Gatherings for Good Partners with the William Sansum Diabetes Center to host the 15th Annual Taste of the Vine & Auction Fundraiser
Earlier this year, Gatherings for Good partnered with the William Sansum Diabetes Center (WSDC) to produce their 15th Annual Taste of the Vine & Auction fundraiser which was held on August 26, 2017 at QAD in Summerland, CA. Money raised went to support the organization and the work they do in the Santa Barbara community through education, care and treatment to those affected with diabetes.
Taste of the Vine & Auction - August 26, 2017
The event included 36 food, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverage purveyors who offered up small bites and tastings to over 300 guests which included several sponsors including their largest sponsor, Rabobank. Event goers were treated to music by local Santa Barbara DJs Zeke Monarrez and Jerry Rodriguez who were also the event Emcees.
Special performance by 2016 teen star winner Jackson Gilles was one of the highlights of the day. Jackson who is a Type 1 diabetic played a couple songs for the crowd and spoke about his personal experience. Chef Charles Mattox, executive director of Reversed, a reality show about diabetes also spoke to crowd and displayed enthusiasm for doing his part to help raise awareness about diabetes.
A VIP reception on the balcony was set up beautifully with lounge furniture provided by the Tent Merchant and Riverbench Winery served glasses of sparkling wine as first guests began to arrive.
It was a busy day that came together over a period of 5 months from the time we came on board as the event producer. Over 80 volunteers were onsite throughout the day which began at 9am for set up in the morning. Many volunteers were needed to help with tasks including event set up and breakdown, food service, raffle ticket sales, auction set up and working the guest registration area assisting with checking guests in and out.
The Gatherings for Good team along with the WSDC staff and event committee worked together to create a fun afternoon event that provided people with a wide variety of food and beverage options, live entertainment and impressive auction items to bid on during both the silent and live auctions which included trips to Tuscany, Ireland and Costa Rica!
Local transportation company Jump on the School Bus who is known best for providing wedding and event transportation and tours graciously donated an 8 hour wine or beer tour for up to 30 guests to visit some of the finest local wineries and breweries around the central coast.
Here is a brief video the WSDC put together with photos and music from Jackson Gilles of some of the day's highlights.
The event raised $127,000 for the diabetes center and generated more exposure in the Santa Barbara community. We were happy to do our part to ensure the event was a success by strategic planning, design concept, vendor sourcing, volunteer coordination and management, overseeing all logistical elements as well as on-site event execution.
Thank you to our industry partners for all your efforts at the 15th Annual Taste of the Vine:
The Tent Merchant
Santa Barbara Ice & Propane
Blue Star Parking
Image: Ryanne Bee Photography
Weddings are a beautiful occasion where friends and family gather to celebrate the marriage between two people in love. For destinations weddings guests may travel long distances to attend spending money on flights, hotels, transportation, meals and activities both before and after the wedding. As "hosts" of your wedding, one way to ensure the guests are happy and taken care of is to feed them well.
As a Wedding Coordinator, I have seen couples make choices questionable choices when it comes to what to serve at their wedding. They may only think about what they themselves like to eat and not always keeping their guests likes or dislikes in mind. This is a big No-No! This may be your wedding day but your choices should reflect the type of experience you want your guests to have and how you want them to remember this day.
We know catering for weddings can be expensive especially if you are planning a large wedding. But if you want the guests to leave happy and enjoy themselves you really need to be realistic about your food budget and either increase it (and cut back in other areas if necessary), or decrease your headcount. That may sound harsh but it's a realistic way to approach it in my opinion. Your guests, no matter how far they traveled, expect to be fed and it is one of the things they will remember about your wedding day. Food leaves an impression on people, either good or bad.
Here are 5 tips to make sure you are keeping your guests the entire guest experience in mind when planning what food to serve at your wedding.
1. Feed Them Quickly and A Lot!
Wedding days in general are very looooong days. From the time you get up in the morning to the last song of the night, you are going non-stop and your guests are too. Parents, grandparents, siblings, your BFF, the wedding party - whoever you have invited to the wedding is going to need to eat in order to keep going to the end. By the time the ceremony comes around, your guests are probably already hungry so plan to serve food as soon as possible.
Tip #1 Do not make your guests wait too long to eat after your ceremony. This will only make them impatient, cranky and if you're serving alcohol, chances are they'll get a little too drunk a little too fast. I recommend having a cocktail hour and serving drinks AND appetizers between the ceremony and reception. Keep it light and simple but serve something! It might be a while before dinner begins.
Tip #2 If you're doing your grand entrance with your entire wedding party, immedately sit down at your tables once the wedding party has all walked in. Save your first dance, speeches and other formalities until the middle of dinner or at the end. This will allow food to be served right away and avoid guests getting "hangry."
2. A Better Buffet.
Buffets... (sigh). Many guests will cringe when you mention you are having a buffet at your wedding because in general, it means they will have to wait longer to get their food. Let's be real. Nobody wants to wait in line for their food at a wedding. People want to sit down and immediately eat. When it comes time for the buffet, guests will sit at their table anxiously waiting for their turn while people around them get up to go through the line. No table wants to go last. I've seen guests walk out in the middle of dinner because the buffet was taking too long.
