People always ask me what my biggest challenge was an event planner. I once did an event in an underground subway station with no electricity, running water or cell service. When same sex marriage first legalized in New York I planned a wedding for a couple in forty eight hours. And on November 22 I conquered a new challenge: I had two weddings that I planned happen simultaneously at the same time.
First I met Nancy and Bobby who’s wedding took place at Industria Studios in the West Village. Coming from different cultural backgrounds, this couple skipped the ceremony, went to City Hall, and then had a big reception to celebrate. Towards the end of their engagement they also moved to San Francisco, so they wanted their wedding to serve as their farewell to New York City. We worked together to design something that was their style as well as an iconic nod to Manhattan. Taking place in a studio normally used for photo shoots we kept the industrial aesthetic, served an Indian meal family-style, and lit the space that prohibits candles with neon lights and Edison bulbs.
After I had agreed to work with Nancy and Bobby I met Matt and Arielle. They came to me as friends of the executive chef of our company. I told them from the beginning that we had another wedding scheduled for this date. Knowing our Chef was going to create a brilliant, custom menu for them, we agreed I would work with them to plan all the other details. They also opted for a private ceremony, and they wanted the food and fun to be the highlight of their reception. It took a while for me to get Arielle’s design aesthetic clear…this was a bride who chose to wear black…but we eventually landed on some of her top Pinterest choices. We designed a rustic, modern garden feel without fall colors to make the Altman building come alive.
I worked with both of these couples for several months on adding a lot of detail to their vision for each of their special days. Both couples also knew about one another. It was so important to me along the way that neither felt like they didn’t have me by their side 100%. Two weeks before this date I happened to take a little tumble on the ice and break my left wrist. As double wedding Saturday approached I also went through it as a one armed wedding planner.
While both venues are raw spaces that required bringing everything in, I knew Industria would be a greater challenge. The Altman regularly does social events, and my company was doing in the catering. I had employed trusted colleagues to be dedicated at each event so I could float between the two without worry. Here was how my day went:
Arrive at Industria.
Supervise load in of all furniture and installation of family photo wall.
Check in with florist, lighting company, and catering manager.
Call my team at the Altman to learn they’re doing fine.
Receive pics of set-up there and am pleased.
Go through checklists for both, get a re-run of some damaged furniture, and receive cake delivery. Photo booth company and cocktail musicians arrive.
Outside caterers arrive and get them situated in kitchen. Sound and lighting check.
Nancy and Bobby arrive earlier than expected to practice first dance with choreographer.
I get out of my jeans and put on a suit with a French cuff shirt… the only thing I could find would fit over my cast.
Complete safety and fire walkthrough with venue manager.
Food and drinks start being passed to guests.
Check in with Nancy and Bobby. They’re thrilled. Head to Altman
Complete walk-through of Altman with my team.
Check in with Matt and Arielle. They are thrilled with décor!
Passed bites and drinks begin. Make sure service is going well and head back to Industria.
The cocktail hour musicians are wowing the crowd. I’ve never seen so much dancing at a cocktail hour. I find Nancy and Bobby… still thrilled. I let them know that shortly we’ll be hiding them to get the guests into the reception room.
Escort guests into reception… no one wants to leave cocktail hour. Families introduced. Bollywood style surprise first dance pulled of brilliantly by Nancy & Bobby.
Family style meal served
Check in with catering team at Altman and find out dinner is a huge hit. Phew!
Wheel the cake through the sweaty dance floor for the cutting and toast.
Get the report everyone at the Altman is dancing the night away!
Make sure the take-away favor table is in place by the exit.
Cue the late night pass-a-rounds of vodka mango lassies and patron xo.
Nancy and Bobby finish the last dance and before heading to their after-party thank me for what they feel is “the best wedding ever.” I head to Altman.
Matt and Arielle are still going strong on the dance floor with their friends. I find both sets of parents who felt the night could not have gone better.
They finish their last dance. We hug and make drink plans for after their honeymoon. I give some break-down instructions to my team at Altman. I head back to Industria one last time.
Load out is complete. I sign off on walk through with venue manager. Reflect during taxi home on the happy couples and how amazing my teams were to help deliver two amazing events.