Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chapter 2 - The Initial Meeting

The rest of the weekend had been, for the most part, uneventful. I had spent most of Sunday nursing a slight hangover and trying to find a way to conveniently miss Lauren's calls. I had also wasted time catching up on my celebrity gossip by reading the gossip blogs online. had confirmed that it was Jordan Stamps at Les Tres the night before and not just my imagination playing a mean, cruel trick on me. According to the website, Jordan left as soon as word got around the Paparazzi had found out he was there and were staked out outside.
Mondays at work were usually a little more hectic than today since I usually have a wedding or two on the weekends that need some final paperwork filled out. I did have an initial consultation at 10am today and I would be able to prepare myself for the meeting without having and unnecessary interruptions.
The first meeting with any event is always the most mundane. It usually consists of contracts, forms and legalities. Thankfully, I have my assistant Danielle who has most of the brides fill out and then go over all of the paperwork before they ever step foot in my office. It saves me time and the embarrassment from passing out from boredom on a bride.
Today I was meeting with Ashley Ford. I had never really heard of Ashley but her fiancée was Jackson Green, an actor known for his lead role in the summer blockbuster "SuperStar." Since the movie had opened, Jackson had been the it-person in Hollywood and everyone wanted a piece of him. He was a main fixture in the tabloids and gossip websites. Ashley had been his high school sweetheart and they had managed to stay together through the pressures and publicity that comes with Hollywood life. They had even managed to keep Ashley a secret until the engagement had been announced. Jackson was scheduled to leave for Europe for 6 months while he worked on his next film and they had decided to get married before he leaves. His flight left in 4 months.
Most weddings take on average twelve months to plan but with the size and budget of Ashley and Jackson's wedding, I would really need about fifteen to eighteen months to completely plan and execute this wedding. Unfortunately, Jessica Ellis, the owner of J. Ellis Events, had given me this wedding as a test to see what I can handle and how much I can take. She would be watching my every move to make sure that I didn't screw up. I decided to take Jessica's challenge and blow her away. I hope.
At 10am, Danielle buzzed my office to let me know that Ashley had arrived and had already been instructed to fill out all of the paperwork. I started to feel slightly nervous and that never happens to me. It could be all of the attention and publicizing this wedding was garnering. Or just the fact that I was intimidated slightly by the budget and the amount of time I had to pull it all together but I took a deep breath and composed myself as Danielle opened the door and Ashley walked in.
I couldn't help but notice that she wasn't exactly what I expected when she walked in. Then again, I don't really know what I was expecting. She was in jeans and a t-shirt. It isn't exactly the kind of clothing you would normally wear for this kind of meeting but she looked comfortable. I can't blame her though, if I could decide what to wear to work, I would wear my jeans and a t-shirt too. She had her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail and she hadn't even bothered with her makeup. I envied her.
"Hi Ashley, I am Rylee Madison. It is so great to finally meet you!"
We shook hands and took a seat. She was obviously nervous and was feeling slightly out of her element. I decided to help her relax by talking about everything that didn't involve wedding plans. I found out that she was from a small town girl and still had all of the likes and characteristics of it. By the end of the conversation, I had begun to realize that we had a lot in common and we were becoming a little bit more comfortable with each other.
When the conversation finally came to wedding plans, her eyes lit up and I couldn't seem to get her to stop talking. She told me that Jackson would be too busy with promotions, appearances and interviews to make most of the appointments and that her family had no interest in helping to plan a high profile celebrity wedding. She also informed me that the best man would be acting as a fill in for the groom at most of the appointments. This was a first for me since most brides usually have their maid of honor or a good friend fills in. I could already tell this wedding wouldn't be like most weddings.
Ashley had provided me with a list of places that she wanted to consider for the ceremony and reception sites. We had scheduled some time next week to go and take a look at some of them. She had already decided on the colors which makes my job easier. She had picked ivories, creams and pale pink. Those weren't uncommon and very easy to work with. I loved how she didn't seem so high maintenances like most brides. I have seen brides change their colors several times.
