He said, She said: Creating the backbone

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 9, 2015

Working in athletics, I have learned a lot about putting on events. I learned a lot about event management from my work study supervisor in college. He taught me that being detail oriented makes the difference. The largest event I have organized was a Harlem Globetrotters show about a year and a half ago. The concept of planning the Globetrotters event can be very similar to planning a wedding, if you think about it.

When putting on the Globetrotters show, we had a contract in place that listed requirements, expectations, schedules and more. For a wedding, a groom has the same thing to deal with, except the Globetrotters are replaced with a bride. Let’s be honest, she is the main event of the day.

After understanding the expectations, it was my responsibility for the Globetrotters show to come up with an ideal plan for putting on the event. I had to take into account parking, ushers, food, seating, safety, etc. Once my ideal plan was in place, I needed to figure out a realistic budget that made the event profitable for the school. After realizing that students would volunteer as ushers, but understanding that I needed to feed them and give them a uniform shirt, I was able to determine the expenses I could avoid and which ones were necessary.

When planning a wedding, the same thing applied for us. Jeanie and I talked about what we wanted for an ideal wedding and discussed the various things that were important to each of us. After getting it all down on paper, we then researched a budget that accurately portrayed our wants. Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for most of the expenses and we are fortunate enough that Jeanie’s parents were more than generous in offering to take on that financial burden.

Once I got an approved budget for the Globetrotters show, my next step was to prioritize my to-do list and focus on the items that were essential to the event. In this case, it was making sure the bleachers were working, recruiting student help, identifying facility needs and hiring proper security and rescue squad.

The next step in our wedding planning was a bit of a disagreement. For Jeanie, the discussion of flowers, ribbons and the ungodly amount of tulle to wrap everything in was the next most important thing. Fortunately for me, she agreed with my view that we needed to identify the backbone pieces of the wedding and take care of that first. In our discussion, we felt there were seven things that made up this structure: the pastor, the colors, the size of the guest list, the venues, the DJ, the caterer and the photographer. We also talked about attendants, but that will be discussed in a later article.

While our pastors from growing up are important to us, we didn’t feel the mutual connection for either one to perform the ceremony. When talking, we discussed that it came down to one obvious choice. As we mentioned in our last column, we met in a church and faith has played a large role within our relationship. Chris Shelton from Life Church in Salisbury has been at the center of it all and we both agreed he was someone we respected and valued. We were honored when we asked and he instantly accepted.

For the colors, I let Jeanie decide that one pretty much by herself. Jeanie was great at including me in the process though by presenting suggestions and asking my opinion. In the end we agreed upon gray and navy with a coral (I had to look up that color) accent.

During a road trip back from my parent’s house, Jeanie typed the names of everyone in our lives that we wanted to be a part of our big day. We quickly realized we have been surrounded by great people and choosing between them will not be fun. Our combined family size alone is 114 people, so we instantly knew our wedding was going to be a little bigger, especially when you factor in the non-relatives that still get titled “Aunt Jenn” or “Mama Betty.” Once we reviewed our main list and checked with the budget, we realized that we could not go over 200 guests for the event.

Since I secured the chapel before I proposed, the reception hall was the only venue left to book. The reception location was something important to Jeanie so I will let her explain on what we found.

After attending other weddings recently, I realized that a good DJ and emcee was important to me to keep the day fun and entertaining. After asking for recommendations everyone seemed to use Virtual Sounds. After meeting with Dustin, I was sold that they were our guys. It was refreshing that they had the same perspective as me in that the event was more than just playing music, but creating an atmosphere.

Salisbury has a few more catering options to choose from than DJs, but each had different qualities that they brought to the table and Buttercup Café seemed to fit the best. After talking to Mary on the phone just to get some pricing information, I was sold that she needed to be our caterer. Jeanie called a few weeks later to set up a time to meet and she agreed that the caring and compassionate nature that Mary exuded made us feel confident in her. After Jeanie, her mom and I had a tasting of a potential menu, we were quickly sold and wrote the deposit check on the spot. For those that will be coming to the wedding or use Mary in the future, the smoked tomato butter needs to be tried.

Finally, our last big puzzle piece was the photographer. Jeanie was adamant that she wanted a particular type of photographer so I barely gave any input; in fact, I skipped the meeting with our photographer because I needed to meet with contractors for our basketball gym remodel.

After getting all of the backbone pieces set we still have a lot of planning to do, but we are well on our way to a happy wedding day. For those couples getting ready to plan their own wedding in the future, I have two pieces of advice: do not admit in any way, shape or form that you know a single word to a Frozen song and, more importantly, elope.