A Hand Made Wedding

June 27th, 2010

Yesterday evening in the back yard of a Victorian house on the main street of a small town west of Chicago, there was a wedding like no other.  Everything had been hand made by the bride–and when I say “everything,” I am hardly exaggerating.

Many brides have DIY projects, but few do what this bride took on.  Not only did she make all the ceremony and reception decor and her invitations, but she also made 150 paper boutonnieres for her guests; silk flowers for the wedding party and her close family; her dress and jewelry; her mother’s dress and hat; and all her bridesmaids’ dresses.

If you want to see everything she did (along with instructions for some of the projects), check out her blog.  It was an incredible feat of planning and crafting, and the result was absolutely beautiful.

Hand made table decor for the reception.

Hand made table decor for the reception.

The photo above gives you a small sample of the DIY crafts on display at this wedding.  Front and center is one of the table numbers leaning on the small container garden used as a centerpiece.  All this is on the vintage wallpaper used as a table runner.  In the background, you can see the doily menus on the plates and the votive candles in mason jars.  In the lower right-hand corner is a glimpse of a paper napkin with the guest’s name hand stamped on it.

A wider view of the tables and tent decor.

A wider view of the tables and tent decor.

In this photo, you can see how the decorations all came together.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the chandelier the bride made.  It hung over the dance floor.  I’ll post a picture when I get it. Here are a couple more photos to give you an idea of what it all looked like:

The basket of handmade paper bouttonieres.

The basket of handmade paper bouttonieres.

Place cards in individual envelopes.

Place cards in individual envelopes.

As if all this weren’t enough excitement, the annual tractor parade went by the house during the cocktail hour before dinner:

One of the tractors in the parade.

One of the tractors in the parade.

Another tractor in the parade.

Another tractor in the parade.

The wedding guests watch the tractor parade.

The wedding guests watch the tractor parade.

Taken all together, it was a very exciting evening and a lot of fun for the guests.  Even for me, it was fun.  Because it was a wedding at home, not in a venue with staff accustomed to major events, a certain amount of extra work fell to me.  Naturally, I was more than happy to do it, since that is what I am there for.

One word of caution, however.  If you are planning your wedding for your home or your parents’ (or anyone else’s, for that matter), be aware that it is a tremendous amount of work for the person who owns the home.  The parents of this bride were extraordinarily generous in opening their home to 130 guests plus wedding vendors.  They moved a lot of furniture, cleaned, decorated, and gave up the use of their home and yard for several days.  And I’m sure it will take a couple more days to clean up and return everything to normal.  Their daughter and son-in-law are very lucky.

All The World’s A Stage

June 13th, 2010

Life is drama.

I had an interesting interview a few weeks ago for a corporate event.  The organization was doing an awards ceremony and needed someone to get the speakers and awardees on and off stage in an efficient manner.  At the interview, I stressed my live theatre background, thinking that it was relevant to the task at hand.  The woman interviewing me, however, kept asking about my other events experience, because, as she said, “Your theatre experience doesn’t count.”

Despite her being a thoroughly well educated woman, I have to take exception to her point of view.  I realize that there are many misconceptions about work in the theatre.  There are those who think that “putting on a play” is not work and requires no real skill.  I’d like to set the record straight.

The modern theatre stage manager is a professional who not only juggles schedules and keeps a director happy (sometimes no small task), but one who also coordinates the electrical, sound, properties, set, costumes, and (often) projections or video departments.  The stage manager facilitates communication among all these people, plus the actors.  And the stage manager is the executive instrument in the technical running of each performance.  And if it’s a musical or an opera, add the elements of music and dance to the mix.  It’s not an easy job, although it can be a very rewarding one.

Quite honestly, corporate events are much easier.  They generally have fewer elements, although they have the same need for communication and coordination.  And those that are as complicated as a theatrical performance generally hire a theatre stage manager to run them.  But it’s the same skill set, in either case.  So, theatre experience is more than relevant to other kinds of events.  (I’ll comment on theatre and weddings again some day.)

So, if you are thinking of hiring me and have doubts about the relevance of my theatre experience, just ask me how it is related.  I will be happy to tell you.