Helping Napa-Sonoma Wedding Couples Affected by the Wildfires

Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the horrific Wine Country wildfires. Included among those who have been impacted by this terrible devastation are venues that host weddings, and couples who booked their weddings at these venues.

Many couples in this situation are now wondering what they should do next, if their venue can no longer host their wedding. First and foremost, review your venue contract. Typically, there is a standard clause in your contract that addresses this kind of circumstance.

This clause might be labeled “Termination,” “Force Majeure,” “Acts of God” or “Impossibility.” It allows you and the venue to terminate your obligations (the venue’s obligation is to provide space, and your obligation is to pay the venue) without liability, if it is impossible to have the wedding at the venue due to Acts of God, which include fires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes.

So if you have a clause like this in your contract and your venue is not able to host your wedding, you may terminate the contract and receive a refund of the payments you have made to the venue. Once the contract is terminated, you can look for a new venue for your wedding.

The community of wedding professionals in the North Lake Tahoe area are here to help you if you need to find a new location for your wedding.  In the words of Caity Hunt, Senior Event Sales Manager for the Hyatt Lake Tahoe Resort, “We are so saddened to watch what is happening in the Napa/Sonoma area, and would absolutely love to help if we can.”

Photo:  Nina · Photography

 

Below we have compiled information from wedding venues in North Tahoe that may be able to host your wedding.  Clicking on the venue name will link you to the venue’s website. When specific available dates are provided by venues, this information is accurate as of October 12, 2017, but is subject to change as bookings take place.

 

BIG WATER GRILLE

Contact Jack Chinn, General Manager, 775-833-0606, [email protected] to inquire about available dates. Jack was once a Firefighter for Cal Fire and wants to help.

 

GAR WOODS GRILL & PIER

Contact Amy Grigsby, Group Sales Manager, 530.546.3366, [email protected]

All Saturdays are available for the next few months with the exception of 10/28 and 12/2.

 

GATEKEEPER’S MUSEUM

Contact Marnie Carr, Executive Director of the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, 530-583-1762, [email protected]

We have full availability for the rest of this month at the Gatekeeper’s Museum. Saturdays in April, May and October 2018 are still available, but June – September are fully booked. We also have quite a few Fridays and Sundays available if anyone is interested.

 

GRANLIBAKKEN TAHOE

Contact Meaghen Lottman, Wedding Coordinator, 530-581-7567[email protected]

Here are the available dates for the rest of the year:

November 25th

December 2nd

December 9th

December 16th

Dates for 2018:

January 13th

January 20th

January 27th

February 3rd

February 10th

February 24th

March 3rd

March 10th

March 17th

May 12th

 

HYATT REGENCY LAKE TAHOE RESORT, SPA AND CASINO

Contact Caity Hunt, Senior Event Sales Manager, 775.886.6681, [email protected]

Below are Saturday dates available for the remainder of the year and first part of 2018. Size of group we have availability to take, and also the specific venue location may vary between each of these dates:

11/4/17 – up to 80 Guests

11/11/17

11/18/17

11/25/17

12/23/17

1/6/18

1/13/18

1/27/18

2/3/18

 

JAKE’S ON THE LAKE

Contact Danielle McCord Padgett, Banquets Manager, 530-583-0188, [email protected]

A buyout of the restaurant required for groups over 70, a banquet room is available for groups under 70.

 

NORTHSTAR CALIFORNIA

Contact Brett Fox, Wedding Sales Manager, 530.562.3830, [email protected]

For wedding groups of 75 guests or less, the Tavern 6330′ restaurant has available dates.

 

THE RITZ-CARLTON, LAKE TAHOE

Contact Amber Kijanka, Catering Sales Manager, Direct: 530.562.3014, [email protected]

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe does have availability for various dates for this Fall Winter 2017 and next summer 2018.

 

SUGAR BOWL RESORT

Contact Allison Keasal, Weddings & Special Events Manager, Direct: 530 426 6769; Mobile: 334 444 2697, [email protected]

Below are our available dates for 2018 on the weekends.

Open weekends for The Village Lodge, 2018:

June 2nd, 9th, 16th

July 7th

August 25th

September 15th, 22nd, 29th

October 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th

Open weekends for Lake Mary, 2018:

July 14th

August 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

September 15th, 22nd, 29th

October 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th

 

SUNNYSIDE RESTAURANT & LODGE

Contact Courtney Loring, Special Events Coordinator, 530-583-7200, [email protected]

We’d love to help out as much as possible. Unfortunately we don’t have anything in October available. In November we have the first weekend 4th and 5th, 18th and 19th, and 25th and 26th. We are also available for rehearsal dinners as well.