"Have you looked at dresses yet?"
"No, I don't know many people out here and my family isn't exactly ready to make a trip out here."
I got the feeling that her family wasn't exactly excited for the upcoming nuptials. I paged Danielle to check my schedule for the rest of the day. I had decided that I would take Ashley dress shopping because really, who says shopping doesn't cheer a girl up? Once Danielle said my schedule was empty, I told her I was leaving for the remainder of the day. I grabbed my purse and we were out the door.
My most favorite part of the wedding planning process is dress shopping. I prefer to go on the initial dress search just so I can get an idea of the overall effect the bride is thinking of for her wedding. If the bride has already tried on dresses, I ask to see pictures of dresses or if the dress has been purchased, I have been known to have the bride try on the dress in my office. The dress is what completes a wedding. You can have a hundred small details but the dress is one of them that doesn't go unnoticed by anyone. It is the glue that makes every little piece of the wedding come together.
I decided to take Ashley to my favorite dress shop, The Dress Boutique. As we walked in, Candace, the salesperson, greets me as she hands each of us a mimosa. I introduce her to Ashley and explain our situation. Candace reassures me that she can perform a miracle and I start to feel much better.
I send Ashley to go through the dresses that were displayed on the racks. After she picked out a few, we headed back to the dressing rooms. Candace went into the dressing room to help Ashley zip and button herself into the gowns.
Ashley came out in the first dress, a vintage lace, strapless, Basque waist gown. It was a beautiful piece of lace that crystals hand sewn strategically on the bodice. Ashley was, no doubt, going to a beautiful bride. I caught myself tearing up as she kept turning and spinning to see herself at different angles in mirror.
I think that Ashley was shocked to see herself in the dress as well. It was obvious that she was fighting back tears of her own. We both looked at each other and realized we were a bunch of blubbering messes. We burst out laughing and simultaneously said "I think this is the one!"
Although we all agreed, we decided it would be best that Ashley try on a few more dresses that she had picked out just to make sure that it was, in fact, "the one." Each time Ashley emerged from the dressing room, we just didn't have the same reaction as we did with the first dress. I explained to Ashley that it would be a good idea to take a break to have some lunch. When we were finished, we could come back and the put the dress back on just to make sure that we still had the same jaw dropping reaction.
We went to El Sanchez for lunch. Mexican was my favorite which apparently was something else that Ashley and I had in common. We talked about wedding details while we waited for our food to arrive. Ashley went on about all of the ideas that she had already thought of and I was impressed with the amount of work she put into it.
When our food finally came, we ate in silence and fast. The food was delicious but we were both antsy and wanted to get back to The Dress Boutique. I picked up the tab when we were done and hurried back to the store. Candace still had the dress out and when Ashley came back out of the dressing room her smile was even bigger than the first time. There was no doubt that this was the dress. When Ashley finally took the dress off and changed, she made an appointment to come in next week for her first fitting and to ad a few personal and custom touches.
One of out biggest tasks had been completed and I hadn't even broken a sweat.
The rest of the week had flown by. I had a small wedding Saturday afternoon and I had spent most of my time finishing the details for it and working on my vision board for Ashley's wedding. When I didn't have weddings on my mind, I was daydreaming about Jordan Stamps. By the end of the week, the gossip tabloids had slowly stopped reporting about his rare sighting. I had given up on ever seeing him again in person and shrugged it off as a once in a lifetime chance, I mean, who could say that they had been thisclose to Jordan Stamps and him actually smile at you.
At least, I still think he smiled at me.
I am the furthest thing from a morning person and 6 am Saturday morning came way too early. I more than loathed early weddings. I had spent all of Friday night at the rehearsal going over final attendant placement and finalizing the seating chart. We were at the church until almost 8 PM and I had been invited to the rehearsal dinner. I didn't leave the dinner until almost 11. And while this had been a small wedding compared to most, it was one of my toughest brides ever.
