Blog dump

I got called out. Last night we were all sitting around talking about things (end of high school, end of school year, politics, The whip and nae nae, etc), and my daughter quietly turned to me and said, “Mom, why can’t I see any of your blog posts pop up on my Facebook anymore?”…. Why? Oh. That’s easy. Because I don’t write them. LOL. Ahem. Got a problem with that? Then they all started.

“Why don’t you write?”

“Are you done with the blog?”

“Do you need ideas?”

No. No thank you. Ideas I have. Infact, that may be the problem. I have too much stuff to write about. I can’t organize it all. It doesn’t all go together. It’s a mishmash of opinions/thoughts/experiences. It’s good stuff, it’s bad stuff, it’s all over the place. It’s a schizophrenic mix of events during the past few weeks that I’m afraid I can’t prioritize.  Look, even me describing it is a hot mess. But I’ll try. I’m warning you all now. There’s stuff in here that is really really great, and stuff that’s really really meh. But I have no time or patience to separate those things…so here you go.

I hated Disney. There. I said it. It’s been weighing heavily on my mind. We had a really good event there. It wasn’t crowded. The weather was amazing. My family loved it. The service levels at the resort are bananas good, the people are super friendly- but guess what – not my thing. I even met and hugged Mickey himself and felt…nothing. I guess I’m dead inside.

I did not hate my 20th wedding anniversary. 20 years. Same dude. #goodlife

I turned 44. Here’s where I stand. I have a shitload of white hair. My lady bits are having some issues (you’re welcome for the overshare), looks like I have to be a normal human and see a doctor more often.  I’m grateful for the very deep relationship with my manicure/pedicure gals. Nothing feels warmer than me walking in and all of them smiling and saying, “hello Neha! Mani/pedi/wax?” Yes. Yes. And really yes. I’m also happy to have friends who are still around even though I talk to them less than I write this blog. I’m thankful for all the usual stuff too (kids, family, job, yada yada).

I’m obsessed with Seinfeld, again. This may be bad news for my obsession with Everybody Loves Raymond, I’ll let you know.

God grant me the serenity to accept my family and friends who love Trump. In my mind I imagine even Oprah has friends and family like that – and what would she do? Would she look down on them? No way. She would openly embrace them and love them. For they know not what they do. I’m gonna be like Oprah. Forever.

I am sick of talking about how busy I am. I’m done. I can’t hear myself anymore. If I were listening to me I’d tell me to shut-up. Enough. What am I? The Queen of Sheba? No. Not. I’m riduclous. I will find something else to talk about. Starting tomorrow….I’ve got a lot to do today.

We went to a wonderful, beautiful wedding. I love weddings. I love all of it. I find nothing cheesy or boring about weddings. This is the great mystery of my life. I love weddings but I also loved eloping. Go figure. Maybe I like OTHER people’s weddings. Anyway – it was beautiful and fun and touching. Mazel tov to Keith and Danielle (and Cora the cutie!).

Guess what? The day after that wedding I went to another wedding…err.. wedding celebration. Two lovebirds who found each other later in life but make every day and every moment count. The love story of Marcello and Lorraine gives me serious feels, as my son would say. They are joyful and generous. As I get older I no longer find humor in marriage sarcasm. I love couples who love. Openly and happily. During one of our book club meetings a few months ago (Babes with Books lives!), a new member described her dating life with her then boyfriend by saying,”we spent the next two years falling in love before he proposed.” Come on! That’s some beautiful stuff right there. I told you I’m getting old and soft. One more thing to share about this day…during the time that Marcello and Lorraine were falling in love in Italy, he took a photo that captured a special moment in their courtship. That day, that beautiful photo memory ended up on their wedding cake as a surprise to the couple. Tears flowed from both the bride and the groom. No hiding that kind of emotion and love.

Work is going well. My team and I have lots of fun together. Atleast I think we do. Am I one of those people that think their team likes to hang out with them when deep inside they are all miserable and unhappy and would much rather be anywhere but with me? I dunno. I’m going to start a group chat with them and find out.

My daughter went to senior prom. My son got his blackbelt. It was the best weekend ever.

