For the past few years I've volunteered at the Starkey Hearing Foundation's So the World May Hear awards gala as a celebrity handler. For a weekend, the volunteer handlers are assigned to a (sometimes) awesome celebrity and have the opportunity to make them feel at home in St. Paul. In addition to wearing a stellar gown and supporting an incredible a cause, the gala gives volunteers access to local and worldwide celebrities.
(Let's take a moment to honor Mr. Adrian Peterson, shall we? One thing to note about me is that I have a slight Vikings obsession. In a future post I will be sure tell you all about our prozac-popping puppy, affectionately named Jared Allen.)
This gala weekend I knew I was in for one heck of a ride. My celebrities (who shall remain nameless), are well-known for being high-maintenance, perpetually late, and compulsive chain smokers. Thankfully someone realized that I don't have the gall to boss around high profile stars and called in a veteran to assist me with the madness. Cue Chad, my co-handler. Chad had a shaved head, huge gauged earrings, and was sporting a tie with his "tux" that was held together with pieces of his wife's fashion tape. Coupled with his day job at a record label where he works with stars such as Sting and Eminem, I was immediately sold on this partnership.
We were sitting at a table discussing our game plan for the day (which included a lively debate over whether or not we should take a picture of the private plane on the tarmac to post to Facebook, and whether the wireless network "Camp David 1" belonged to Clinton's secret service entourage) when Chad nonchalantly let it slip that he's a lead vocalist for the local band PopRocks. No big deal; it is a weekend of celebrities after all, but I have to admit that I was excited. Little did Chad know that PopRocks is the band that Tim and I had been hoping to book for our wedding!
Sorry Adam Sandler, but we'd like to avoid you and George's antics.
An hour at the hotel bar, a shrimp cocktail, and a few mishaps with fashion tape later, Chad was giving me the inside scoop on the Twin Cities wedding band scene. He knew every band on our list. He told us who has liveliest playlist, the best talent, and is least likely to embarrass us with the Electric Slide or YMCA. I was grateful for his expert advice as choosing our music has become a pain point for Tim and me. Like most brides and grooms, we know nothing about wedding bands and don't have the patience to go see every one on the list. However, I don't think we'd mind being part-time wedding crashers . . . ("Rule #76: No excuses, play like a champion!")
The rest of the night was a blur of missing smoking celebrities, awkward moments on the red carpet, and Miley Cyrus walking in carrying a puppy husky. And yes, Chad did come to the rescue with our celebrity crew on more than one occasion. But more than the glamor and the excitement was the experience of Tim and I to spend an evening together dressed to the nines like we will be on our big day.
I've got to say, if Tim looks this handsome in a basic tux, I can't wait to see him on our wedding day. I may just have to called him "Bond, James Bond" all day long.
Something tells me he wouldn't mind.
I don't know if we'll be booking PopRocks or not, but we're certainly leaning that way. Chad mentioned that at some point in the show he wears an 80's rocker wig and platform shoes . . . and I just don't know how we could pass that up. Whether we book the band or not, the industry insight he was able to give us was priceless. The lesson here is simple but invaluable: When you're stuck on a certain aspect of planning your wedding, get a professional's opinion. You may not have the good fortune to bump into a potential vendor at a social event, but you can reach out to friends and family who have gone before you. Does a friend of your mom work at Bachmann's? Ask her how florists choose the flowers used at weddings and which vendors use the freshest stems. Not sure if you want a videographer? Ask your married bridesmaid if she's ever watched her wedding video. Does your guy friend from college tend bar on the weekends? Ask him his opinion on working open bars at events and how much he sees go to waste.
What I've been realizing as we plan our wedding is that great insight, resources, and inspiration are present in the most unlikely situations. You just never know when your next great idea or perfect vendor might "pop" up!