We worked on one party for months recently: a rehearsal dinner before a Bay of Pigs wedding. Multiple meetings with the flown-in wedding planners from Irvine, infinite emails about sites and menus, multiple meetings and a tasting with the “clients”.
At the tasting, the “clients” confided that they were firing their planners (the bill, at cost, was $40,000...... for the PLANNING). We were then blessed with a second planner, a local Heather?, who ends every statement with an questioning upward inflection. Catering manager at Putadera Golf and Cuntry Club, site of the wedding brunch…..,
Heather was followed by yet a THIRD wedding planner, the very great Alison from…..well, she was soooo good that I don’t want to sully her name by association with us (email me for her details). We met at the final venue and hammered out the details for the fourth version of the party.
Listen: we HATE wedding planners. We have actually killed some, slowly....and no one will ever find their bodies. We know of two, in the history of the world.....and Alison is one.....Maggie Lang is the other.
A note in passing: we got the nod for the rehearsal dinner/picnic after Quail Lodge (Bernardus) submitted their quote for a BBQ by their pond…….$35,000 for hot dogs and hamburgers for 200 guests. Wow. The Lodge bill was well over $100k for the wedding ($30 per just for the place settings…….) The Putadera bill for the after wedding brunch was $40k. We came in at only $10k. Stupid. Not us....THEM! How can you in good conscience charge people $150 for hotdogs? No matter WHO they are......
The groom was a dick. A film guy…a “director” guy whose imdb.com lists a 20 minute short in the Jewish Film Festival as his big deal. Trust funder from San Diego. Got the director disease of not being able to picture what he wanted, and expecting his PA’s and AD’s to pull it off for him. His “vision”, you see. Did I mention that he was a complete prick? At our first two hour meeting, he ran through twenty picnic scenarios, none of which he could actually afford…..and let his bride put in exactly 20 seconds worth: grilled corn.
At the tasting, he remained a prick….refusing any champagne, until his bride had downed a fatty glass….They were seated by the creek at the Store, frogs in full roar….and it was some kind of auditory Prozac. He became human for minutes at a time. Even pounded some Gruet. Still, we were mystified: what is this tall, blonde, gorgeous attorney doing with this whiny prick?
Judge for yourself….and if you need any real estate law in California……..God, I hope she doesn't sue me!
Long story short……(and this is my third and shortest rendition). I worked my balls off on their proposal…..actually calculating the cost difference between boiled corn and grilled corn, and the actual cost of having a fish taco bar…..laid out a spread sheet and zoomed it off to the lovely and amazing Alison. Took my only two days off last month, but it was decision time. The wedding was 10 days out!
Twenty minutes after the email left Carmel Valley, Alison called. “The wedding is off. Granny died.”
“Get the fuck outa here….Granny died? Burn her up, put her in a fucking box….I’ll even get her a date for the wedding, box and all…..”
“No, really. Granny died, the wedding is off. I am calling everyone right now.”
Everyone stuck them for the max: all food and bev, rentals, tax, gratuities…..even the booze they wouldn’t drink and the gratuity on the booze. People were pissed. Not us....we asked for 500 bucks......payable towards a future event.
Still, I didn’t buy it. I love my mom, but if she kicked 10 days before a $200,000 wedding, I’d have her stuffed like El Cid and put back in the saddle with a bourbon in her hand.
Well, one overly champagned night I sent an ill-advised email to the bride. Something like: the guy was a whingy dick, good call, let us handle the deposits, etc. We still wanna do the party for all the people with non-refundable hotels and airfare……
To my amazement, she responded. “Go for it!” .
Call #1, to Bay of Pigs: “Let me talk to your publicist. Have I got a deal for you. Runaway Bride. You are charging her for the food and beverage anyway, and the transportation….and as a young attorney, she is SO concerned with social justice…we would like the busses and vans instead of going to the Monterey Plaza to go to Salinas Street in Salinas to Dorothy’s Kitchen and the Victory Mission. We have about a hundred recovering alcoholics, drug addicts and hookers there. We need also one bus to go to Carmel Beach and pick up 50 surfers…..It will be just like in Jesus’ parable in the Bible. How many news teams can you handle? Can we do a network feed from the parking lot?”
Call #2, to Putadera: Same drill, except now the busses were going to Cachagua to the Camps. Special emphasis on the disabled, their needs, access, and the extra security needed for the psych cases. How many uplink trucks can we get in the parking lot without interfering with the view? Heather? said she would get back to us.
Result: No charges to the bride beyond the lost room rentals. Holman Ranch agreed to move the rehearsal to Sunday (wedding day) and call it a birthday party. We are doing that, of course. The 500 bucks was refundable towards a future event...........