When I was nine years old, my cousin and I had a dream to open our own wedding venue and plan weddings for the rest of our lives. We would spend hours putting together Pinterest boards of collages and ideas. The romantic notion of planning weddings danced around in our heads. Long story short, she’s now a teacher at an elementary school and I am working at a newspaper. The dream of the wedding venue still sits in the back of my mind but pretty far back because life happens.
That was till this summer when Margie offered for me to come to the farm and work one of their most intricate and anticipated weddings of the year. Up front she warned me it wouldn’t be all roses and veils, but I don’t think I realized just how much work goes into a wedding. Within an hour of being there, I was moving benches and listening to plans on how we would get everything inside as a thunderstorm was rolling in over Lookout Mountain. I stacked jars of jam for the Favors Table and watched as the florwers were methodically added into the dozens of glass bottles on each table.
I think most people acknowledge that weddings take a lot of work, but what they don’t take into account is the thousands of variables. There is so much more than decorating tables. Most people don’t know you have to have everything out of the back hours in advance of the weddingn so the caterers can work their magic or that your cake table has to be done for when that white tower is rolled in. Most people don’t know the grooms don’t have a clue on how to put a boutonniere on or that you have to wrangle the grandparents because they are part of the wedding party. Most people don’t know that the guests have to be guided through the whole night from the sign in table to the ceremony to the appetizers and for the goat visit (*those who know High Point understand what this is). Most people don’t know that in the south there is always a rain backup plan that sometimes includes unscrewing and dismantling the ceremony arch because surprise, surprise, it doesn’t fit through the door. Most people don’t know how much work the Gardner’s actually put into these events and how good they are with all the little details.
After the wedding, I was exhausted but excited. It was so special watching the bride and groom and how happy they were together. I don’t think I could ever get tired of watching that special moment and how happy the family was. Yes it was quick paced and hard at times, but it was also exciting and fun. My dream of a wedding venue has certainly been brought to the front of my thoughts again and as my cousin gets married this spring maybe I can rope her back in.
*Foot Note: Abby Bryant is a family friend who was in town for the summer staying with her grandparents. I knew that she had an interest in being a Wedding Planner so I thought it was be a good experience for her to shadow me for the day. It would either spur on her interest or douse her with reality but figured it would be beneficial either way. Little did I know that just a day before the big event, our staff Day of Coordinator had a death in the family, so we excused her from attending this event. This meant that we went into a “all hands on deck” mode where both Jill and I (and David too of course) were here all day handling not just the decorations and table settings, but handling all of the typical Day of Coordinator duties as well. It turned out that Abby’s help was divine perfect timing. Months of pre-planning had gone into this wedding to create the perfect vibe for the bride – actually a Spring 2020 bride who had to reschedule to 2021. Reception tables decorated to the hilt with amber glass, milkglass, brass candlesticks, a boho vibe with all the florals, vintage goblets, full place settings, and more. Each area of the venue would be a Pinterest submission. The octagon arbor with its floral embellishments and lantern & large candlestick adornments were almost all put into place when the weather forecast turned. Inside the barn had a host of grade A vendors hustling around like bees on a hive. Performing a Plan B switcheroo at the eleventh hour was a challenge indeed but we had our Plan B already thought out. Having an extra pair of hands was priceless and to Abby’s credit, she had no experience for this test but she performed wonderfully. Jill gave her a Boutonniere Pinning 101 mini lesson and she pinned like a pro. We dispatched her here and there, we gave her a task and said “handle it” and she did, and she greeted guests and kept her wits about her to the very end. We truly appreciated her helpfulness and her attitude. She is an upcoming college Sophomore and has already worked in Marketing at both a real estate office and an accounting firm. She worked in the office of the New Mexico Republican State Legislature. This summer she has written articles for the local Chattanoogan.com online newspaper too. Will she venture some day into the world of weddings again? I don’t know but I am confident that whatever she sets her mind to, she will accomplish. She demonstrated the ability to multitask, to keep your cool under stress, to keep her focus on what’s important, and to smile – all attributes of a good Day of Coordinator, but also good attributes for life.