I’m an Event Planner and Producer. When it came to my own wedding, I didn’t flinch at the idea of planning it myself. I couldn’t wait to finally plan something that was for me. I had so many ideas about how I was going to make it the best wedding any guest had ever been to. I planned until every last detail was in place. I had lists for my lists and details about my details. I even created and designed my own faux leather Wedding Organizer & Keepsake so I could reflect on my genius for the rest of my life. I was confident that there was nothing I could have forgotten. Everything was in place and we were all going to have the time of our lives for the entire weekend!
We chose the perfect place in Princeton, NJ at a beautiful estate called The Mountain Lakes House. It was everything we wanted. A private home with a beautiful rolling lawn that led to its own pond in the backyard. The Princeton Marriott was very close so we camped out there for 4 days along with our friends and family. The plan on paper was flawless.
And so the weekend began…
I was sitting at my rehearsal dinner at the then, Hibachi restaurant, my absolute fave food experience and the chef was doing his thing. Suddenly, someone was whispering in my ear, “I don’t want to bother you, BUT…” What??? Oh yea, I’m the wedding planner and coordinator. “Hi!” The hotel messed up one of the gift bags and gave the wrong ones to a few of the guests. The real problem was our college buddy wanted his bottle of vodka and not the bailey’s he was mistakenly given. First world stuff…
No problem. Event producer to the rescue. Troubleshooting is my specialty. This is what I do, so my clients don’t have to.
WAIT! What? hmmm…
It was during my reception the following afternoon, that I realized my huge mistake in forgetting I was the client and I didn’t take care of myself. But that night, with a smile, I fixed the gift bag issue and went back to my rehearsal dinner in time to finish my meal.
The next morning, I was following things according to my very well laid out plan. I was showered, hair dried, enjoying my wedding morning breakfast spread in my suite and waiting to get my hair and makeup done. Suddenly, I was once again taken out of my bridal bliss to handle my first, of what turned out to be many emergencies on my wedding day. My hairstylist from Long Island, who didn’t take my suggestion of staying over Friday night, was not walking into my suite at 10am, she was sitting in traffic and still 2 hours away. There was a little extra time and it only caused a little stress.
Who am I kidding? There was no extra time and she caused massive stress. I had a style that took us 3 hours in the practice run. My long flowing main with curls was supposed to be perfect. What was I going to do? Oh yea, super planner to the rescue. I called my makeup girl, who did take my advice and stayed at the hotel. I moved her up 2 hours and phew, problem solved! Of course the hairstylist finally got there and of course, we ran out of time and one of my bridesmaids ended up with a very bad pony tail flopped onto the top of her head. In retrospect, it was hilarious and thank God it happened to her because she was the only one in the bridal party that could handle it.
The day brought me one thing after another, one question after another and one needing direction after another. As an event planner does, I took it all in and gave back with a smile and was trouble shooting and organizing everyone and everything all morning, afternoon and well into dinner.
From the best man disappearing for 45 minutes before the ceremony and then again during the toasts because of a football game; to the geese who crapped all over the lawn and no one knew until I dragged my dress over it before I walked down the aisle; to the band not being able to find the cd of our wedding song and didn’t know the words and cut out our favorite verse; to the caterer giving seconds to 2 tables and not serving 2 tables, and when they realized their mistake, they had run out of food; to the final straw at the end of the night, as we were all sitting on the front stoop waiting for the bus to take us to the Marriott and it showed up an hour late, even though I had confirmed the time when they dropped us off at 3pm. But in all of it, I smiled and fixed it and no one really knew a thing.
In all honesty, I had checked out at the dinner time fiasco. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t plan, organize, troubleshoot, answer another question or work for another second. It was my day and I needed to be the bride. I needed to enjoy my day, my guests, the crap on my dress, the music, dancing and being in the moment with my new husband. I felt bad for those guests who didn’t eat but, I felt worse for me and I needed to put my clipboard down.
The caterer was focused on feeding everyone – sort of. The band was focused on entertaining everyone. The venue manager was focused on the venue. And no one was focused solely on me or on pulling it all together. You can’t do both good. You can not be an event planner and bride at the same time.
If I had to do it all over again, I would still plan it all, but I would hire a Day-of Coordination Team. I would hand everything off to them a month or more prior. I would hire someone to be by my side the entire time and their team to help with the rehearsal dinner, guest arrivals, and the entire wedding day, 12 hours.
For 18 months, I had planned every moment and detail of my wedding day to make sure my guests had a great time but in all that time, I forgot to plan for and take care of, Me.