Last year, EastCoast Entertainment had the privilege of participating in the first-ever Wedding Crashers Tour in Richmond. The Tour is a one-of-a-kind wedding planning experience that brings couples face to face with local wedding vendors in a real reception setting. Everything at each venue – flowers, food, drinks, décor, music, and more – is styled to a T, so although no one is actually getting hitched, it’s not hard to imagine partaking in all the wedding merriment and festivities on the Tour.
Of course, staging a wedding reception – even a fake one! – is no small feat. The Tour took plenty of teamwork, coordination, and elbow grease from some of our favorite event professionals. It was a labor of love, for sure, but with heavy emphasis on “love”: every day we are grateful for and amazed by our vendor partners and the downright beautiful events that we, as an industry, can create!
The second annual Wedding Crashers Tour took place on Super Bowl Sunday (not to worry, our Planner made sure to set up a ‘gentlemen’s lounge’ area, complete with craft brews and Super Bowl classic clips), but we started working long before then. Our venue, the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design, is located on historic Monument Avenue. It’s great for celebrations – but tough for load-in! To navigate alleyways, busy city streets, and limited parking, the Venue Manager (and one of my favorite ‘friendors’) offered the option of loading in a day early. We all took advantage of that generosity, so Saturday afternoon I arrived to help the band set up and assisted the other vendors; I can now officially add table set-up, linen arranging and catering dish transport to my resume!
After the initial load-in and preliminary set-up was completed, a few of us from Team Branch hopped over to Tarrant’s Cafe, a Richmond favorite, to grab a drink and swap stories about this crazy whirlwind industry that we call our own. We couldn’t spend too much time socializing, of course, because we were back at it on Sunday at 9AM.
With the band already set up and ready to go Sunday morning, I tackled various tasks with other vendors: hauling in décor, helping hang cake pops with the Planners, setting up catering, putting out more linens, you name it. With all the details in place, the final product was nothing short of stunning – just look at the photos from Don Mears! Our first Tour group arrived at 11:45AM and, needless to say, they were impressed too.
I may now be an above-average cake pop hanger, but my favorite part was, of course, what ECE does best: the music. Forest Hill Trio was the perfect option for the vibe we had at Branch. One of our newest artists, Forest Hill, offers the trio configuration as an option for ceremony/cocktail hour. I was instantly impressed by their professionalism and enthusiasm – not to mention their musical prowess! The trio (sax, mandolin, guitar) covered tunes from ALO to John Mayer to Pure Prairie League: We’re truly blessed with some talented artists here at ECE.
It should be no surprise that the afternoon absolutely flew by. Before we knew it, the final group had come and gone and we found ourselves with a quick moment to take a group photo and celebrate a successful day – leftover Lushy Slushy’s and Pearl’s Cupcakes for all! As a team, we began breakdown, and in just a short time the venue was once again a pristine and historic space with no trace of the daylong festivities. We all headed out to the Quirk Hotel to meet up with our friendors from the Tour’s other venues, talk about the day, and – not to brag or anything – to revel in Team Branch’s successful defense of last year’s People’s Choice title!
As much as I love to attend and drop in on my clients’ events, I’m not typically part of the set-up. The Wedding Crashers Tour was a wonderful opportunity to witness and appreciate first-hand just how much teamwork is needed to pull off an exquisite event experience. It also served as useful insight for guests to see how the individual vendors – bands, planners, caterers, and beyond – must work together, rather than as individuals. Bringing an engaged couple’s vision to life is a great responsibility, but with so many good friends and partners in the industry, we’re able to do exactly that with each and every event. And as for the Wedding Crashers Tour – well, I’ll see you next year!
Wedding Crashers Tour site: http://www.weddingcrasherstour.com
Wedding Crashers blog w/ highlights from Don Mears Photography: http://www.weddingcrasherstour.com/new-blog/2016/2/15/team-branch-highlights-don-mears-photography