Glamorous wedding or drama in three acts?

If we were to make a list of the ten weddings we’ve organized and most often remember, one of the first would undoubtedly be the wedding of Slavica and Miloš. A Belgrade couple with a New York address entrusted us with the task of organizing their wedding in Serbia. Not the first, nor the last clients from abroad, someone with less experience might say. What a trap that would be!

After 16 years in this business and thousands of weddings under our belt, we know that assumption is a mistake that can cost dearly. The golden rule of our profession is: assume nothing and don’t make assumptions. So, always keep your eyes and ears wide open. Each new wedding is a unique project with its own laws, processes, pitfalls, and challenges.

What is the plan?

The foundation of the concept that our clients wanted was a top-notch, sophisticated wedding happening that had to be special on several levels:

– Inspirational location
– Special aesthetics of decoration, menu, tableware, interior
– Unusual aesthetics of the wedding cake
– Additional audio, visual, and lighting effects
– Different musical repertoires
– Scenario for creating photo and video records
– Special direction of the wedding celebration in all phases

So, a new adventure in the Arkadia notebook “All Our Newlyweds.” Without knowing, as with any previous wedding, where all this will take us, we embarked on an extensive, months-long communication and consultation with the newlyweds.

Three-day happening

Every wedding organizer knows that the date, location, and number of guests are the basic elements of the wedding project. If this trinity is not well defined at the beginning, it easily becomes the Bermuda Triangle where the danger of sinking lurks, and the wedding, instead of being a pleasure, turns into stress and a fiasco. That’s why we approach these questions as saboteurs, uncompromisingly and unyieldingly. Once we “close” this question with the client, we move on to other details.

The perfect location was sought for months, and the initial concept changed with our support, through explanations of “why something cannot be” and “why something is not in line” with the basic idea of glamour and refinement that we were tasked to create. This “forward-backward” phase can be tough because it requires serious negotiation skills. Convincing the client why something is not good for them, even though they desperately want it, without thinking that you are “pushing water to your mill,” is possible only if you are a professional. So, we approached the whole task, and our team visited, photographed, and recorded multiple churches, restaurants, and wedding halls. The final decision fell on a three-day wedding feast that took place at three different locations.

From Ružica to Subotica

On the first day, a church wedding was held at the Ružica Church on Kalemegdan. By organized transportation, the guests were then taken to Savamala for the wedding banquet in the refined interior of the Salon 1905 restaurant. Everything was accompanied by discreet music, mostly jazz and blues standards. The second, central wedding day took place at the Zvonko Bogdan winery, near Subotica. Boho Bar on Little Kalemegdan was chosen for the location of the third day of the wedding and its relaxed, afternoon-evening finale, in the format of an informal “community” event with the sunset over the Danube and the Pannonian plain as a backdrop.

And now… the spectacle!

The biggest organizational challenge was the second day of the wedding, which took place on the plateau in front of the “Zvonko Bogdan” winery building. Holding any event outdoors is a nightmare for organizers. Anyone who agrees to organize a wedding under the open sky is a special kind of enthusiast and adventurer. You need to know a lot, want even more, love your job endlessly, and a bit of madness doesn’t hurt when you agree with your own suggestions. Such a project requires months of planning the concept and performing numerous “rough works in the gray phase in many steps,” fitting into the budget and client’s wishes, all with favorable weather conditions that you can only wish for because they are not under control.

Our “worries about the registrar” lasted for weeks. Whether a Subotica or Belgrade registrar, who is free on that particular day, can come to the location together with the guests, or if special transport will be organized just for him? Now that everything is behind us, in the sea of all other details, the hustle and bustle around the registrar is nothing more than a cute trivia that we fondly remember. And there were dozens of such details.

The action plan for the wedding under the Bačka sky was developed on the principle of “step by step and then 5 steps ahead” in three key directions:

– A list of everything brought from Belgrade to the location (down to the match)
– A list of steps for risk management and overcoming tactics
– A list of scenarios for Plan B

The “Zvonko Bogdan” winery is located where there is a constant gentle flow of air, which, even in the best weather, can turn into a serious wind. Guided by the client’s basic requirement of “anything but ordinary,” the Arkadia team came up with a special construction that needed to be made, delivered, and set up on the

plateau in front of the winery building. At the same time, it was necessary to ensure that the weights and reinforcements for parts of the construction were not visible since driving stakes into the ground was out of the question. It was clear that if what was “behind the scenes” was visible to the newlyweds and guests, then the organizer did not achieve the effect for which they were hired, and the client did not get what they wanted.

The entire construction had to be resistant to the mentioned wind that had a habit of suddenly visiting the “farms in the north of Bačka,” and at the same time, it had to be made to preserve the elegance of the carefully crafted decoration that, in the middle of the open space, evoked the atmosphere of a luxurious banquet hall with crystal chandeliers. All of this, of course, was set up on the wedding day, as there was another wedding in the winery the night before, until the early hours of the morning.

The preparations were in the final stages when Mr. Murphy came to visit the winery. Despite our looking at forecasts, the sky, retrograde Mercury, and kigaku, just four hours before the start of the ceremony, storm clouds gathered over “Zvonko.” If the tablecloths, utensils, flower and other decorations, seats, and musical equipment got wet, we knew that there would be no wedding, even if the sun rose after the flood.

It is precisely such and similar crisis moments that are the point where you can see “that something more and better” that the collaboration with the Arkadia team brings to the newlyweds. At that point, “when you want something complicated and special,” our mantra of “5 steps ahead” comes into play. Specially designed tarpaulins, conceived weeks in advance, were placed over the entire structure before a drop of rain fell. Racing against time in such a scenario is often a “mission impossible” in advance, but experience, speed, and team coordination once again allowed us to avoid a catastrophe. The protection of the scenography was done lightning-fast “ahead of schedule,” preventing the wind that brought rain clouds from turning the construction into a “sail” that could blow away the entire set, equipment, and all of us together. All we would need then are umbrellas in the style of Mary Poppins.

How are we doing with the numbers
– The height of the construction was 2.5 m
– The wedding took place on a 1000 m2 area of the winery
– The Arkadia team worked from 5 am on the wedding day until 8 am the next day
– The working day lasted 27 hours, and everything was returned to the “nothing happened” state after the wedding
– 23 team members set up the scenography in the winery
– 14 team members removed the scenography and packed it back into vehicles
– 1 large truck, 3 vans, and 4 cars delivered material from Belgrade and returned it
– Over 400 exchanged emails with the client
– Over 2000 exchanged WhatsApp messages
What have we learned?

The wedding at the winery allowed us to elevate our knowledge and skills to a higher level. We realized that the team’s capacities and its determination to face challenges are immeasurable. We went “beyond the rainbow,” stepping onto unknown terrain where the only option was a wedding under the sky, even in the case of rain. All the time, we tried to take “one step further,” so the idea was born that even in a drone video “from a bird’s perspective,” the whole scenography looks like it’s “from a magazine.”

To laymen, the wedding organizer profession looks interesting and creative, full of beautiful emotions, numerous acquaintances, and fun. What hides behind the curtain – only those who engage in this business know. The amount of effort, work, energy, nervousness, and risk behind one “dream wedding” is measured by the amount of our sleepless nights. Some weddings wouldn’t even happen if we hadn’t planned them in several scenarios. And that’s how we do it, to give our best. Professionally and humanely.

We often say that we will never allow or accept something again. We stick to that only until the new wedding and new newlyweds. Our job is to turn their wedding into one of the most beautiful memories of their lives. We don’t play with other people’s memories.

Do you want to create an unforgettable impression together?

Feel free to present your ideas to us.