What was it like…..

to be both Father of the Bride and the Wedding Coordinator?

Answer: Tougher than I ever expected!

Reason: I have over 1,000 weddings under my belt and know what I like. I am friends with dozens of great vendors who were thrilled to make any wish come true. Though I was paying the bill, the engaged couple had preferences too. My daughter and I are extremely close and she has wonderful and specific ideas.

Justine Blusher at altar

I wish I had had two ball caps made to wear in conversations with my daughter. One emblazoned “W.C.” and the other “F.O.B.”  That way, we would have all known from which position my thoughts and suggestions were coming.

That being said, I didn’t have those caps, but still have two more daughters and will do so if I’m in those dual roles again.

In the meantime, everyone wants to know ‘Who did you hire?”

In these next few days, I will share those names (and more importantly those reasons for those choices.)  Not to assume that it’s like Oprah’s Book Club, but certainly I know the power of endorsement by an experienced wedding coordinator. Customers tell me repeatedly they are so appreciative when I share my personal preferences.  Why do all the background checking and review reading when you can hear it directly from someone you trust…that hired them for his own daughter?

I will conclude this opening that every vendor was Level 10 for me. No…Level 11.

I will break the blog into several installments. Hop along for the ride of planning a wedding in the Nolte Family.

Reception Venue: Hallbrook Country Club (http://www.hallbrookcc.org) Why? It was the look we wanted what with Colonial traditional elegance. I am not into funky, alternative, re-habbed spaces with exposed furnace and plumbing and scratched up floors and walls. The concept of “urban chic” or “rustic” just is not my look. I have to have easy parking, super clean restrooms and fresh smelling dining rooms. Most of the time the over used adjective of  “Contemporary” means concrete floors and plastic furniture. Hallbrook is the polar opposite.

Hallbrook Entrance with Tulips

Justine Hallbrook Entry

Hallbrook feels like both my home and my salon. With lots of upholstery, pattern, rich neutral colors and fabulous acoustics, it was perfect for my family. The room arrangement, allowed for the various reveals that I staged throughout the evening. (One of the guests mentioned the following day, he thought he was in nine different rooms. In reality it was only four!).

Justine Hallbrook Dining Room Long Shot

 Justine Hallbrook Dining Room with Head Table

Beyond those visuals,  the level of expertise, support and enthusiasm from Emilee Petersen and Leslie Miller (food and beverage directors) and Kevin Donovan (general manager) was off the chart. Every email returned within 24 hours, a real sense of “getting it,” and an incredible amount of patience as we developed several visions that had never been tried before.

The tasting was a culinary delight and it was very difficult to rule out any of the three options that were presented for each course. Guests raved about the food. My favorite course was the salad created of poached pear, goat cheese, candied black walnuts, cranberries, lavender vinaigrette all served in this totally cool French pastry braided basket called a “Pate a Choux.”   It was the most visually beautiful salad I have ever seen!

Justine Salad

Over and over, I added one more element to the puzzle and received the same answer: Example: I would like multiple candelabra bearing footman lining the entry corridor. No problem. I would like them all to be men and have brown hair. No problem. I would like them to all be in tails and white gloves. No problem. I need them remain motionless and silent (a la English Bobbies or Swiss Guards). No problem.  And this was all about just one element!

(And I had several of those “Add-ons!”)

Justine Footman

People just flipped out over that one element. And the list of “flip worthy” things that Hallbrook did just goes on and on.

The flow of the guests from cocktail room, dining room, ballroom, candlelit veranda, post-dinner cocktail lounge and dessert room was seamless. It flowed exactly as I had hoped. Though I knew the organized chaos I was causing behind the scenes and yet, Hallbrook never let me see them sweat. Each and every employee was polite, calm, respectful and attractive. Exactly what I wanted for an ultra-formal Black-tie wedding. I could not have been more pleased.

If you are interested in booking your reception there and need a sponsor, call me.