the photo set is at the end… but really, it’s worth the read. enjoy!
Mrs. Cantor seeing the reception tent for the first time, the lighting, the candles, the first course plated… we were sitting on the back of the golf cart after a long 36 hours of preparations.
We worked straight through a midnight rainstorm and flooding tent. I was up on a ladder building ten foot tall trees out of seasonal branches in the dark. We tried to use the hose from the gardeners cottage but there was no clean water on site to fill the many tall square glass vases. A trip to the grocery & 3 carts full of one gallon water jugs later we had what was needed to fill all of those square vases. Each vase to hold a single floating candle creating an oasis of ambient light in the center of each table.
A myriad of obstacles, perseverance, determination… the desire to create a most beautiful evening for the most lovely family. It was my design, but a team effort to make it happen from start to finish. All for that Gasp.
Usually I swoop in with a crack team to transform a space and am out of site, never to be seen except perhaps lighting the last of the candles as the couple peeks in to take a look before the guests descend upon the reception. Months of planning. Many meetings, details and dry runs. Shopping lists, production lists, time lines and last minute changes. By the time an event of this size is under way I have breathed every detail, planned every moment, allowed for the floral emergency and the quick fix if needed.
I don’t see that moment… but this time I did. For the first time I can remember in all of my years I witnessed the Gasp.
My assistant and I were sitting on the back of a golf cart, probably the first time we had been off our feet in more than 24 hours. As if on cue we both saw it. The mother of the bride walking towards the reception tent while the guests were at cocktails before moving into the big party… she let out a Gasp and brought her hand to her mouth and said “how beautiful!“ We were just off to the side, out of sight, sitting in the dark yet close enough to see & hear this moment while she was completely unaware of our presence.
I will never forget that moment. If I had been unsure about the design, questioned the execution, contemplated the momentous task at hand and had any doubt… it then melted away.
We sat at the local restaurant having fried ravioli and a beer, because that was all the kitchen could whip up at a late hour and we were desperate. I was exhausted but beaming. I remember laughing as we pulled floral clippers and stems from our pockets as we went to pay the tab. We were happy to return to the rented cottage for a good nights sleep.
Two days later the phone rang. It was the mother of the bride calling to thank me. I remember exactly when the call came in, where I was and that it was a sunny gorgeous day upstate. She was thrilled and could not have given more praise or made nicer comments but it was that moment that I never get to see that was the greatest thank you of all. That Gasp.