A little Jimmy Buffett quote to start our blog... "Trying to reason with hurricane season" :)
Southeastern North Carolina is, we think, the most beautiful place along the East Coast, but unfortunately, it ends up being in the “cone of uncertainty” during Hurricane Season quite a bit. When this happens, we have wedding couples calling us in tears from a month out to just days before their wedding. While the majority of the time these storms spin off in another direction, sometimes, they come right in like an unwelcomed guest.
Keep in mind, that as business owners, we also must decide if it is safe for our employees to work in these conditions. Living here, our employees have to prepare their homes and their families for possible destruction when these storms come through. This process takes time ahead of the storm.
Storms can also knock down trees, take out electricity, cause floods, etc. These things can happen before, during, or after a storm. These are all examples of conditions keeping us from getting to your event, should you decide to move forward.
Please, please, we do not want you to take this as us try to scare you, but we do want you to fully understand what you are risking if you should decide to take your chances days before a hurricane hits the coast. We will do our best to work with you and give our best advice but the final decision is up to the client on to move forward or reschedule. Below are some guidelines but please understand there is no “black & white” with this situation.
So should the above happen and you have secured insurance, you will have a story to tell your grandchildren and you will get your money get back regardless if you postpone or cancel.
We have no affiliation with, but we strongly recommend that ALL clients obtain wedding cancellation/postponement insurance. It usually costs a few hundred dollars and covers all of your wedding related costs – vendor deposits, accommodations, attire, catering, etc. The insurance typically has to be obtained a minimum of two weeks prior to the event and prior to the storm being named.
We have known past clients to work with:
*Markel Insurance www.markeleventinsurance.com 855.422.5944
*Travelers Insurance 888.342.5977
*Client’s Current Insurance Carrier
If you have any questions regarding wedding cancellation/postponement insurance, please contact one of the above insurance carriers. We cannot speak for these companies or give quotes for their services. Again, we have no affiliation with them, but we do recommend it.
So what happens on our end IF a tropical storm is developing? Here is an example of a timeline to help you understand both sides of the process:
14 Days Out: Developing Hurricane / Tropical Depression somewhere in the Ocean
*Wait and see what happens.
*Reschedule Event with no penalties up to a year, any day that we are available.
7-10 Days Out: Developing Hurricane / Tropical Depression somewhere in the Ocean
Caterer has potentially already ordered rentals, linens, specialty food items, serviceware, etc. Any special items are now locked in and client is 100% responsible for covering those fees.*
*Wait and see what happens.
*Reschedule Event with added *incurred expenses up to a year, any day that we are available.
3-5 Days Out: Category 1 (at Minimum) and we are in the Cone of Uncertainty
Caterer has already ordered everything, food, special items, beverages, serviceware, rentals, linens, etc.
2 Days: Category 1 (at Minimum) and we are in the Path of Hurricane/Tropical Storm
Caterer has already ordered everything, food, special items, beverages, serviceware, rentals, linens, etc. Caterer has started prep on certain food items.
Government officials are beginning mandatory and voluntary evacuations. Bridges to islands are closed when wind reaches above a specified amount mph. Rental companies cancel reservations for safety of guests. Venues decide on keeping or canceling reservations for safety reasons.
At this point, we need a FINAL DECISION. We will do our absolute best to work with you under these circumstances to come up with a mutual safe agreement. If the client has still decided to move forward at this point in time, they are 100% responsible for all expenses. There are no refunds. This is stated in the contract. No refunds. If you move forward and we cannot make it to the event due to unsafe conditions, we will not refund any amount. If you decide to reschedule at this point, you will also incur all expenses and have to pay all expenses again prior to the rescheduled date.
Seating charts are great, not only will they ensure that your guests know who they will be seated with but they also make certain that each guest does have a seat. If you do not create a seating chart, you are taking a gamble that your guests will know to sit in every chair and not leave a chair empty at every other table. We hear from brides that this is a daunting task and one they would prefer not to worry with. However, we believe that the positives outweigh the stress of assembling the chart and cards.
Here are some helpful tips that we hope will assist you in the planning process.
Tips for Seating Charts
· Place Seating Chart in accessible location such as a table going into or leaving cocktail hour.
