Mission Accomplished: Part 1
Operation: Stealth Wedding was an astounding success. The flowers were ctunning, the ceremony was romantic, and the food was fantastic. Most importantly, Suzette (codename: Jill) had absolutely no idea what was going on. It was a wonderful event, if I do say so myself.
The day started with yours truly running late, as usual. The hairpiece never came, and we were rushing around to find a new one. Brian (codename: Jack) had a lot of errands to run, including picking up the makeup artist, Birgitte Philippides from the Babylon Train station. I arrived to pick Suzette up at her house, and told her about the hairpiece catastrophe. She ran inside and got a gorgeous crown type band that her daughter, Alexis, used for her Communion. On the way to Crestwood Manor, it dawned on me that we didn’t have any earrings for Suzette to wear in the “fashion show”. Suzette called her sister, Jackie, and asked her to bring a pair with her. She actually had a specific pair in mind, so that was great.
We arrived at Crestwood Manor and Brian was already there with Birgitte. My cousin, Jacquline, was going to be a decoy model– The Maid of Honor model that was getting ready with Suzette in the bridal suite, which was sequestered from the rest of the venue. Birgitte styled Suzette while Emily Margulis, a good friend of mine, styled Jacquline. Birgitte also slipped upstairs to do Jackie’s hair, then Emily went upstairs to do her makeup. While they were being styled, everything else was being put into place.
Stacey, one of my employees, worked really hard to fold the 100 forest green napkins that we ordered for an extra punch of color on the tables, to co-ordinate with the centerpieces made by Juliette at Creative Edge Events. The tables were dressed, the fantastic wedding cake by Dawn Cousins of Piece of Cake Bakery was set up, the dais was arranged, and the ceremony site was decorated… All while Suzette gabbed away with Jacquline, Emily and Birgitte, none the wiser to what was going on. It was a really great feeling, knowing that this woman – a woman I consider a friend – was about to walk into the surprise of her life, so deftly created by her wonderful husband. Their thirteen year old son, Brian Jr., was in on the planning, too. He was a great help when everything was being set up at Crestwood.
While Suzette was still getting ready at 4:00, guests arrived for the cocktail party held upstairs. Food and beverages, including wine from Duckwalk Vineyards and The Traveling Vineyard (thanks to Emily!), were enjoyed by all of the guests. I brought a plate of hot hors d’ouerves into the room, and they were to die for. The mushroom puffs and the asparagus cheese wraps were unbelievable, but the mini-spring rolls and dipping sauce were absolutely AMAZING. I kept sneaking upstairs to get more. I even had a Malibu pineapple, something that I haven’t had since I was in Jamaica last year. The bartenders at Crestwood were phenomenal. As a matter of fact, the entire staff was. Even Samantha, the banquet manager, pretended to be one of the models in the fashion show, to throw Suzette further off the scent– If she had picked up a scent, that is!
Right before the ceremony, the programs that Sue Schweizer of Sweet Beginnings Invitations & Favors created were fanned out and placed on every seat set on the terrace. Reverend Vanessa L. Siders made her way to the marble gazebo to wait with Brian as the guests filed in and took their seats. The procession was led by Cassandra, Brian and Suzette’s four year old daughter. Then followed Cassandra, their nine year old daughter. Finally, Suzette’s sister Jackie walked down the aisle, looking beautiful in strapless cocktail dress.
People seemed confused when Jacquline entered. I had her walk halfway down the aisle so Suzette thought it really was a fashion show. Once Jacquline was out of Suzette’s view, she squeezed into a seat. Then, Suzette entered. I instructed her to look straight forward as she walked down the path to the top of the aisle. I told her to drop her head and look at the ground for three steps, then look up to do a “reveal” of how she looked. As she walked her three steps, Brian Jr. slipped next to her and linked her arm. “Surprise, Mom,” he said, as Suzette started to realize what was going on.
Unfortunately, Suzette practically sprinted down the aisle, which means that we didn’t get many photos of her reaction. She was absolutely shaking during the ceremony, which you can watch by clicking here. More than half of the people watching the ceremony cried– myself included. It was just so romantic and touching.
After the ceremony, everyone applauded. The wedding was 13 years in the making. Everyone was so happy to see Suzette (and Brian, for that matter) have a dream wedding.
Please note: There will be more entries about the wedding and the people involved. I have been trying to get this recap done since the night of August 1, and I just haven’t been able to. I figured that I can do it in sections. This is just the overview. More to follow.