I’m wearing color, and I don’t mean grey. Or is it gray. I don’t know how long it’ll last and I still like wearing all black – but I get a lot less slack this way. People like it when you mask your inner darkness with chunky yellow jewelry. If I were an evil super villian I’d get away with it all just by wearing a light, flowery shirt. Just an fyi.

Beyoncé. Lemonade. Everyday. When you’re talking to me, just know that’s what’s going on in my head.

Have you had enough? I’ll try to be better..I still have more to tell you…it’s just that I’m so busy:-)

The year of marriage 

Forget the Year of the Monkey. 2016 is the year of I Do’s. 

We have exactly 4 weddings to go to this year. And we know and love exactly 3 other couples who have gone off and gotten hitched! And now, over the weekend, another lovely couple in the family has gotten engaged. I’m overwhelmed with happiness for all these people in love. 

And of course  all this love gets me thinking of my own engagement and marriage – because after all – I am human and I come back to how this impacts me. I can’t help it. 

So  I’m reminiscing and looking at my engagement and wedding rings and then I notice how dirty they are. At the same time, a Dawn commercial comes on. The one that talks about how they use Dawn to save the oil covered birds…if you watch a lot of TV like I do, you know exactly what I mean. The rest of you, put down your book and YouTube it.

Anyway it got me thinking. We have Dawn… If it can clean oil slick covered baby birds – it can clean my rings! And you know what? It did! 

Eureka!

  
Look at all the dirt coming off! 

Gross and interesting right?? 

How did I get from reminiscing about proposals and marriage to grime and dirt? I dunno. But that’s where I went. 

So this is my advice to all newly engaged/newly married members of my family. Eventually the ring gets dirty. And it’s good dirt. It’s cooking dinner dirt. It’s helping with homework projects dirt. It’s years of not caring about your ring dirt. But  it all cleans away. And you still have all the romance, the excitement and love of that ring underneath. 

Here’s wishing you years of dirt and happiness. 

No ask too many questions!

Years ago, when a large part of my job involved literally making invites ( or melting hot wax in a spoon at midnight in the corporate cafeteria to seal those invites- true story) we would scour NYC for the best of everything. We knew the really good paper houses. We knew which store had the perfect envelopes. We knew where to get great flowers and even prettier vases. We spent hours on font styles and spacing. Hours. But that’s what happy insane planners in their twenties do. Right? I’m sure the Millennials are confused. Oh you of Etsy luxury. You have no idea what it means to be really grass roots. Or maybe you do. I dunno. I’m just a middle-aged Gen Xer trying to get by.
Wait, what was I talking about?
It was so nice in the city today that I walked to a further train station than usual and passed a small, stationary shop. It reminded me of the shops we would haunt and hunt in. My favorite of these oldies was a ribbon store on 28th Street or 29th street. That’s right people. A ribbon shop. Imagine a world without Michaels or AC Moore. Before The Knot or even Martha Stewart Magazine. There was/is a little shop devoted to ribbons. You can look for hours for ribbons for weddings, for gifts, for your hair – whatever you want. What you can’t do is “ask too many questions”. All along the walls are small, but clear signs,” no ask too many questions”.
To this day if one of my kids is badgering me, or if my husband is interrogating my trip to the store – this is what I think in my head. NO ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS!

Do as I say, Not as I do.

I got a call this morning from an oldie but goodie pal who is finally tying the knot with her longtime beloved.  I met her at my very first job out of school. I think my major responsibilities were getting scones and coffee for our CEO, but I digress.

The last time I spoke to her was a few years back, when I wasn’t working full-time and had decided to start a wedding planning business.  And because I’m an awful person, I haven’t reached out to her since.  Although she hasn’t reached out to me either, so technically our joint awfulness cancels itself out. Right?

She called me this morning because she wanted to go over pricing for her caterer, but our conversation quickly went to every single detail of her plans.  That’s how I roll. I need to be fully immersed. No toe dipping for me.

As we chatted she asked me the question that all the brides ask, “what was your wedding like?”.

What was my wedding like? It was grand. It was great. It was…a non-wedding.

We eloped. On a lake. In the sun. Without most of our friends and family.

