Northern California Wedding Planner | Foresthill Wedding ~ Rebecca & Justin

We get to work with amazing couples and wedding professionals, so when Christopher Armstrong reached out about one of his couple's who were in need of a wedding coordinator we were excited to learn more! Rebecca and Brandon are super sweet and one of those couples who are so adorable together you just fall in love with them! 

Their wedding venue was the Forest Hill Veterans Memorial Hall tucked away in the beautiful trees of Foresthill, CA.  The setting was absolutely peaceful and beautiful which made sense for a couple who love the outdoors. Fun fact, their date (April 22nd fell on Earth Day!)

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Northern California Wedding Planner | The Fine Print

Booking your wedding venue is an exciting milestone, you've found the place where your family and friends will gather to celebrate with your marriage.  When you sign your venue agreement don't let your excitement rush you into signing before you have read the policies of the venue in close detail.  

Venue Policies

Dreaming of a romantic candle-lit reception or a sparkler send off? Want to party until 2 am? It is very possible your venue policy prohibits open flame and has an ordinance that requires music to be off by 10 or 11 pm.  Maybe you want to bring in an outside caterer, double check that you are able to choose your vendors and if there are any additional fees for doing so.  Bring your list of must-haves/wants with you to a venue appointment and go over each item.  

Access

From a timeline standpoint, the first thing I want to know is when you will have access to the venue and what the set-up and break-down terms are.  Best case scenario is having access to the venue for rehearsal including some additional time for setting up tables and chairs (without linens if outdoors.)  Not only does it save time for the wedding day, but it also allows couples to see the table placement, aisle and other set-up to make sure they approve of the layout.  Will guests be able to leave their cars in the parking lot after the reception if they called a cab? These are important questions to ask your wedding planner!

Alcohol/Bar 

Be sure to confirm if outside alcohol is permitted, and the requirements for serving.  The venue may require you to hire security and the number of guards may depend on the guest count and the type of alcohol you are serving.  For example, if you have 150 guests and the venue requires 2 guards, then figure $25-40 per hour for each guard for 5 hours plus travel. 

Clean-up

This is the one area that couples often underestimate, because until you have gotten married you just won't understand how long the wedding day is as a whole, but how fast the reception goes by! You'll need to have all of your personal items, rentals & decor packed in addition to ensuring that all venue requirements are met (tables and chair put away, kitchen/common areas cleaned, and even removing garbage.) Unless you have several volunteers this may not be feasible in the 45 minutes to an hour that you have to clear out.   The real question is, do you want your wedding party or family to clean after your wedding?

We totally get it, Pinterest has all of these inspiration photos that will drive you crazy until you find just the right place to hold your wedding.  We just want to be sure our couples have all of their needs met along the way!

~ Happy Planning~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Communicating The Details

On many levels technology has changed the game.  At our fingertips we have hundreds of apps for making our lives easier.  From collecting our thoughts on visual boards, taking notes, playing music, tracking finances, electronically signing, planning your outfit, scheduling transportation, creating graphics, sending a cup of joe; you name it..there is an app for it.  

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While we have come so far in technology and creating ways to "connect," the one shortfall is that we have tried and failed to replace the human element.  An app cannot do the one thing that matters most for a successful event. Execution. Expressing your priorities and having a trusted planner on-site to ensure that all of the details from your notes, Pinterest board, email, vendor agreements etc are actually delivered, assembled, utilized in the degree that you intended on your wedding day.  

When we see all of the articles and apps out there to plan your wedding, it makes us want to yell from the rooftops that phone apps and planning websites don't have nothin' on the behind the scenes magic that comes from a wedding planner working with a team of professional vendors.  

iPod's will never replace a DJ who can emcee your event and keep the guests engaged.  Raise your hand if you have been to an event where the ipod awkwardness was what you remembered more than the beautiful flowers or great food. (Raising Hand)  The same can be said for not having a professional photographer capture your day, a friend with a nice camera won't know the ins and outs of photographing a wedding. 

So how do you communicate your details after you have been planning for a year? We call it a brain dump, not a glamorous term but essentially you need to get all of these ideas and plans out of your brain and on to paper.  If you know exactly how you want your welcome table set up, then try to do a mock set-up using the items that you have or sketch out an example.  When you pack your items to bring to your venue, label each box of what is inside and where it needs to go. For example "Serving utensils for sweetheart table" etc.  We schedule master planning sessions with all of our couples where we go through how they would like their event to flow, set-up and break-down of what items they are bringing versus what is being rented, what needs to be packed or returned to rental companies etc. 

If you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed, reach out to your local wedding planner for tips on how to feel organized and prepared for your wedding day! 

~ Happy Planning!

