It’s been an unorthodox year for the wedding and event planning industry. Lavish productions were whittled down to micro weddings, and destination nuptials turned into elopement ceremonies attended only by close family and friends. By the spring of 2020, sought-after wedding and event planner Katie Arbogast Stubbs had reshaped her entire calendar.
“I’ve really had to pivot to smaller, more intimate events, but that allowed me to focus on creative and intricate details,” says Stubbs, 31, a Palm Beach Gardens resident who launched her event-planning business, 59 & Bluebell, in 2012. While the pandemic upended the entire industry, Stubbs launched a new entrepreneurial venture—The Boozie Bluebell—that has turned into the essential quarantine party accoutrement.
“We launched The Boozie Bluebell in March, which I joke was the perfect time,” says Stubbs of the business, which consists of an electric, portable bar that she built herself and carts to outdoor gatherings. The idea, she explains, stemmed from her continual search for an “aesthetically pleasing” mobile bar for her events over the years. In the beginning, Stubbs says The Boozie Bluebell serviced small, micro-sized gatherings—a far cry from her usual events. “For weeks on end, it was just people in their driveways really missing the experience of being served a beer,” she says. But now that social season is underway, and weddings that were delayed have begun to restructure, The Boozie Bluebell has become much more than an upscale addition to driveway happy hour.
“We’re starting to see a trend toward larger parties now that people have become more comfortable, are wearing masks, and have been quarantining,” she says. “Hopefully, weddings will get back to normal so we can resume life as much as possible and capture the fun of it. It’s a business, but it is also meant to be enjoyable.”
Clients can request The Boozie Bluebell’s six taps be stocked with ale, wine, Champagne, coffee, and other craft cocktail ingredients or nonalcoholic drinks. There is a two-hour rental minimum, and clients can choose from a few different pricing options, which start at $150 an hour.
This fall, Stubbs also opened Bluebell Headquarters in West Palm Beach to house both of her businesses and a small team of employees, as well as to host educational workshops in photography, marketing, and social media. Bluebell Headquarters will also be the launching pad for The Boozie Bluebell franchise opportunities, which are slated to begin in 2021. Stubbs says she hopes franchising the business will help reduce the amount of waste that larger events often produce. “At weddings, bottled beers are constantly adding to the carbon footprint,” she says. “I really wanted The Boozie Bluebell to be cute as well as functional. It took a while, but we got there.”