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.