It can come close though. The popular saying “practice makes perfect” is pretty quickly undermined when you break into wedding planning. Weddings can be meticulously drafted out, every detail scrutinized once, twice, three times, and charted out by the half hour. But the unexpected and unpredictable are called those names for a reason. Despite the immense effort, attention to detail, and perfecting, something most likely always runs astray. While during your event you may never see the quick thinking that leads to a “perfect” façade, we believe in honesty and authenticity. No wedding planner is perfect, no matter how many years of experience are under his or her belt. One of the biggest mishaps that we had to troubleshoot was during a wedding this year.
About 100 proofs had been looked over throughout the planning process. Once, twice, three times always checking for errors. Pieces as minor as an accent mark over a letter to as big as the actual menu listings. Multiple sets of eyes on these projects are necessary because of how easy it is to miss the details.
This may not seem like a huge deal to some, but in this industry–the details are precisely the most important part. We had worked nearly six months with the family curating an unbelievable menu that was heavily focused on the wine pairing. The members of this family could easily be considered wine connoisseurs and it was essential that the time and care put into these food and beverage pairings were reflected on the menus. They were so excited and marinating in anticipation to share laughs and smiles over wine and food that were featured on this perfectly curated list.
The paper goods were hand delivered on Friday, on site in Bend, Oregon, which we should’ve collectively as a team checked and rechecked that box upon arrival.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. What had occurred with ours is the stationer sent the final proof and the wine that was being served strictly to the head table somehow got swapped to go to print, reflecting all guests would be enjoying this wine based on their menu. Kelsey had approved the final proof nearly 48 hours prior to delivery and it was an oversight on her end. In return, the wines got swapped on the stationery side unbeknownst to the designer as well.
Come wedding day, Kelsey was down at the ceremony site while Alex and Danielle were at reception tending to different tasks. At 12:06 PM, Danielle came over the walkie talkies to inform Kelsey there was an issue. Not thinking much of it, Kelsey asked what kind of issue. Danielle and Alex proceeded to tell her that the menus were inaccurate.
A letter was off. A title was wrong. Maybe a design was bleeding off the edge. It could be anything. Kelsey wasn’t fazed or aware of the scale of the error until they explained to her that nearly 200 of the 220 menus printed were incorrect. Specifically reading the wrong wine the guests would be drinking.
Kelsey never panicked, but openly admits her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach. Feelings and blame had to be set aside in order to accurately and confidently go through the motions to pull this together at the last minute. She texted the stationer.
“What are our solutions? Can we print? I have someone who will drive menus down in a heartbeat.”
“What time is dinner? Wait, ALL menus?”
The team didn’t have cell reception on site and after the initial texts they were using the only single landline on the property to contact everyone.
The odds that the stationer was home at 12 PM on a Saturday, had ordered double the amount of specialty paper, and had the resources to print within 90 minutes were enough to give goosebumps at the synchronicity of it all.
Vince, Kelsey's boyfriend, drove down from Portland to Bend without a single road hiccup in sight.
The Vanity Affair Events team ended up stalling all guests for ten minutes at cocktail hour. It was a sweltering day and the heat was uncomfortable, but it was necessary until they knew every menu had been placed.
After the day had ended and a fresh week started, the incident was starting to fade to the back of everyone's minds. Just when you believe you were quick enough to cover up the evidence to tell the story at a later date over wine–you're greeted with a text from amazing people who we get to call clients. And yes, pictured below is the incorrectly printed menus the client found under the piano the next morning and sent a picture before departing.
This type of job is stressful. There are mistakes, accidents, and unexpected emergencies no matter how well you're prepared. Thankfully, you learn every time what you can do differently and what you would change. Anytime Kelsey is asked if this career is worth it, she thinks of this photo.
And a look like that explains it all.
Photos by Tyler Branch