Northern California Wedding Planner | Where to Start

When couples reach out to us, often they are primarily wanting to get an idea of where to start after getting engaged.  Hey it's an exciting, overwhelming and somewhat confusing time, totally get it!

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We love getting to start the process with couples from the beginning because we are able to first understand what the couple's priorities are for their wedding experience.  We take that information and build an outline of vendors who we feel would be not only a good match based on style and budget, but also someone who would vibe well with the couple.  Building relationships is important to us, as planning your wedding is personal so having a connection really makes a difference. 

Once we have established a budget, style and must-haves list, we begin the venue and event partner selection process.  Then we review each venue's amenities such as tables & chairs being included, having an onsite getting ready area for bride and groom, kitchen/staging areas etc.  It is easy to get attached to the look/style of the venue, but we encourage couples to see a side-by-side comparison break down of at least three venues. 

The top three venues will then get a mock-up budget breakdown and design concept for the couple to choose from.  You can read more on getting started with selecting your venue & vendors here

Northern California Wedding Planner | Redding Bridal Show

To us, a successful bridal show involves booth design we love, a smooth set-up and meeting new couples.  The Redding Bridal show was just that, a big success! We enjoyed learning from couples about what their stresses are, what they felt they needed the most help with and also connecting with so many exceptional vendors.  

Hundreds of couples braved the Redding heat and made it to the show at the Civic Convention Center.  We loved that there were two floors and a great stage so bride's really got to walk around and experience each area.  

From caterers, florists, photographers, rental companies, DJ's, salons, gowns and fun photo booths, there was a lot to see.  Not to mention the amazing prizes!

2018 brides were ready to lock in their dates and check off booking their vendors from their to-do list.  We will be planning a lot more weddings in the Redding area including McCloud, Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff and Anderson.  If you missed the Redding Bridal Show but would like to attend an upcoming bridal show, check out our calendar of events.

We will be getting back to each couple this week, if you missed our booth or didn't grab a card please feel free to contact us at hello@the530bride.com and we are happy to help! 

~ Happy Planning~ 

Northern California Wedding Planner | We Just Plan Weddings

Plain and simple.  We are wedding planners because thats our jam! We have a fabulous list of reputable and professional vendors for all of your wedding needs, and we are always happy to share our recommendations.  Why a blog post on the topic? Well, because the only one-stop shops that I like are when I am grocery shopping!  We want our couples and our vendor teams to know that we won't try to step in to be a florist, a photographer, a hair or make-up stylist, etc. This not only ensures that our wedding clients get the planning experience they expect instead of being preoccupied with services that are not our specialty.  

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We know that hiring professionals for these services is so important, and we respect the craft of each aspect of the wedding team.  Budgets are a real thing, and understandably couples have to prioritize how they allocate their spending.  That being said, having a wedding planner who knows the local market enough to try to help match up with professional service providers who are within budget saves time and money in the long run.  

Please take our advice and use extreme caution when having a friend of a friend provide any type of service for your wedding.  If unavoidable make sure to have a written agreement of some kind that clearly states the expectation and terms of any service or product being supplied.  The same advice goes for someone who is just starting out or building their portfolio.  Everyone starts somewhere so you could end up getting a great value but you take a bigger risk in this case. 

If you are still looking to complete your wedding plans and need assistance, please feel free to send us a message and schedule a free consultation.  You can ask us anything! Meet us in person at the upcoming bridal shows

~ Happy Planning ~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Summer 2017 Bridal Shows

We're about half way through our wedding season this year, and we are taking a pause to work on some really fun events coming up! We wanted to share some of our top tips for attending a bridal show!  Check out our event calendar for some of the upcoming bridal shows. 

We had a blast at the Chico Bridal Show in January, 2017! 

We had a blast at the Chico Bridal Show in January, 2017! 


Bring your appetite! 
Seriously you will be well fed with all of the delicious samples by many of the top caterers and bakers. 

Standout
These shows are just for you, the couple so stand out! It can get pretty crowded at our booths so it is great when we can easily pin point who the couple is and know who we can turn our attention to next.  Lot's of mothers, sisters and friends also attend on behalf of couples if they aren't able to attend and that is fine too!

Start with a mission
Have in mind which services you are looking for and ask your wedding planner for tips on who to visit at the show.  If you don't have a planner yet stop by and ask away!

Bring a bag or closable folder
You will want to have a bag or closable folder for all of the handy info you will be picking up from the booths.  Bonus points if you bring a smaller bag to slip the cards in of the businesses that stand out to you the most so that you don't have to dig through later. 

Create pre-addressed mailing labels
Chances are you will visit several booths that have a prize or drawing in addition to the sign up lists for various promotions.  Save yourself the time and the hand cramp by bringing pre-addressed labels that you can stick right onto the sign-up list. The labels should include your name, preferred contact (phone or email) and your wedding date if you have selected one. 

