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.
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
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!
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!
How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding
Celebrating Earth Day Each and Every Day… and at Your Wedding
Being 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.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait until March 20 – It’s “National Proposal Day”
Whether you have been intently pursuing your career or plotting your wedded-life-to-be forever, the wait was well worth it, now that you have finally met “the one.” But what’s next for your epic romance?
According to national statistics, 19% of all engagements take place in December. Oops, well that didn’t happen! Then along came Valentine’s Day… nope, too trite!! But wait, the engagement season isn’t over yet! Your significant other has another chance, as “National Proposal Day” is on March 20th. This day is for those who have waited patiently for that special someone to pop the question.
To help your guy get down on one knee with a sparkly ring, we want to share a hidden “gem” that we discovered years ago in the Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City – Steve Schmier’s Jewelry.
We had the pleasure of recently speaking with owner Michael Grant, professional Jeweler and Gemologist, regarding his retail store, and we wanted to share his sparkling knowledge with you. By the way, Michael is so “in the know” about Lake Tahoe, he’s also a “go-to” guy on things to do here.
For now, here are his pearls (or should we say “diamonds”) of wisdom:
1. What 3 words best describe your work?
Unique, Creative & Artistic
2. What are some sources of inspiration or influences on your work?
Art, architecture and design all feed into our creativity. We prefer working with real natural materials born of the earth.
3. What trends do you see in engagement rings?
We’ve seen a trend in the “halo” style engagement ring, meaning the center stone is surrounded by small diamonds. Also the rings with multiple diamonds set in a micro-pavé style.
White gold, platinum and rose gold are trendy, but yellow gold is gaining in popularity again.
4. If you purchase an engagement ring, do you still purchase a wedding ring?
The tradition of putting a wedding band with an engagement ring is still very much desirable, however, many styles of engagement rings can be worn without a matching band. We get creative with different options, and it is an individual choice.
5. What is the range of costs wedding couples typically spend on the engagement ring? the wedding ring?
Engagement rings can be $3,000-$20,000 on an average. We also do custom work, refurbishing heirloom pieces, too, for those who want to have something updated. This could be a choice. Costs vary. Wedding bands can be $ 1,000.00 and up.
6. How much time should a wedding couple plan on securing an engagement ring – from initially looking to actually having it on the finger?
Most couples begin the process of shopping for an engagement ring up to 2 years in advance. Most ladies look at wedding rings on a regular basis on the internet, their friends’ rings, window shopping as well, and it is not unusual for someone to have a clear idea of what they want before they even meet their significant other! Usually, pre-shopping is done before the significant other is brought in to see the selected item.
7. If it’s a wedding couple that is a bride and groom, do they typically shop together for the ring? If it’s a same sex couple, do they typically shop together for the ring?
Most couples still shop together. There is excitement and passion in finding that “special ring” together. The same holds true with same sex couples.
8. Do you provide gemological certificates for your diamonds?
We do supply gemological certificates for all of our diamonds and retail replacement appraisals.
9. Do you have any marriage advice for engaged couples?
Our advice to couples is to keep laughter and joy in your relationship. Stay committed and focused. Be present with one another. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and buy sparkly jewelry often!
Congratulations on your engagement…we’re thrilled for you, as a wedding always begins with a proposal. Happy National Proposal Day!
Since 1977, Steve Schmier’s Jewelry has been a consistent provider of diamonds, engagement rings, and custom jewelry for Lake Tahoe residents, second homeowners, and visiting out-of-towners. Between owner Michael Grant and his knowledgeable staff, they have a combined 100 years of jewelry experience. Their expertise and commitment is built on integrity, trust and fine quality jewelry for all ages and occasions.
Steve Schmier’s Jewelry
760 North Lake Blvd (Boatworks Mall, Main Level)
Tahoe City, CA
Happily Ever After Begins With a Tahoe Lakefront Setting
It was truly an honor to have world-renowned photographer, Catherine Hall, submit her lakefront wedding for publication in our blog. Catherine has fabulously photographed weddings all over the world, but until we received her submittal, we had no idea how strong her connection to the North Lake Tahoe area is… so strong that once Erik proposed, they knew immediately where they wanted to have their wedding celebration.
