Hannibal Smith from The A-Team used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together”. I couldn’t agree more. In the past few weeks I’ve hear more mention of this wedding than I think I’ve ever heard in my many years in this business, and the story truly is incredible. It is also miraculous, remarkable, stupendous and fantastic all at the same time. What the event professionals were able to pull off on this day is almost unbelievable, yet, it’s absolutely true.
As the owner of Cutting Edge Entertainment, I’ve gotten a lot of credit for the role the DJ Company played in this incredible story, but the real credit on the part of Cutting Edge needs to go to the DJ himself, Brian, who did exactly as I would have expected him to – succeed by any means and serve the Bride and Groom 110%. This of course involved working in concert with countless wedding professionals to pull off a feat that, without such a team, could never have been accomplished. Again, I’m humbled and grateful for the props, but the real credit – in regard to the part we played – is not mine, but Brian’s. That said, below you will find Brian’s account of the day, followed by an email we received shortly following from Phyllis Jablinowski from Eventricity, whose sincere gratitude and sentiment reflect that of a passionate professional who truly cares. We are lucky to be counted amongst all involved. Good Job all, and best wishes to the Bride and Groom, Pippa and John.
Cutting Edge Entertainment
There is a theory that bad weather can ruin any good thing. This is usually the thinking of a negative mind and a pessimistic attitude. Sometimes – more often than not, actually- it does not matter how planning is done or how detailed the preparations are…Mother Nature will intercede if she feels the need. However, those who possess the opposite thinking – those who roll with the punches – are the ones who will always smile and always find the silver lining. It’s not the thought that “grass is greener on the other side”, it’s the thought that the “grass was green to begin with”.
This may be the best way to describe the event that took place on September 10, 2011. The Wedding of John to Pippa was designed as an elegant, outdoor affair that overlooked a beautiful field and an even more appealing fountain. However, as I mentioned above, Mother Nature decided to make the grounds a sloppy, slip-n-slide affair. It is a day like this when you realize that crafting and delivering a memorable wedding requires the ultimate “team effort”.
We began our day at the original location; a double-tented, outdoor dreamscape. Once we arrived it was turned into a two-act show; the reception was moved to the New Hope Winery. None of these changes hindered the ability of our bride and groom, nor their guests, from having a boisterous time. The ceremony was highlighted by a blanket of candles, as well as a surprise performance by a close friend. Every year Pippa and her family watch the classic romantic-comedy, Love Actually; Pippa is particularly fond of the wedding sequences where “All You Need Is Love” is performed. We simply, and secretly, recreated the scene to the joy of each guest.
After moving the event to the second venue, which was very quick to prepare a “back-up” wedding, things began to look familiar. Despite the dreary weather and the change of locale, this party only knew one direction to travel…up! From the high-energy introductions to the upbeat feel of the parent dances, I knew everything was going to be all right. It did not take long for the guests to shake off the rain and begin “shakin’ it” on the dance floor.
Thank you, John and Pippa, for keeping the positive vibe and “slip-sliding” along with the flow of the day. It was a pleasure working with you and your families.
I must thank the staff and crew who made the day possible. Everyone knew their role and played it perfectly, regardless of venue changes and schedule alterations.
It truly was a “team effort”, and we make a great team.
Cutting Edge Entertainment
The letter we received from Phyllis following the wedding:
Good morning all,
Sorry, I am just resurfacing after two more events on Sunday and a full day yesterday. What’s the saying-“When it rains it pours”? We learned the spirit of that literally this weekend. I need you all to understand how amazing you are. I am so very proud to be part of such an incredible event team. Be clear that it is your dedication, professionalism and commitment that in the words of Fiona, mother of the bride while crying, took us and the guests “From dirt to dancing!”. I must take this moment to again say “THANK YOU!” from the bottom of my heart. It is only because of the confidence that I had in the team at hand that I could make the call that I did this Saturday with complete knowledge that we could pull this off successfully. It was the right call to make. This email will be a bit lengthy but, hey that’s the price of having so many professionals involved.
The Scott family had worked tirelessly for a year leading to the momentous occasion of their daughter, Pippa, marrying her true love, John. The focus was always on family and what they could do to make this happen. And by the doing I mean doing—THEY planted a vineyard, landscaped a property, painted a house, built a traditional English wedding structure from the trees on the property and even cut the grass up until the day before the wedding. Work boots and goulashes line the porch as a testament to a hard day’s work . The entire family was involved in this true labor of love. Pippa’s aunt, a florist in England, even came and created all of the floral and décor for the day, so that everything was made with love.
