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Wedding Bells & Ball-ups

Tales from an event planner



Some weddings are simple and intimate, while others can rival a Broadway production. Either way, planning a wedding takes hard work, and while not every couple hires a wedding planner, chances are pretty good that by the end, they wish they had. 

The reasons for being in the business of wedding planning—and surviving in it—are multifold. They include a passion for serving others, the ability to think creatively, patience, and being a good listener—a degree in psychology doesn’t hurt, either. Personally, I find it rewarding to pull off such a momentous event. Chances are you’ve been to your share of weddings as a guest. But if you’re dying to hear what happens behind the scenes, read on. 

In the wedding industry, especially when dealing with destination or luxury weddings, it isn’t unusual to receive challenging requests. These can range from a guest arriving by helicopter, to a bride’s father arranging for a fighter jet to do a fly-over at the end of the ceremony, to a groom deciding to make his ceremony entrance to the James Bond theme music.

A few years ago, I assisted with one nuptial where the cast of Fiddler on the Roof was brought in to do the show’s “Bottle Dance.” Eight dancers came in by bus from NYC for the evening festivities. At the end of the ceremony, they performed the iconic number and then, during the Hora, lifted up the chairs holding the bride and groom. At that particular wedding, the guests also enjoyed an $85,000 Sylvia Weinstock wedding cake. Her name alone raises the price tag of any confection, but for those unfamiliar with her work, she creates amazingly lifelike flowers out of sugar. This cake also included a collection of (sugar) Fabergé eggs.

My duties are wide and varied. I’ve been asked to be a dog handler for the bride’s cherished pet, who would be walking down the aisle in a Chanel outfit, no less—no, not the bride. The dog wore Chanel! And I’ve even been placed in charge of a VIP guest’s special bottle of Tequila that he had flown in especially for himself.

I’m not the only wedding planner with a tale to tell. Some of my peers have experienced circumstances that were totally unexpected—and took some quick thinking by the event team. At one wedding, somewhere between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception, the now-married groom was caught making out with one of the bridesmaids. All was forgiven, apparently, as this couple is still together. During another reception, the groom got into a fistfight with the uncle of the bride—who had paid for the entire event.

One wedding guest who drank a few too many wandered off the property of one my favorite local venues, only to be found the next morning—naked—on a neighbor’s front porch. At another wedding, sadly, one wedding guest literally dropped dead on the dance floor. After the deceased was removed, the partying continued until the wee hours of the morning.

Although a little rain on your wedding day is said to bring good luck, a torrential downpour is never a good thing. One such day comes to mind during which a beautiful sailcloth tent split open from the weight of rainwater, and nearly everything underneath was ruined. The event staff acted quickly to move the party to a nearby building, regrouped, and, despite the near-catastrophe, the wedding ended on a high note.

On occasion, wedding-party members decide to bring items that the planner is unaware of. This was recently the case when several bowls of “adult” gummy bears were placed around the reception. By the end of the evening, everyone was quite happy, and the venue reported several incidents of guests “getting to know each other a little better” in some of the darker corners.

One of the clauses in my contract states: “If you choose to hire a vendor with whom I have not worked, I cannot guarantee the quality of their service or product.” Only rarely does this pose a problem. However, you just never know when the drummer from the band your clients bring in from NYC will show up without his drums—he simply forgot them and didn’t realize it until the equipment was unloaded at the reception site. Fortunately, a team member made a few calls and found a local drum set that was delivered before the guests arrived for dinner and dancing—and the wedding party had no idea what happened until they were told the day after.

And then there was the occasion when the groom frequented the open bar a bit too often, got sick on himself, and ended up enjoying the rest of the evening amidst his guests—in his underwear.

At the end of the day, most of the situations that occur at a wedding are just memories in the making and, hopefully, will be looked upon in the years to come with laughter and perhaps a few happy tears. So, be kind to your wedding planner—who is, among other things, making sure your guests get on the right shuttle (we liken this to herding cats) or running interference between the crazy aunt with rolled-down knee-highs and the father of the bride who can’t stand her. Remember, we very well might have a few stories about your wedding.

 

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September 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Website »

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Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
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Website »

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The Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and the Connecticut Giant Pumpkin Growers Club will host the 6th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 10 am to 3 pm in Ballard Park,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballard Park
Ridgefield, CT  06877


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jen Mulhern
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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Somers Women's Club, a not-for-profit community service organization, will hold its major fundraiser on Sunday, September 23, 2018 at Reis Park on Route 139 in Somers. There will be a huge sale...

Cost: 0

Where:
Reis Park
182 Primrose St
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Somers Women's Club
Contact Name: Jodi Hu
Website »

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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

MARGARITAS FOR MOCKINGBIRDS A Bedford Audubon Fundraiser Bedford Audubon Society will host its first annual fundraising event at TRUCK Restaurant on September 24, 2018 from 6-8pm.  Tickets are...

Cost: $125.00

Where:
Truck Restaurant
391 Old Post Rd
Bedford, NY
View map »


Sponsor: Truck Restaurant

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Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week course The Soul Ajar: An Emily Dickinson Literature Course.  The classes...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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This presentation, led by Martin House member Bryan Stern, will help small business owners understand key tax law changes that may affect their 2018 business tax returns so that they can plan ahead...

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
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Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
Website »

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Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday, September 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich will host its first-ever Oktoberfest celebration. Featuring German beer from Paulaner USA, Oktoberfest at the Bruce...

Cost: $30 for Bruce Museum members, $40 non-members

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Hospice of Westchester (HOW) will host its annual “In Celebration” Gala Cocktail Reception on Thursday, September 27, 2018. This year’s event will honor Joan and Michael...

Cost: $300

Where:
Westchester Country Club
99 Biltmore Avenue
Rye, NY  10580
View map »


Sponsor: Hospice of Westchester
Telephone: 914-682-1484
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
Website »

More information

The 57th Annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show is September 29-30  10am-5-pm, Rain or Shine Newly Ranked #2 Best Fine Art and Design Show in the Country! (Sunshine Artist, 8/2018) 185...

Cost: $12 General, $10 Seniors, 18 and under: Free

Where:
Community Park
205 Business Park Drive
Armonk, NY  10504
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of NCPL
Telephone: 914-629-7529
Contact Name: Anne Curran
Website »

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Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
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