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Never Let Them See You Sweat
Shawn gives a behind-the-scenes look at Bethenny's wedding day, with more on the pee bucket incident!
On the wedding day I am usually pretty calm, almost like a duck, calm on top and swimming like crazy underneath. Never let them see you sweat!
Honestly, I have been doing this long enough and am fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with some pretty amazing individuals who know exactly what I like and what needs to be done. A good planner works in this manner and is able to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. If you allow yourself to get caught up in situations then you will loose sight of the important details, thus mistakes are made. And I was going to work my hardest to make sure no mistakes were made! That’s why I work with a village of talented people. You know the saying it takes a village? Well it does take a village, in some cases a city to pull off a wedding like Bethenny and Jason's!
Checking in with the client is something I always do on the day of the wedding. So today was no different than any other. However, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I get Bridezilla or would I get someone that was relaxed and ready to embrace the moment? Of course as a planner you always hope for the latter ... and thank goodness the latter is what I got!
I wasn’t really shocked to find that she was in a place of calm. I think she had worked so hard to get to this place of happiness that nothing else really mattered. It was her day and I sensed that she was finally willing to relinquish control.
It made me happy to know that she finally trusted me, she was finally (on the wedding day) able to trust me. Maybe somewhere earlier up the road I had gained her trust. Maybe she was keeping me on my toes making sure I didn’t trip up again. I’m not sure and quite frankly I don’t care, because she trusted me and she allowed me to deal with the details while she soaked up every moment of her big day.
Now I know what you’re thinking – why did I tell her the place was set up and looked fabulous when in fact it looked horrible? Why did I stretch the truth? Because you never tell a client otherwise, plain and simple! I knew in my head that the room would look fabulous, I knew it would give me chills (and her chills) and had I told her otherwise it would have caused unnecessary anxiety. That too is part of being a planner – don’t tell the client things that aren’t necessary. At that moment it wasn’t necessary for me to tell her anything other than what the end result would be! And I knew it would be fabulous!
What wasn’t fabulous were the potted plants at the Four Seasons. As I had mentioned to Bethenny a week or two prior, we were on a tight budget. Therefore, to cut costs we had to work with and use the plants that already existed at the Four Seasons. They were pink and worked great with the décor. What didn’t work was the fact that they were either dead or dying. Why the Four Seasons didn’t water their plants I don’t know. At that point it didn’t matter; I had to make them work. So I had to leave it up to my staff to wave their magic wands and create fabulousness out of horribleness. I was trembling a bit for fear that would be the one thing Bethenny would spot. Thank God for my staff because they were able to wave their magic wands, throw a speck of lighting, a dash of distracting and a sprinkle of life to create something pretty out of ugly! In the end it all looked great!
Upon arrival, and after her quick hello to the paparazzi, Bethenny wanted to see one thing and one thing only ... the room. Butterflies, seagulls and airplanes were flying in my stomach. I was SO nervous she would hate everything! What if she did? What would I do? Run? Hide? Rip my own goodies off and feed them to Cookie?
Seeing her face when she walked into the room for the first time made me smile from ear to ear. Her excitement was priceless, her happiness was timeless. The airplanes landed and the seagulls flew away. The butterflies, not so much ... there was still the reveal of the bouquet. Here’s a little secret, I always reveal the bridal bouquet first, because if they love it, after that nothing else really matters.
Because the Four Seasons wasn’t available the night before, I had to run through everything with Bethenny the day of the wedding. It's not something I like to do because it can be an emotional experience. I always tell my brides to soak up the moment, don’t rush down the aisle. Take a look at your man and study every second. With Bethenny this "speech" was no different at this point, she was Bethenny Frankel, she was a bride. I was right, she did get emotional and rightly so, she had planned and hoped for this moment her entire life. She deserved every second of this happiness and I wasn’t going to let her not experience what she was feeling. It wasn’t my intent to make her cry rather it was my intent to make her realize that this moment was real and that this was something to embrace and enjoy. This was her moment!
Early on Bethenny told me she didn’t want a ton of people hovering over her before the wedding. And although it was her Maid of Honor’s job to help her get ready, I was sensing Terri was getting on Bethenny’s nerves. I am not sure if Terri arrived from Crazyville or Annoying City – all I knew was that I had to get her out of that room. I really felt bad for Bethenny because Terri was doing everything she shouldn’t. She was loud and complaining and was from a place of annoying! It may have been rude of me to do so, but I had to clear the room for Bethenny’s sake and to be honest, mine.
Little did I know that what would come next would be one of the most life-changing, brain-scarring, and therapy-discussing events of my life, an event I would not soon forget for years to come.
When Bethenny wanted the Four Seasons we discussed the fact that none of the dressing rooms had bathrooms. It wasn’t my design, I wasn’t the architect. She was fine with this because she got the Four Seasons, she didn’t care about the little details. The closest bathroom was in the cocktail area where the guests were being held until the ceremony started. We had two options, we could wait until the guests were seated in the ceremony room, quickly whisk Bethenny to the bathroom without anyone seeing or she could wait.
You see, being a gay man you forget that pregnant woman have to pee ALL the time! So when Bethenny asked when the next pit stop was I knew in my head what was coming next. She had to go and she had go NOW! So, the planner in me took over and I reached for the first thing I saw ... a silver champagne bucket. Now I know Bethenny didn’t want to pee on the side of the road, but she had two options, hold it, or pee.
Unfortunately for all of us, the latter option won out. There’s really no need to go into detail ... it’s ingrained in my brain and honestly, I think we all get the picture. You know her therapist? Yea, well, Julie, Bethenny, her therapist and I have become good friends – we see each other once a week for group therapy. You can fill in the blanks....
The moment was finally here, the moment that everyone was waiting for. There really isn’t much more I can say about the ceremony other than that fact that sending Bethenny down the aisle was like sending your first born off to college. Every time I send a bride down the aisle I beam with pride and joy and this moment was no different. I couldn’t believe that what I normally do in nine to thirteen months I did in four weeks. I was relieved and excited that it was almost over.
Almost ... I still had the turnover to do in a short 45 minutes. I still had to present the room to Bethenny and Jason and I still had to reveal the cake. Soon the million dollar question would be answered. Did I get the cake right?
You see after the cake tasting it was hard for me to bring Bethenny a piece of cake. A full week would go by before I would see her and there was no way I was going to present her with a stale piece of red velvet cake. I would rather not get the cake right than give her something that would only present more anxiety. So I had to go on my gut that the choice I made regarding the cake was the right choice.
I know Bethenny could think of nothing other than the cake so when we got the cake cutting ceremony on the road I was flipping nervous. I was freaking out that she would hate it and I know Bethenny would have no issue calling me out if she didn’t like it. So, it was the moment of truth. She cut the cake, she raised the fork to her lips and when I saw her eyes roll back in her head I knew I got it right.
After that moment nothing else mattered! Not the "animals" in the pool, not the rain outside, not the fact that Cookie tried to maul me two times ... nothing!
I knew at that moment I succeeded in doing what I set out to do. I knew that I accomplished the impossible ... I had planned a wedding in four weeks for Bethenny Frankel. In her own words I had exceeded her expectations! There is no better reward than that.
My life is full, my life is complete and I could go to bed knowing that what I did in four short weeks had an influence on Bethenny and Jason’s life. I was a part of making their dreams come true and seeing two people in love and knowing I had a part in that, which is the biggest reward of them all.
Congratulations Bethenny and Jason – may your lives be filled with nothing but pure joy, love and happiness! Thank you for allowing me to take the journey with you and thank you for pushing my limits. I am a stronger person and a better planner because of this experience. Thank you!