Sunday, September 27, 2009

Story Sundays!

And to kick it off, since it is my anniversary, you get a glimpse into a little bit of my wedding mistakes...I mean, story...and probably the NUMBER ONE reason I became a wedding planner.

Bride Advisory: This is not a pretty story. It is a tale of mistakes and mishaps. It is a story of a girl who thought she knew what she was doing because she had been a bridesmaid so many times...Ha, Ha, Ha! There were, however no casualties...but we (and we means pretty much everyone at the wedding) almost locked the caterer in the closet.

For my wedding story, I am actually going to skip "the good" and head straight to "the bad and the ugly" in hopes of saving today's brides-and-grooms-to-be some headaches. I must say, however, there were  many "rights" about my wedding - the flowers, the amazing officiant, the venue, the fun we had planning, our wedding party!  So, don't view this as negative...I have no regrets. It is what it is - I made the decisions...I own and take responsibility for them! (Brides, are your hearing this?...You cannot change what is done, accept it and remember the good things!). In the end, I have been married for 12 years and wouldn't change a thing (sort of). it goes...
I was married 12 years ago, at a beautiful private home in the Hollywood Hills. I fell in love with it right away...after looking at probably 40 other places, including a thinly-disguised Mexican restaurant and a fake (I won't even give it the dignity of using "faux") New Orleans Mansion- UGH! I had an average budget and my fiance and I paid for most of the wedding ourselves. The location required I bring in a caterer, valet parking, and all of our own rentals - even trash cans - on top of the usual wedding stuff. We invited 170 people, and 150 attended....we were hoping less would actually come...NOTE: don't over invite! And now for the biggest mistakes...

Mistake #1: We came "this close" to hiring a wedding planner. She had planned weddings for 2 of my good friends and those weddings were fantastic. We opted to not use her because she was questioning us about how we thought our budget was going to stretch "that far." She suggested a lunch or hors d'oeuvres. "Ha! No way!" we said  "We must have dinner."She was right...we settled for a so-so caterer so that we could have a dinner. The food was actually good, but the staff...can you say "crappy" really loud! See above note about locking the catering manager in the closet. If we would have followed her suggestions, the wedding would have been just as beautiful, even if it wasn't dinner.

Mistake #2: I hired a "celebrity" photographer - whatever that means! If I was a celebrity I may have gotten what I as expecting, but alas I am not, so not much good to say about he will remain nameless. I was sucked in and thought he was cool (WRONG!). If someone is name-dropping, don't fall for means nothing except that he is name-dropping. I seriously was a stupid bride. I have tons of "so-so" photos (the ones here are the pick of the litter) and no album (12 years later!)...part of that it my fault.

Mistake #3: As mentioned in Mistake #1, we did not have a wedding planner. For the most part, I think all brides should use a wedding planner for at least for "day of" management. This is even more important for any bride getting married at an offsite venue There are some caterers and location managers at these types of sites who will really assist you, but you cannot count on it unless it is part of the rental/service agreement...and even then they are not your personal wedding planner! There is so much to manage, so many logistics, really, just stuff you would never think about (did anyone bring toilet paper and soap for the restrooms?).

Mistake #4: Did I mention the crappy caterer yet?

Mistake #5: The cake...oh the leaning not-what-I-ordered was only missing all the gold painting  (this was the 90's!) and decor I paid extra for....I was so done, I never asked for my money back. My husband convinced me to call it a day and forget about it...sounds like I did, eh?

That's it for mistakes, but you know you are in for it when there is a serious heat wave, and two days before the wedding you have a 103 degree fever and are bed-ridden. I did manage to get out of bed to visit the crappy caterer and call the venue to ask a question...and when I called the venue, I got an answering service, and they told me the house had burned down and no one would be in until Monday! I just about died! This is the only instance when the caterer was actually helpful...after about 2 hours (of sheer panic) we discovered it was another property managed by the same people and my venue was still standing...whew! By the way, wedding insurance was a relatively "new thing" in 1997, but we did purchase it.

So, in a nutshell, that is my wedding story. This did prove to me that I have the best friends ever - they did their best to "hide" the small stuff from me, carry out my complicated plans, keep the caterer out of my face, and to help me find my DayQuill. I {heart} them!

