Weddings may be getting smaller, but this is a good place to start at Silver Sycamore.
The venue will host an open house for the bride on February 26th. If things continue as they have for the past few months, the wedding and events venue is 5111 Pine Ave. in Pasadena on the right track to regain his groove.
The indoor and outdoor open house offers potential customers the opportunity to take a look at what the Silver Sycamore Maple has on offer for couples planning their wedding.
“People are getting more comfortable and the brides are starting to book so they can see how things are here,” said owner Jackie Spigener.
Vendors will be on hand as guests tour the venue’s sprawling grounds, which include a restaurant, auditorium, bed and breakfast cottages, and “Tiny Texas” cabins. Visitors can also try food and cakes.
For Spigener, this is a world away from the time the Silver Sycamore was last spring after the first wave of COVID-19 shutdowns.
Weave a storm
The silver sycamore maple
address:: 5111 Pine Ave, Pasadena
The weekend before the venue closed, the venue was fully booked with weddings, like every weekend since it opened in 2005.
The following Tuesday, when the doors closed, Spigener felt the pandemic was going to last longer than expected, and for the first time since it opened, the future seemed uncertain.
“When you have no income and you know how much you are going to spend, it is very worrying,” she said. “I’ll say it was crazy – disheartening and disturbing and everything else.”
More than 35 weddings had to be postponed and events scheduled for April were canceled.
The pandemic resulted in the cancellation of reservations for school banquets, corporate dinners, bridal showers and weddings, lunches and an art walk.
“It was very difficult, it was so strange and so quiet,” said Spigener. “We were trying to figure out what to do to stay alive.”
Waiters, Spigener said, were getting nervous, concerned about health risks.
Spigener and the staff, who were able to move on, including their chef and marketing director, set up Casseroles for Caregivers, a service where people could buy prepackaged food packages and have them delivered to staff at local hospitals and other key workers. Additionally, the Silver Sycamore coffee cafe’s curb service kept the venue afloat through April and May.
When the state and Harris County gave the go-ahead in May to open to the public with 20 to 30 percent capacity, Spigener knew it wouldn’t be enough.
“We couldn’t stay alive with that,” she said.
People were not yet comfortable about the risk of exposure, and Spigener decided to wait.
“Should I or shouldn’t I open? I’ve questioned everything I’ve done, ”she said.
When Silver Sycamore reopened to the public in June, their first weddings with smaller guest lists were taking place outdoors, and the farmers’ market was a major event in the fall as well.
“We did everything we could to make sure our customers are safe,” said Spigener.
Weddings booked through April
Spigener was eventually able to bring back most of their staff, and The Silver Sycamore has booked weddings through April. During the holiday season, several outdoor vacation-themed events were good. There were plans that had to be put on the waiting list, such as an outdoor concert series that Spigener wanted to develop for the venue.
Bookings for corporate events, which have always been a source of huge revenue for Silver Sycamore, have stalled, but Spigener is optimistic for the first time since the pandemic began. In addition to this month’s open house, the venue will host its first farmers market of the year.
Everything has been scaled down and adapted to new needs during a pandemic, and Spigener sees this as a trend that is not going away anytime soon.
“We don’t book weddings for 200 people. They are usually between 40 and 50 guests, ”she said.
But she is grateful.
“We were very fortunate that all of my kitchen clerks came back even though I had to hire new waiters,” she said.
She described the business as “stable” and believes there is something to celebrate right now.
“I’ve seen a lot of venues that are completely closed because the money you get for weddings supports you,” said Spigener. “It’s even rougher for the smaller ones – they depend on every single weekend. We are not unique and I am fortunate that I can use many aspects. “
Spigener noted that the pandemic is creating another trend that has had a positive impact on businesses and society.
Bed and breakfast bookings have gradually increased over the past few months, an indication to Spigener that people are feeling stressed out and needing a layoff.
“People came from Alvin, Pearland, because they just had to get away from it all and needed some kind of vacation,” she said.
Unlike some wedding venues, where customers were tied to contracts despite planning conflicts and cancellations caused by pandemics, Spigener allowed their customers to reschedule if they could.
“This situation was nobody’s fault and nobody could have predicted it,” she said.
Despite the introduction of the vaccine, Spigener knows normal business will be different.
“I think people will still be nervous when they’re out and about, and I was fortunate that my families and employees were safe,” she said. “I’ve spoken to companies and (the coronavirus) has ravaged a lot of families. So it’s real and something we have to be careful about.”
Before the last winter storm, the venue was fully booked for Valentine’s Day and cancellations were inevitable. The Silver Sycamore will accept bookings for Saturday February 27th for those who wish to make up for a missed booking on February 14th.
As long as the community has to escape the stress of everyday life, their venue is open to business.
“I feel like we’ve been in business for a long time, so I feel a certain responsibility,” she said. “Our church has stood together, huddled together and done what they had to do and what they could to survive. So we’re hanging in there. “