The Wedding Planner
My sister got married 2 weeks ago - in style! It was a 2-day event that concluded with a beach wedding. There were over 150 family members and close friends, who were all put up in a resort for a night. My sister and her fiance belong to different parts of India and the customs of both families are significantly different. The couple began to plan and prepare for the wedding about 2 months ago. There was extensive discussion on the nature of the functions, type of rituals and the scope of the celebration. About a week or two after their engagement, that happened in October, they had finalized on the major parts. The wedding was to happen in a beach-town that was miles away from either of their hometowns. The functions included bridal art (henna), a cultural evening and an early morning wedding ritual. There were 4 meal sessions and a couple of tea+snack breaks. The girl and the boy wanted to be thorough in their preparations, especially because of the lack of time. Hence, they hired a wedding planner to ensure that the logistics involved would be well taken care of.
It made a lot of sense, especially because I live in a different country and despite my best intentions, it was hard for me to be in-charge. The resort was finalized after multiple visits to the town; the caterer was booked after many food sampling sessions and the wedding planner was hired to take care of everything outside of these two major items. The planner's responsibilities included :
- Decor for all the functions
- Food service in the function areas
- Permit for the beach
- Seating arrangement for all guests
- DJ and runner-boys
- Stationery, flowers and other function requirements
The word 'planner' means much more to me. It includes a careful study of the client's requirements and then, a proposal that offers a couple of possible designs. However, I felt that even if he wasn't a typical planner, he would ensure that all the individual tasks were streamlined, were well-designed and packaged together to put up a stress-free show.
The show was indeed stress-free; because the person who caused great stress missed the event. My uncle checked in to the resort 2 days before the wedding and quickly took the information from both my sister and her fiance. I observed him as he went after each person and made a note of various things.
While I have a lot of experience in leadership, I find it impolite to claim charge unless it's handed over to me. To watch my uncle, taught me how to do that with politeness. However, I was 4 months pregnant and I might have not been happy about all the running around. So, I decided to go about the tasks I had taken up.
- Photography and Videography
- Conduct the Sangeet Ceremony (cultural function)
- Brief the wedding planner on the Mandap design
- Order 50m of flowers and distribute them when required
The first event went quite well; even though I had my own self-criticisms. I had also briefed the wedding planner multiple times and discussed the mandap design. Finally, I had ordered the flowers and when they came, I gave a bunch for one of the bridal rituals.
On the morning of the wedding, I went through a series of stresses over a period of 2 hours. I woke up to a message by my photographer that she was denied transportation the previous night. I panicked because the photo-crew could have decided to not show up for the 4am bridal makeup. I called into my sister's room to check and the entire 5-people team had arrived on time. Next, I thought I will get ready and look my best. My mother walked in after I had taken a shower and asked me for the flowers; they were required for my sister's hairdo. I realized that I had left it in the banquet hall the previous evening. I rushed to look for it and didn't find it in the place I had kept. I called my uncle, who tried to call the planner and order a new batch, while I went to the reception to check with the cleaning team. The over 15-minute of crisis lead to a great deal of disappointment. I couldn't believe I had forgotten about it. My sister, however, had used the batch of flowers from the previous evening - and that made me feel even worse. My greatest worry was to find loose flowers for the wedding ceremony. Unsure about it, I moved on to the wedding part and got into the bus with my family and the couple.
We reached the venue after a couple of transfers between a bus and a jeep. As we walked into the beach spot, I started to observe the decor. It was random and the horror stuck us when we saw the Mandap. Almost nothing was arranged on it and we had ordered 180 chairs and there were less than 70! I had personally explained the decor for the Mandap to the planner but none of it was as discussed.
We all hurried towards the Mandap. Panic drove us all, especially the couple. The groom's father grabbed the phone and began to scold the wedding planner; my mother began to give some instructions to my sister and the groom himself tried to assemble a couple of his friends around. He asked them to manage the chaos. I decided to walk down at that moment. I spotted 2 guys perched up on the mount that sidelined the beach. They were the planner's guys and they sat next to 2 huge baskets of flowers. I demanded that they gave me at least 2kgs of lose flowers quickly. One of the groom's friends helped me and to my relief, I had 2 bags of flowers before the priest finished the mandap set up.
I settled myself next to my sister; the groom's sister sat next to him; both set of parents were on 2 sides of the table and the priest sat right across from the couple. The planner's part was over. The wedding had begun.
Later that day, after a great session of swimming, I bid goodbye to my relatives. The happy faces, the content hearts and their joyful spirits humbled me. My sister and her new husband had left for their first drive and night out together. Finally, it was just me and my friends with a few cups of coffee.
"I have barely spent 2 years in USA and I find myself a misfit here," I said.
"What do you mean?" Friend said.
"I have worked with many talented, efficient people; they work like children"
"Yeah - and when they are done, they make your eyes shine with their love-filled work."
"In the last few days, I saw someone behave like a kid without any creativity."
"That child wanted us to run after him, poke him, remind him to get the job done; it had gone astray."
"I couldn't exercise my greatest ability - to get heard without raising my voice"
"In fact, I saw my uncle lose his voice. Yet, that child who called himself The Wedding Planner, didn't hear our calls."