Alison + Walter + Jonas: A Wedding Story
This past weekend, I had the honor of producing a wedding that was 16 years in the making. A wedding that united two wonderful families. A wedding whose guests traveled from all over the world to attend. The setting would be a stunning modern venue, overlooking the East River, with all of its twinkling lights from the buildings beyond. The tables would be illuminated by soft candlelight and the guests would be in their finest attire.
Sounds pretty perfect, right?
But in the days beforehand, news channels began reporting about a snowstorm that would make its mark all along the East Coast. Record amounts of snow were predicted and residents were being warned to take precautions. As I started to stalk my weather app, I noticed that throughout the week, snowfall amounts dwindled in my region...the Berkshires, a mere two hours north of NYC...from 5-8" to 3-5" to simply a dusting (much to the chagrin of my ski ridge!), and I started to relax a bit. Surely NYC would dodge this bullet just as the Berkshires would!
Nonetheless, my husband and I drove down to the city a day early, just in case the weather really did turn bad on Saturday morning. And when we arrived, sure enough, there was not a flake in sight (of snow, anyway!). We easily walked down the street to have dinner, then went to bed early because I knew tomorrow would be a long day.
The next morning, we awoke to the sounds of blustery winds and watched out our windows as the inches began to pile up and the sidewalks began to uselessly be shoveled. And when the local news announced that the Governor had declared a state of emergency, that the national guard was being called in, and that the mayor would likely close the roads to everyone except road maintenance and emergency vehicles, I started to get that sense of dread. Jonas had arrived...and in full force!
However, the role of a wedding planner is not to stress out (or stress your bride out!), so I decided to give Alison a call to see how her Saturday morning spin class went. She reported that everything was wonderful and was in great spirits!
So when my phone rang, and the voice on the other end was an apologetic restaurant manager, I knew the news was NOT going to be good. And I was right. Riverpark had to shut down. They couldn't force their staff to stay because no one would be able to get home with the roads being closed. The wedding would have to be cancelled.
Now, I would like to report that I stayed calm, cool and collected, and just started making some calls right away, but my husband may report a different scenario. However, he will not be posting a blog anytime soon, so we'll just go with my side of the story!
I called Alison to let her know the grim details, and after a few "No, No, No's" she asked if she could call me back in a few minutes. But Alison is always quite "zen," so even her "no's" were pretty calm! And I knew we'd be able to all work as a team to figure this out.
Now for the silver lining...the venue had an opening the next morning at 10:30! While they would still have to serve the menu we had planned (we asked for a brunch option, but many of the original sauces and desserts were already being prepared), we knew this would be the best option (despite many texts, emails and calls trying to find a unique venue that would stay open for a wedding!). The floral designer made her way to the restaurant immediately to set up the chuppah and store all of the centerpieces and bouquets in the walk-in coolers. The photographer, Christopher Duggan, was alerted and changed his plans to make it on Sunday. The officiant extended his stay...although, if you ask him, he'll tell you he was already stuck in the city for the night anyway! LOL
And we did it! Alison looked stunning in her black wedding/evening gown (and that alone made my day because I've been dying for one of my brides to wear black!), and Walter was dapper as could be in his tux. The guests arrived all polished as though nothing had happened. The food was fantastic. The sun was out, the river was sparkling. And everyone was just slightly happier on Sunday morning than they probably should have been...simply because we all thought this might be "the wedding that wasn't."
Our smiles were a bit wider, our hugs a bit longer and the speeches a bit more jovial than perhaps they would have been the night before...even on such a joyous occasion!
In the end, it all went just as planned (well, not really, but you know what I mean). And it caught the attention of several news outlets including CBS news, ABC news, The Washington Post...even reaching as far away as San Diego, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the UK! "Snowed-out Wedding Goes off a Day Late, Without a Hitch!" Glad they weren't reporting from behind the scenes! ;)
And now that this event is finished, I'm excited to "go all in" planning Alison's daughter's wedding this September in the Berkshires, at one of my favorite venues--The Mount!
Congratulations to Alison and Walter! And as my friend Laureen said, "May you only have sunny skies ahead!"
(Forgive me for my "amateur" (iPhone) behind-the-scenes pics...the professional images will be MUCH better!)