Planning the Wedding
I was married in October 2013, a little less than a year ago. As anyone who’s planned a wedding is aware, it can be a very stressful time leading up to what will eventually be one of the best days of your life. My wife, Heather, was amazing throughout the entire planning process. Perhaps it is because we are both Producers and plan events/shoots for a living, or just because she’s great in general, it was a remarkably smooth process… until 2 weeks before our wedding day.
Heather had found her perfect wedding dress early on in the planning process. From the cut to the fabric to the fit, it was all she ever wanted in a dress. She placed the order and a few months later received the dress and went to the tailor to get it fitted. At the appointment her friend and bridesmaid, Jaymi noticed the dress looked different than she remembered. (Side note: Jaymi is a fashion designer and has an eye for these things.) She took out her phone and flipped through to look at pictures from when Heather tried it on and they noticed the neckline was completely different. They weren’t sure what was going on and then realized the fabric was a different as well. Heather, true to form, took the news in stride and said she would just call the bridal salon to see if they accidentally sent the wrong dress.
The next day Heather called the salon to find out what happened. This is when it all went wrong. The salon told her that the fabric they used on the sample dress she tried on was one they were having trouble with in production so decided to switch the fabric to something else. Heather asked them why they did this without letting her know and they responded that it’s just what they did and they couldn’t do anything about it, they just don’t use that fabric anymore. This is when what was supposed to be an amazing experience suddenly took a turn for the worse.
True to form Heather was trying not to panic, but she was devastated to find out that she wouldn’t be married in the dress she had dreamt about. The salon offered to cover some of the alterations cost to adjust the neckline, but the shiny fabric would stay as is.
Meeting Joan Rivers
Two and a half years prior Heather and I started dating. Around the same time I started working with Joan on her show Joan Knows Best. The first time I met her in person was during an early production meeting and it was a surreal experience. From that point on she would refer to me as “that nice cute Jewish boy.” I was OK with that. Joan was one of the nicest and most professional celebrities/actors/comedians I had ever met. She was 78 years old, worked almost every day and loved every second of it. Her schedule, traveling across country twice a week while working non-stop, made me tired just thinking about it. But she came to set every day with a smile on her face and ready to shoot. For the next four months I had the privilege to work with the comic genius until the season ended and I left to go work for Nerdist.
A few months later Joan Knows Best was picked up for another season and it just so happened that Heather was working for the company producing the show and was hired to be the Director. Heather hit it off right away with Joan. For the next 5 months they worked together through many long days and grueling hours while forming a close relationship. It was during Season 3 that I proposed to Heather. Joan was one of the first to congratulate us and gave us our first engagement gift.
Shortly after Season 3 aired the show was picked up for a 4th season and Heather was hired to Direct again. It was during this season we were getting married and when Joan Rivers saved our wedding.
The Wedding Is Less Than Two Weeks Away
Heather wasn’t sure what to do. The fabric on the dress wasn’t laying properly in alterations. The bridal salon wasn’t being cooperative and with less than two weeks before we had to fly to our wedding there weren’t many options (or any time with her busy shoot schedule) to go get another dress and have it tailored in time. As sad as she was about the dress, Heather was making the best of a bad situation. It was her friends who were more bummed the most about what was going on (rightfully so), and that made her more and more upset.
While on set one day Joan brought up the wedding and how she knew Heather was going to be a beautiful bride. With the dress being on her mind Heather told Joan the story of what was going on. Joan was furious to hear the salon was doing nothing to rectify the mix up. She had no reason to care, but she did. She insisted they go down to the store right now to make this right. Heather couldn’t let that happen. Mostly because they were too busy on set, but realistically she just couldn’t have Joan do that. However, Joan was dead serous. She was persistent throughout the day and on every break kept asking Heather when they would be heading to the salon.
After Heather continued to refuse the trip across town, Joan reluctantly proposed the idea to give them a phone call instead. This was Joan Rivers, she didn’t take “no” for an answer so Heather agreed. It was 8pm and the salon was closed so Heather told Joan she could do it tomorrow, secretly hoping Joan would forget.
Fast forward to the next morning when Heather showed up on set. Being the amazing woman she was, caring so much about others, the first thing out of Joan’s mouth was “when are we making your phone call”? Joan had been reeling about it.
And that’s when it happened, one of the most amazing phone calls of all time. I feel terrible for whoever picked up this message.
The Phone Call And The Result
To this day Heather regrets she didn’t record this conversation on her iPhone. Joan called the bridal salon, and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they were closed, so she left a message… a 5-minute ranting voicemail not only from a comic legend but also now a fashion powerhouse. The voicemail went as follows, and this is paraphrasing a bit. (Just picture this in Joan’s voice, it’s what we do when we remember it about it).
“Hello, this is Joan Rivers. My friend Heather (last name) just told me a terrible story that I hope isn’t true. She ordered a dress from your store and then you switched the fabric and screwed up the neckline? Your only solution is to offer her 10% off her alterations? This is absolutely unacceptable. Listen, I’m going to be on The View this week, then I’m going to be on The Howard Stern Show on Friday. If you don’t make this right I will tell them all the story of how you SCREWED OVER A BRIDE. By the way, I also have over 2 million Twitter followers. Let’s not ruin your great reputation over this.”
There was more to the message but that was the gist. Joan hung up the phone, looked at Heather and with that snarky look in her eye said “that should do it, let me know when you hear from them tomorrow.”
Wow, I mean how amazing was that?! Joan Rivers, a woman of worldwide popularity in age groups from the teens through the nineties, did that for Heather. She didn’t have to. She didn’t have to go out of her way and care that much about someone else. I had chills when Heather told me what happened. I still get chills every time I think about it.
The next morning we woke up to call from the store manager as well as a long and detailed email offering a private fitting with the designer in New York to get Heather a new dress. Flying to New York wasn’t an option as Joan Knows Best was still in full- blown production. The store never mentioned Joan’s message, but miraculously they found the dress Heather ordered (correct fabric, neckline and in her size) and overnighted it to Los Angeles.
It was now about a week away from the wedding and Heather still needed to get the dress altered and cleaned. The first chance she had she went to the tailor and it just so happened the dress fit almost perfectly. Whew! The tailor worked all weekend creating the bustle and getting the fit just right. The dry cleaners rushed it to turn it around in two days. We picked up the dress 12 hours before we hopped onto our flight to Puerto Vallarta with clear minds knowing Heather had the dress she wanted. That day Heather looked beautiful walking down the aisle and we had the best day of our lives so far.
We owe it all to Joan.
Joan was truly an amazing woman. This is just one of many stories about her kindness during her wonderful life. She was blunt, honest and a sincerely caring person. I know she was 81 years old, but it still felt too soon. She was supposed to be indestructible and in our minds, live forever.
Heather and I were crushed to hear she was in the hospital and when hearing from close friends about how she was doing, we knew it wasn’t looking good and started preparing for what was to come. I was in a meeting yesterday when I received a message from Heather about Joan’s passing. Heather was closer to Joan than I was. They spent long days working together and Joan made her feel like family. I called her as soon as I could and she answered the phone in tears. They were tears of sadness but also of happiness. We were two of the many lucky people who had the privilege to know Joan. Our wedding turned out perfect thanks to Joan, and we won’t ever forget it.
We ended the conversation talking about how precious life is and how we would live every day to its fullest, appreciating our lives, friends and families. It’s what Joan did and what we think she would want everyone to do. Rest in peace Joan. We love you and you will forever be a part of our lives. You will forever be in our hearts.