Tip #1: If you choose to have a buffet you can make things easier by asking your caterer or wedding venue to create two buffet lines. Having two buffet lines going at the same time will speed up the dinner service giving your guests the opportunity to get their food much faster. This is particularly helpful for large weddings with over 100 guests. By doing this you are also helping to keep all the other formalities on time such as getting to your first dance or toasts and speeches. A long buffet service can cause major delays in the entire evening which you definitely don't want!
Tip #2: Keep the buffet options to a minimum. A lot of people think a buffet is cheaper than a plated meal. Not always the case. Especially if you have multiple options. To keep costs down and the line moving, limit choices. For a typical American buffet, I recommend serving 2 types of meat, a choice of fish or pasta, 1 vegetable dish and 1 salad. You could also have fresh baked bread at the buffet or served at the tables. That is more than enough food especially if you're serving dessert and/or late night snacks!
3. Keep Kids and Special Dietary Needs in Mind.
If you are planning to have children at your wedding be sure to have a few kid friendly options on the menu for children who will need a meal. Determine how many children will be attending the wedding and give them 2 or 3 options to choose from such as chicken strips, cheeseburger and fries and pizza. If there are very small children or babies attending the wedding, their parents will most likely bring food and snacks for them if they are not old enough to eat at the dinner table.
You should also keep in mind any special dietary needs such as allergies to certain foods like shellfish, nuts, dairy, etc. Nowdays many caterers offer gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options. If you're not sure if any of your guests have allergies ask them! Or ask other family members to help you find out. You just want to be on the safe side and make sure all your guests have a meal and there are no last minute, on the spot meal requests that the chef now has to magically create.
4. Offer multiple dessert options. Not everyone is a fan of traditional weddings or wedding cake, I get it. Thankfully there are so many options when it comes to desserts! You no longer have to have a wedding cake (although, it is still nice for pictures). You can choose to have a dessert buffet with lots of "mini" desserts which are both cute and delicious! You can serve fresh baked pies, doughnuts, mini cupcakes, cake pops, ice cream sundaes, a cookie bar.. the list is endless. The point is, people want dessert - sugar is not the enemy. It keeps people happy and energized for dancing and in a good mood in general. And serving coffee and/or tea with dessert ... bonus!
Image: James & Jess Photography
Include late night snacks. If you're one of those couples who wants to throw an all night party ('till the break of dawn), for goodness sake have some late night snack food! Think about it.. dinner at 7pm followed by dessert and then dancing for 2-3 hours.. your guests will be getting hungry by 10 or 11pm. If you're planning to party until midnight or later plan to take the party to a bar where you can get late night food served until 2am, hire a food truck to serve up some delicious meals on wheels or order in a few pizzas. Either way you go you can't go wrong. More is better than not enough!
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If I had to sum up Taylor and Ryan's wedding day I would have to say that is was definitely not boring! This wedding had A LOT going on including a very brief (yet scary) microburst storm that sent tourists scattering from beaches, umbrellas flying in the air, street lights that lost power and fallen tree branches and debris in the roadways causing major traffic in downtown Santa Barbara.
Here is a quick video of some of the destruction this storm caused (which is also a good reminder why it is important to check the weather report before your wedding day and always have a backup plan)!
Thankfully the storm was brief and the sun came out shortly after. As a Wedding Coordinator it is my job to be prepared for anything! I was fully prepared to move the ceremony indoors if necessary. Luckily we did not have to do that and we were able to still have the ceremony at the beautiful Winslow Maxwell Overlook at Santa Barbara City College overlooking the breathtaking Santa Barbara Harbor with endless ocean and mountain views.
Nothing was going to take away from Taylor and Ryan's day, not even a little rain in the forecast! This young and vibrant couple were able to celebrate their love among family and friends who got to see Santa Barbara in style courtesy of Santa Barbara Trolley. Once they arrived at the ceremony site, guests enjoyed the view and music from a mariachi trio who set the tone for a beautiful and joyous occasion!
Once the bridal party arrived and guests were seated, the ceremony was quickly underway. The officiants who happen to be close friends with the bride and groom got everyone laughing and kept guests fully entertained with the couple of honor taking part in the fun themselves!
After the ceremony, the fun continued at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center where guests enjoyed a delicious dinner served from LA based food truck, Shrimp vs. Chef. Dessert came in the form of refreshing Hawaiian shave ice in a variety of flavors from ParadICE Shave Ice and Welcome Coffee Cart kept everyone fueled with caffeine and dancing all night serving up coffee to order.
The most entertaining part of the night (and gets my vote for most creative grand entrance of 2017) was when the entire bridal party entered the reception to their wrestler alter ego and was announced by the bride's uncle, in his best wrestling announcer voice! The bride and groom, who are huge wrestling fans, came up with the idea and even got their parents involved!
This wedding was full of surprises. All jokes aside, I am so happy for these two and was thrilled to be part of their special day!
Thank you to the following vendors!
Ceremony Venue: Santa Barbara City College Winslow Maxwell Overlook
Reception Venue: Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center
Coordinator: Gatherings for Good
Catering: Shrimp vs. Chef
Coffee Service: Welcome Coffee Cart
Bar/Event Staffing: Simply Cocktails
Photographer: Bob Faulkner Photography
Transportation: Santa Barbara Trolley
Rentals: Discount Party Rentals
Hair: Sequel Salon
Dessert: ParadICE Shave Ice
Bride & Groom's Hotel: Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara
Image: Kacie Jean Phototography
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.