Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Morning After.............

There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on looking for the light...

Singer Maureen McGovern released "The Morning After" in 1973 and it's always been one of my favorites {guess that tells you how old I am, right?}.  And after all of the buzz and hoopla that has commonly become known as Valentine's Day, I thought the lyrics were perfectly fitting. 

On yesterday, a bunch of people asked "Will You Marry Me" and an equal amount replied "YES!". The sheer excitement and glow of that moment is one that should be treasured and savored for a minute, simply because you won't get it again.  And since I'm a practical romantic -  I feel the need to poke my head in for a second and give you this advice:  WAIT FOR IT.

And I mean that literally - WAIT for the "edge" to come off and for your breathing to return to normal levels.  Do NOT start the wedding planning process yet..trust me.  Shoot - this post I penned right after the holidays says it better.  Read it..and you'll see what I mean :)

SN {side note}:  The art of love is a 24/7, 365 kinda thing.  So learn to share it EVERY day..don't wait for February 14th to display that emotion..............   

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Requiem For A Wedding - The Real Housewives Of Atlanta: Planning

First up in my "composition": THE PLANNING.  Or lack thereof.  Let's have some "real talk" - shall we?

I am a wedding planner.  A professional one who prides herself on the skill set I possess.  One said "skill" is the fine art of actually pulling together the framework, nuts, bolts and all of the other "pieces" needed to make a wedding celebration gorgeous AND efficiently successful.  In watching the episodes over the season, Cynthia said that she had a wedding planner.  She also said she had a "stylist" on board to make sure the "look" of the wedding was fabulous.  *crickets*.  {side eye}.

Wedding planners are tasked with the job of doing the HARD work - in concert with our clients, we make sure that mailings are on time, vendors are in place, fittings are done, MARRIAGE LICENSES obtained and given to the correct parties BEFORE the wedding...you know, stuff like that.  We also in many cases, create a budget and help our clients stick to it.  So if there are looming financial issues that may threaten the overall success of the event, we can be on top of things and offer creative, sound solutions.  Now...understand that television can "show" a lot of things...usually crafted to err on the side of drama versus real life.  But I'm here to tell you - producers can only EDIT what you GIVE them.  In other words, if there's "shiggety" {yes- one of my favorite colloquialisms to use!} is afoot - they're gonna catch it and film it for all of the world to see!  And that's exactly what happened here.

A wedding planner (independent - not the caterer) and a stylist are two separate and distinct individuals who can work together, but do not perform the same JOB.  I kept asking myself as the season unfolded - where is the wedding planner??  For those of us who make this our profession, we were shaking our heads, simply because we knew daggone well that much of what we saw would NOT happen on our watch.  No sir...and no ma'am!!!   And perhaps that is why a lot of the "technical difficulties" occurred in the manner they were shown..because there were "too many cooks in the kitchen" or as my Nana would say, "All chiefs - no Indians".

The wedding planner is the head honcho, the general, the commander of the "troops".  If Cynthia had hired an independent planning professional, one whose sole task was to orchestrate and carefully craft that shindig from start to finish - I can assure you that a lot of that foolery we witnessed would not have happened.  This is WHY you hire a planner.  You hire a planner so that you won't have childish chicken scratch plastered to the walls of your kitchen on your wedding day.  You hire a planner so that when your budget goes BUST, they can help you formulate a Plan B or even guide you through the postponement process. You hire a planner so that you are NOT getting a final fitting on your gown hours before you walk down the aisle.  You hire a planner to make sure that everyone has their attire and are not considering a run to Target for bridemaid's dresses.  In short - that's what we do.  We put out fires and keep an eye out for other smoldering embers so your day doesn't go up in flames.

Her team of "planners" were not on the same page - that was painfully evident.  I'll say this much - watching Cynthia & Peter's wedding unfold made me so appreciative of my colleagues in this business AND the couples who entrust their special day to us.  You cannot place a value on peace of mind, knowing that everything will go as you planned and crazy "ish {'ish is another one of my fave vernacular terms} won't pop off.  As we say in social media land - I was "SMH" {shaking my head} during the whole episode.  And judging from all of the commentary I saw on Facebook and Twitter - I wasn't the only one.  The pros who are in the trenches every day know what a trainwreck looks like....it was a sad commentary to watch this event jump the track............

photo credit: Weekly Life & Style Magazine

Requiem For A Wedding - Real Houswives Of Atlanta Version

Ah.....Cynthia & Peter's nuptials.  Where do I start?  No, seriously - where do I begin?  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter {I sure hope you do!}, then you'll know that I'm a fan of the saga known as The Real Housewives Of Atlanta.  The season finale on Sunday evening was the "reveal" of model Cynthia Bailey and her fiance', businessman Peter Thomas' wedding at the Fernbank Museum in the ATL.  It's safe to say {and I'd be willing to wager some money on this statement} that wedding planning professionals across the country were "clutching their pearls", having attacks of "the vapors" and generally shaking their heads as we watched the event unfold.

We were all doing the "armchair quaterback" thing....it's what we do.  It's the nature of the beast.  So when images of timelines and to do lists, scribbled on sheets of paper and clumsily tacked onto a wall behind the bride-to-be were shown on camera....the first words out of my mouth were:  "Are you KIDDING me??".  I know I wasn't the only one.  From a dress being "fitted" a couple of hours PRIOR to the ceremony, to wedding bands not being purchased, finding $3000 for the bar, not having bridesmaid's dresses, a MOB and SOB straight up "hiding" the marriage license...oh, yes - we had the makings of pure comedy and foolisness.

So...over this week, I'm going to delve into aspects of this wedding to do a "case study" of sorts and let me be clear:  I wish them the best.  But when you put your business on national television - it does open up the gates of  **side eye** and other types of "commentary.  I'm going to do my level best to be fair..and show you WHY things went wrong {based on what we saw in that episode}.  I'm also going to be brutally honest, because I think it's important that EVERYONE, professional & consumer alike - understand that the notion of planning a wedding isn't for the faint of heart.....

Stay tuned.....

photo credit: Bravo Television