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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Evelyn rose for you!

I would love to give everyone a tour of my garden this month, but I am planning to share its beauty with you by way of my blog.

Above is the Evelyn rose, the signature rose for Crabtree and Evelyn. This Old Garden Rose has an amazing scent....probably in the next few years someone will figure out how to share smells on-line, but for now, you just have to take my word for it!

The Evelyn rose, which resembles a peony in its fullness, is often included in bridal bouquets; in fact, I discovered how much I loved this rose while delivering a bouquet to a bride. The shade of peach, the fruit-like scent and the complexity of the petals, made this flower "jump out" at me.

Now, 5 years later, I have 2 very healthy and prolific Evelyn rose plants, providing flowers through out spring and summer; I love to share my roses with couples who come over for a wedding consultation, because it feels like I am offering the bride her first bridal bouquet!

Speaking of bouquets, tomorrow I am planning to create a bouquet for my blog, and for my dining table, which will incorporate all the different roses currently blooming in my garden...a May Day gift to you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wedding Coordinator/Auntie!

One of the joys of working with couples to plan their wedding day, is that I almost become family! Being a part of the most significant day in the bride and groom's lives, I can't help but become emotionally attached; so at the end of the wedding day, along with the joy of seeing each aspect of their day turn out as perfectly as they had dreamed, there is a sadness, because I realize that now I won't be spending as much time with them.

But often, I have had other exciting events to rejoice in, with my brides and grooms...they become mommies and daddies! Again, I am often included in the celebration of one of the most significant days for any couple, when their first baby is born! When I get the birth announcement, or email, I feel like an Auntie; I am just as proud and happy for them as I would be if I really were part of their family!

For Jan and Mayumi, pictured above, I am fortunate to be an "auntie" for the second time! Though Jan and Mayumi live in Japan, we have stayed in touch since 2005, when I helped them plan their wedding from across the Pacific Ocean. I am honored to be someone Jan and Mayumi stay in touch with, as they move into this next stage of their lives together!

Being an Auntie has become the solution to the sadness I may feel as the bride and groom drive away at the end of the wedding reception; rather than grieve about losing the connection we have developed, I can just smile, wondering how soon I will be hearing from them again!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A blustery wedding day!

March 15, 2008, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Patty and Jeff wanted more than anything to be married outside, near the ocean, so when the wedding day dawned stormy and rainy, I hated to think that might not be possible!

Even as I was gathering the wedding party for the 11am ceremony, we were not sure whether we would be able to hold the ceremony on the Miramontes Terrace; the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay staff, led by Tony White, had graciously set up an indoor option, so Patty and Jeff could make a last minute decision.

Thankfully, a short break in the storm made it possible for Patty, Jeff and their guests to be outside for the 30 minute ceremony! Even though the weather that day created challenges, it also provided a majestic backdrop of windswept clouds, a beautiful remnant left by the storm.

Rhee Bevere, one of my favorite photographers, caught the scope and drama of the sky in a masterful way; the ceremony images will provide vivid reminders for Patty and Jeff of their blustery wedding day, and the gift of having it outside!. I encourage you visit Rhee's blog entry of April 2nd, for more wonderful photos from Patty and Jeffrey's wedding day. www.rheebevere.blogspot.com.

Undaunted by the unpredicatbility of the weather, Patty and Jeff's beloved puppy, Yoyo, served masterfully as the ringbearer, with the wedding rings tied to his custom-made tuxedo, the wind blowing through his fluffy ears (you will see Yoyo in the top photo). He enjoyed the attention so much, I think he would be available for hire, should any other couples be looking for an experienced ring bearer!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Walk-through at a Drive-through!

"Walk-throughs" are a standard part of any wedding; the coordinator meets with the bride and groom, and often the caterer, at the ceremony and reception site(s), to "walk through" the venue(s), and discuss where all the chairs and tables will be placed, how the guests will be directed to the ceremony, and following the ceremony, how they will be invited to the cocktail/dinner part of the celebration.

