COCONUT GROVE – South Florida certainly conjures images of cool breezes along the ocean, scenic golf course vistas, and gently swaying palm trees.
The perfect site for a wedding? But those picturesque visions can turn a wedding into a tropical storm disaster for those unfamiliar with the fickle weather patterns in the area.
“Within minutes a beautiful day can change into a monsoon and literally wash-out that special day,” said Bill Hansen, CEO of Bill Hansen Luxury Catering & Events Planning. “While we can’t change the weather, we can take steps to minimize the effect of a quick storm.”
Hansen, who founded the company 35 years ago, has planned some of the area’s most elegant affairs and takes pride in taking the
“what ifs” out of an event so that they come off without a hitch.
“Weather is the big unknown,” he said. “Our goal is the use our expertise to explain to our clients the possibilities for inclement weather while assuring them that we will take steps to work around Mother Nature.”
One of the simplest steps for those unfamiliar with Florida weather is to simply move the time of the ceremony from mid afternoon to early evening if the event is planned for late spring to the fall.
“We also inform our clients that those months are in ‘Hurricane Season’, so they might want to consider another time of year if possible,” said Hansen. “But aside from that there are other steps we take as professional event planners and caterers when it comes to serving our clients.”
Hansen and his staff always have ample covered areas that can include tents or proximity to indoor facilities that are part of his more than 100 exclusive venues throughout South Florida.
“Virtually all of our venues provide both indoor and outdoor opportunities for ceremonies and the celebration,” he said. “There is always a Plan B in the event of rain.”
Hansen’s team also will arrange for cooling fans and heating lamps to keep guests comfortable.
“People seem to forget that even in Florida the weather can get cold,” he said. “It’s important to control the climate as much as possible so that all of the guests are comfortable during this special day.”
It’s also important to be able to transform an outdoor area into an elegant and romantic environment through the use of landscaping, pathways, and sitting areas. Hansen also makes sure that all decorations are “outdoor safe” and won’t be blown away if the wind kicks up.
Another challenge for outdoor events is to make sure that there are sufficient outlets for equipment requiring electricity such as microphones, music, and lighting.
“We hide extension cords so as to not compromise the aesthetics of the event,” added Hansen. “All of these things come into play for an outdoor event.
“We are basically the eyes and ears for our clients. As the day approaches we’re monitoring radar and weather projections. We do the worrying so that our clients can enjoy the day.”
Based out of the historic Villa Woodbine historic mansion in Coconut Grove, Hansen and his team of executive chefs and planners consistently deliver on its promise of creating “one-of-a-kind” experiences that eliminate the stress during the preparation and the day of the event.
“We have become the ‘go-to” caterers and event planners for people seeking non-traditional venues,” said Hansen. “Many people want something unique as opposed to a hotel or a country club. We pride ourselves on offering our clients the most diverse selection of venues in South Florida.
In addition to Villa Woodbine and Vizcaya, Hansen offers other venues including the The Kampong, Fairchild Tropical Garden, Park Place, Palm Court, the DuPont Building, The Moore Building, The Cruz Building, The Charles Deering Estate, 1111 Lincoln Road, The Gallery of Amazing Things, The Versace Mansion, The Rubell Family Collection, The Ice Palace, The Walton House, The Ancient Spanish Monastery, The Bonnet House, The Needham Estate, to name a few. He caterers at over 100 venues throughout South Florida.
There is no detail too small for Hansen and his staff.
“We offer all types of cuisine with a catering staff that rivals any 5-star restaurant in the area,” said Hansen. “Our chefs provide all types of ethnic cuisines and Kosher menus, to name a few. There isn’t a menu we cannot provide to our clients.”