The day before Valentine's Day, I gave my wife her Valentine's gift because I had a wedding on the actual Valentine's Day. (I just said "Valentine's" three times in one sentence. Gnarly.) Luckily I married a very understanding wife so I didn't catch heat for it.
Joyce and Fernando - who booked me without having met me - are a very sweet, soft-spoken couple who have a great sense of humor. (Or at least they laughed at my jokes. I assume that means they have a good sense of humor... maybe I'm wrong ;-) They had the keen foresight to know to book great vendors because great vendors = a great event.
I always tell my clients to try to book vendors that work well together as a team. I'll give you an example why. (This story kind of paints me in a negative light, but I think you can see through it and see my point. Plus, it's a great story so I'm telling it anyway.)
Augie, Jen, Me, Crystal, Kaitlyn (Crystal's assistant)
It usually takes about 40 minutes for me to get from my house into San Francisco. This morning, I gave myself an hour. But I guess it was Valentine's Day or whatever and everyone was headed into the city, the traffic was pretty bad.
About 10 minutes before the ceremony start time, I called Crystal Lequang of Amazae Special Events, the day-of coordinator for the day and told her in as calm a voice as I could muster - in spite of my elevating panic - "Hey Crystal... so, what's the sitch? Are you guys all there?"
"Yeah, we're all here. We're ready. Where are you?" Crystal responded. She probably expecting me to say that I was just pulling up or I just parked my car.
"Um... yeah,... I'm still on the bridge."
Even when I heard my own words, my stomach sort of sank a little. Remember, we were 10-minutes from the set start time of the ceremony!
Crystal and I conceded that I would just have to get there as soon as possible. There was no magic "clear the traffic" button. We'd just have to wait it out. I've never been this late before so you can imagine my queasiness. I even started to entertain thoughts of how I was going to remedy the situation with my clients. I thought I should just deliver the completed product as planned, but refund them every penny. To me, that's the only fair way to reconcile these types of mistakes to high-end clients. While contemplating these thoughts, I continued to silently pray for a minor miracle.
My phone rang.
I picked it up and it was Maria Chang of Professional Makeup Artistry. Maria offered to "valet park" my car; to have me pull up in front of the church and just hop out as she parked it for me. So of course I agreed that that would be a huge time saver.
I pulled up in front of the church about 10-15 minutes late. Luckily, the bride was also running late and was still on her way. The next few minutes were a blur: Maria hopped in the driver's seat, her assistant/nephew helped me with my equipment, Augie Chang was already inside shooting, and Crystal and Jennifer Skog greeted me at the door while they waited for the bride to arrive. I clipped the mic on the groom, set up my balcony cam and BOOM ready to rock. Didn't miss a beat!
But this all happened because the crew that Joyce and Fernando hired were top-notch and had good chemistry! Imagine what would have happened if no one was looking out for one another. So, if you're a bride and you're still looking to find the finishing pieces of your wedding vendor puzzle, make sure you do your best to find a crew with chemistry! It's well worth it, I assure you!
Oh, and if you're wondering if your videographer will be late to your ceremony, I promise that if you hire me, I'll leave TWO hours ahead of time - just in case!
Check out Augie's awesome slideshow of the event. CLICK HERE to go to his site.
I forgot to mention that the beautiful lighting was done by my friends at Elle-Music Lighting and Events; the incomparable Tristan Flores was on scene to make sure everything goes right.
Karen Alumno of Fresh Bloom handles all the gorgeous center pieces and bouquets.
Keith Johnson All-Stars rocked the house with live band music and cover songs.