My most recent "walk-through" was anything BUT standard! I met Molly and Brian, who will be married on May 10th, at their chosen wedding venue, a 2000 year old redwood tree, with a hand-hewn, car-sized opening. The famous Drive Through Tree, is located 4-5 hours north of SF, in Leggett, California.

For this particular walk through, we needed to discuss with the park owner how to stop traffic through the tree for the ceremony, as well as how to position chairs, manage the sound, and move quickly after the ceremony, to get all the chairs and sound equipment transferred to the tent, which will be constructed in an adjacent meadow. As soon as the guests have all moved to the cocktail/dinner/dancing area, traffic can once again move through the Redwood tree.

I may feel more like a traffic cop, than a wedding coordinator, during that transition!

Although the discussion and questions were a little different than most of my "walk-throughs", all the necessary information was gathered, and communicated, with the bonus of meeting Dulce, Molly and Brian's new dog!

Now after the official walk through, I am ready for my first "Drive-through" wedding! I will share more details after May 10th!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

"So how did you get into Wedding Coordination?" I am often asked; sharing the rather convoluted answer well help you learn a bit more about Jean Marks.

I have always been a visionary; I love to help launch a new and worthwhile project, then work with a team to carry it out to completion. In college I was part of Student Government, organizing many projects which seemed quite radical in Alabama!

Much of my passion for non-profit work developed after my 2 years of teaching in a ghetto elementary school, just after graduation. Over the years since that time I have founded and/or directed non-profits in Alabama, Georgia, and California.

When I moved to California, and took over directorship of a Bay Area non- profit, I discovered the wonders of gardening, which opened up a new creative outlet for me. After I married one of my staff (that really isn't why I hired him, but I am glad I did!), I left the role of Administrator there to begin our family, and to focus more on my garden, and on helping as a volunteer in community organizations.

As my 2 children were growing up, my love of flowers and arranging them, lead me to become a floral design assistant for Susan Groves, of In Full Bloom Florals, based in Menlo Park. Susan introduced me to the joy of weddings, as I helped her set up weddings in the finest Bay Area venues, working beside top professionals, for wonderful clients!

It was while working with Susan, decorating for a huge wedding reception at Kohl Mansion that I realized I wanted to be a wedding coordinator.

As I was trying to place an arrangement, containing at least 3 dozen long stemmed roses, atop a 3 foot base, in the center of a 72" round table, a harried groom asked me where he was supposed to be for photos.
At that moment, all of my Administrator instincts came to the surface, and I wanted more than anything to be able to help him; needless to say, my hands were full, and besides, I didn't know the answer!

From that day, I began moving towards being the person to not only answer the groom's question, but to provide enough planning support and information so my clients would never have to ask that question!

The rest, as they say, is history; I am grateful to have coordinated over 70 weddings since that day at Kohl, and I am sure each groom knew where he was to be for photos!

In introducing myself, I should also say that I have a huge silly streak, and laugh easily; I have been married for 27 years, and thank God for the man He has given me, and for my adult children, Justin and Kimberly.

I treasure close friendships, savor quiet moments with a cup of tea, long walks near the ocean, and giving neighbors and friends bouquets from my garden.

I welcome you you my life, my chosen career, and my garden!

Friday, April 4, 2008

April thoughts from my front porch

If you could come sit on my front porch with me, we would admire the huge yellow Lady Banks rose, which is covering the arbor in front of my house. Being a gardener is not a hobby, it is who I am. I love to nurture, to encourage, and watch things grow, while providing the structure and order needed to support the growth. My career as a wedding coordinator has allowed me the joy of providing encouragement, experience, and the foundation needed to assist couples in designing the wedding of their dreams, with the support of the best professionals, and the structure necessary to take stress out of the process. The result is like enjoying the beauty of my garden; the design and preparation are not visible, but the results are breath taking!
I love being a gardener, and a wedding coordinator!