 

TAHOE DONNER

Contact Lisa Tomasi, Group Sales and Events, Phone 530-582-9643, [email protected]

For 2017, we can offer up the following:

Alder Creek Adventure Center

Up to 100 people for full sit down meal, and 150 people for stations

10/28

11/4

11/18

ANY Friday/Sunday

 

The Lodge

Up to 65 people availability

10/28

11/4

11/11

11/18

We could offer up a full buy-out of the Lodge, which can accommodate 175. Site Fee TBD. Same dates apply as above.

 

TAHOE VISTANA INN

Contact Leah Rumon, General Manager, Phone 530-546-2529, [email protected]

We are definitely open to helping and can offer our venue as an option, and would love to talk further with the couples.

Venue: Outdoor Ceremony & Reception

Event Guest Count: (up to 130)

Lodging: On-Site Accommodations (up to 105-110)

Alcohol & Catering: BYO





The Truth About “Day-Of” Wedding Planning

About 25 years ago, the term “Day-Of” Wedding Planner worked its way into reporting by the bridal media, to describe the minimum level of service that Wedding Planners would provide for couples on a limited budget.  Unfortunately, this term is very misleading – for reasons which we explain below – but even more unfortunately, it still remains in the vocabulary of some wedding industry professionals today.

To help you understand why this term is inappropriate, let’s think about a possible life experience that is the polar opposite of a blissful wedding day. Suppose you get hit with a lawsuit, so you need to hire an attorney. Would you attempt to save money by telling the attorney to simply show up in court on the “Day Of” your trial?

Just as an attorney cannot effectively represent you without advance preparation before a trial, a Wedding Planner cannot make your wedding day flow smoothly without advance preparation. Any prospective Wedding Planner who tells you they can just be present on the “day of” your wedding is not providing a valuable service.

Of course, it is always an option for couples on a budget to do most of the wedding planning tasks themselves, then hire a Wedding Planner later on. But in order to properly manage and execute a wedding that a couple has spent many months planning, the Wedding Planner should begin work at least 4 weeks before the wedding, and ideally 6 to 8 weeks before. At that time, you will want to have a phone call or face-to-face meeting with your Planner to discuss all the details you have planned, and you should also be willing to relinquish the remaining planning responsibilities to the Planner.

Photo: Kate Pease Photography

Since you are giving the Planner the responsibility to execute your wedding, it is important that you also give them the authority at the same time. So it is strongly recommended that you send an email to all of your service providers (vendors) to introduce the Wedding Planner, and to let the service providers know that from this day forward, the Planner is now their primary contact for your wedding.

One of the first things your Planner should do is review all of your service provider contracts, and read them carefully to understand what products and services will be delivered to you. From these contract documents, the Planner can also generate a list of final payments that you will need to make before the wedding day.

Another important task for your Planner to perform shortly after beginning work is to conduct a site inspection of the ceremony and reception location(s), in order for schematic floor plans to be developed. If you are available to join the Planner for this site inspection, that can be very helpful.

At least three weeks before the wedding, the Planner should begin to develop a very detailed timeline of the entire wedding day. The timeline is a sequential listing of tasks to be completed, describing in detail who is performing the task, what the task is, where the task is being performed, and of course, when the task is being executed. Two weeks before the wedding, the wedding day timeline and floor plans should be emailed to all service providers.

Photo:  Tracey Buyce Photography

Another shorter version of the timeline, the Wedding Party Timeline, should also be created by the Wedding Planner.  The Wedding Party Timeline lists only those tasks involving members of your wedding party (such as group photos, the ceremony Processional order, and toasts being given). This abbreviated timeline should be emailed to the Wedding Party and immediate family members, also about two weeks before the wedding.

Two or three days before the wedding, the Planner should be calling all of your service providers, to reconfirm they have received the Wedding Day Timeline and Floor Plans, and to discuss their role in executing the wedding day.  This is the time for the Planner to practice risk management and to be on top of all the logistics, and tending to the needs of the service partners as a team player. 

Lastly, before your big day, your Wedding Planner is also on site to oversee your wedding rehearsal, making sure that everyone in your wedding party understands what they need to do for the ceremony. Then, on the actual “day of” your wedding, the Planner is on duty up to 12 or more hours, ensuring that everything runs according to plan, so that you have a wonderful, memorable celebration.