As for my anniversary...I have a great husband, and that is what it is all about. Even if he did not bring me silk, pearls, or colored gems to celebrate.

If you have a story you would like to share, leave a comment and let's chat about you sharing your story on an upcoming Sunday. Enjoy!

Happy Planning!

UPDATE: I want (would LOVE to have) positive stories too...this is not just about horror stories or mistakes...I am happy to include beautiful photos and stories, as well as sound advice for "What was the best thing you did during your wedding planning to make your day a success?" Or show us your favorite stylish detail. Also, Nor do the stories have to be this long. I just know brides love to get a peek (however big or small) at other brides weddings!


Anna Panik said...

Nice pictures )
And congratulations!
You have very interesting job.
I had wedding in March, so I haven't had an anniversary. We organized our wedding ourselves with my husband, because we had only 1 week for it, and I thik we had a good result :)
We were lucky that goog French restaurant was free that day.

Tamara McDonald said...

I know I had heard your story before, but I had sort of forgotten all those details! Aside from my wedding story that I would share, I could share a couple of stories about doing a wedding as a first time coordinator. I did my first real wedding by myself when I did Katie's wedding at the St. Regis. Lots I could share on that one!

Holly said...

Please share! Next Sunday??????

klynch said...

Sound recommendations but on the other hand I had a wonderful wedding and did not hire a planner. I did it all my slef there were a few opps but nothing major the cater awesome and staff, cake wonderful and photographer.. still using to this day for family pictures... I wish I could add a story but I have none... am I the fluke? but would love to hear the story's!

Holly said...

Ladies....Two things I would love to share!...

I want (would LOVE to have) positive stories too...this is not just about horror stories or mistakes...I am happy to include beautiful photos and stories, as well as sound advice for "What was the best thing you did during your wedding planning to make your day a success?" Or show us your favorite stylish detail. Also, Nor the stories have to be this long. I just know brides love to get a peek (however big or small) at other brides weddings!

Yes, I must admit, it is absolutely possible to have a great wedding without a planner (my wedding planner friends are going to get me now!), but I will continue to recommend the use of a qualified planner in most cases. However, every situation is unique. Each bride needs to evaluate her venue, vendors, and expectations when deciding whether or not to hire a planner.

Thanks everyone for stopping by.

Stephanie Faris said...

I was married 15 years divorced now. It was a stressful day, I'll tell ya! I should have had a wedding planner but I was 23 and thought I could handle it all. Mostly it went off well but it was a cheap wedding and I'm sure people could tell. If I get married again, I'm doing a small destination-type affair. Maybe in the mountains or on the beach...or just at one of those charming wedding chapels. I'm just too old to go through the stress of a big wedding. You have my utmost respect for what you do!

Willoughby said...

My husband and I have been married for 20 years, but our wedding seems like just yesterday to me.

Our day was exactly like I wanted it to be, with only a few small problems. I think the best thing we did was chose comfort foods to be served for dinner. We still have people tell us how good the food was at our wedding. Not bad after 20 years!

Kelley said...

My hubby and I haves been married for 29 years. We were 20 year old babies and paid for our entire wedding. I loved everything aboutout (6 bridesmaid-groomsmen couples): the groom, the colors, the music and the memories... EXCEPT the reception. Before I go there, I do wish I'd had someone else besides the bride (ahem) to conduct the wedding rehearsal (after which we had a simple, fun pizza party). I had planned a simple Missouri early-80s reception of cake, punch, nuts and mints; only a gifts table, standing around socializing of fewer than 100 guests. Unfortunately, the wedding planner (ahem, me again) failed to even go to the reception venue once after she selected it several months prior. That's right- on the wedding day, it was not set up like the bride had planned. The hotel manager, however, had tried to make it look as nice as he could, and boy! Was I grateful, although I was embarrassed that the crisp white skirted tables, which I didn't want, were centerpieceless.

I am currently gearing up for both of our beautiful daughters' weddings next spring and summer. They WILL have wedding planners and ceremony directors, the latter who rehearses the ceremony in reverse. Absolutely brilliant. Why didn't mine think of that 29 years ago?!

Kelley said...

Sorry for the typos in my comments previous to these! *wink*

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