Even with the current COVID-19 pandemic, Misselwood Events at Endicott College has still found ways to host their events, following ever-changing guidelines from the state of Massachusetts.
The venue, which mainly hosts weddings and corporate events, was in the process of planning for their upcoming summer season when the pandemic hit in March.
“As the students were sent remote, so were we so the first part was we all had to identify how to work remotely so that our customers could still reach us by phones [and] by email,” said Eileen Geyer, Executive Director at Misselwood Events.
In trying to figure out how they could still hold events, Misselwood worked with the physical plant team at Endicott College to inquire about social distancing, the signage needed, and sanitizing and cleaning the areas.
During the summer, Misselwood typically hosts overnight programs such as youth STEM and sports camps. In the best interest of the students, the team decided not to bring any groups to campus this year.
Even so, the Misselwood team worked with the organizations, allowing them to shift their 2020 dates to 2021, giving them first right of refusal.
Their 2020 rates were secured for 2021, and were given the option that if a deposit was made Misselwood could apply it or give it back to the group. This was additionally used for corporate events and meetings.
As many couples had rescheduled their 2020 weddings for 2021, the Misselwood team knew they had to get creative in thinking of ways to still host their clients.
‘Vows with a View’ became a way to do so. For those postponing their weddings with Misselwood, they had the opportunity to come to the venue to exchange their vows.
Under state guidelines, ten people were allowed in the location. For two hours, socially distanced clients with masks were able to have an intimate ceremony with no additional charge.
After word got out around the North Shore about the opportunity, many non-clients of Misselwood wanted to engage in the event. For a minimal fee, they were able to do so.
“It actually turned out to be an incredible opportunity, we were able to accommodate our own couples so that they were able to have their initial wedding date,” said Geyer.
Unfortunately, Misselwood did not host any full fledged weddings this year, as many couples did not want to have a Covid wedding due to restrictions. However, the venue’s 2021 season is going to be a busy one, with 55 weddings planned.
For any person attending events at Misselwood, customers are required to sign a Covid waiver form, stating that they understand the risk and giving their contact details if they needed to be contact traced.
In addition to pivoting weddings, Misselwood has also been able to adapt to holding corporate
events in person or virtually.
From May to the end of October, the Misselwood tent was available for usage for a maximum group of 42 people. Tables were socially distanced with two people per 60 inch round table, as well as hand sanitizing stations available throughout the area.
“I think by limiting the guests that come on site and just enforcing these PPE, people are feeling safe on site,” said Jamie Mucci, Event Operations Manager at Misselwood.
Corporate clients are also able to host a virtual event, using Endicott’s Zoom platform. Misselwood offers a mediator to assist in holding these events and creating breakout rooms.
The venue’s annual Concours d’ Elegance car show went virtual this year, providing an opportunity for attendees to do four rallies instead of one tour across the North Shore. The show was posted on Misselwood’s social media pages.
The car owners were still allowed to come to Misselwood, and then proceeded to drive around the North Shore, including Endicott’s campus, which gave students the opportunity to see the cars in the fall months.
The show raises funds for the Endicott College student scholarship fund.
“It was a fun, safe way for people to still raise money for student scholarships and just get out and enjoy a fun day,” said Mucci.
As the tent has come down for the season, Misselwood would typically host events in their house on the property. However, because the space is fairly small, it might be difficult to host events due to the limited amount of people, said Mucci. Even so, Misselwood will be working to see how weddings or events can be accommodated in this area.
Planning has started for early 2021 weddings scheduled for the end of May, and six month planning meetings will be scheduled with those couples.
Mucci said the team is making sure that they’re transparent with their clients on the ever-changing guidelines from the state and city.
“Our goal is to host these events, have things for people to look forward to but to make sure that we do them safely,” said Mucci.