One of our wedding venues was by the water in downtown Manhattan. The weekend after Sandy, we kept our fingers crossed that power would be restored as it had been planned for the majority of Manhattan. Come Monday...no power. Tuesday...still no power. We were 11 days from their wedding, and guests were starting to contact the Bride and Groom asking if the wedding was still happening.
The venue offered a backup venue they also own, so we did a walk through of that the following day. It was an interesting venue in an iconic New York building, but it just was not right for their wedding.
There were a lot of guests flying into New York from abroad. We had to decide quickly what to do, so that if we did have to cancel or reschedule the wedding, their guests could change their travel plans.
I do like planning things far in advance, but when presented with a problem like this, I do strangely relish the challenge. The adrenalin kicks into high gear and you know you just have to get it done. This is someone's special day! There is no other option. Back in the office I started calling venues to check on availability.
After speaking with 20 different venues, I found 3 that had availability, which I presented to the Groom. We did walk throughs the following day, and the Groom really liked the stunning New York Palace Hotel. Being such a considerate fiance and not wanting to stress her out, he had done the legwork first and was going to present our plan B option to the Bride after he had seen it. As she was very busy at work, we scheduled a second walk through at the The New York Palace Hotel for her on Saturday (1 week before their wedding) and luckily she loved the space too!
With no power still at our original venue and the need to notify 140 guests and all our vendors, on Sunday we decided to move the wedding. On Monday I had the contract with the venue drawn up and went through all the logistical details with The New York Palace Hotel.
Our vendors were just incredible with the last minute change of venue. Our floral designer, Sarah from Blossom and Branch, despite having just done a big wedding the day before, came into Manhattan for a walk through at the venue with just a few hours notice. She changed the design to fit the venue, removing the paper lanterns which no longer worked, renting tall clear plexiglass stands to elevate her stunning ceremony pieces, and making the escort card arrangement taller and more substantial to complement the soaring ceiling of The New York Palace Hotel. Our DJ Jamar Littles from 74 Events was also able to join the walk through with a few hours notice, so we could go through the logistics of the day. Even though Gary Hoffman, the owner of 74 Events, was in Spain for a wedding, he was so helpful with planning over email. Having worked at the venue before, Jen Huang, was able to give me her expert photography opinion on where we should do the first look, family portraits and tea ceremony, despite being busy herself teaching a photography workshop in Santa Barbara earlier that week. Ron Ben-Israel Cakes was able to create a beautiful wedding cake for us with only a few days notice. We also had a string trio from Elan Artists, photobooth from We Love Photobooths, makeup artist Lindsey Jones, hair stylists from Styles on B, and officiant Rev. Annie Lawrence, who all got back to me within hours that they were all set with venue change and ready for a great wedding on Saturday!
Bebhinn Gallen, Carrie Gayle and the entire team at The New York Palace Hotel were the utmost professionals and so helpful in getting all the details into place in a short timeframe. They were able to make mini black and white cookies we wanted for the wedding favours. A nice nod to New York, and something the Bride and Groom thought their guests who remembered that Seinfeld episode would get a kick out of.
I am so grateful to all these wedding professionals for being so flexible, accommodating and generous with their time. It was a great team that collaborated to create a truly memorable event for this special couple.
I am also very grateful to the special couple for remaining calm through the process and being such a delight to work with. After you spend months planning a wedding, to suddenly realize in the few days leading up to it that the plans are being derailed is a tough situation to face. Despite this, they were able to remain calm and work with me to find a plan B, which in my opinion turned out to be even better than we could have imagined. If you can handle this as a couple with such grace, I think your marriage is off to a great start! I got a lovely mention in the Groom's speech at the wedding, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. A beautiful reminder of why I love my job so much.
This being our last wedding before Thanksgiving, I have plenty to be thankful for.
Image via Katie Fischer Design