Back to top

How To Find Your Wedding Day Zen No Matter The Weather

By: 
Lara M. Burnap
Issue: 

Mother Nature has her own plans, even in picture-perfect Southern California: flash floods, windstorms and heat. Palms Springs florist and event planner Joey Lizotte of Artisan Event Floral Decor has weathered it all. Here’s how he keeps the dream alive no matter what storm is brewing. 

The Situation: Windswept is one way to describe Melissa Bourkas and Matthew Genovese’s wedding at Palm Springs’ Colony Palms Hotel. The Artisan event team had the reception ready to go: flowers arranged, candles lit and napkins folded when increasingly strong wind gusts flipped over the 32-foot-long head table. “Garland, candles, flowers—everything upside down on the ground,” recounts Lizotte. “And then...the power went out. And not just at the hotel but all of Palm Springs.”  

The Fix: “Everyone starts freaking out. I’m like, ‘Stop. Give me 10 minutes,’” says Lizotte. After one phone call, he had secured a generator powerful enough to light up the reception (and the entire hotel for that matter). The team reset the reception, while photographer Michael Segal whisked the newlyweds and their wedding party off to a sheltered area of Palm Springs where wind wouldn’t be an issue. By the time the photos were snapped, the gusts had died down. And while the rest of the city was still in the dark, Melissa and Matthew partied into the night with friends and family. There was even a bonus: They got beautiful photos among wildflowers! 

The Situation: At a scorching desert wedding, the victim of heatstroke was the couple’s three-tiered cake. After the newlyweds jubilantly cut the cake, Lizotte needed to bring the cake into the kitchen to be sliced and served. “But when I picked it up, the cake just melted and fell of the tray,” Lizotte remembers. “Part of it was on my shoe and the rest on the floor.”  

The Fix: “The bride never knew,” says Lizotte, who thinks the cake was compromised because of the day’s triple-digit temperatures, and cutting it brought the final blow. He sent a staff member to the local gourmet market, Jensen’s Foods, to pick up a cake. “You can’t hide from it, you have to fix it. We needed to serve a cake—so get a cake!” 

The Situation: Kimberly and David’s dream was to have an intimate, outdoor wedding at the Parker Palm Springs’ Gene Autry House. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm brought torrential downpours and flash flooding in the hours leading up to their ceremony. Distraught, Kimberly kept telling Lizotte how much she hated the ballroom and didn’t want to get married inside.   

The Fix: Lizotte listened to the bride’s concerns, but reminded her that being outside wasn’t an option. “You’re lucky you have this space,” Lizotte said and reminded the couple of what was most important. “Your guests are here, and we can be comfortable in the ballroom.” Lizotte and the team set to work creating a sunny outdoor atmosphere inside the ballroom. Parasols and umbrellas framed the aisle, adding a bright splash of color to the ballroom. The lights were dimmed, and once the guests flowed into their seats, Kimberly’s dread of the ballroom faded away.

Lizotte’s Tips for Success:  

Hire local. 

“Hire someone who knows the area well,” advises Lizotte, who has worked throughout the states, including Colorado and Arizona. “I know Palm Springs so well, and the relationships I have with the other vendors here are invaluable.”  

Make the best of the situation. 

“Work with what you have and you will end up having the most amazing memories. If there’s nothing you can do about the situation, if it’s an act of God, you’re going to get nowhere if you try to fight it.” 

Trust the Pros. 

“You have to feel secure in the person who is planning your wedding—they are the captain of the ship. That’s why you hire them, so you don’t have to deal with that day. Be in the moment and let us do the worrying.”