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A Shadow’s Perspective

I’ve known Jordan for nearly 15 years now. 

 And I was so AsJordan and I in 2010proud when she ventured out and started her own event coordinating business 10 years ago.   I was completely intrigued by the whole wedding planning idea. I mean, I LOVE weddings.  Over the years I’ve found several different ways of mentioning, “Now, If you ever need any help….” Finally, recently, she found a need for me.  I could be a sort of “assistant” – office work here and there, organizing potential client leads, take on some small marketing projects.   But we decided that in order to be successful at those tasks, I would need to attend some of her weddings – and experience first hand what goes into the act of coordination.  

My first wedding was on a beautiful piece of property in Latrobe, Lehman Barn.  It was a gorgeous, sunny, and extremely WINDY day.  We began to set up the tables and place the linens – the wind whipped through, tossing up our perfectly placed linens and it looked like the tables would actually take flight.  This is when I had my first of many moments of panic.  I instantly felt a sense of doom.  I looked at Jordan and cried, “What are we going to DO?!”  Jordan smiled at me with an almost zen-like calmness and laughed.

Windy, wonderful day!

Windy, wonderful day!

 “Nothing,” she said, “It’s wind.  We can’t control it. We just work around it.” (This could be a good time to point out that Jordan is also a certified life coach and meditation practitioner.)  I decided not to disclose that the solution my brain was forming involved rocks and duct tape.   In the end, the place settings secured the linens (DUH).   This first wedding of mine seemed to showcase that I am prone to many moments of unnecessary worry.  And speaking from personal experience, no good decisions are made in a moment of panic.  

Throughout the day, I realized that Jordan’s decisions are based on a combination of both reason and intuition, because she is never in a state of panic.  She is constantly thinking ahead, anticipating what could potentially become an issue and alternatively, what will not.  She knows when and where to invest her time, encompassing the very definition of efficiency.

Lehman Barn Beverage Bar

Lehman Barn Beverage Bar

 I couldn’t decide if this was just her personality or if it came from being a seasoned coordinator. In the end, I decided it was both factors that culminated these impressive capabilities.

Jordan recently blogged about the fact that, based on her Fitbit, she walks an average of  8.1 miles on the day of a wedding.  While I was impressed with the information, I honestly had a hard time wrapping my brain around it.  That was until I began shadowing her, literally being one step behind her at all times.  Since I figured this was probably annoying, I tried not to ask too many questions.  Instead, I watched as her eyes scanned every area and I could see the wheels turning – and then suddenly, we were off to check in with someone or follow up on some detail… a state of constant motion.  When there came a time she finally did take a seat, I gave a shout out to the good lord and prayed that those wheels would stay idle for just a few moments more.  

On one of our follow up trips to see the caterer, I noticed something about their interaction.

Hard Working Caterers

Ludy’s Crew

Although they hadn’t worked together many times, there was an obvious level of understanding and communication that was steeped in mutual respect.  Jordan was a caterer for many years and I heard her mention that she feels like all wedding coordinators should have at one time or another “been in the trenches.”  Because she had in fact “been in the trenches” she knew how to navigate and express her needs to the vendors in a special way, and in turn, she was also able to determine the specific needs of the vendors.  

She described it as an “intricate dance” – and when the rhythm is right, it’s a beautiful thing to see.  So, if she gives you a list of suggested vendors, know that they’ve proven themselves to be a good dance partner.

Experiencing a wedding from this “behind the scenes” perspective, instead of as a guest, was definitely insightful.  And yet, I noticed that my favorite wedding moments were still the same, no matter which side I was on.  Despite the fact that these were all complete strangers to me, I still felt that well of emotion when I saw that one single tear trickle down the groom’s face as the processional began, or when the father-of-the-bride gave his daughter that one last look before beginning their walk down the aisle.  I loved hearing the toasts and learning the story of how it all began, even some funny childhood anecdotes.  But my absolute favorite was when everyone finally hits the dance floor – you might see Grandpa dancing a jig, that conservative uncle busting some crazy moves, kids dancing on their parent’s feet, but most importantly you will witness the newlyweds finally let loose – after all the time and planning and emotion of the day, this is their moment of release.
So nearly twelve hours later, when everything has been broken down and cleaned up and it’s finally time to head home, I take note of how my body aches and my feet hurt and I feel emotionally drained.   All I want is for my head to hit the pillow.  Well wait, let’s be honest…maybe a stiff drink and THEN for my head to hit the pillow.   That 8.1 miles is no joke.  And I’m telling you, if you’re trying to decide whether or not you could use a coordinator on your wedding day– there’s no one you’d rather have walking those miles for you.  

– Ashley Taylor, Event Assistant, events@jmarieservices.com

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Limits Are Illusions

 

 

Today in the news a bright light was cast upon mainstream wedding media — a light that exposed some deeply ingrained perceptions and illusions that we are so hellbent on protecting in the industry.  And I am the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this as well. 

In the first ever bridal photoshoot featuring a model with Down’s Syndrome, Madeline Stuart is beautiful!  She stands there defining love as it should be: glowing, radiant and proud.   These images fill me with JOY and are a welcomed challenge to conventional ideals of beauty and living with a disability! 

In the wedding industry, many still hold fast to these ideals — deep-rooted conceptions of not only how a bride should look, but also who should be marrying who and why.  As a seasoned coordinator, I’ve been blessed to witness so many precious intimate moments shared between a couple on their wedding day…from speaking their vows, and that magical first dance, to basking in the sweetest glow while gently protecting each other as guests move to them to extend their love and support.  It is in these moments I understand that love is boundless, limitless and without conditions.

I’m remembering my first lesbian wedding…In my usual hustle to make things perfect, I’m moving a mile a minute while delegating and preparing and reviewing my mental check list.  And then the first dance began.  Something stopped me in my tracks. The love in that room was undeniable. As I stood mesmerized with tears welling in my eyes, lost in their love story, the realization overwhelmed me that just a year before, this moment would have been merely an impossible dream, an illusion.

Illusion:  a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived by the senses 

In order to truly perceive with your senses, you would have to be close to it…Get close to it, then decide.  Decide if you can finally let go of these perceptions of what beauty or love should look like. 

Retrieved From: http://stylenews.peoplestylewatch.com/2016/03/11/madeline-stuart-model-with-down-syndrome-wedding-dress-photoshoot/

Special Thanks to Ashley Taylor for her hand at editing.

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Chef to Chef Birthday Dinner

Serving a chef and her guests can be more than intimidating, the planning and prep for this 60th celebration included 25 guests, 4 courses and 6 different birthday cakes!

Bella-Vista-Bed-And-Breakfast-photos-Facilities-PoolThe Venue- The Beautiful Bella Vista B&B in Placerville overlooking the American River Canyon was the back drop for this special event.

Guests stayed overnight enjoying the hot tub, swim up bar and shaded event deck.  Over flow for additional accommodations were offered by our neighbors at Villa Florentina, an equally beautiful B&b.

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The Menu – Grilled Lamb Chop, Charcuterie Barrel, Asparagus Salad with Citrus and Goat Cheese.Final Course was a German Mixed Grill with Gratin Potatoes, Handmade Grain Mustard, Fillet and a Beer Brat Resting on Grilled Onion and Herbs.  A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Amanda from California Catering.  I had her Potato Gratin weeks before and there was no way I was going even try to duplicate!

What a beautiful evening!  A special thanks to my dear friend Ben Jenkins for your photos, Kathleen Ash for your hospitality and encouragement, Cielo Fox for her expertise in customer service and Michele for your amazing pastry talents!

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