Amidst the rolling hills of San Francisco’s East Bay, just a short jaunt from Napa Valley, the season of love radiates in the little corner of the world called Hiddenbrooke Golf Club. The Solano County golf course and wedding venue is helping local couples and their closest friends and family members celebrate treasured moments despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Love can’t wait! As hard and uncertain as these times are, people still do want to get married,” said Joy Erfe, catering manager of the San Francisco Bay Area event facility. “When the pandemic hit, we asked ourselves, What will this look like and what can we do to help these couples continue to celebrate while remaining safe? Even with all the modifications we’ve made, our couples and their families are just grateful they can have a wedding ceremony with the people they love.”
Ensuring all health and safety guidelines are strictly followed, Erfe and the staff at Hiddenbrooke are helping couples celebrate their special day with what the club is calling a “minimony,” a small-in-size-and-duration wedding ceremony. The venue is currently limited to hosting a maximum of 50 guests, and while receptions and food service are restricted, Hiddenbrooke offers a custom experience for couples to exchange vows in the presence of their loved ones, against the stunning backdrop of valley vistas and floral landscaping.
Traditionally, a wedding ceremony allows for open seating, and often rows or sections are reserved for honored guests. Hiddenbrooke, like many other wedding venues during this
time, has shifted what was once customary and now helps couples to plan assigned seating during their ceremonies. This way, guests are ushered in an organized fashion to their seats, where the chairs are placed by households and grouped for social distancing.
Other small but important details are cared for by the Hiddenbrooke staff — guest arrival temperature scans, complimentary hand sanitizer, and disinfected pens for the guest book.
With Hiddenbrooke’s signature champagne (or cider) sendoff, couples clink glasses and toast their marriage with family and friends. At the conclusion of the formal ceremony, guests gather outdoors around the newlyweds, words of warm wishes are delivered, and everyone says “cheese” for a prompt and memorable photo op. Alongside pre-selected photographers, Hiddenbrooke staff escorts the couple to designated spots around the clubhouse and golf course to capture special moments from the day.
“Despite the pandemic, inquiries for weddings have been steady,” Erfe shares.
“It’s all about finding ways to customize experiences while keeping everyone safe and comfortable,” said Kealoha Pomerantz, a project specialist for RealFood Hospitality Strategy and Design, a Troon company. “For every property, this looks different, and the staff who serve members and guests daily are the people behind creating these unique experiences so that members and their families can still celebrate these beautiful life milestones. Their flexibility and creativity has been incredibly generous.”
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With the success of Hiddenbrooke’s COVID-safe wedding photoshoots, the club recently opened their doors to locals looking for the picture-perfect backdrop — for family photos, engagement photos, or even “coming soon” baby shots. As part of this custom photo session package, the club offers a preferred photographer, a property guide, and golf carts to transport the group from location to location.
THE SEASON OF GIVING
Fundraising is an essential way for many nonprofits to garner financial support for their organization’s mission, and events often act as the channel to drive these efforts. Situated in Bedford, NH, Troon Privé-managed Manchester Country Club applied a touch of creativity, flexibility, and culinary wisdom to host a recent fundraising event.
At the end of October, the staff at Manchester hosted a drive-through reception and virtual event experience for a renowned local hospital, in support of its mission to provide care at the New England Heart & Vascular Institute, Maternal Health and Infant Services, and the Poisson Dental Facility. Typically, this event brings more than 350 people together at the club’s event facility for a cocktail reception, dinner service, event program, a generous dessert bar and live entertainment.
“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with this client,” said Heather Gringeri, director of event sales at Manchester Country Club. “They trusted that we could work together to pull this off. I thought it was remarkable that this event had so much support from people in the midst of a pandemic.”
At this year’s gala, the eighth hosted at Manchester, the focus was to celebrate frontline caretakers and their dedication to the community over the past year. Donations supported the healthcare center’s COVID-19 response efforts in the New Hampshire community.
Guests received a “reception time” once they accepted the gala invitation. On the event date, during their assigned time, attendees drove to the club, where they were greeted with lively music and ushered through outdoor, drive-up stations. Each vehicle received a meal packaged for at-home heating, a bottle of champagne, wine provided by event sponsors, and a program that guided them through the evening’s festivities.
Guests were encouraged to then gather at their homes in their pajamas, and attend the virtual program which was streamed later that evening and featured well-known comedian and former New Hampshire resident, Seth Meyers. Alongside the leadership of the hospital, Manchester Country Club service staff handed out the goodies, serving more than 300 meals in under two hours. The 2020 CMC Virtual Gala Celebration was a fun new way to connect people with important causes, celebrate together, and stay safe during the pandemic.
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Inspired by socially distanced events around the world, Santa is making a special stop this year! For this complimentary member event at Manchester Country Club, families are invited to enjoy drive-through holiday festivities. From the safety of their parents’ cars, children will wave to Santa and receive a signed holiday book, a sugar cookie decorating kit, and a hot chocolate for the road. Santa’s crew will be collecting letters to bring back to the North Pole, and the club will collect donations for the annual Toys for Tots drive coordinated by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.