January 21, 2013 -
A very SPICE Wedding: Q+A with Executive Event Planner, Jess Andjeski
As the Executive Event Planner of Spice of Life Catering Co. and Spice Kitchen + Bar, Jess Andjeski has worked in the service of dozens of brides and grooms. But this coming May, she’ll be front and center with her own groom-to-be as they exchange vows in the place where it all began – Lincoln Park in Tremont. How does a professional planner plan her own day? Read on for answers from the future Mrs. Brian Edmonds.
Q. Jess, congrats on your engagement! Who’s the lucky guy?
A. His name is Brian. We’ve been together for four years. We met when I was bartending in Tremont and become instant friends. He’s the funniest person I’ve ever met in my life. He teaches Special Ed at PEP (Positive Education Program) so he deals with some pretty tense stuff on a daily basis. But he’s still able to come home and make jokes and laugh, so I think that’s pretty awesome.
Q. Will you be planning the event yourself or will you have some backup? And who’s going to be running the show on the big day?
A. On the wedding day, I REALLY don’t want to feel like I’m working. I’m taking that very seriously. It’s just like second nature to me to go into “work mode” when I’m in that environment. And even if this is my own day, it might be hard to turn that off. I know I’m in really good hands, though. A friend of mine, Erin, who also works as Spice as a service captain, will be running the show that night.
But I’m definitely doing all the planning. I can’t imagine not planning it! For the last five years, I’ve been working with the best vendors on every aspect of the wedding experience – spaces, flowers, photography, bakers, stylists, you name it. It’s so cool combing through ideas and choosing the ones that are just right for our day. My favorite part is styling the space. We’ve got an amazing venue for the reception at 78th Street Studios.
Another big thing I’ve learned is to request help with setup and take down. I can’t tell you how many times, at the end of the night, I’ve seen a buzzed up bride and groom trying to un-decorate the space. They should never have to worry about that…and neither will I!
Q. What sources do you look to for inspiration?
A. Pinterest has definitely been a source for me. It’s a great idea starter for sure. I love to craft. I love being able to make things, and I’ve found some really fantastic ideas from that site.
My wedding will be hodge podge of every wedding we’ve ever catered. I’ve had some really generous brides give me a bunch of vintage china or a bunch of vintage cloth. After you collect all this stuff for your wedding, you never want to see it again, so people are just throwing stuff my way – it’s great! Vintage is definitely the theme and the look. But we’re really just trying to keep it as simple as we know how.
Q. In your experience as an event planner with Spice, is there anything you’re trying to avoid from past events?
A. Here’s one thing I’m avoiding….the wedding DJ! That works for a lot of people and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having one. But for us, we really wanted to choose the music that would set the tone and reflect our personalities. So we hired our friend, Chuck, who has a show on WRUW 91.1 called “On the One.” He plays a lot of funk, groove and jazz – just really fun stuff. Every time we go to see him play, we can’t stop dancing. We’ll tell him 10 songs that we’d really love to hear and we trust that he’ll play really awesome dance music all night. That’s so important. Music is the soundtrack for the whole event.
Q. So, here’s the million-dollar question: What’s on the menu?
A. I’ve been working with Ben and Brandon on the menu and it will be a little more casual than a traditional buffet-style wedding. The main dish is called a Piadina, which is an Italian taco. We’re doing grilled chicken and pulled pork as the fillers. The guys do this huge platter of beautiful of fresh spring greens, pickled veggies and fresh salsa, so you can just do it up however you want. The side dishes are seasonal, of course. I think we’ll do some grilled sugar snaps with mint and basil and somehow we’ll get asparagus on there, which is just beautiful in early summer. We’re also going to have cumin-roasted carrots as a side. Those things will definitely round out the plate and fill people up.
That’s kind of where we’re headed, although nothing is set in stone. Brian has been such a good sport with all this stuff. He’s like, “If it tastes like what it sounds like, let’s do it.” And we can’t wait because we know it’s going to be great!
*Editor’s note: All pictures noted with an *asterisk* are taken by Full Bloom Photography, who has also been commissioned as the couple’s wedding photographer.