As a photographer and creative director of Catherine Hall Studios, Catherine knows how to capture the moment. So when she spotted Erik on a dance floor at the Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, she knew that she had to take action. After some urging from her sister, Catherine asked Erik to dance. They stayed up until 3 in the morning, and the rest was history.
“I knew she was the one after our first kiss that night,” Erik says. It was on a trip to the Redwoods that Erik, owner of Strategic Event Evolution and Design, made it official. He led Catherine to a secluded redwood grove. Surrounded by the towering trees, Erik proposed.
“I was so shocked that I did not even answer yes for a long time,” Catherine recalls. “He had to ask me twice!” Of course, she happily accepted the ring, a sparkling vintage piece carefully chosen by the groom.
Catherine’s artistic DNA came into play during planning, as she and Erik envisioned a wedding that truly represented the couple: warm, modern, unique… and of course, Lake Tahoe. You see, not only did the couple meet in the North Lake Tahoe area, but Catherine was practically raised on the slopes of Squaw Valley, racing as a member of their Ski Team for 10 years. So, for their perfect wedding venue, the couple chose a stunning, secluded retreat – a charming lakefront home owned by a close family friend.
“The environment of Tahoe and the lake is so beautiful that we wanted the wedding design to compliment, not compete,” Catherine says. With the couple’s direction, their team of service providers created perfect blend of romantic and rustic: elegant white roses paired with natural greenery, tiny glass vessels filled with wildflowers, tables adorned with pinecones and knotty wood accents. A swirled white cake from Sugar Pine Cakery sat atop a tree stump, while lights twinkled from the ceiling of the tent installed by Camelot Party Rentals.
With Lake Tahoe’s serene waters as their backdrop, Catherine and Erik joyfully exchanged vows in their lakefront location. The bride wore a delicate fluted lace dress from Pronovias, while the groom donned a handsome blue Ted Baker suit. The bridesmaids wore floor-length BHLDN dresses in a pretty shade of periwinkle, paired with JBalducci moondrop earrings gifted by the bride. The groomsmen wore gray suits, complete with matching Michael Kors ties gifted by Erik.
Personal touches made the big day all the more special. For her “something borrowed” and “something blue,” Catherine wore her grandmother’s favorite aquamarine ring, and her grandmother’s wedding band was displayed on the bouquet. For drinks, they served specialty cocktails, both hilariously named by Erik: “The Bridezilla” and “The Yes Man.”
Erik also surprised the bride with a heartfelt gift that symbolized their relationship. “When we first started dating, we were at a gallery and I noticed an art piece that showed an extreme, most beautiful connection between the couple,” Catherine recalls fondly. “I remarked that this connection reminded me of us. He surprised me with the original painting.”
Through the excitement, Catherine and Erik treasured being in the moment during their lakefront wedding celebration, and from that experience, Catherine offers this word of advice for other brides-to-be: “Be present on the wedding day,” she says. “Don’t stress out. Enjoy every minute.”
Photographer: Sallee Photography | Planner: MAP Events | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Estate in North Lake Tahoe | Floral Designer: Asiel Design | Dress Designer: Pronovias | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: BHLDN | Wedding Dress Boutique: Novella Bride | Groom’s Wardrobe Designer: Ted Baker | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan | Bride’s Jewelry & Accessories: Nordstrom | Groom’s wedding band: Jewelry by Johan | Engagement ring: Vintage | Hair & Makeup: SHE artists | Invitations: Starboard Press | Wedding Paper Goods: The DIY Store | Officiant: Robert Novogratz | Caterer: As You Wish Catering | Cake & Desserts: Sugar Pine Cakery | Rentals & Lighting: Camelot Party Rentals | Linen: Napa Valley Linens | Ceremony & Reception Music: Mixx Company Band | Videography: AVR Films | Transportation: Northstar Transportation