Friday, April 07, 2006

pros and cons: the wedding planner

back in 2003 or so, i was unemployed. hence, i watched a lot, a *lot* of television. unlike the television i watched in law school, when homebound with mono, which was all Food Network, all the time, by 2003 i had diversified my tv portfolio.

TLC (or, to the unhip, "The Learning Channel") played heavily in my channel flipping rotation. one show of which i was particularly fond was called Pros and Cons: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. the concept of this show was as follows: one party (the "victim") needs the help of an "expert"--to plan a trip, direct a music video, supervise a fashion show, etc. the victim is then presented with three people and he or she has to choose one of them to help them in whatever endeavor is on the table.

the catch is that only one of the the three "experts" is actually a professional in the field. the other two are either quasi-experienced or completely unqualified. for example, on the show where a band needed someone to direct its video, there were the following three choices:

  1. an acclaimed video director;
  2. a video artist, who did experimental videos;
  3. a guy who worked at Blockbuster or something.

the victim gets to interview the three candidates before he/she chooses, but cannot ask them biographical questions--just general hypotheticals.

well, on Pros and Cons they did a wedding show, where the couple sought a planner to orchestrate their entire New York wedding.

this is the cached page i found seeking "victims" for the show.

and this is the relevant portion...

well, on the wedding show, the couple of "victims" had to choose among:

  1. a real wedding planner ("to the stars!");
  2. the party planner for a senior center/retirement home;
  3. someone totally unqualified (maybe a comedian?).

after much debate, the couple chose the real wedding planner! (unlike the ill-fated band that ended up with the video shoot from hell)... however, the couple decided to *lie* to the wedding planner-- telling her that they only had a $20,000 budget* when really they had $50,000 or so, but wanted to pocket the difference.

the wedding planner dealt with all of the bride's lying and hijinx with aplomb. that wedding planner was Harriette Rose Katz and i told myself right then--despite not even having a hope of a Thurston at that point--that should i ever marry, i would use Harriette as my wedding planner. although the bride wanted a tented reception with barbecque food in her aunt's (unspacious) Tenafly backyard, Harriette convinced them otherwise. somehow, magically, on the purported $20K budget, Harriette planned a perfectly wonderful wedding-- at the Toy Building space formerly known as the 200 Fifth Club (now a Cipriani space) and with Soul Solution--Paul McCartney's wedding band--providing the music.

the whole time the bride lied to Harriette and pissed off the vendors. it was actually tough to watch and (not) a small part of me kind of thought that the bride did not deserve this wonderful wedding when she was so difficult and peevish with Harriette!

but to me, Harriette was a miracle worker. as i watched, i said to myself, "if she can do this with this lying bride-to-be and her $20K budget, imagine the amazing wedding she could plan for my honest, and realistically budgeted self." and i committed her name to the memory vault, hoping i'd one day have the chance to call it up.

fast forward to 2005: i have found my one true love and he's proposed. after saying yes; crying for a bit; and registering for a few just-in-case-people-want-to-get-us-an-engagement-gift-better-have-it-be-something-i-like-and-not-something-they-chose-themselves**, i googled Harriette and found her company's web site.

i called her right away, bonded with her over the Pros and Cons show and felt assured that she and i saw eye-to-eye and that i would book her as a wedding planner. then i found out her price: $30,000 for full wedding planning. although this was not "eye-to-eye" as i was thinking she'd be more in the $12-15K neighborhood, for some delusional reason, i felt that this made sense, and tried to convince my parents of the same thing. i think i had a faint hope of winning over JadedMom, but the dad was so not having it. i may have stomped my feet and cried a bit, but to no avail. my father was of the mind that if we were throwing down $30K, it should be to step up the food, the wine, or band--not for planning. this in light of the fact that i have a job that allows me enough time to do research and my mom has plenty of spare time as well, is willing to go on appointments, *and* lives in the city.

so, my dreams of a Harriette-planned wedding were dashed. but not my dreams of a wedding planner. as time progressed (read: another week and a couple of vendor appointments), my parents began to see how very important a planner was to me. i started a new campaign for a planner. more on that to come... and, of course, how it all turned out. (successfully, natch!)

* i know it may sound ridiculous to say "only $20,000", however, if you have contemplate a wedding in the New York area, $20K doesn't go nearly as far as you think. trust me.

** is this bitchy? who knows. but it didn't work anyway.


At 4/07/2006 02:37:00 PM, Anonymous "Tuned You Out" Thurston said...

One reader here believes you are mildly downplaying the "crying, pleading and foot stomping". How I am not on medication.....go figure.....


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