Behind the Scenes: Bardessono and the 30 foot Chandelier

18 April 2013

 For most girls growing up the idea of having an over the top perfect wedding seems like just a dream, but for our bride Lauren, that dream became her reality.

When first hearing about this wedding I knew that it was going to be the biggest wedding that I would work on during my internship. Our bride Lauren wanted a day inspired by Eva Longoria's wedding. This included a 30 foot chandelier of hydrangeas and orchids suspended above the head table during the reception. One could only imagine how grand this idea was, but also how daunting it became. 

The weekend began on Thursday at Bardessono Hotel and Spa. Just stepping on the grounds of this hotel made me feel special, even if I wasn't the one getting married. Set in peaceful Yountville, California, Bardessono is surrounded by picturesque wineries and vineyards as far as the eye can see. The quiet little town was cold and wet that Thursday morning, and we could only hope for a weather change by Saturday.

After unpacking all the cars, we began to set up shop in the ballroom where the reception would be held. As we finally got everything settled, the guys arrived from Hartman to lay down the subflooring outside and to pitch the tent on the patio that was right outside the ballroom doors. This was the beginning of the chaos. There was not a moment from then on without at least 20 people running around. I began to wonder, how on earth is this war zone going to be turned into a wedding?

To me that was the most amazing part about this weekend. No matter how crazy and chaotic everything seemed to get, the end result was nothing less than perfect. 

Friday came and the weather seemed to get better. Today was the day that the daunting chandelier would be suspended and built. Enhanced Lighting came and rigged the 30 foot white metal tray to the top of the tent. It was then our job to place the hydrangeas in midair. Using as many ladders as we could, as well as the scissor lift that was left behind, the building began. It took 24 blocks of racquettes blocks that we had perviously soaked in water to build the foundation of our floral chandelier. We placed the semi finished arrangement into the 30 feet metals trays and filled it with water.

The task of placing this bricks of oasis in the tray definitely gave our team an upper body work out for the day. The bricks weighed at least 20 pounds each. Lifting and passing them from person to person was where our great team work skills were put to the test. Around 9:00 pm we were all hitting a wall. Nancy ordered a round of Root Beer Floats to keep us going. It was the perfect late night snack too. As the last brick was finally set into the tray, the picture I held in my head of what the chandelier was going to look like was blown away. It was beautiful. Although there were still bubble bowls with lights and phalaenopsis that needed to be placed, a sense of accomplishment seemed to fill the room. 10:30 pm hit and we all were ready to hit the sack.

Our impromptu work out had got the best of us.

We went back to our rooms, where most of us took baths in the luxurious oversized tubs, that to me were the size of a swimming pool. We then drifted into dreamland. The one hope and worry was that the weight of the chandelier would not bring down the tent that night.

The tray before flowers were placed in it
Up on the scissor lift placing flowers and oasis

The finished masterpiece
Saturday 8:30 am and we rushed to the tent to make sure it was still standing. There it was. Perfect. Nothing bad had happened, and it in fact was even more beautiful. John Woods from Enhanced Lighting seemed to be the little fairy that placed all the bubble bowls and lights while the rest of the team was sleeping. (Nancy says he is the hardest working vendor she has ever met) 

After making sure everything was still standing, we all changed gears. Today was THE day! The ceremony still needed to be set up, and the ballroom needed to be transformed from war zone, into a picture perfect reception. The clock was ticking. Clean up began and the last flower arrangements were made. The phalaenopsis was placed in the chandelier and the finishing touches of centerpieces and candles were put on each table. After all the hard work and long hours it was finally show time. I took a final lap of the ceremony area and the reception and could not believe how everything was transformed in such a short amount of time. It was magical. 

Outdoor ceremony 
Chaotic? Yes. But I could not imagine a better outcome. I felt so lucky to be a part of such an amazing team throughout the weekend. I think that this wedding really put all the skills that I have learned so far to the test. After seeing such a grand wedding take place, it will be hard for anything match it. I find myself wishing that every wedding we did was this grand and exciting. Our couple Lauren and Ashton chose Bardessono as the venue for their special day because it is their favorite hotel. I now know why and think that I too have a favorite hotel. 

Lessons Learned:
  • Nothing is more important than good teamwork.
  • Good communication throughout and entire production can prevent bumps during set up and the day of an event. 
  • Dreams really can come true.


Brain Dumps said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Pink Blossom List said...

Thanks Brain Dumps --- yes, a scissor lift is very valuable for designers. Thanks for the info.

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