Might your event or wedding be at risk of another PGE schedule power outage? While you may never have imagined lack of electricity causing threat to a day you’ve been planning for months to a year (not to mention lifetime, for some of you), here we are in good old sunny California, at the mercy of PG&E’s risk management efforts. As a certified event planner specializing in back up plans for the unimaginable, I’d like to share some suggestions, tips, and strategies for moving forward with your Power-Full electricty-free event as scheduled, though, you may need to implement amendments your original vision.
Before getting started, I’d like to encourage all event organizers to prioritize investing in wedding or event insurance that includes a cancellation policy to protect all of the nonrefundable deposits required to book your event vendors in the event that you decide moving forward with your event is simply not possible. You’ll want to have your attorney review your policy prior to purchasing to ensure you are informed of the conditions of your coverage as many policies are currently declining claims for scheduled electricity outages. Read all fine print to ensure you’ll have the coverage that fits your event the best.
Ok… now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin planning your Power-Full Electricity-Free Event!
1. Safety first! Please consider how an electricity-free event will present new safety concerns. Among the many to consider, be sure to address: emergency and fire preparedness, exit strategies, lighting, ventilation, food storage and preparation, water, first aid preparedness, and communications (phone available). Check out the power outage safety checklist from the American Red Cross for more ideas on how to prepare your safety plans.
1. Contact each of your vendors to assess their ability to perform their contracted services without electricity. In the event their services are compromised by the lack of electricity, begin strategizing together how they’ll be able to overcome this new set of challenges. Have these conversations with a spirit of collaboration and supportive problem-solving… afterall, we’re all navigating these new norms together. Determine who will be responsible for renting and/or purchasing the necessary equipment to perform services as contracted.
2. Power. If you’re planning to power your event with generators, ensure that your generator plan accounts for proper fueling and ventilation. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors strategically placed throughout your venue to ensure everyone’s safety.
3. Candlelight. Be sure you comply with your venue’s rules and guidelines. If open flame is not an option, stock up on LED candles. If open flame is used, ensure you have plenty of fire extinguishers, and a sound fire safety plan.
4. Food Safety. Lack of refrigeration may inhibit how you're able to prepare, serve, feed, and story your food. Revisit your menu with your caterer, and ensure they have a sound plan for safely handling your food. You'll also want to consider revising your left-overs plan.... do you have enough ice, ice chests, etc.??? Will you be able to take left overs to a nearby shelter or mission? Or will it be necessary to throw out anything not served during your scheduled meal?
4. Entertainment. If you won’t be able to power your entertainment, consider switching to an all-acoustic option. I’m getting shivers just thinking about how romantic and intimate your celebration is becoming! :)
While your vision may have to switch up completely with the short notices we're receiving about these outages, bringing your guests together regardless of electricity may just be the way to guarantee your event is the most memorable event of the year! The party simply must go on!
In the comments below, please share with us the obstacles, precautions, and plan B - Z measures you are taking in moving your event forward irregardless of an electricity outage.
Be safe ya’ll and remember to take care of one another!