The Wedding Troubleshooter: Come crane or shine

In a new column, events planner Joan Summerfield shares her anecdotes and gives advice on how to make sure everything runs smoothly on the big day.

Tel Aviv view (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Tel Aviv view
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Planning a wedding is notoriously stressful – especially when organizing it in another country, where the customs are different, the language a barrier and a feeling of being out of control prevails.
Having a representative in that country, be it a responsible friend of relative, or, better still a professional and experienced wedding planner, can help alleviate the stress, especially someone who is able to troubleshoot.
Take this situation.  After many months of looking at many different venues for a wedding, my client eventually chose a beautiful location in Tel Aviv, complete with swimming pool, and overlooking the sea, with a stunning backdrop for photos.
A few months before the wedding, the owner of the venue decided to renovate the place. We were assured that the renovations would be completed before the wedding and, to be absolutely sure, requested and received a signed letter from the management to that effect.
One week before the day of the wedding, the renovations were in fact completed as promised but, to our horror, the contractors still had an enormous industrial crane on site, just behind the area of the swimming pool where most of the photos were going to be taken.  
It transpired that the contractor had been taken to hospital for an emergency operation, and nobody was able to make the decision to remove the crane.
After innumerable phone calls, we were unsuccessful in finding anyone in authority who was willing to take responsibility for removing the crane.  Needless to say, the bride was hysterical.  
Two days before the wedding, I had an inspiration.  I realized that if something couldn’t be moved or changed, it should be made a feature. So I asked the owner of the venue to have an enormous white banner printed to completely cover the crane, on which would be written in huge letters “Mazeltov to the bride and groom.”
The wedding was fantastic, the bride and groom were thrilled with the banner, and the guests were so impressed that we had managed to arrange to hire a crane especially for the wedding.
Whilst concentrating and organizing all the little details that need to be dealt with for the wedding, it is important to bear in mind that, what is really important and what really contributes to a memorable event, is that the bride and groom are relaxed and happy. This is really the most important thing, and it enables the guests to relax and celebrate with the couple.  
Having someone at the event to be responsible for coordinating and supervising the suppliers, is a tremendous help in ensuring the smooth running of the evening, and contributes to the couple being relaxed.
Most problems are solvable, with a little imagination. If not, only those involved in arranging the event would notice any hiccup – the guests would be too busy enjoying themselves to notice.
Joan Summerfield is an experienced events planner.