Entourages are welcome!
Feel free to bring your fiance, wedding party, mom or any others to the show to share in the experience. Bonus points for dressing up, standing out and having fun! 

Ask Questions
Feel free to ask questions and talk to exhibitors, just keep in mind that with crowds it can be difficult for us to talk long but we love getting to talk to so many couples! You can always grab a card and shoot us an email with additional questions as well as schedule a complimentary consultation.

Attend Open Houses
Many of the exhibitors will host open houses, and these are a great way to talk in more detail and to take advantage of special bridal show pricing when you book. 

~ Happy Planning! ~ 

Northern California Wedding Planner | Life Happens

From venues closing, job changes, military orders, surprise babies, storms, illnesses and everything in between, Life Happens! When you are focused on planning your wedding, even the smallest speed bumps seem monumental.  For many couples who have been far into their planning and received news of a lay-off, or a family member who is not going to be well enough to travel to the wedding it can mean either moving the date or changing the plan all together.  

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Once invitations go out, it may seem impossible to move the location or change the date but you have to be able to adapt to what works for the situation in order to still have the wedding experience that you can.  Just remember to breathe!

The internet is full of crazy stories of real life date changes:  Last Minute Venue Change  - This couple experienced a venue closing and a major flood and still tied the knot! (http://www.silive.com/relationships/index.ssf/2013/02/last-minute_venue_change_dont_panic.html)

Having a wedding planner that is able to take these changes head on and communicate to your vendors, negotiate the date change or discuss potential contract changes etc can take some of the stress away.  We aim to serve our clients by being their advocate in this process.  

Consider having to explain the situation to 10-20+ vendors when you are already stressed out.  Though everyone will want to help you, simply passing this off to a family member or wedding party member can lead to miscommunication or further delays.

Tips:

  •  Check with your local wedding planner who will have a good handle on the venues and likely options that would be available on short notice.  
  • Appoint one person as the contact for all communication
  • Review all of your current contracts and provide copies to your appointed contact person or wedding planner to aide them in any discussions of date changes, cancellations, and any monies owed.  
  • Be prepared to forfeit deposits/retainers for vendors that are not able to transfer the date or who do not offer any refunds in the event of a cancellation.  Keep in mind that while your wedding vendors will be sympathetic to your situation, they have likely turned down other couples interested in your date so returning a paid deposit wouldn't be feasible unless they are confident they can re-book.  
  • Take it slow - Do not jump into another date or locking in any new contracts until you have not only confirmed that any new vendors or venue is open, but also the less back and forth there is with date or location changes the better.  

Just remember that while it may seem like the worst news ever, no matter what if you and your fiance are going to say your I Do's it is still a win-win, and there can always be a plan B.  

~ Happy Planning ~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Budgeting for Service Fees

Cake cutting fees, plate charges, set-up and breakdown, delivery, corkage, gratuity..the fees may seem to pop up everywhere but here is a little info to help you navigate when budgeting for your wedding.  When it comes to fees think of it as a convenience fee to compensate for time or for additional services.

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Here are a few of the common fees that you may have not factored in yet! 

Service Fees
When looking over your agreement, do make sure to factor in applicable tax, service fees and gratuity. 

For example you may see this on your catering contract:

An eighteen percent (18%) service charge will be included in the final billing on all food, beverage and labor. The service charge covers the use of our equipment, kitchen essentials, buffet décor, energy costs, liability insurance fees, and all necessary permits and other administrative expenses. Please note that the service charge is taxable based on California State Regulation 1603(f) and is not a gratuity for the personnel.

Cake Cutting Fees
Typically charged when your venue, caterer or other staff who are not affiliated with the bakery who provided the cake.  The fee ranges any where from a flat fee of $25 to anywhere from $1-$4 per guest.  This mainly is due to covering the staff member designated to cut the cake (especially for large cakes or multiple tiers.)
https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-cake-cutting-fee 

Corkage Fees
Corkage is a per bottle fee that a restaurant charges a customer who brings their own wine to be consumed at that restaurant. This isn't allowed in the majority of restaurants in the country, but it's very common/normal in Northern California. http://www.forkandbottle.com/wine/corkage.htm

Delivery Charges 
This one is pretty standard - Rental items, florals, cakes or other specialty items will likely have a delivery fee if you aren't planning to pick-up.  Delivery fees are charged to cover fuel and for the driver's time.  

Set-up/Break-down Charges
The set-up and break-down fees covers the time and labor of setting up chairs, tables, place settings etc for your wedding.  Often the break-down is the area where couples underestimate the amount of labor to clean-up after a large celebration.  Not only cleaning up the garbage and packing the personal items/decor but ensuring that all rental items are packed/stored/stacked per the rental company agreement.  Wood chairs often need to be bagged then stacked which is an extra step as well.  Just ask your wedding party, they DON'T want to do this after a long day of celebrating with you! 

