Wedding Coordination – A Lesson in Diplomacy

The wedding business is complicated, but I actually entered it quite easily.  

My best friend Hana was marrying an American in
Prague, and their luxurious wedding was organized by a professional
named Andrea. I was to arrange a few Czech/English interpreters, as
Hana’s family was unable to communicate confidently with the American
groom’s side. Having many English-speaking friends in Prague, I brought
six girls to the wedding to translate in small groups, maintaining the
intimate feel of two families joining their lives. Andrea asked if I had
an agency supplying interpreters, but at that time, I was focused only
on teaching languages. A week later, Andrea asked for my help with
another Prague wedding, and from there, our business partnership, as
well as a beautiful friendship, flourished.

Although I have now been in the wedding business for
more than six years and speak fluent Czech, German, and English, plus
some Russian, weddings don’t always go smoothly. Knowing every detail of
the plans is not enough; I must communicate with clarity and nuance to
achieve a perfect, error-free wedding. Being able to communicate in
multiple languages without hesitation is, for me, a major advantage.
Everything depends on people being dependable and cooperative and
keeping a sense of humor, but sometimes stress can overwhelm the
participants, so my ability to speak the right words at the right time
in the right tone of voice is key.

Especially for brides, weddings are all about the
stress factor. This is her princess day! She needs to know I am equal to
the requests flying from every direction, and the inevitable crises.
The range is endless: holding bouquets, sewing up veils, getting
pitchers of water, carrying dresses safely across the mud into
limousines, finding ID cards (a surprisingly common problem), or just
reassuring the bride that the ceremony will not start without her!

Communication with the bride and groom, as well as
with a group of international guests – American, English, Irish,
Scottish, French, German, Swiss, Russian, Italian, Scandinavian, Korean,
Chinese, Malaysian, Pakistani, Iranian, Indian, Persian, Brazilian,
Nigerian – needs to be both perfect and relaxed. If they see that I know
what to do, where to go, what time we move where, but also that I am
cheerful and composed, they will start to trust me. I have learnt how to
confidently address 100 or 200 wedding guests in three languages. After
six May-October wedding seasons of 15-20 weddings each in differing
locations with differing nationalities, not including ‘weddings in the
snow’ at Czech chateaus, I have learned the mental discipline necessary
for switching adeptly among languages according to the understanding
levels of my clients.

However, some things are the same no matter the
different origins of guests and wedding couple, such as: showing older
guests to chairs, having enough ‘nannies’ and a special corner for kids
to keep them entertained, having ordered enough flip flops beforehand
for ladies suffering from their gorgeous shoes after standing two hours
on a stone floor in the church, having a few extra umbrellas even for
the British guests who always pretend they do not need one when it
starts to rain . . .

We often organise sightseeing trips around the city
on the historical tram, with refreshments of course, or leisurely boat
tours on the river, a delightful means for guests to interact after the
ceremonies, which can be held in centuries-old churches or in manicured
gardens, such as the Prague Castle Gardens, Vrtbovska Garden, and
others. Having been born and raised in Prague, my knowledge of the city
is another major advantage. Leading a group of more than 100 people from
the church, across Old Town Square, and to the tram stop by the river
is not a problem.  

In all the ways the wedding business has developed
me, one strength stands out – I know now how to cope with every
unexpected problem immediately when it appears. And that is quite useful
for any kind of business!

Misa Loos, LOS Consultant