Here’s the long story short – or the short story long:

We got engaged on a cold, rainy February night in NYC (very romantic night involving fighting, crying and celebrating).  I’m not sure if it was because I was in my early twenties and insane or because I was in my early twenties and genius – but I wasn’t stressed about the wedding planning at all.  I was super chill actually. Then my mother called and said it would be great to have a Hindu ceremony. Then my mother-in-law called and said it would be so nice if we could do a quick trip to the church after that ceremony to get blessed by the priest. So then I got stressed. I avoided thinking/planning/discussing the wedding for a few months. Then my boss, the one I fed scones and coffee to, told me they had to fire 2 people from the office and I’d have to cover for them all summer and wouldn’t be able to take too much time off. Then I freaked. Then I melted.  It was mid-May. It was Saturday afternoon. We hatched a plan. We would elope. Run away. To Eastern Long Island.

We didn’t handle the elopement in the best way. There aren’t any elopement planning books. It sounds easy, but it’s tricky.  Ok, it’s easy if you actually just go off and elope. We f’d it up.

We had some family there. Some not. We took tons of photos and even a video, thanks to a talented uncle that lived in the town by the lake. We went out to dinner that night with all the relatives that lived in the town. In hindsight, a bit confusing for the relatives who didn’t live in that town and who weren’t invited to dinner. We gave our parents a heads-up, they were totally fine and understanding. The rest of the family? Not so much.  It wasn’t an elopement really. It was a small wedding where we chose not to include my parents, his parents, our other sisters (his older sister was there as a witness), aunts, uncles,cousins and close friends. It was ugly.

It’s been 17 years and we still hear about it. On a positive note – we’re still married. There’s that.

So! If you want to chat about your wedding plans? I’m your gal. If you want to talk about how to elope? Google it.

here’s us on that special, messed up, beautiful, ill-conceived, completely imperfect perfect day…

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Work

So the blog is called wife – mother – eventplanner. I’ve had some emails from my tens of readers asking about the end of that blog name. Why don’t I talk about it more? Can they have more details about the job? I’m a planner how? Can I explain? Yes. No. Maybe.

Although…technically am I really even an event planner anymore?  I’ve done the party/wedding planning – but that is not what I do anymore. I manage an event team in a big fat machine. I’m not exactly sure how much actual planning I do.  My fantastic, terrific team really carries that load.

Years ago, when people asked what I did – it was so cool to explain. I plan private events for ultra high net worth clients for a highly regarded firm..ohhhh. Sounds fancy. Then I’d talk about buying out Le Cirque in NYC or working with Kenny Loggins or Greg Norman….more oohs and ahhs. I’d talk about coming up with amazing room designs and invites and creative menus.  Even I was jealous of my job.

Now, when people ask what I do,  I just tell them my title. Which is nice. I never tell them the name of the company – because the firm that I joined, the one that I was proud of, was gobbled up by another company – ’08 was fun.  When I call this company The Machine – I’m not being sassy. Trust me, they’d think it was a compliment.  A machine means efficiency, progress, everything in its proper place and order.

I never talk about what I do – because what do I do? I spend all my time on calls or meetings – banging the drum, telling people how smart and capable we all are, providing air cover from the vultures so my team can actually do the work (or trying to).  I also have uncomfortable conversations. I’m really good at that. You need to tell a vendor they suck? I’m your gal. Your speaker is throwing a tantrum and not doing what you need? I’m on it. Once in a while I have an idea for something creative, which I pass on to my team because if left in my arms – the idea would die a slow, ignored death.

This post is whiny. Sorry. It sounds full of uptown problems and post bail-out bitching. There are still amazing things I get to do – and places I get to travel.  But technically my blog should be called wife-mother-defensive air traffic controller and official bad cop.

Please note that the below picture has nothing to do with this post…just a picture that makes me happy.

To Theme Wedding or Not To Theme Wedding….

Wedding themes are tempting.  And delightful.  Fall weddings, Beach weddings, love them all.  Hints of burnt orange in October, bright fun linens for a casual, ocean side wedding – beautiful.

But many times, a good theme can go bad.  Beach themes shouldn’t mean starfish and seashells everywhere, February weddings don’t need to be covered in gooey hearts,  and unless you’re on a farm – don’t have haystacks at your reception please.