If you opened up the dictionary to the word "bridezilla", there would be a picture of the bride in all her glory, horns intact. She would find every possible little detail to argue with me about. After she would call 5 or 6 times in one day, I would start to ignore her phone calls. I can't say that the day of this wedding was here. The nightmare would finally be over.
After the rehearsal dinner, I headed back to my condo. As I walked in my front door "the Brain" started to ring. I almost ignored it because I was too afraid it would be the "bridezilla". I was slightly relieved to see that the caller was Abigail.
"Hey Rylee. We are meeting up at Les Tres tomorrow night and I wanted to know if you are coming?"
"Yes!" I almost shouted with excitement. I had a pretty good idea of how tomorrow would go and a few drinks afterward would definitely be a nice reward after a long day.
"See you tomorrow!"
After we hung up the phone, I hopped in the shower. When I was done, I crawled into bed, looked at the clock and cursed 6 AM. It should be a crime for anyone to have to wake up that early!
When my alarm went off, I contemplated calling in sick, or better yet... Dead. I knew that wasn't even the slightest of possibilities so I made a whining noise as I pulled myself out of bed. I was dragging as I got myself ready for the day.
On my way to the church, I stopped at Beanz. I ordered my usual but this time, double the espresso shots. Today, it was a necessity. No one wants to see me without my coffee this morning.
The wedding ceremony would be held in a church that dated back to the early 1900's. It has a lot of character but is a pain to book any kind of event. You usually have to reserve two years in advance. The bride wanted this church. No. The bride demanded this church and would not be happy until it was booked. Luckily, there had been a recent cancellation and I was able to scoop up the date.
I walked into the church to make sure the final details were in place. The sweet peas and ranunculus gave the church a more sophisticated yet romantic setting. Crystals added that perfect touch to an already amazing array of floral arrangements.
As I made my rounds, I checked in on both the bride and groom. They were both ready but had the usual pre-wedding jitters. Once I knew that everything at the church was ready, I left Danielle to handle the ceremony. I was needed at the wedding reception site to go over the final details and since this was an early morning wedding, it didn't leave me with enough time to handle both. I knew that Danielle could more than handle the ceremony.
Since there is no room at the church to hold the reception, Bridezilla had decided to have the reception at a local country club a few miles away from the church. The reception is going to be held in the main courtyard. As I was walking up the hill, I realized that today was going a little too easy for me. Something was bound to go wrong at any moment. I could just feel it. Almost everything had been ready. The dessert table has been covered with delectable pink candy chocolates and cake.
Where's the cake?
The cake should have been here by now.
I started to get a little frantic. The cake is the second most important element in every wedding and it was nowhere to be found. I tried to remain calm as I pulled out "the Brain" and dialed the bakery.
"What do you mean it has already been delivered?... Are you sure you have the right wedding?... I am standing right here looking at a cake-less cake table!!!"
With that information, we were on an official cake hunting mission. The crew and I all set out in a massive cake hunt. We looked anywhere and everywhere that a cake could possibly be. There happened to be another wedding going on at another location at the country club. I managed to wrangle a golf cart and sped over to it. They had a cake but sadly, not the one I was looking for. The crew had asked everyone that they could find but no one had seen a mysteriously disappearing, 6 tier and almost 200 pound cake.
I had all but given up hope and called Danielle to let her know of the drama unfolding at the reception site. I figured she could find a way to tell Bridezilla better than I could at this point. When she answered the phone, I frantically explained the drama unfolding at the country club. My mind and words were going about a mile a minute and I am surprised she found a way to decipher my nonsense. When I was finally done, I could tell she was trying to hold back a laugh.
"What is so funny?"
"The bakery called me this morning and said they put the cake in the refrigerator in the cafe. I sent a text message to your phone earlier."
I couldn't believe it. "The Brain failed me."
Cake crisis adverted.
There ceremony and reception had been a success. I was looking forward to a night out at Les Tres more than ever!

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