The Dream Team
After interviewing nearly half a dozen companies, bride Yvette Wood, 29, and groom Roger Bourcicot, 33, hired Plan-It Parties of North Potomac, owned by industry veteran Patti Weiner (right, with event planner Taylor Strimple), to put together their May fete in less than three months. Weiner helped speed the planning by scheduling simultaneous vendor meetings -- for example, a menu tasting at the St. Regis along with a viewing of arrangements by florist Plants Etc. of Potomac -- which allowed the couple to be fully involved while juggling their busy schedules.
"Even when everything is falling apart, our job is to make it look flawless," says Weiner. The day of the event Weiner and Strimple would bring along three additional staffers to watch over the various vendor setups and weather any problems that popped up. (T hese would include a last-minute run to Papyrus in Union Station for ring pillows forgotten by the bride, helping an ailing relative get to her hotel room safely and a late-night search for Band-Aids for the mother of the bride's sore feet.) "We're in the business of creating memories," Weiner says. "If I'm fighting with my husband, I tell him, 'You might be mad at me right now, but this Saturday, there's a family out there who will absolutely love me.' "
The pastry chef
The actual day of the wedding began, in a way, with dessert. Hedwig Yassine, one of three pastry chefs at the St. Regis, was in the kitchen in the pre-dawn hours to begin dispatching her responsibility -- a warm apple pouch with cinnamon sugar coating and caramel ice cream. Before the wedding even began, she had finished her work and was on her way home.
The first of three St. Regis housemen on duty -- responsible for setting up chairs, tables, the dance floor and anything else that requires heavy lifting -- began his workday early in the morning. By evening, all would be in near-constant motion: In addition to a last-minute resetting of 150 chairs for the Wood-Bourcicot ceremony on the terrace, they had to prep the hotel's other function rooms for a 60-person corporate dinner held the same night. The hotel's 1920s-era freight elevator offered an added challenge: It had broken down the week before and the replacement antique part was proving difficult to quickly track down, which meant both the housemen and the hotel's stewards -- responsible for bringing up plates, utensils, and finished meals from the basement kitchen -- were hoofing it up and down the stairwell all night.
Bridgette Anderson, the owner of Hair Spa Etc. in Alexandria, arrived early for her first client: the mother of the bride, who herself didn't show up for another hour, as she'd been up most of the night doing last-minute alterations on the flower girl dresses. Anderson worked her way through styling the bride, her three bridesmaids, two flower girls, the bride's grandmother and an aunt, then stayed on until 10:30 p.m. to be on hand for hair and makeup touch ups. "You just want everything to be perfect," she said. "So I put on my most comfortable shoes -- a pair of flip-flops -- and ran around doing as much as I could."