When in 2018 I first met Natalie and Oliver on the terrace of an elegant hotel at the foot of the Spanish Steps on the Spanish Steps, I knew immediately that I was facing-potentially-one of the most challenging events of the next year.
They had already chosen two of the three locations for their wedding weekend in the Eternal City: the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle, on Lake Bracciano, and Villa Miani, one of the most beautiful wedding locations in Rome, with a spectacular 360-degree view of the city.
I didn’t know yet if they would choose me as their Wedding Planner, but by now after 12 years of experience I know my own, of feelings, and recognize when a job “calls me.” Before meeting them live, I prepared for the occasion, took a nice walk on Via del Corso, with the specific mission of performing one of my favorite superstitious rituals before meeting a couple: buying a pair of new shoes from Aldo.
And so, with my nice new pair of boots, and throwing my old ones along the way, I went to the meeting. What followed was certainly one of the most complex and fascinating planning and events in recent years.
The adventure begins on an afternoon in early October from Zuma Rome, well-known upscale Japanese restaurant on the rooftop of the Palazzo Fendi, hosting the informal and glamorous welcome dinner on the rooftops of Rome, featuring champagne, sake, sushi fusion, and laughter among friends who reunite.
As guests begin to crowd Zuma’s terrace, Natalie and Oliver meet in the gardens of the Hotel de Russie to exchange a love dedication and meet the photographers and videographers who will accompany them on this journey. Then off they go through the alleys of Rome to join their friends and begin the festivities.
I love the magic of places, when they can convey centuries of history, tension, emotion.
When on those stone stairs you feel that your step is just one among those that will blend into the millennia, but at the same time you know that you have left your footprint, big or small.
I felt that feeling all the time during Natalie and Oliver’s wedding weekend. As I ran with the little radio to my ear down Via dei Condotti, and then over the rooftops of Rome on those autumn nights, or through the pine-lined streets as we sped in cabs from location to location, on the stone steps of the majestic Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano.
A fairytale location, built in 1470 by Napoleon Orsini on an imposing fortress overlooking Lake Bracciano, and chosen in recent years by numerous celebrity couples for their wedding: from Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, to Eros Ramazzotti and Michelle Hunziker, or even Martin Scorsese and Isabella Rossellini, most recently by Petra Ecclestone.
Not an easy task, a year of intense and engaging work, at times extremely challenging, but in the end, as I walked down those stone steps, I thought “here, I too have helped build a piece of this History.”
Here is this modern fairy tale at the Castle.
Well... did you think it was over? This was just the beginning (and for me and my Team it's time to hold on and get the last energy and cartridges out!)... the celebrations for Natalie and Oliver continue - the following day - at Villa Miani!
With a SEN-SA-TIO-NAL PARTY!!! Check it out pics and video here.
This image for me encapsulates the biggest challenge of these last few months. I found out I was pregnant halfway through the planning of this event.
A most difficult event, physically and mentally, faced in person after a few months of forced immobility. In Rome and Bracciano, for three consecutive days. I knew I could not tell myself about it: as much as I could have tried to dose my energy, not pull too hard…. I was going into the Event, and the Event is what commands. With its own timing, its own contingencies.
In those days I found myself coming to terms with another Force that-for the first time-was also in charge. With its times, its contingencies.
And the extraordinary efforts that until yesterday seemed normal, in Event, in those days, seemed superhuman.
That leaving a few hours earlier would save me for the next Event.
It rained, an hour and a quarter continuously, before the ceremony. NO weather channel was predicting rain. I looked at the sky and thought, “Are you kidding me!”
We flew over the skies of Rome on helium balloons and transported 100 sofa lounges by sea, took endless cabs during a crazy and beautiful adventure.
I clung to her and she to me, and every now and then I would tell her “this is your mom’s life, it is an extraordinary life also made of sacrifices to make others happy, to live surrounded by beauty. With a thousand complications, but also with a thousand satisfactions. Hang in there, a few days and we’ll go home.” It may seem unbelievable, but the little demon, those days, was very quiet, as if she understood that the challenge was really big.
We came back stronger than before, and it seems like a lifetime ago already.
This has been a special year, even with my Team. A few events took us a while to “settle in.” It happens at the beginning of every season, when after the winter warmths we get back into the field and have to perform at our best.
This year it also happened to me at the end of the season, during a particularly challenging event, to feel that my Team was on a different wavelength.
This initially created a kind of annoyance for me, “is it possible that after so many years they are not independent, not reacting to certain situations as I would? Where is the enthusiasm?”
Only after a few days, and with the help of my father @mariomoccitraining, I reflected that my vision stemmed -also- from some mistakes that depended on MY management of the Team. This year-right in the middle of the weddings season-I had to follow some of the work remotely, due to the extremely difficult pregnancy at the beginning. Since I could not be operational in some aspects, I focused on giving my best on all the technical, creative and planning parts of the event so that everything would be perfect on site.
It is the #weddingStaff, that -in event- realizes what we have designed as WP during a year. It is the interface with guests, of the Brand of a Society.
It was not true that there was no enthusiasm in those events. On the contrary.
It was, however, filtered by the tension they perceived around because of the level of the events and my total focus on the Client, from showing themselves (even towards me, considering the situation) detached and focused on the event. Instead, I – on the other hand – lacked the warmth that usually makes us a united and unbeatable Team.
Where was the catch?
In just 10 minutes that I had not invested, in the morning, in explaining the Event, my focus and thus theirs, in making them part -also- of the challenges I myself was facing and how to interpret some changes.
I had assumed that working with me for so many years, there was no need for a pre-Event briefing, since we were all already running from one side to the other. Wrong.
Every event is unique and brings with it loads of tension, complexity, choices to explain and framing to do so that the Team has 100 percent vision of not only what may happen, but how-as Leaders-we expect them to react.
Planning&Design Elisa Mocci Events Signature | Photo Zuzu Birkhof | Video Gordon Wedding Films | Flowers Flowersliving | Bridal dress Vera Wang | Banqueting Valentina Piccabianchi | Tech-music Blunotte Eventi | Venue Castello Orsini-Odescalchi di Bracciano
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