Piece of Cake
Behind the scenes of Long Island weddings
It seems every wedding industry vet has a crazy story (or 10) to tell. And here on Long Island, you can put an emphasis on the crazy.
“Long Island is the second-most expensive place to get married in the country, next to New York City,” says Claudia Copquin, founder of GettingMarriedonLongIsland.com. “Typically a wedding on Long Island runs about $55,000—that’s about double what it costs around the country.”
And it’s not just the cost, says Copquin—it’s everything. Every last little thing.
“Brides here, because of where we are, they want the best of the best,” says Copquin. “They’re not just gonna jump at the first florist they look at. They’re very meticulous about what they want. The popularity of all these TV shows [e.g., Bridezillas, Platinum Weddings, Rich Bride, Poor Bride, My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding, et al.] is inspiring brides and grooms to go all-out for their weddings. Couples want to put their own stamps on their weddings, and customize them as much as possible.”
In fact, when asked for the craziest requests they had received, most of the LI wedding professionals interviewed had the same answer: Crazy is relative. On Long Island, just about everybody is high maintenance, at least when it comes to The Big Day.
“Unusual or elaborate requests? Those are like 90 percent of my clients,” says one wedding photographer from Rockville Centre.
Just the same, we wanted to hear what they had to say. So here are some true testimonies from the professionals (and one bride-to-be, to balance out some of the crazy). These are the people behind the scenes, the people who see it all (and have seen it all), the people who make over-the-top Long Island weddings seem so easy:
The craziest wedding that I ever worked was probably the wedding where one of the guests decided to, on the dance floor, throw somebody up in the air…and not catch them when they came back down. He flung her up in the air and, somehow, she ended up cracking her head open on the dance floor. We had to have the ambulance come in and take her out. The entire wedding cleared out. They all went to the hospital.
Honestly, behind the scenes is just craziness. You’ve got cooks screaming at you, you’ve got your lead waiter or your maître d’ screaming at you to get everything set up from the second you walk in. You’re going nonstop. You’re in a kitchen with everybody yelling at you, trying to get dinner orders in and trying to get all your stuff done, and basically, not let the bride and groom see you running around like a chicken without a head. We have to make it look like we’re in that room the entire time and everything just magically appears. It’s absolute chaos.
I mean, you’d watch some of these things and you’d just shake your head and wonder where they come up with these ideas. It gets a little crazy. You wonder how these people can do it sober.
I had to deal with this caterer who showed up two hours late. Then we had two trucks to unload all of the décor into the venue hours before the ceremony. I opened the truck, and it was the wrong one. My truck was on the way to Southampton. I had to track down the truck, and then we were all working double-time to get this space set up.
I’ve had brides freak out on me right before the wedding, like right before they’re going to walk down the aisle, and I have to play therapist. Just last week, I spent four hours on the phone with a bride who was having drama with her family. Yes I’m a wedding planner, but I’m also the voice of reason and a therapist.
I had one couple last year, they had their hearts set on getting married outside in June. It rained every weekend in June. I had four days to scramble to get this big tent. It wound up costing $10,000, but they had their outdoor wedding. Everything worked out in the end, but for those four days I did not sleep.
—Elaine Deluca, wedding planner, Exquisite Events, www.exquisiteeventsnewyork.com
Trashing the dress is pretty extreme. I know brides are doing that now. I don’t understand the appeal. You spend so much money on your wedding gown, and then you go out and dive in a mud pit? I just cringe every time I hear about it.
—Claudia Copquin, founder, www.GettingMarriedonLongIsland.com