By the way – I’m not judging – remember, I’m the bird lady of bucks county.  I have to fight hard to keep the theme gods in check.

One of my first theme-y weddings was for an amazing, young Brooklyn, NY couple.  She wanted to bring her Asian background into the mix – incorporate the color red into the day.  Not a deep, sexy blue red.  We needed the bright, orange ethic red (I’m Indian, I know red).

It would have been so easy to go down Chinese Lantern lane  – but we didn’t.  We held back.  Actually I held back, and the bride let me.  The great thing about being a planner is you can direct, and redirect, and distract.  Could I have gone with beautiful porcelain chop sticks and red linens throughout the room? Yes, but that’s not what she wanted.  She just didn’t know it yet.  She wanted to include her rich background and heritage, while still being modern and youthful.  This was the gal who never once talked about her wedding dress – she just went out and bought one (stunning). She was understated and sweet – that was the real theme of the wedding.

So we decided on a pop of color when people first walked into the reception – a bold announcement of joy. The escort card table was amazing.  1,000 red carnations made into a bed on a white slab of marble.  Two of these tables welcomed guests into the reception.  It would be the only place they’d see this much red together!

 

I didn’t know if these good people wanted their names all over the internet – to the tens of people who read my blog – so I blurred the card.  That red blossom paper was used on the escort cards, table numbers and menus (and invites!) .

Here’s the inside of the reception hall – the only pops of red were the flower clusters.

  

Moral of the wedding – go with theme lite.  Unless your theme is birds.  Then go buck wild.

Dear New Event Planner,

Hi.  It’s me.  The old event planner.  I thought we could have a chat. I know you’re excited, you’re finally out of school and ready to be the next Colin Cowie or Mindy Weiss.  I totally relate.  Event planning is the job of my dreams – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  Corporate, private, personal, big, small – love’em all.  So here’s my two cents on some starter advice (ignore at will):

  • Instead of taking a seminar or getting a “planning” certificate – get a job.  Anything that has anything to do with events.  That’s right, become a cater waiter.  It’ll show you what it takes to organize a group of servers.  It’ll teach you about the kitchen and all the back of house staff needed to make an event tick.  You know that gig being an admin in a catering company? Take it.  Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see an event contract, called a BEO (Banquet Event Order), or handle an angry customer.  Hotel reception desk? Sounds like a plan.  Event planning is a service industry.  Even an entry-level sales job is better than a damn certificate – trust me.
  • What’s “Back of House” (BOH).  It’s everything.  Know it. Love it.  It’s the circulation, the heartbeat, the lifeline, to an event.  Good BOH, good event.
  • Buy a suit (you know I prefer black but whatever floats your boat will do).  Whether you are working a wedding, a cocktail party on the beach, or a black tie gala – do not dress for the event.  You, my friend, are not invited, you are working it.  It’s important to look like it. What if you end up being overdressed at a casual party, you ask? Don’t worry about it.  There is no such thing as overdressed – in fact – aim for it.
  • You do not have to be a control freak to be a good planner – but it really really helps.
  • You know that old saying – PrePlanning Prevents Piss Poor Performance?  I hate that saying. Mainly because I don’t believe you need bodily functions to drive a point home, but I digress.  But you know what makes me really pissy?  It’s true!  The job is called “planner”, not “piece-it-together-onsiter”  Know the venue, know the players.  Don’t just hire a photographer/musician based on a cool website. Meet them.  In 5 minutes you’ll know if that person can be someone you can work with or, more importantly, recommend.
  • Don’t say no to a potential job – even for free.  Your cousin wants help planning a sweet 16? Done.  Your neighbor needs someone to help her find a reception hall? That would be you.  The only way to get good at planning is to plan, a lot.  Google can only do so much people.
  • Learn to be assertive and have uncomfortable conversations when needed.  You are the advocate for the event.  If you don’t do it (tell the kitchen to speed it up, tell the photographer to calm down, tell valet to wear a blazer, etc) no one will.  You know what helps with this? A job.

I know it doesn’t seem like it – but this is a love letter. I really do heart you.

xoxome

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