Every bride dreams of her unique wedding. For this couple they just wanted to get married at home and celebrate with family and friends. The overriding line was always that “we are simple people really”. All week they said that they were not scared of a little weather and that people would just kick off their shoes and have a good time. While I am all for that great spirit of fun and adventure, sometimes Mother Nature has a different view. The Event Quip team led by Michael Sardanopoli, put up tents in rain and difficult conditions when even basic staking was an issue. This group of English gentleman farmers was never convinced of the need for a floor and at a point we had to accept that decision, but prepared we were. Bobby’s Potty was unable to make the trek on the original delivery date because of weather related road closures, but persistently arrived with plywood to build a road so they could drive in and safely prepare the site. Eventions made sure all power was run with safety and performance as the objective. Party Rental Ltd was flexible with delivery dates so that we could get the product to the site in the best possible condition. Having taken every possible precaution, tenting the ceremony by the pond as well as the reception site, providing generators to ensure power, a separate cooks tent, 40 bags of pine bark, tiles for under every table leg, re-timing of deliveries to give the property as much time to dry out as possible, adding a plywood road to allow access for a lovely restroom trailer to provide gracious accommodations while not stressing the septic, having both tent and electrical professionals on hand to take care of any issues that might arise, etc. All this still was no match for the weather. At 2:30 the mud began to come up over our shoes and that is when I knew that there was no toughing it out. The guest experience would have been horrible. We had already set up everything but who were we kidding. We had flown through Plans A-D and needed a Plan J (last effort). I called the New Hope Winery and presented our situation. After several minutes of discussion Sandra was gracious enough to understand the critical need and offer us refuge in the way of her facility. Presenting that option began to calm the hysteria that was taking hold of the family. When the decision was made to move the reception you all shined and to that end you are our heroes!
No one balked, or complained or put up an obstacle. All of our colleagues and business partners for this event demonstrated professionalism and compassion. Everyone’s query was the same, “How can I help?”. The Event Quip, Eventions and Bobby’s Potty on site representatives pitched in and helped to make this move a success even though they were not moving with us. Thank you! At 3:00pm we had a plan and action. This is when I am most proud to be part of the Special Events Industry.
We are blessed to have worked with the incredible Drexelbrook Catering team that was positive and responsive with a “CAN DO” attitude. Off premise catering is a totally different beast than on premise events, something that is not quite understood unless you’ve been there and this was even more of a bear. I let Gene Blum know what I was thinking and he, who was dealing with another off premise event that had its own set of weather challenges, said do it and I will meet you there. Sheila, who was the confident and strong leader of the Drexelbrook team on site was action and efficiency in motion. Lou is a solution based master who always thinks about the best outcome no matter what effort is required. Chef Will is the calm, no problem guy who leads his kitchen with the same confidence. Michael led the staff and exuded the “Drexelbrook Way”. Hakim was there to say, “What’s next?”. Gene arrived covered in mud, since he was the unsung hero at another event, not because he had to, rather because he wanted to make sure his team and I were ok. A true caring professional! To the entire Drexelbrook Team, YOU ARE AMAZING! You represented Drexelbrook with honor and demonstrated your personal integrity as well, BRAVO!
The decision to move had its own set of consequences. The wedding cake delivery needed to be diverted, the ice delivery had to be re- routed. All of the linen and floral had to be moved. China, glass, silver and other rentals that Party Rental Ltd. delivered with care that morning had to be moved as well. We now could not accept as many cars at the site due to the fact that they were to be parked in a field, not optimum at this point. So a call to the 2 hotels to tell guests that transportation would be coming. Oh, then we had to find that transportation. The James Hager bus company came to the rescue and provided yellow school buses for all the transportation needs. This turned out to be an “experience” for all of the British guests that had never seen a school bus. Our photographer, Scott Lewis just kept shooting and our DJ from Cutting Edge was a real trooper, having to set up for the ceremony, which by the way was still at the house under a tent in the mud and then move on a dime to another location and he was ready to go before the guests arrived. And Dino got a call at 10pm at night from me letting him know that the rental order was now at two locations and had to be picked up early. Again more evidence of true professionals. Let me let you know the best part. Many of the guests thought this is what was planned. The guest experience was fantastic so the family experience was tremendous. I am in awe of all of you! This wedding went on time and without as much as a hiccup in the guest experience.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my own team. Grace under pressure—how incredible! No drama just a solution based client centered group that puts together an awesome team. The ability to assess the situation, figure out a plan, have the guts to pull the trigger and execute, all while they don’t see you sweat! With several events on tap that day, I am thankful to have a team in place that allows me to do what I need to do and be where I need to be.
I thank each and every one of you again from the bottom of my heart and that of the Scott Family. The guests had a marvelous time and many had no idea that this wasn’t the plan all along. Feel terrific about your part. This family didn’t have a wedding, they created a memory and you were a big part of why it will be great. Who will forget this wedding!! I can’t wait to do business with you again under more relaxed circumstances. You Rock!!
Hope you can relax and enjoy the day.