Archive for December 12th, 2007

The Fine Art Of “Chilling Out”

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I would be the first to tell you that I am a fanatic with regards to time. (However, my wife Gina would certainly be the second to tell you.) It’s a bit of a curse, because the rest of the world rarely operates with one eye constantly on the clock. To most folks, “5 minutes” is an indefinite period consisting of a half-hour or less. To me, it is 300 seconds (“a thousand one, a thousand two…”) In fact, the only occasion when anybody ever seems to be as anal-retentive as I am about time is when they are hosting a wedding and reception.

Then time matters. If the cake was due at 4PM, at 4:01 the bakery is going to get a call from a concerned mom. If the band is delayed by a crush of folks needing to use the freight elevator and misses their 6 o’clock set-up call, you can be sure a wedding coordinator – and/or the police – will be looking for them by 6:02.

So it is refreshing every once in a while to encounter a bride, mom, or planner who is not in imminent danger of bursting their aorta just because the salad course was 2 minutes late. Such mellow folk – assuming they’re not simply on Valium – tend to take a “Big Picture” view of the nuptial proceedings, rather than to get stressed out by a series of minor details. They focus more on “is the evening going well,” rather than “is it going according to some pre-ordained schedule?”

And when the key players are less wired and weird, it makes it easier for us entertainers to do our jobs – part of which is to appear cheerful and relaxed (so that the guests will feel the same.) It’s awfully hard for a band or deejay who has just been read the Riot Act by a caffeine-stoked father-of-the-bride, immediately prior to playing, to put on their Happy faces for the in-laws and outlaws.

Pressure brings out the worst in most of us. That’s why it is such a pleasure when working a wedding reception to encounter a hostess who refuses to let minutiae and trivia dampen her joy. Weddings should be joyous. Do you want your guests to remember that worried crease on your brow, or the look of sheer happiness you had for your daughter as she walked down the aisle?

Details are important. But if you’ve hired the right vendors, we will do your worrying for you. The most important thing you can do is to enjoy your own party. If you don’t, no one else will, either. Lead your guests by your example: chill out! (Or as the 80s-era deodorant commercials used to say: “Never let ‘em see you sweat!”)