Pepper Moon Case Study:

A Wedding Reception Gone Awry!!

There is the possibility something can go wrong at any event.  After all, we don’t have control over the weather, airline flights can get cancelled, and people can get sick and not attend.  At Pepper Moon we always advise our clients to let us worry about the details.  “Let our many years of experience work for you.”

The Pepper Moon Team was put to the test one weekend the steamy, hot summer of 2010.  Now…we aren’t talking about something simple like the cake linen had a hole in it, or a beverage container of punch tipped over in the van, or the bartender’s car broke down.  These things are very easily fixed by adding an overlay on the cake table, running to the closest grocery store, or placing a phone call to another staff member to come in at the last minute.  We are talking multiple things to go wrong…

First, Bethann Flaherty, our indestructible In-house Wedding Consultant, hydroplaned, wrecked her car, and ended up in the hospital.  This alone can scare the rest of our Sales Team to death! 

Second, we get to the event site and quickly learned from the Mother of the Bride the one detail Bethann didn’t have time to include on paper - the bride at the last minute added burlap to her linen list, everything had to be covered in burlap - the food tables, the bars, etc.  This info was at the hospital with Bethann!  The event was 70 minutes from the Pepper Moon Commissary.  Linens are the first thing placed on tables before set up can begin.  Meredith called Bob, our Inventory Manager – he informed her all the burlap was at another event. 

Third, it just happened to be the hottest day of the summer and this was an outdoor ceremony and reception!  Grooms in their suits were melting during their pictures.  Every bride has a vision of how they want their day to progress.  The bride’s family did not want any guests in the facility before the picture-taking after the ceremony was over.  The ceremony was to be held on the grounds and then guests would migrate to the patio with umbrella tables overlooking the incredible Blue Ridge Mountains.  If the temperature had not  been close to 100 it would have been picturesque! 

Fourth, the buses bringing all the guests from the hotel miscalculated the distance from hotel to the venue and didn’t allot enough time to get all the guests to the site by the time the ceremony was supposed to start.  And, one bus overheated and broke down! 

But wait, there’s more!  Fifth, Pepper Moon always attempts to prepare their food as fresh as possible.  This facility had an oven in which we could roast the potatoes, so they would not steam themselves during travel from the commissary and get soggy.  The oven thermometer would not allow the oven to get over 140 degrees.  We needed 350! 

How could we possibly fix all these issues and make the reception one the bride would remember fondly instead of with tears streaming down her face?!   The Pepper Moon Team quickly banded together to learn the details of this wedding to ensure the bride and her parents would be confident in the skills of Meredith Williams, our co-owner, to take over the wedding reception execution.  Having worked many events and going through Bethann’s painstakingly accurate notes, we felt good about Meredith handling the details.  Regarding the missing burlap Meredith began all set up that could occur without the burlap.  Bob called back, he found some swatches in the warehouse, and jumped in a van to drive them to us.  Secretly, we were thrilled that the buses broke down because it gave Bob time to get to us.  It also gave us time to run to the other facility on the site that had a working oven and get the potatoes cooked.  The Father of the Bride quickly got on the phone and found a local rental company with passenger vans that began shuttling guests and some guests carpooled.  The heat was hard to manage, but the Pepper Moon team convinced the facility to open their doors a bit earlier than was originally planned and all the beer, wine and bottled water possible was iced down to keep the guests cool and hydrated.  The guests had a ball and as they party-trained by the bar the bartender was holding a pitcher of water to refill drinks as they passed by.  Although they were drenched in sweat they didn”t miss the gorgeous sunset and the food was incredible.  The bride commented on the burlap - “It was just as she imagined!”

Every now and then, there is an event that reminds us that at any given moment something can go wrong, but as long as we follow our tried-and-true procedures and rely on our experience we can still make the event a success!! 


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