“Do you have a number I can reach Rachel??? I promise I won’t stalk her Just had something crazy come up… I’ll fill you in when I get the okay to do so!!!”. This is the email I received from Misty (owner of Cameo Events and Storybook Bridal) on January 17th. I don’t know what I thought was funnier, the fact that she feels the need to promise not to stalk Rachel (editor of Apple Brides) or that I immediately thought to myself ‘what did I do!?’ I borrow lots of dresses from Storybook Bridal for photo shoots…..did I stain one……rip it? I write back, “Is everything okay?” while I rack my brain for off colored jokes or borderline offensive things I could have said during the last model fitting, I receive this “Yes, everything is good!! I’m in a confidentially agreement so I can’t talk about the details right now, but it’s VERY good news :-)”. Thank God, it had only been a few minutes and my email (subject line “Please don’t fire me”) was not coming along very well.
The next day Apple Brides happily announced that we were assisting Misty in finding a couple who wanted to get married on a Fox reality television program called Hotel Hell on February 24, 2012! What we couldn’t say (at the time) was that Misty was putting together a “Dream Team” of wedding vendors to create a fairytale wedding at the Roosevelt Inn in Coeur d’Alene after the Gordon Ramsay (world famous chef Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen Gordon Ramsay) made over the joint from cuisine to decor! (And holy Real Housewives, she was actually going to let me help!). I spent the next month at secret meetings talking about secret stuff and giving all sorts of unsolicited input…..so fun!
The day of shooting, I was at Jaime Stephens house (make-up artist extraordinaire) for a little spackle and rouge (on the off chance that I did end up on camera, I wasn’t about to depend on my very limited skills.) By 7am I was at the Roosevelt with three Red Bulls, high heels (again, didn’t want to be unprepared) and the kind of sick excited feeling you get when you know you cannot screw up! It felt like my first gymnastics meet as a kid when I barreled straight into the vault stomach first and cried.
The first order of business was to set up the reception. Apparently the “reveal” of the reception needed to be shot before the actual ceremony so we would need to set it up first and then tear it all down for the ceremony and set it up again. Dang, I was starting to regret my choice to wear skinny slacks (google it). I would liken this scene to a well run ant farm. It may have seemed like chaos to an outsider, but everyone had a job to do and they were doing the hell out of it. I (being an integral part of this production) was on table, chair and tablecloth duty along with a few other ladies. A production assistant came in the room to take a look at our progress “Your fly’s down doll,” I whispered to him as I walked by.
My work here was done!
As soon as the space was done, lots of cool LA types (a.k.a. people who dress well) swarmed the room and suddenly without trumpet, red carpet or anything there he was, Gordon Ramsay! Misty began introducing myself and her assistants to him, “this is Mariah and Cassie and Melissa” in a smart ass trying-to-be funny kind of way I blurted out “And who are you?” Without missing a beat Gordon said “I’ve been called a lot of things!” A man who understands the simple minded humor from a small town girl, I freakin’ LOVE this guy!
While filming the reveal of the reception area to the owners of the Roosevelt I was asked to….well….leave. Luckily, I had parked my car just across the street from the hotel, so I sat in there eating my Lunchable as I watched the crew film the owners walk up the street to the hotel and meet Gordon inside. There’s something so ironic about stacking a round piece of turkey (or so they call it) onto a cracker with a very shiny sweaty piece of cheese, while one of the most celebrated chefs in the world is literally across the street from you. Thankfully I consoled myself with the “fun size” crunch bar included in the Lunchable.
Finally they needed my assistance again (or more likely felt bad for me) and let me back in the Roosevelt to prepare for the next scene to be shot, the actual wedding! This involved the placing, filling and arranging of flowers in dozens of vases along with floating votives and precisely placed chiavari chairs. My OCD was raging as I moved chairs and vases a half inch back and to the side and then back to were they were. I would check from this angle and that angle and “hmmm and haaa” and curse under my breath. No matter how small the task, if I was in charge, you can bet I was going to do it well! Plus I wanted to look busy in case Gordon was watching!
During the filming of the wedding I was asked to stay in a very cold hallway just off the room and be very quiet. Aha, they let me stay in the building this time (obviously they had noticed how amazingly straight I had lined up all those chairs!). I slowly and quietly munched on my little bag of pirate booty while myself (and all the others banned to the hallway) watched the ceremony through a tiny window in the hall door. Oh the glamor of show biz!
The minute the ceremony ended and guests cleared out and myself and a million other people scrambled to put together the reception again. Suddenly someone grabs my shoulder and says are you 21 (I’m 27….so much for my “sophisticated ponytail”) and shoved a tray of wine into my hands. I spent the rest of night serving cake, clearing dishes and at one point listening intently as a rather inebriated guest gave me some words of advice to pass along to Gordon (one of the highlights of my day).
At about midnight or so I may or may not have “coincidentally” shown up at the place where the Fox crew was having a little wrap shindig. I don’t sneak into parties and tell so I will just leave you with this, Gordon is one heck of a chef and he knows how to throw one Hell of a party (pun intended!).