Additional Hours/Services 
When you book your vendors such as a photographer, you will often book based on the number of hours they will provide coverage.  If you decide to you would like them to stay longer, you will likely be charged for the additional hour at a premium.  When it comes to additional services, this is called "out of scope" meaning the vendor wasn't contracted for the specific service but will provide it for an additional fee.  

Recently, a few articles have been circulating accusing the wedding industry of price gouging just because it is a wedding.  However, I think when it comes to fees it is more common in the service industry than most people realize.  Until you have planned a wedding, you just aren't aware of them and it can be a sense of sticker shock when you start seeing the numbers.  We recommend starting with your venue search and narrowing down your selection by first understanding these fees associated.  Work with your wedding planner to ensure that you have accounted for these in your budget! 

~ Happy Planning! ~

 

Northern California Wedding Planner | We Don't Do It For The Cake

If you have ever watched a movie that involved a wedding or a wedding planner, it is more than likely that the scene focuses on the pretentious couple or the crazy bridezilla moments.  Our favorite scenes are of the ultra glam wedding planners who snap their fingers and order people around (not.) Happy to say that in reality weddings are not that dramatic or stressful, we promise! 

Recently, our whole team was busy working on two beautiful weddings. Being that it was literally 110 degrees on Saturday you can probably imagine that we were not the picture perfect wedding planners.  We were sweating it out while getting the tables in place, the linens on the tables and the napkin folds just right.  

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We were also coordinating with a whole team of vendors who were not in ideal conditions either (the bar was in full sun, laptops were overheating, we needed to keep an eye on not blowing a fuse with running two massive fans) on top of the normal timelines we were managing.  The important part of above any set of challenges is that everyone comes together to ensure that everything is just as the couple envisions when they arrive to walk down the aisle.  

As a bride do you sometimes want to talk about your wedding, but don't want to bug your friends or wedding party? Do you have crazy obsessive thoughts about whether to have open or assigned seating?  Getting to work with couples through some of these questions and logistics is the fun part for us, plus we don't think your crazy for asking us "which blush color we like best!"

When we begin working with a couple we get to be invited into their lives, their love story and their closest circle.  Planning details that make a wedding day flow smoothly is not just to satisfy our obsession with a well organized day; it is about maximizing each element of that day which happens to go by super fast! 

We ask about details that seem super small at the time, but they help us anticipate our couple's needs and stay a few steps ahead. Communicating with the whole event team and sharing these key pieces of information keeps everyone on the same page. It also reduces the amount of questions that go to the couple in the weeks or days leading up to their event.  

Weddings are our jam, we will never tire of hearing emotional toasts, seeing tears in a proud parent's eyes, or the moment when the couple can let loose on the dance floor surrounded by their closest friends and family.  This is why we do what we do, we don't do it for the cake or for the pretty flowers (although we love both of those.)

Getting to keep in touch with our couples after their wedding is a pretty sweet bonus if you ask us, and seeing their milestones in life is the best. 

If you are newly engaged or finding that your wedding is coming up and are in need of some help to execute the details that you have planned, head over to our contact page to say hello!

~ Happy Planning!~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Taylor & Cory ~ White Ranch, Chico

The forecast weeks out had called for rain, but as just as Cory's father said in his toast during the beautiful reception "Cory is a lucky man." Take one glimpse at Taylor and that is easy to see, she was simply stunning in her gown and the way she looks at him says it all.  We love LOVE.  Photos by Bloom Portraiture 

Thank you to the vendor team who rocked, and made this day so beautiful! 

Venue: White Ranch Events 
Photographer: Bloom Portraiture
Caterer: Truck-a-roni
Florist: M Creations 
Cake: Mims Bakery
DJ: Elite Sound

Northern California Wedding Planner | StrongHold Ranch ~ Jessica & Chris Bagshaw

You know that feeling of having butterflies in your stomach? That is the feeling we had when we witnessed this incredible couple said "I do."

Chris and Jessica came to us in a frenzy due to a situation that pushed their planning process back. When we received a phone call from them, we immediately began tying loose ends to ensure that their wedding day would be the best day of their lives!

The best part about this scenario was that we had the opportunity to work with such a relaxed and amazing couple! It definitely makes this "job" much easier!  Their love speaks for itself in these gorgeous photos. 

Enjoy these gorgeous images taken by Rachel White Photography, based in Red Bluff California.

Venue: Stronghold Ranch in Redding California
Photography: Rachel White Photography
Florals: Mallery's Flowers
Catering and Rentals: Etched in Elegance
Cupcakes: Sublime Cake Design
Make-up: Makeup By Mayra
Event Management: The 530 Bride 
DJ: Netsound