Meet our wedding team: Jamie Carnes, wedding day coordinator

This past weekend, in a homestretch wedding planning blitz, Rose probably sent a couple dozen emails to Jamie Carnes. Next to Alisa Tantraphol and Sedora Tantraphol — Rose’s sisters/wedding advisers/bridesmaids/cheerleaders/planner extraordinaires — no one has been subjected to more of Rose’s litany of emailed questions and Google Docs changes than Jamie.

Jamie Carnes, our wedding consultant/event designer/wedding day coordinator

About

Jamie Carnes is director of event management and design at RSVP Events, based in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

The backstory

By the time Rose met Jamie, the Rose + Scott wedding ceremony had gone through at least three extremely different incarnations. (Long story there, but Jamie Carnes of RSVP Events in Grand Rapids, Mich.suffice it to say that everything from the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts across the street from San Chez to the gorgeous Goei Center just outside of downtown Grand Rapids had been considered.) None of the other iterations were meant to be, and Rose was extremely grateful and excited to find RSVP Events and Jamie. Thanks to Jamie, bride and groom were able to keep the ceremony in the same space as the reception (and as you know, their very first wedding decision — because it was a no-brainer — was to choose San Chez as the reception venue). And best of all, the look and feel of the ceremony and reception spaces will reflect the couple’s aesthetics.

On the wedding day

Guests will probably see Jamie’s work before they see her. She will turn the third floor banquet room at San Chez into a simple yet elegantly contemporary ceremony space. During the cocktail hour, which will be held in the first-floor San Chez Cafe, Jamie and her team will flip the room for the reception. In between, Jamie won’t be far from the bridal party. In short, she’ll make sure the wedding day runs smoothly! 

Q: Prior to moving to Grand Rapids, you spent several years in Chicago and New York, and you have experience in talent and performance management for individuals and groups such as The Roots — Scott and Rose are both big fans — and Nas. Do you remember any particularly quirky riders?

A: Well, I have witnessed some pretty crazy riders in my time.  I think my favorite moment was actually with Jason Mraz.  His rider had a very specific flavor of Snapple Iced Tea, one that I didn’t even know existed. We spent a couple weeks trying to track it down anywhere in the city of Chicago, trying to special order, ship it directly…all sorts of things. When we finally received our case of this special Snapple, I was beyond proud. I thought, “Jason is going to be so impressed with me….” So, when the day came and I was introducing Jason to our team and showing him his dressing room, I pulled out the Snapple and made a joke about the fact that we had found it. He looked at me, very confused, and said,” Jamie, I have no idea what you are talking about.” With quite the sheepish look on my face, I immediately wondered if I had made the whole thing up! Jason laughed and said, “Oh, you know, if that was something on my rider, my agent really likes to rattles people’s chain by putting random things on there. I haven’t even looked at that thing in over a year…”  I couldn’t quite decide if I liked him more, or less at that moment.

Q: How do you handle the level of organization and calm needed for the seemingly stressful arena of designing and managing events?

A: I think that you already nailed it — organization.  My husband thinks that I am crazy a lot of the time when it will be midnight and I will jump back out of bed to make a note for myself to take care of something the next day. However, I feel like I have learned that the more you walk through the event in your head in advance, the more smoothly everything plays out the day of. I also have a tag line: “There are no problems on event day. There are things that happen and there are solutions.” It may sound silly, but it is what I live by. Everything can be solved. 🙂

 Q: When did you know you wanted to work in event management? 

A: To be honest, I have been doing this since I was a teenager! I remember in high school running the town Homecoming parade, planning the decorations for prom, etc. It was all the way back then when a teacher said, “You know, you could do this kind of thing for a living.”

Q: Scott and Rose have been looking at homes in Haslett, East Lansing and Okemos as part of their house-hunting. It turns out you grew up in Haslett. As a former Spartan Country resident, do you bleed green? 

A: Ah yes, being a Spartan…. It is a wonderful thing. My mom went to MSU for college, her masters and now works in the international studies area at MSU, so I don’t think I had a shot to be anything besides a Spartan to the core.

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