In another life, I was an event planner. I worked at a fabulous facility where I did countless weddings and other events. It was a big operation. The hours were nuts but the clients were always entertaining. Over time I will share some of my client’s wedding day stories. Some are sweet and magical and…some are just NUTS (I’ll of course change names to protect the innocent…or in this case the insane). This one is a little long but hang with me…its a doozy.
Let me introduce you to Gina and Larry. They were ringin’ ye ole wedding bells for the second time. Apparently they each, respectively, had a county courthouse type fete the first go round. So this time they were goin’ big y’all! They’re budget with me was $60K (that number excludes rings, dresses, and honeymoons.). She was a petite vegan doctor with chiseled cheek bones, and extremely book smart. He was an older artsy type dude with pock marks on his face and long sandy hair. You could tell that he truly loved her. You could tell that she had very little style and was frankly clueless on just about everything wedding related. At our first appointment she expressed to me that she wanted everyone to eat a “vegan, fast elimination” dinner and have an open bar. Ummmm what….because that’s what everyone that attends a wedding wants right? Wasted with the craps. They eventually settled on a duet of Filet Mignon and Sea Bass for everyone else and they had three grain-vegetable croquettes with amaranth and beets. I’m sure it looked something like this…
Anyway, the bride was dead set on an outdoor, candle lit ceremony…in late October. We all know what happens in late october after 6:30 pm, right? It’s dark people! I told her that there would be no way she could even see who she was actually marrying. The pictures would be very difficult to see on account of the bright flash or no light at all. She said the candle light would be more than enough to see her love while they said “I do”.
The rehearsal day came, I scheduled it as close to the actual wedding time as I could. When they arrived at the rehearsal to drop off all their favors and other goodies, they were pissed! “It’s so dark! Why didn’t you warn me about this?” The pretty petite Gina fumed at me. “Gina, you look beautiful! Happy rehearsal day. Don’t you worry, your day will be the most beautiful candlelit ceremony you have ever seen! We’ll just add a few more candles to make sure you and your guests don’t miss a glimpse of your beautiful union.” I smiled and walked them over to their ceremony site and conducted the rehearsal in pitch black. I’m. Not. Kidding. They only had a best man and a maid of honor. No parents or any other friends or family. Ish was tense people! But I reassured them and gave them complimentary champagne. (Not sure if it was clean or fast elimination, but that Gina downed about three glasses before they left.) I went back to my office and immediately called their DJ. I begged him to provide some complimentary can lights (like soft spot lights that point up from the bushes) to add to the ceremony site. He agreed.
The next day, after my morning wedding, I headed over to the ceremony site around 5pm and started setting out Gina’s millions of candles. Man, there was a ton of candles. They were everywhere: on the pathway from the parking lot, in both fountains, on the lovely stone wall, on the sign-in table, the gift table, the water station, the bubbles (Champs!!) station. Everywhere. She wanted pillar candles on the ground lining the aisle. I put them there, but then got concerned about the safety of the exposed flame. So I went to see what my facility had in the way of hurricane glass. I didn’t have enough. I was short two. So I removed two of their pillar candles remembering that I had the DJ bring extra lighting. No biggie, right?
I checked on the groom in his private room, I had to move him there after I had him leave the bar around 3, he arrived at the bar at 12. I told him and the staff, “No more drinks for Larry!”. Well, Larry had sweet talked someone into bringing him more drinks. Crap.
Next, I went over to check on the bride. Her room has a view of the ceremony space. Me, “Gina! You look amazing!” Her, “I look like a whore. I’m trying to take more of this make-up off.” I learned from the on-sight salon that she had them re-do her make-up about three times. Me, “Oh, no. Don’t do that! You know, it’s going to be a candlelit wedding so a little extra make-up will be great in the pictures.” I lied. Then I said, “Take a look outside. Your ceremony will start in just thirty minutes. Doesn’t it look magical out there?” That’s when she started to really freak out. “Thirty minutes! Are you nuts?! It will be way too dark. Let’s do it now. Is Larry ready?” Me, “Gina, all of your guests haven’t arrived. Let me go check on your vendors (DJ, officiant) to see if they’re ready yet. I’ll be back. Have a glass of champagne.” That should buy me about 15 minutes.
I ran downstairs and to the other building where Larry was. He was sober…enough and ready to go. I radio-ed to the ceremony site to let them know the groom was on his way. This is so Gina wouldn’t look out the window and see him. I got him in place and went to get her. She was livid. Apparently she had counted the pillar candles and knew two were missing. I told her that the flame had to be protected for safety reasons and did she see the extra complimentary lighting her DJ had so kindly added? She was not impressed. And, she had sent someone to add two more pillars to the aisle, mid-way down. No hurricane glass. I said mmmkay, and told her that was a real bad plan. But the minutes were ticking away (it was now 6:20) we needed to get this bride moving. So I let it slide.
I opened that door and sent her down the aisle to Cannon in D at just the perfect time. I shut the door and ran to watch from the window because a good wedding planner is not supposed to be seen…ever. Oh man, it was dark out there. Gina started toward Larry. I think I saw them smiling at each other, but not sure because of how freakin’ dark it was! Then, a glow started…right behind the bride. What is that???? The glow was getting brighter. The guests started to look alarmed and make noises. HER TRAIN CAUGHT ON FIRE WHILE SHE WAS WALKING DOWN THE AISLE! I opened the door and jumped up and down and waved my arms silently. The officiant saw me and said, “What the!!!” and then ran around the bride and stomped out the small fire.
Yep, she had gotten her candlelit ceremony after all. Surprisingly, she was totally calm about the whole thing. If only that Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” had been available to play…just saying.
(All photos are compliments of Pinterest.)