event that month. Yesterday was one such event - a 600 guest Italian wedding for a notable Hamiltonian. As a regular person, just hearing the words "600 guest Italian wedding" causes me to shudder but as an event planner, it's a major coup and usually turns out to be a great opportunity to impress and excel.
I worked the entire long weekend and my Canada Day celebrations consisted of my grumbling as the fireworks kept me from getting the 4 hours of sleep I would have access to the entire weekend.
Last night, as I furtively ate a cannoli while waiting to cue the best man's speech, I took a moment to compile my thoughts about this major event. In no particular or no particularly sensible order:
- Have you ever been in the massive church near the 403 and Dundurn? It's like our city's Catholic mothership and it's quite grand inside. They're also very strict. Apparently if you leave your keys and phone behind a holy water...statue thing and come back for it after dealing with the wedding party, the doors will be locked. After freaking out and knockin' on heaven's door, the priest (?) will begrudgingly let you in and give you the eye like he knows you're not even Catholic. At the rehearsal he made people put up their hands if they weren't - not sure why. As a Protestant event planner at the Italian wedding, and the only one with a clipboard, I stood out.
- My favourite part of any wedding is that short moment I get alone with the bride right before she walks down the aisle. She's typically really nervous and vulnerable and I can be the calm and professional presence to help her relax and focus - it's just a sweet little moment in the chaotic day where we can connect. Yesterday, this beautiful 23 year old was shaking and about to cry. She asked me what she should think about to avoid freaking out or sobbing. I told her to think about the first thing that came to my mind - the complete opposite of anything wedding related: dog fighting. I actually said this to her. Seriously, sometimes I should just be banned from speaking. Especially at crucial moments in people's lives. Luckily, she laughed as I fanned her with a Bible.
- I have become an expert at standing still with my hands clasped behind my back with reverence and poise while an variety of speeches, presentations, ceremonies or slide shows take place. Behind my back, my thumbs are wrestling each other.
- You know who's NOT so good at standing quietly still? Children. I'm sorry, but I truly do not believe young children have a place at an event like a wedding ceremony. At least not the ones present yesterday. Standing near the back of the church, I found myself in what seemed to be a free-for-all wild playground - at least 9 kids, in varying states of unrest. They were all running around (running!), screaming, being chased by indulgent mothers with not a shred of embarrassment or awareness on their faces. Why do they think it's appropriate to allow their children to interrupt and impair guests' enjoyment of a ceremony? Couldn't they have played outside? At home, in their backyard? Yes, yes, I know, I'm the witch in Hansel and Gretel, but come ON.
- Also, dressing your three children in the ever-subtle Burberry plaid, head to toe, does not make it okay for them to cavort around my ankles and grab at my dress. They all blended together and looked like some plaid super-child trying to take me down.
- If there were Event Professional Olympics, I would surely take gold in boutonniere and corsage pinning. I'm wicked good. I never prick anyone (by accident) and they will be secured for the whole day no matter how many aunts and uncles crush them in hugs.
- People really do not know how to dress in a church. Or to a wedding for that matter. It's not Jersey Shore night at Skank, the hottest new club for the under-20 crowd and you're not competing for the Most Orange Skin Showing trophy. Cover your side boob, already! And put your thighs away.
- Fondant sucks. No one likes to eat it and I don't care if it allows you to create a replica of the Notre Dame cathedral in icing. Let's put a picture of the cathedral beside a really good pie and call it a day.
- Also, cupcakes and candy bars are so played. Pie is the new wave. You heard it here first.
- Regarding the candy bar, I learned something about myself last night. If I accidentally drop a Reese's piece into my dress while eating them by the handful, it will fall out at the end of the night when I get changed. And, at 4am, after I find it on the floor, I will eat it. No shame. Or at least, none at 4am on hour 22 of being awake.
- Going on and on about being 'so into fashion' and name-dropping Phillip Treacy would be more easily believable if you were just stylish and quiet. And weren't still wearing turqoise contact lenses. Who are you, Paris Hilton in 2002? Even she's let that one die.
- I spent most of the night nervously watching a candelabra shake and nearly topple from the head table. Rowdy, drunk groomsmen + cheap rented Chinese fabrication = disaster and panicked event planner.
- I want to marry someone who dances. Watching all these older couples doing their best to the latest from Flo Rida and Lady Gaga was pretty awesome. You know they've never heard the song before but they're out there having fun, doing their little shuffle. I want to be 70 and have my husband beside me giving it our best shot. Why not? I guarantee they were having more fun than the couples sitting watching them.
- One of my favourite things about the field I'm in is the control and power I have on event day. Knowledge is power and having all the answers and ability to tell people where they have to be and what to do is way too much fun. I have the power to interrupt people, direct, and boss - this is what they're paying me for. And really, keeping a 30 person wedding party on track requires a firm hand. Those who recognize and respect my role from the get-go are much appreciated. Those (i.e. that charming groomsman who I had to constantly chase into line or the bridesmaid who thinks I am her slave) who resist...well, I suppose no job's easy.
- It is a guarantee that I will always tear up at the father/daughter speeches. Or really any of the speeches for that matter. I'm a total suck for these and it always makes me think about my parents and my special people. Whenever I feel the tears coming, I just try to think of dog fighting. It works.
Hour 21 and counting...