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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The richness of team work

I love being a team player, and recently I had the opportunity to become a part of the wonderful team of professionals working together on Connie and Colin's wedding at the Flood Mansion in San Francisco.

Several months ago, my good friend, Gloria Tritasavit, who was handling the design for Colin and Connie's wedding, asked me to step in as the Month of Coordinator for their wedding, to handle logistics, create a detailed timeline, and oversee the smooth running of the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception, from beginning to end. I was delighted to work alongside Gloria again, as we had in September, for Marce and Alfie's wedding, at Nestldown.

The first member of the wedding support team I worked with on the wedding morning was Barry Peterson, Catering Manager for the St. Regis in SF, where the bride, her mother, and all of the bridesmaids were staying. Barry set aside a room just for doing hair and makeup, from early in the morning through the departure of the last limo, on the wedding day. He even provided a beautiful, and healthy lunch for the bride and bridesmaids...I always recommend a simple meal of protein, fruit, and water for the bride on the day of the wedding; Barry took this to the next level!

Bride and bridesmaid lunch delivered to the Hair and Makeup suite, for Connie and her bridesmaids; it was as delicious and healthy, as it was beautiful!

I was able to hop into the limousine (Andiamo Livery Service offered great service throughout the day...another strong team member!) with Connie's mom, in the last run from the St. Regis; we arrived at the Flood Mansion, for the pre-ceremony photos right on time.

Every area of the mansion was a full of action, with vendors moving like dancers, in and out of each others paths, taping down cords for microphones and speakers, placing crates of glassware and plates near the dining tables, creating floral masterpieces on site from buckets of gorgeous flowers, unloading boxes of props, taping down yards of silk for the aisle runner, installing tall poles for draping and lighting, etc.

The Dessert Buffet was in position, ready for the addition of the delicious variety of sweets, when the sun had set, and dinner was complete.

The cocktail tables were ready to be moved onto the Cortile, once the ceremony had concluded there.

If there was ever a need for a timeline, and overall coordination of details, this multi-faceted wedding was one of those times! As a part of the wedding team, I was able to bring together the multitude of details and timing needs, so that each individual vendor's focus was respected, and factored into the overall plan of the day.

When I arrived I immediately grouped the family and wedding party for the scheduled photos with Anna Kuperberg, another fantastic team member; then I met with Steven Emerson, of Ever Music, and the sound technicians from SF Booking, to determine where to set up mics and speakers for the ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and dancing.

Meanwhile, Gloria, Jonathan from Asiel Designs, and Gloria's assistant were setting up the escort cards in preparation for the guests' being invited into dinner, from the cocktail hour outside.

Gloria and Jonathan work together to get the unique design of escort cards exactly as Gloria had designed it.

Once I had seen that each of the vendors was on-site, unloaded, and very close to having their part of set up complete, I turned my attention to getting the family, wedding party, and of course Connie and Colin, in place for the beginning of the ceremony.

When I went outside to check on the ceremony set up, I caught this photo of the ring bearer, enjoying the stringed trio warming up for the ceremony...I am sure he is a violinist in the making!

Another essential part of my service at a wedding is to provide at least one professional wedding coordinator assistant to help me throughout the day; now was the time when we were both extremely focused, stationing the ushers to welcome and direct the guests as they arrived, grouping the bridesmaids and groomsmen, positioning the parents, the ring bearer , flower girl, and of course Colin and Connie, for the beginning of the ceremony.

Once I cued the musicians to begin the processional, the ceremony was ready to begin, with the seating of the parents. It is always emotional for me to see the bride and her father, a little teary with joy and memories, head down the aisle to the waiting groom...I see it as a treasured privilege to be the last one to see them, as I straighten, and "fluff" the bride's train for the long awaited entrance...sigh...!

The next 5 hours went by quickly for everyone; the wedding, the cocktail hour, the dinner, dessert buffet, and dancing went smoothly, and we stayed true to the timeline, without feeling constrained.

The menu which Colin and Connie had spent months selecting, and fine tuning, down to the most minute detail, was prepared and served flawlessly, and deliciously, by Betty Zlatchin Caterers.

One of the many elegantly displayed and perfectly seasoned appetizers which were passed to the guests during the cocktail hour.

The result of all the months, days, and hours of preparation, with hard work by each member of Colin and Connie's wedding team, was the beauty, elegance, and fun enjoyed by all the family and guests.

The guests found their escort card with their name and table assignment presented on lacquered wooden trays, in the Adams room at the entry of the Flood Mansion.

Just beyond the Adams room is the entrance into the main dining area at the Flood Mansion.

The tables were set with customized place cards, detailed menus, and striking black/white, blue and yellow decor.

This is the bride's chair at dinner; Connie had asked me to place her wedding shoes there, so she could rest her feet during the cocktail hour, in comfy flip flops....4" heels create an elegant look, but I think a break for the bride's feet, before the first dance, is a great idea.

The overview of the dining room, during the first course, oysters on the half shell.

The dessert buffet, with the Croquembouche in the center, was a huge hit for the wedding guests, both for the beauty of the design, and for the delicious choices of small sweets.

I would love to work again with any and all of the wonderful wedding professionals who made up Colin and Connie's "team"; they are:

Gloria Wong
Tritasavit, Design (www.sashandsugar.com)
Asiel Design, Florals (www.asieldesign.com)
Zlatchin, Caterer (www.bettyzlatchincatering.com)
Kuperberg, Photographer (www.kuperberg.com)
Steven Emerson, Ever Music Group, (www.evermusicgroup.com)
Enhanced Lighting, Draping and lighting (www.enhancedlighting.com)
The Studio Agency, Hair and makeup (www.thestudioagency.com)
Katherine Baird String Trio (www.sfbooking.com)
Andiamo Livery, Wedding Day transportation (www.andiamolivery.com)
Pure Luxury Transportation, Evening wedding transportation (www.pureluxury.com)
Regis Hotel (www.stregis.com)
Mandarin Oriental Hotel (www.mohg.com)
Vitale (www.hotelvitale.com)
and me! (www.jeanmarksweddings.com)

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