Monday, September 29, 2008

Nell + Rusty

It rained on Friday. It rained on Saturday. It rained on Sunday. We're not talking sprinkles of rain, we're talking downpour. What a lovely weekend for a wedding, right?

As it turned out, it was a delightful wedding as over 320 guests braved the monsoon to attend a beautiful tent wedding in a field in the horse country of Baltimore County.

Usually when we blog about a wedding, it's all about the bride (of course) and the lovely decor that frames the wedding. But today, it's all about the vendors at this event who went above and beyond the call of duty in making sure that the guests were comfortable and dry even though the "behind the scene" workers were soaking wet and caked in mud.

This wedding planner only has some wet hair and ruined shoes as the lasting signs of the event. It's the other vendors who are the heroes of this story.

As we arrived for the event set-up, we witnessed a swarm of Loane Brothers employees hustling in the pouring rain to add amenities to the three large tents they had installed earlier in the week. There were men on ladders installing gutters between the tents, there were others laying port-a-path and astroturf in the heavily trafficked grassy areas. There was another generator to install, side walls to put up, a bridal tent to make comfortable and poles to be removed (more about that later). They moved like a well oiled machine going from one task to the next never complaining about the mud and the soaking rains, never. Oh and did we mention the man on the top of the huge dinner tent? He was walking on the roof just making sure that no huge rain pockets of water were laying in wait on the roof of the tent. We watched from the inside as his footprints move across the top of the tent. Amazing and brave. See what we mean by saying "above and beyond"?

Believe us when we say, if you are having a tent wedding and you want the very best, most caring and hard working people ever on your side when the "worst case weather scenario" happens, you must hire Loane Brothers as your tent company. For many years they have been the tent company we have always turned to when doing an outdoor wedding, but yesterday's exhibit of a extraordinary company effort just reconfirms how we feel about them. The tent staff was there from early in the morning until well after the reception ended.

Our second award for bravery and effort goes to the fine men at Courtesy Parking. See, we had a plan in place: mini motor coaches to bring guests from the hotels and valet parking for those who were driving themselves to the wedding, all delivered directly to the tent entrance. Well although it was a fine plan, it wasn't long before it was clear (even through all those raindrops) that unless you had a four wheel drive vehicle, you were not driving into the field. Courtesy Parking to the rescue with the brilliant plan to gather many family owned SUVs and use them as shuttle vehicles from the end of the asphalt and down the muddy field to the entrance of the tent. The valet parkers were quick and efficient as they drove the SUVs back and forth delivering guests in time for the ceremony. One again: never a complaint that they were soaked and walking in pants covered in mud. Nope, just friendly, smiling faces driving in mud covered SUVs.

Pause: We realize that "mud" has been mentioned 100 times already. Just drawing a picture...

Next award goes to the brave woman at Sugar Bakers who came across the field in her van being pulled by a large tractor just to deliver the wedding cake. She came in with the beautiful cake in surprising good spirits and didn't seem rattled at all. She decorated the cake with fresh flowers and said "Well the tractor is waiting to pull me back up the field so I have to go". You just have to laugh at the craziness of it all.

The next vendor in line for kudos is Bobby Dill of Event Dynamics. Bobby had been at the wedding site during the week so most of the lighting was in place in all three tents. All he had to do on the wedding day was place dozens of candles in the pond. Easy, right? Here is a photo of him in his rain gear paddling the kayak around the pond placing the (battery operated) candles in the pouring rain. I just can't believe the lengths these superior vendors go to in order to fulfill the promises made to the client. It was amazing.

And the amaziness (is that a word?) continued with the staff of Linwood's catering. There was an army of people led by General Linda Brown. The staff arrived early before the field turned to mush so they were all parked in the grass and hiked to the tent to methodically set-up for the wedding. May I mention once more time: NO ONE complained about the water, the mud, the bad hair. They just went about their work cheerfully like they were inside a dry and comfortable country club. The food, by the way, was beautifully presented, plentiful, and absolutely delicious.

The catering trucks had to be pulled across the field by the tractors, the ice bags were delivered across the field on a skid loader, and every employee had to have a tractor pull their car out when the reception was over.

The other troopers: Lauren from Table Toppers with beautifully made custom table linens, Clare Stewart with gorgeous flowers in luscious fall colors, Janice Kinigopoulos who kept the bride beautiful with hair and make-up, Dana Goode from Castaglia String Musicians, Z Best Limousine and Woodlawn Motor Coach our shuttle buses, and of course those farm boys who kept the tractors running all night.

We'll post again soon when we have some of the photos by very talented (and always cheerful)photographer Amy Deputy (who kept her cute wellies on with her silk pants throughout the night) and we'll actually talk about the bride!

Our mostly barefoot guests partied the night away to the music of Liquid Pleasure from North Carolina.