Choosing a Wedding Theme with Style

Written by Joyce Scardina Becker

 

The Knot California magazine recently published an article entitled “Wedding Themes 101”.  We love The Knot, but want to set the record straight.  What they characterize as “themes” – Art Deco, Bohemian, Classic, Country, Modern, Rustic, Vintage, Whimsical – actually should be considered as “styles.” 

Modern Wedding Décor
Photo:  Tanja Lippert

Art Deco Wedding
Photos:  Alicia Pyne Photography; Unknown

Whimsical Wedding Cake
Photo:  Mary Costa Photography
Cake Design: Torrance Bakery

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a style is “a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed” such as a style of furniture.  In fact, most couples do not choose a wedding theme, but instead choose a “style.” Over the last several years, “rustic” and “vintage” have been popular styles at weddings, but these are not themes.  Many couples may not have even recognized the difference between a rustic style or vintage style.

A Rustic wedding employs weathered, time-worn pieces (furniture) and accents (accessories) in a more casual setting.  Examples include an old barn, or a vignette of weathered wicker furniture.

Rustic Wedding Décor
Photo Credit:  Unknown

 Vintage applies to more refined furnishings, from the 18th century to the 1950’s, typically more “refined” than rustic.  Think antiques.  Examples are painted French chairs, glided scones, chinoiserie toile fabrics, mercury glass containers, pieces of silver and crystal chandeliers.   

Vintage Bridal Attire and Décor
Photo:  Jodi McDonald

Again, it’s important to note that neither Rustic nor Vintage should be considered “themes” – instead, they are “styles.”  So then, what is a “theme,” and how does it differ from a style for a wedding? 

While style is typically reflected in the type of accessories or furniture used in a wedding, the theme is a specific design concept that starts with your Save the Date and carries all the way through the end of the celebration.  You can design a theme wedding that reflects your heritage, your combined personalities or your lifestyles (we wouldn’t recommend selecting all three, but just one).

Let’s say you are foodies, savoring the opportunity to dine out at innovative restaurants, as well as cooking up culinary delights in your own kitchen.  For your meals at home, you love to try the many spices available to you from local or ethnic grocery stores.  Voila!  You could have a theme for your wedding focused on “spices.”  But your style could be Art Deco, Bohemian, Classic, Modern… you get the picture.

A Spice Rack of Escort Cards
Photo:  Wendy Maclaurin Richardson Photography 
Wedding Design:  Events of Distinction

A fun, eye-catching way to convey your theme is to give it a tagline – for example, “Love Is the Spice of Life”.  When choosing a theme, make sure it can be communicated through not only the save the date and invitation, but also your décor, music, food, beverage, tablescapes and vignettes.  The most powerful way to experience your theme is to see, hear, touch, smell and taste it (an entire experience). 

For example, the wedding invitation could be an Art Deco spice bottle with the invitation text etched on the glass.  For your music, you can select songs like “Hot Hot Hot” and “Cinnanmon Girl”, and for favors, a collection of your favorite spices and recipes packed to go!

Photo:  Wendy Maclaurin Richardson Photography

Creating not only a style, but also a theme for your wedding will truly make your special day uniquely your own!

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.”

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!

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Celebrating Earth Day Each and Every Day… and at Your Wedding

eco-friendlyBeing environmentally correct is not just for a day but a lifestyle. As a wedding couple, you can make a statement about who you are and what you stand for on your wedding day by showing support for environmental protection.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside – Your Perfect Tahoe Winter Wedding

Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, or you just love the beautiful sight of evergreen trees frosted with snowflakes, a wedding celebration in the splendor of winter may just be the perfect plan for your dream wedding.  And what could be more magical than celebrating your marriage with a spectacular snow-scape of North Lake Tahoe as your backdrop?

Imagine exchanging vows on top of a winter-white mountain, with your true love holding you close to keep you warm.

Photo: Russ Levi Photography

But if you want to make sure your guests are also keeping warm, you can always pick an indoor site with a wonderful winter view, like this cozy location at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

Photo: Ciprian Photography

You can also bring winter inside at your reception, with centerpieces that evoke a feeling of glistening snow and ice.

Photo: Peter Spain Photography

A winter wedding is not only beautiful; it is typically easier on your wallet. As an example, the 2017 facility rental fee for a Saturday wedding at The Chateau in Incline Village is $7,260.00 during the “peak season” of May through October. But for a Saturday wedding taking place from November through April, that fee drops to just $4,235.00. With this kind of cost savings, you could certainly buy a lot of lift tickets!

Speaking of which, there are a multitude of wintertime activities for your guests to enjoy while they are staying in North Tahoe for your celebration – downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and snowmobiling, just to name a few.  A group gathering in the snow can be a great “ice breaker” for guests who are just meeting for the first time at your destination wedding.

Photo credit: Trudi Lee

Unfortunately, all good things, including a wedding, must come to an end.  But when your celebration is over, how about a grand get-away in snowy style?

Photo: Ciprian Photography

Overall, a wintertime celebration in North Lake Tahoe is a joyful yet economical way to celebrate your marriage.  The weather may be cold, but the festivities will be a heartwarming experience for everyone.