Photo:  Ciprian Photography

So overall, a Planner who provides this service for you is working far longer than just the “Day Of” your wedding.  Typically, a Planner who provides the services described above is putting in about 40 to 60 hours of work. 

Because of the confusion and inaccuracy associated with the term “Day Of,” there have been some attempts to alter the terminology being used.  In 2008, as the Founding President of the Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA), Tahoe Engaged Publisher Joyce Scardina Becker helped write a White Paper (an authoritative report giving information on an issue) called Debunking the Myth of the “Day Of” Planner. WIPA recommended that the term “Wedding Director” be used, instead.

So, if you are looking for a stellar Wedding Planner who will provide an appropriate level of service for your celebration, Tahoe Engaged sets the standards for the Lake Tahoe Wedding Industry.  Our members all belong to the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group (TWIG), whose mission is to “raise industry standards by providing our valued wedding clients with the highest quality of services and products through professional conduct and dedication to our craft.”





Framing the Event: An Artistic Viewpoint

Tahoe Engaged recently had the pleasure of speaking with Emily Williams, Owner of Manzanita Glow, a company that rents natural arches, trees, centerpieces and other visually pleasing structures for weddings in the Lake Tahoe area. 

Emily had the best of both worlds growing up, as she was raised on both the West Coast and East Coast.  In fact, she attributes her interpersonal skills to being a “military brat.”  Being thrown into new environments and having to make friends each time, those frequent moves helped Emily to develop a more outgoing personality, which has helped her to create wonderful relationships with her clients and other wedding industry colleagues.

She began her professional career as a hair stylist after receiving her cosmetology license.  Following many successful years in that field, Emily wanted to transfer her artist talents into the great outdoors.  But she wasn’t quite sure how to make that happen, so she enrolled in an entrepreneurship class at the University of Nevada Reno.  At about the same time, her daughter became engaged to be married.  So entrepreneurial Emily decided to design the centerpieces for her daughter’s wedding, using manzanita branches.  Emily discovered that she not only loved this work, but she realized that it could be a unique service to help other couples elevate their special day.

Emily decided to name her company Manzanita Glow, which refers not only to the kinds of branches and lights she uses in her designs, but also the exceptional service she brings to each and every client she serves.  Emily cares deeply about the sound structure of her finished artistic creations.  Of course, Emily has trade secrets and couldn’t share everything with us. But you can rest assured that every branch engineered so that even if you were on the highest peak in Lake Tahoe with high winds, “it’s not going to fly off the mountain!” says Emily.

 

In addition to manzanita branches, Emily also loves to work with birch and aspen branches.  Because she works with branches, people often assume that she is also a florist, which is not the case!  Instead, Emily partners with many florists to create the gorgeous finished products of both branches and florals.

 

There are three expressive words that Emily uses to describe her work:  Natural, Ambiance and Anywhere.  She explains, “Natural, because we strive to surround events with the beauty of nature by using natural products that are sustainable.  I love Ambiance – the lights, the whole theater that is created to transform the space, it speaks to my soul.  Anywhere – because I can set up my creations anywhere – lakefront, mountains, you name it!  Those three words really define my creativity!”

When we asked Emily about her sources of inspiration or influences on her work, she replied, “I’m a very visual and tactile person. I love complementing and contrasting textures, lines, shapes, and colors. I find it immensely important to listen to the client, understand what their vision is, and match that to my own styles.”

 

We wrapped up our interview by asking Emily what advice she had for couples planning their wedding:  “The best advice I’ve given is to not work with any vendors who you wouldn’t like as guests.  Planning your wedding should be as enjoyable as the day itself, so don’t invite anyone into the process who would change that.”





Sensible Beverage Service at Your Celebration

Your wedding should be a joyful experience for everyone attending, but there is some amount of risk associated with every celebration.  The Publisher of Tahoe Engaged, Joyce Scardina Becker, was recently contacted by a writer for www.Avvo.com, a legal services provider, to offer advice on issues associated with alcohol service at weddings.

This article was originally published on the AvvoStories blog and is reprinted in its entirety below.  We believe this article underscores the importance of hiring qualified professionals who have a business license and insurance, like the members of the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group, so that you can have a fabulous – and safe – wedding day!

Who is Liable for the Behavior of Wedding Guests?

by Mary Fetzer

Every bride and groom wants to throw a festive wedding reception. But if one of the happy guests drinks too much, hops in a car, and swerves into traffic, are the newlyweds liable for damages caused by the accident?

