‘It’s extremely frustrating’: Wedding planners scramble as venues remain in dark
The historic PG&E electrical power shut-off is sufficiently crazy-making for Sylvia Parkinson, who rents party lights and sound gear and such for Sonoma County weddings.
That said, she aches to imagine what the uncertainty unleashed by the outage is doing to brides who can’t be assured that their long-reserved wedding venues will be up and running Friday and this weekend.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Parkinson, of Santa Rosa’s ATL Events.
“It’s especially heartbreaking to know somebody’s been planning for two years for their most special day ever, and it may not happen.”
One vexing issue: Who is liable for the costs if a wedding has to be postponed by an intentional power cut, not hardly an act of God?
“PG&E is not taking responsibility,” Parkinson said.
She told of working with two wedding planners who have nuptials set for this weekend and aren’t sure they can be pulled off at wineries that on Thursday were still in the dark.
She wonders, should she have her staff load the trucks with rental gear, or not?
“It’s a sad, sad situation for small businesses, and individuals,” said the rental -company owner. “I feel terrible for the brides in particular.”
On Thursday, there were party rental firms, caterers, wedding planners, venue managers and others in the Wine Country wedding industry who scrambled under great pressure to find power generators or to help betrothed couples quickly devise Plan B. None of those contacted knew of any weddings that have yet been postponed because of the outage.
“We have clients even for next week who are calling and panicking,” said Brittany Rogers-Hansen of Napa-Sonoma’s Run Away With Me wedding company.
She was working with the staff at the powerless Chateau St. Jean Winery near Kenwood to rent generators sufficient for one of the weddings she has planned for this weekend.
“We’ve never had weddings on generators,” Rogers-Hansen said.
Russell Craigie, the general manager at Chateau St. Jean, was hopeful Thursday that power will be restored for the two weddings set to occur there on Friday and Saturday. But even if the outage endures — much of Sonoma Valley remained in the dark Thursday night — the winery is ready, he said.
“We’ve got four generators on the property,” Craigie said.
“We’ve got generators and bathrooms and everything delivered. We will do everything to make it work.”
Wedding planner Rogers-Hansen also on Thursday was spending phone time with a bride-to-be stressed by the knowledge that power wasn’t yet restored to the hotel in Sonoma where she and her wedding party intend to stay.
“We’ve bought some battery packs to plug hair curlers into,” Rogers said.
At Vintners Inn just north of Santa Rosa, wedding specialist Denette Huffman said the power was on there and she was hearing from people seeking potential alternative venues should reserved wedding locations remain un-powered and unusable this weekend.
“There has been a lot of juggling,” Huffman said.
“We are here and we might be working with other venues for Saturday and Sunday if their power doesn’t come back on.”
Electricity was restored Thursday afternoon at one popular wedding venue, the Mayacama Golf Club east of Windsor.
In Sonoma Valley, caterer-restaurateur Sondra Bernstein of the darkened The Girl and the Fig restaurant and The Fig Café said the outage has been “a mess” but she senses that power will be widely restored Friday.