Working parties

A day in the life with caterer Arieh Wagner


The wedding day has come and Arieh Wagner is in Spain. At the venue for 7.30am, he is ready to orchestrate what is to be a magical day. There has been so much liaison between London and Spain, down to the last detail, there can surely be nothing to worry about.

On arrival at the beach where the dinner and dance are to take place, to the team's surprise the stage is not built, no tables have been put out and the staff are nowhere to be found. Where has everyone got to? 

A short while later, Wagner and Tevrah Miller-Jones, the wedding planner, make their way to the chupah and meet the florist — it looks absolutely fabulous here... except it will be 42 degrees today and the flowers cannot be exposed to the heat for more than an hour, otherwise they will die.

As for the sound engineer, he sets up the sound system for the chupah but 45 minutes before the ceremony, on testing the equipment, no music will play. Turns out the band decided to take care of arrangements themselves but forgot a minor detail — in mainland Europe, the plugs are different from those in the UK.

So Wagner calls the chief maintenance man of the Puente Romano Hotel, whom he knows well since organising Pesach there. He resolves the issue in no time and the chupah music is great. In the middle of it all, the team are making sure the shomer is being fed, the rabbi is on-site to make the wedding and above all that the bride and groom are happy.

If there are glitches at any point in the day, the guests will have no idea about them. “When there is an issue, we resolve it straight away together as a team and it makes us stronger,” says the caterer.

The stage has to be built on the day because the local authority gave planning consent only for the actual day of the wedding. The florist puts up the flowers 45 minutes before, so they look magnificent. And the caterer makes sure guests have plenty of drinks and the staff are drinking water regularly, so they do not wilt either. The events team are in the background to ensure everything is running smoothly and on time, staff are where they are meant to be, the food is impeccable and drinks are flowing.

Wagner himself loves mingling in with the crowd, overseeing food service and getting involved with everything. “If you haven’t realised by now,” says Miller-Jones, “he is a perfectionist”.

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