Responsibility and liability

“As any lawyer or insurance professional knows, liability is determined on a case-by-case and state-by-state basis,” says Adriana Carrasco of Insureon, a liability insurance broker. “But venues, restaurants, and bars can be named in lawsuits if a guest is overserved and causes an injury or accident.”

Allen McKenzie, a Tacoma, Washington attorney who specializes in DUI and DWI cases, explains that the responsibility comes with recognizing that a guest has reached his limit. “Most states have dram shop laws that hold taverns, bartenders, and even social hosts liable for damages if they serve intoxicated guests who then leave the premises and harm themselves or others.”

Do weddings really count?

Dram shop laws differ from one state to the next but generally encompass licensed establishments that serve “obviously” or “apparently” intoxicated patrons. “The wedding venue could potentially be held liable if it had a liquor license,” says McKenzie, “but the bride and groom would be tougher to go after.”

Weddings are unique events, however, in that so many people can be involved with planning and execution. The event managers—a combination of people ranging from wedding planners and venues to beverage suppliers and bartenders—must monitor every aspect of the wedding to ensure that a safe and secure environment is present before, during, and after the event.

“Event managers can be held potentially responsible for an accident or DUI during or immediately after a wedding,” says Joyce Scardina Becker, designer-in-chief at Events of Distinction, a luxury wedding planning and event management company in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

“Those who issue the invitation to the wedding—bride and groom, parents, or whoever’s name is printed on the wedding invitation—may be responsible for contributing to the negligence that caused the incident,” Becker continues, “and those who planned, coordinated, and executed the wedding may also be potentially accused of gross negligence if it can be shown that they willfully ignored standard, customary safety procedures.”

Erring on the caution side

Given the potential liability issues, experts advise the reception hosts to enter contracts carefully. “Depending on how contracts are written and who indemnifies whom between the venue supplying the bartender and the bride and groom,” says TJ Grimaldi a personal injury and criminal defense attorney with McIntyre Thanasides in Tampa, “there is a chance the bride and groom could in fact be liable as well.”

If alcohol will be flowing at your wedding reception, research your venue’s and/or bartender’s policy regarding liquored-up guests. Don’t let an unnecessary accident ruin your special day!





An Out of the Ordinary Wedding – Tahoe Tropical

We are delighted to feature this spectacular wedding produced by TWIG member and wedding planner extraordinaire Kerry Hawk, along with her outstanding team at Blue Sky Events.  With the azure waters of Lake Tahoe as their backdrop, this adorable couple enjoyed a sparkling celebration at the West Shore Café, which was beautifully photographed by Rose Street Studio.

Kendra and Carl are a true “Tahoe Couple.” Having grown up in small Northern California towns, they were both drawn to Tahoe by friends to pursue the “Tahoe Mountain Lifestyle.” They met one summer while both working in the Banquet Department at The Hyatt Regency in Incline Village, and life was never the same.

This delightful couple shared their vows with each other on an amazing early summer day in June, surrounded by family and friends at the lovely West Shore Cafe in Homewood.  The sweet and very special Ceremony took place on the expansive lawn, overlooking the different shades of Tahoe Blue, complete with a surprise Bagpiper to honor both families.

The bride’s chic vision was beautifully executed with the help of Blue Sky Events, with elegant details and exotic florals from Stems by Diana. Though not the normal Tahoe décor, the tropical theme chosen by the couple blended perfectly with the clear blue waters of the Lake.  Explains Kendra, “I wanted something to stand out and not be the typical theme – we liked the juxtaposition. That’s also why we chose king proteas as our main flower – it is so unique and majestic and out of the ordinary.”

For the cocktail hour, mingling and hors d’oeuvres on the deck and pier was finished with an outstanding sunset. Then, guests moved inside the Main Dining Room for a scrumptious dinner.  Paying homage to where Kendra and Carl had met, the magnificent cake and delicious whoopee pies were provided by The Hyatt Regency.  The celebration continued into the night with joyful dancing, courtesy of Brian Hess Music.

 

Vendor Credits

Wedding Planner: Blue Sky Events  |  Photographer: Rose Street Studio  |  Ceremony & Reception Venue: West Shore Café   |  Floral Designer: Stems by Diana  |  Dress Designer: Hayley Paige |  Hair & Makeup: Kiss and Makeup |  Cake & Desserts: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe  |  Linens: La Tavola  |   Ceremony Bagpiper: Sean Cummings  |   Reception Music: Brian Hess Music  |  Videographer: Dax Victorino Films

 





The Countess of Cakes – A Sweet Tastemaker

As the owner of I Do’s by Deb, acclaimed wedding cake designer Debbie Jensen is always on the go.  But having recently joined the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group (TWIG), Debbie was kind enough to sit down long enough to answer a few questions for us.

