If you asked anyone what is one of the best things about me, they would say it’s that I exude an utter state of calm. From as long back as I can remember, I have always been the calm one. If you needed someone to stand backstage with you before a dance routine, I was your person. On event, I am usually unflappable. Very few people have actually seen me lose it, and I don’t often like to do that in front of anyone. I tend to internalize and keep calm on the outside. I think the worst thing that someone in an event planning position can do is fall apart and lose it. People are looking to you for guidance and reassurance; if the pilot of your flight was running around the plane in terror you can bet every passenger would be hysterical. No need for panic-stricken clients – I will hold all that nervous energy inside for everyone!
This is not to say that I don’t get panicked and hysterical, I am just very adept at hiding it… well, from almost everyone. Scott, my husband, knows the signs that I have reached my breaking point and he then steps in.
This past summer, I played a part in the wedding of a really sweet couple who were surrounded by so much love it was truly a joy to be a part of. I don’t often commit to full-on wedding coordination as I know how involved it gets and how exhausting it can be physically, mentally and emotionally. I like to be very hands on and provide whatever service the client needs, whether it is just minor things like lighting candles or if it is everything from running rehearsals, and being onsite to handle everything from guest arrivals and family drama to timing entrances and speeches etc. High fives to all my wedding planning friends – you guys are incredible! I’m in awe of what you do and how you make it look so effortless.
This was one of those weddings where I was doing a bit of everything. About a week and half before the wedding, I met with the tent company to do the site walk through. Everything seemed to be good on their end, I just had to get the building permit from the city because of the size of the tent being installed. No problem I was told, they had all the proper documentation that I would need and the office would send it all over. So I proceeded to submit the documents I received to the city along with the other necessary forms. Turns out there were some errors on the documents so the city asked me to get further clarification. The tent company couldn’t provide the proper plans and in turn told me to go find my own structural engineer to get them approved. I was flabbergasted. They believed that because I was Mastermind Events this shouldn’t be a problem and I should know how to do this. For those not in the event world, this would be the same as you having to get your own safety done on a vehicle you had rented from a car rental place before you drove it off the lot.
I will admit I know lots of different things. I can recommend what size tent you will need based on your event specs, I can tell you what linens will work, and on and on. I am not , however, a tent installer – hence the fact that I hired an expert for this job. I hire various experts for their experience and guidance when needed. I assume the DJ is going to know how to make the music come out of the speakers, that a photographer will know what lens to use, that a florist will put the proper flowers together, and I assume that the tent company will have the supporting documents required for a tent they are planning to set up. I guess I should have taken the old quote at its word, “Assuming makes and ASS out of U and ME”.
Thankfully, we found a different tent company who could come and install that week, and got our permit from the city without issue. From that point forward, everything happened with hardly a hiccup. A couple of guests cancelled so we redid the seating chart onsite, 20 minutes before the ceremony – thank you Martha for letting me channel my inner craftiness; longer extension cords were needed near the dock for the power to the DJ; the lawn dried from the rain that fell throughout the week;at the end of the day everything was done before the bride walked down the aisle.
I think the funniest thing about running a production like this is that people truly believe that as the event planner, you can do anything; maybe that is just a trick of the trade. At one point a guest came up to me to inform me that the port-a-potty wasn’t working and wondering if I could have a look at it. So I hiked over and stood there and I stared at the toilet trailer. I checked the hose and walked around the unit. I tried to look very official while doing this. Apparently, I looked like I knew what I was doing. Thankfully, the guy who rented the toilet was at the wedding as a guest, and quickly fixed the connection problem before it was ever an issue. I was also helping the caterer fill water jugs to speed up the process, and some guests saw me and asked me to refill their carafes so I began pouring and clearing tables.
I figure if there is a job to do then it had better get done, if my hands are free then I will tackle it – whatever it may be. My philosophy is that if I am not willing to do a job that I am capable of doing then I should never ask a team member to do it for me.
By the end of this particular wedding weekend, I had logged just over 43 hours from the time the rehearsal started until we cleaned up the last of the garbage on Sunday afternoon. I think I got the most out of all the hours in my days that weekend! Maybe it isn’t that I am calm but rather sleeping on my feet? I read a quote recently that said “Because you are alive, everything is possible”. Taking moments to regroup and focus on the task at hand can make the impossible possible and even create something amazing.