Monday, August 10, 2015

A day in the life of a wedding planner in Heaven's Gift Wedding Concierge.


This weekend is very special to every Singaporean, bcos it is the day we celebrate Singapore's independence for the last 50 yrs. While every one is celebrating at home, a team of us from Heaven's Gift Concierge, and our beloved partners were working really hard to create the magical wedding of a life time for our lovely couple who loves to travel.
At the end of the day, the party was a blast, and every process was an awesome experience. I think the enormous task to transform a ballroom in 3 hrs still amazes everyone and that fulfilment itself lingers. It has once again proven to us, that with precised planning and a great vision, all things are possible, bcos there is one leadership, one vision, one heart and one people!
And interestingly, the emcee of last night - Donna Daniels reminded me : Hannah , you must blog this experience, otherwise no one actually realises all the hard work. And I thought to myself : yes, I should do that, not for myself, but at least for the faithful team that has stood by me all these years.

For those who wonder about what we do, or who dream to be in our team, I want to say :          
Wedding planners are never never a glamorous vocation, but I must admit, it has been one lifetime experience that has changed my life, and many in our team. So here is a glimpse of what we do on the actual wedding day :

1150pm on 8 Aug outside St Regis hotel - Supervision begins
Our Operations Director - Kim Tay & our Wedding Specialist Max had arrived. This is their first time staying overnight to supervise an unloading. Usually I would be the one handling with my designer, but I decided it's time to let go and hand over the baton. Besides, our couple's wedding  schedule would start at 6am the next day.



1.00am on 9 Aug - Workers are trying their best to carry the customised props thru the narrow gate without damaging them 
The unloading begins. It is one extensive process. You would have assumed we have the ballroom to transform from midnight. But this was not the case. There was a lunch wedding in the same ballroom from 12pm to 3.30pm, and we were not allowed to unload the big props from the main hotel lobby. So everything was precisely cut into small parts to fit the narrow loading door of 1.8m via the fire escape route up to level 2 John Jacob Ballroom. Yes, it is unbelievable tedious job.

This is a replica of the Genghis Khan Status, which is especially meaningful to this wedding, bcos the father of the couple built this actual status in the country Mongolia. Yes, when I knew that, I said "Wow"



At 2.45am - We packed as much props in that small banquet storage room. I have to really say this : The support from St Regis Singapore is amazing and it is always a joy to have them as venue owner. I simply love to work with this hotel. Bcos they truly will stand by us. We would not have made it if we have no storage area to release to us. Those who know St Regis Hotel Singapore well, there is no function room at level 2 or besides the main ballroom, so literally we have to think out of the box to find hidden storage. God gave us a great team including St Regis Singapore to make this happen.

Can you imagine that's how we stack the customised props? All remain in tact despite the stacking.


Even the stage hidden corners are stacked with our panels for the 22m stage..
We really know how to think out of the box!

3am onwards, Floral arrangements began



7am we started to focus on the morning ceremony area. And it was one magical setup
We always love our trees... they are symbols of Heaven's Gift!

11.30am - Completed our Wedding Ceremony for our lovely couple





1.45pm - We finally had our lunch.
2.30pm - We have our final briefing with the banquet team.

3pm - every one was waiting at loading bay for the massive unloading and transformation await. I am one planner that is very particular about having seamless process and coordination with every vendor. No one is supposed to fight or conflict with each other as a result of rush time or limited space.

We have multiples floral and contractors companies, 1 sound & lights crew and all hired separate artists, following one direction to make things work. Once again, we believe - One Vision, One Heart!


3.30pm - Finally the lunch wedding before us was over, and we could begin our turn around.
It was a mad rush and crazy experience. I am glad we went thru this, bcos it taught us in the chaos of things, God still sits on the throne.
The previous wedding before us was using white linens, and our couple would be using bronze linens, yes the turnover begins, and some guests still refuse to leave :)

That's how fast St Regis Team works. I really love them!
The stage was torn down to make way for the 22m long X 6m high stage!
 4.00pm - The Stage panel was on its way up!
Finally at 4pm, we manage to get the stage panel laid down to be ready to put up
One, Two, Three Move.... One Two Three Move.... this project has almost 40 workers of the entire crew from contractors to planners.
Foyer Photo Backdrop begins, we are building our Love Cottage for the couple - their Carmel House
At 4.30pm, second group of contractors began the installation on the truss! This is the part I fear most, bcos it would prove if our calculation of our weight of all the flowers, crystals and fairylights can stay on the truss.
Even as planner, I at times don't sleep bcos I am dreaming of this setup process.
 

All the fairylights were personally ordered by myself to ensure it is as precise to my dream.
Yes, we don't leave even the little details to our contractors. Otherwise it will not be called our design. 

5.30pm - The Vision of our design is getting clearer into final deliverables.. I was literally counting down the clock

I am so proud of Nichelle, one of my designers. Her ability to detailing has leaped much. When the photographer and video crew from Moo Media asked me, so who designs the stage. My immediate response was : Of course, Heaven's Gift! We envision, we photoshop and the first artwork must come from us first! Then we tweaked with the contractors.
One cannot claims her works, if she is not involved. And yes, we are very involved in every stage of designing.
That's what concept planners are for, we don't just dream, we put feet to craft our dream!
6.45pm - While I am briefing the emcee, this was the first look...
My Groom walked in, and first words that came from his mouth was : Well done Hannah, I am Impressed!
The Main Gate to Nycky & Diane's Wonderland.

Even the men loves our photo booth! The Carmel House!
Guests can literally stand inside the house looking out thru the window
This is what I love best : Directing the final lightings to ensure my vision is perfected!
 And thank God for my faithful lightings and sound crew, they are my corner stones!

Groom's Dad is very happy, I bet he never expect our replica to be as real as his original. 


Our first time working with Donna Daniels, and she is such a spirited emcee.
cDonna, thank you for encouraging me to blog this experience

Finally our wedding cake - every tier was specifically crafted to what I have envisioned. A bit of Nycky & Diane, A bit of Singapore since it is National Day holiday, and a bit of all the places they have fall in love with.
Chef Joey completed this just before she flew out of Singapore.

So what have I learnt and appreciated  in this entire process?

  1. Nothing is impossible. When a leader has a vision, she has to perfect this vision to make it work for her teams i.e even those that are not her employees
  2. When a challenge is posed, or a desire is given to you, as a leader, you learn to take this challenge and internalise the process to make that dream come true, no matter how much trust the client may or may not give you.
  3. Believe in your team, bcos they can rise up to take up the leadership you have empowered them. Bcos they are not just managers, they are your next generation of leaders
  4. Don't give up perfecting your vision, even when no one sees what you see, you have already seen it. Hannah, you just need to press on!
  5. The above lessons are even more precious, bcos on National Day, I realise, some of the above principles apply to how Singapore was also built.
  6. Finally, one thing I will always remind myself : I am blessed bcos I have known a God that is always faithful, not once has He failed me. He brought me leaps and bounds beyond my wildest dreams. If I choose again to live one life, I will still choose to be Hannah Chong!