· DIY Charts: Handwritten on chalkboard, mirror, or window pane; On cards displayed on a table, in a tray, on shutters, hanging from a tree, tied to mason jars, tied to favors, etc.
· Organize place cards in alphabetical order vs. table number, simply for the reason it is much easier to find yourself by your name then by a table number you do not know to begin with.
· Double-up on place cardsif your guests are to sit in a specific seat. For example, if this is a seated dinner, have a place card already at their seat so when they arrive at the table there is no question for the guest or the server.
Tips for Table Layouts
· Allow 60” between tablesto allow enough room for not only the chairs to scoot out but also for the wait staff/guests to walk between them.
· If the table says it seats 8-10 guests, that means 8 would sit comfortably and 10 would squeeze in.
· Guests giving toasts should be at a table close to the front or with easy access to the mic.
· Don’t forget, it is okay to ask for help from your family and his family on which guests to place together – and more importantly – who not to seat together.
This is an abbreviated version of seating charts and placements but we hope it helps you in your planning process. Most importantly, do what works best for you and your style, and, of course, feel free to run it by your planner or caterer. :)
As full-service caterers, we not only work in the kitchen but we also design venue spaces. We can offer clients a wide variety of rentals from tables, chairs, arbors, china and every type of linen you could imagine!
One of our most FAQs is "What size linens should I order?" Thank you for asking! We want your wedding or event to look just as phenomenal as you do and in order to do so we always suggest proper linen sizes for your tables. So here is a little direction to help you plan your next event:
36” Round - 96” Floor
48” Round - 108” Floor
60” Round - 120” Floor / 108” Lap
72” Round - 132” Floor / 120” Lap
6’ Banquet - 90”x132” / 72”x120” Lap
8’ Banquet - 90”x156” / 72”x120” Lap
Serpentine – 90”x132”
If using cocktail tables, floor length linens would be 120” but if you are tying the linen with a sash, we would recommend using 132” linen so the base of the table does not show. It is always nice to add a little extra to your tables too! We offer a variety of overlays and additional styles to "fluff” on the food tables. As always, brides are always encouraged to use their own style and add in additional décor. Feel free to send us photos or bring in swatches to your meeting and we will find a color and style that work best with your event!
In our June 2014 blog entry we talked about DIY and really how much you should do for your own wedding… So here is Part 2:
Should I provide my own alcohol?
As Full-Service Caterers, we do have ABC Permits and allow our clients to provide their own alcohol. If contracted, we can provide proper staffing to bartend and serve. If a client choses to provide their own alcohol, it becomes their responsibility to set the bar up as far as icing the beer/wine, storing extra ice, bar equipment, purchasing the mixers and ice for drinks, renting or purchasing glasses, and the fun part - determining the correct amount needed of each type of beer, wine, liquor, mixers, ice, etc.
So how do you know how much to buy or order of each item? Well, you could go down your guest list and guess how many glasses of wine Aunt June will drink and how many Whiskey Sour’s Grandpa Joe will have – but then how much does Dad’s co-worker drink – do they drink at all? It can truly be a guessing game, and if you guess wrong, some of your guests could walk away a bit unhappy.
In order to alleviate any additional stress, headache, or confusion, we have come up with a few services for 50+ client provided bars including a Full Bar Setup and Icing Beer & Wine. The Full Bar Setup includes all mixers and bar equipment for only $3.00 per person. We can also ice your beer & wine for just $1.00 per person.
Of course, the only way to guarantee that your guests will not run out of their favorite cocktail of the night is to add one of our beverage packages to your catering menu. With our experience, we are able to calculate how much alcohol, mixers, beer, wine, etc. is needed and we have the capability to even bring a little extra. Our staff will setup the entire bar, ice the beverages, cut the lemons & limes, and have the knowledge of all the fun signature drinks. Our menus include: Beer & Wine, Mid-Tier Bar, Top-Tier Bar, and add-ons of Champagne Toast, Signature Drinks, and Martini Bar.
As Full-Service Caterers, we want our clients to have the best experience possible during the planning process and the actual event. As professionals in this industry, we are experienced with ordering, handling, storing, and setting up of bars for large and small events. We leave it up to our clients to determine which route is best for them but we just urge you to be confident in your decision. Cheers!