How did you get your start as a Cake Designer?
It all began in Paris, floating through the city like an ethereal creampuff after watching a Croquembouche (the traditional French wedding cake) demonstration at the famed Maxim’s restaurant. I had trained as a classical chef, then spent 10 years in pursuit of pastry, including many trips to Europe for training. My cake decoration skills developed as an offshoot of being a Pastry Chef. My creative instincts and fashion background naturally transferred into this edible art form.

Describe your style of work in 3 words.
Cutting-Edge, Eclectic, Updated

Geode Wedding Cake

Geode Wedding Cake

What are some of your most memorable cake creations?
The largest cake I’ve ever made served 3000 people, for the opening of the new San Francisco Library in the early 1990’s. It was an open book in Tiramisu with cocoa paintings and flying winged books, like the mural in their stairwell. It took two moving trucks to carry each half and was put together on site.

For Warren Buffet’s 70th birthday, I made a birthday cake for an intimate restaurant celebration that included Bill Gates among the invited guests. Afterwards, feedback was that other diners were so impressed by the cake that they didn’t even notice the two celebrities! Later, I had the honor to make a wedding cake for Mr. Buffet, which included an Elmer J. Fudd and Petunia cake top and old fashioned copper glasses like Warren’s.

The largest wedding cake I’ve ever designed was for Neal Schon of the band Journey and Michaele Salahi, a reality T.V. star. The theme of their Pay Per View, Palace of Fine Arts wedding was “Winter Wonderland”. The cake was over 6’ tall and was birch inspired with thousands of white sugar flowers.

What’s trending right now for wedding cakes and or wedding desserts?
Lots of fun things are trendy!

  • Natural stone elements in marbled fondant, sugar geodes and geometric figures
  • Semi-Naked cakes, dripping glazes and multiple toppings such as macaroons, flowers, meringues, etc.
  • Hand-Painted Cake designs, and abstract modern art color stripping.
  • Vintage Swirl buttercream patterns, other interesting buttercream textures without piped edges, straight clean minimalist designs, the return of buttercream flowers in realistic shaded colors.
  • Interesting use of metallic gold and silver-leaf as well as other luster metallics.
  • Focal florals that don’t “top” the cake
  • Greenery only: ferns to air plants, succulents, olive, eucalyptus and shades of brighter Pantone “greenery”
  • Watercolor design and rice-paper prints
  • Galaxy glazed cakes and airbrushed designs
  • Boho, the modern gypsy!
  • Focal Cutting cakes or “Sweetheart cakes” with a styled dessert display of mini fun pastries to doughnuts
  • Cake tables can be anything: Vintage furniture, wine barrels, suitcases, or suspended in mid air!
metallic gold and silver-leaf wedding cake

Gold and Silver-Leaf Wedding Cake

Why should someone hire you to design their wedding cake?
I strive to make each wedding unique. I am very eclectic in my skillset and style sensibilities and have years of experience listening and extracting the key elements from my clients to create not just a cake but a delicious memory!

What is your source of inspiration for your wedding cake designs?
Inspiration is everywhere; first, I try to learn the personalities of the couple and then learn about the venue and time of year. From there, particular elements pertaining to the wedding such as themes, invitations, wedding gown style, etc. can play in. Instagram, Pinterest and other social media aid in this and have revolutionized the cake industry worldwide. I am constantly pushing the boundaries of style and stay conscious of certain trends, but the real gift is in striking a balance of several elements to get the right design. Sometimes couples get engaged and rush into tasting cake before they spend time to formulate enough elements to concentrate on the design. Possibilities are endless, so it is nice to have a starting out point.

What design of cake would you recommend for a Lake Tahoe wedding couple?
It depends on the time of year and the unique setting. A winter white theme could go Boho with geodes, feathers and antlers while a spring/ summer could feature greenery, ferns, floral and woodsy notes. A lakeside view can go Coastal with hints of slivery blues! That’s the fun of a Tahoe based location…. So many possibilities!

When you’re not designing wedding cakes, we’ll find you…
…dancing Salsa with my lovely husband, working on my home and garden, traveling and wine tasting, or entertaining friends and family around my large and well used farm table!