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.  

the-530-bride_Northern-California-wedding-planner

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 over heating, 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
 

Northern California Wedding Planners | Feeling the Love

If you loved your wedding cake, or rocked the dance floor thanks to your awesome DJ then scream from the rooftops about how amazing it was. There are lots of tipping guides out there, but online reviews are the REAL gold for your wedding vendors!

Image via WeddingWire, Inc.

Image via WeddingWire, Inc.

Working in the service industry of creating events, we are excited each time we meet with a new couple who are ready to start planning their wedding.  Each time we sit down for a consult, we know that before the couple ever walked in the door they had a lot of options when it comes to choosing their wedding coordinator.  From seeing ads online, to the bridal shows and countless directories it can be overwhelming.  

We are blessed to have established great working relationships with vendors who refer couples to us for planning services because they know from experience that we work hard to make sure that each detail comes together just as the couple envisioned.  These word of mouth referrals as well as online reviews from our couples gives us the warm & fuzzies because it is truly amazing to know that we helped these couples get to experience their wedding day without the stress of doing it all themselves.

Choosing your wedding vendors is a very personal experience and you should make sure that you connect with them or get good vibes.  Price is important obviously, but at the end of the day the value is in your experience not how much you paid for these services.  Reading from other couples on what they loved about working with a vendor will help prospective couples get a glimpse on what to expect or what they could gain by hiring this vendor/service.  

We refer couples to vendors based on the experience that we have had with them, and also if their services and price point are in line with what the client is looking for.  We never take any type of fee or kickback for referring vendors, and if there are discounts for preferred vendors we pass them right on to our clients.  

So if you are reading this and are about to say I do, make sure you write yourself a reminder to share some notes on your favorite review sites like Yelp, Google Places, Wedding Wire, The Knot or even Facebook.  It will mean so much to your vendors and future couples will be thankful that you took the time as well!

~ Happy Planning~

Northern California Wedding Planner | The Secret About Your Wedding Vendors

You'll never guess what your wedding vendors are doing.  When you find out what is going on in the backend of wedding planning you might be surprised. 

Your wedding vendors are sharing information, timelines, rental lists, questions and ideas all to make sure your wedding is not only beautiful but seamless.  It might not be shocking per say, but over the last two years we have seen a big shift to collaboration and team-work; we couldn't be happier.  

We are happy to be a part of local groups like the Chico Wedding Collective!

We are happy to be a part of local groups like the Chico Wedding Collective!

A big catalyst for this change is the management and communication tool that is sweeping the event world called Honeybook.  This is where we can create a project (your wedding) and add vendors to a virtual workspace in order to share your details and communicate throughout the process.  You can login to your wedding and see the exchanges of emails and files among your vendors, they are working hard as a team!

aisleplanner dashboard

There are many great ways that technology has improved the planning process for couples, for example we use a virtual dashboard system for our couples to have 24/7 access to their timeline, budget, contracts and design boards.  We love interacting with our couples and being there every step of the way.  

What tools or systems have you started using to plan your wedding? Still a paper & pen kind of gal? That works too!

~ Happy Planning~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Is a "Day-of" Coordinator Right For You?

Okay to be fair, that was sort of a trick question because we actually believe that a "Day-of" Coordinator is a myth in the wedding world.  It isn't likely that someone hired just for the day would be able to navigate your wedding without being involved in your specific details ahead of the time, such as knowing what rentals you have coming, what specific tasks each vendor will be responsible for as well as executing a smooth order of events. 

This is why the term Event Management is used, as it is meant to encompass the short time leading up to your wedding (typically 4-6 weeks beforehand) where the final details are being buttoned up and its the perfect time to hand over those confirmation calls, timeline questions and hammer out the set-up details with a professional wedding planner.  

On The Day of Your Wedding, some typical Event Management tasks include:

  • Greet, direct and oversee vendors
  • Ceremony and reception site set up (chairs, floral decor, candles, favors, place cards etc)
  • Point of contact person for bride, Groom, bridal party
  • Direct rehearsal and ceremony
  • Seamlessly transition guests from one activity to the next.
  • Resolve any and all unforeseen hiccups
  • Distribute payment and gratuities for all vendors
  • Arrange for gifts, personal decor, leftover items to arrive at preselected location

Wondering if you need a little more support? If you were recently engaged or are still early on in your wedding planning, you may start feeling like you need some additional guidance through some of the decision making with your rentals or how many hours of coverage you need from your photographer, videographer, photobooth, etc.  Hiring a coordinator who offers partial planning gives you the additional support you need while still allowing you to be in the drivers seat along the way.

If you also need set-up and breakdown services to ensure that you don't have your family or friends stuck with packing in boxes or cleaning up tables at the end of the night, a partial or full service option may be a better fit for you. 

Schedule a complimentary consultation with a wedding planner to start discussing your specific needs and how you can best enjoy your wedding planning process!

~ Happy Planning!~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Create a Wedding Email to Stay Organized

Today we are sharing tips from one of our favorite 530 Bride-To-Be Contributors Kristina! Read on to see her recommendations on staying organized!

One of the best pieces of wedding planning advice I got from another bride, but unfortunately didn’t take was a simple one – create a wedding email and use it to stay organized from the get go. I think I gave myself a little too much credit about being able to stay organized throughout the wedding process. I’d create folders in my primary email. I didn’t want to forget to check that other email account. I’m always good about responding back to people right away. All lies.

The truth is that I am usually very organized, but wedding planning is its own monster entirely. Especially if you aren’t lucky enough to have a full-service wedding planner that will be spending the countless hours vetting the right vendors for you.

It takes time to research vendors, check referrals, read through reviews, fill out forms and wait to hear back. Then once you’ve started a dialogue it’s time to start the back and forth string of emails or phone calls about what you’re looking for in terms of services and learn what they offer. Next you have to negotiate pricing, set up face-to-face meetings, read through contracts and do your best to keep to your budget while filtering out any vendors early on that aren’t going to work so you don’t waste too much time talking with the wrong people.

I was four months into the planning process and backtracking to try and remember which photographers I need to follow up with, which DJs I still need to read reviews for, what items on our budget need to be adjusted to account for the quotes I’ve gotten back and so on… Sure I have a wedding email folder and a bunch of starred, color-coded and flagged emails but I can’t remember why I marked them and it’s all mixed in with my everyday emails that keep multiplying.

If that chaos wasn’t enough to encourage you to create a wedding email, then do so because of all of the wedding-related spam you’ll receive. It’s inevitable that you’ll end up on a wedding-related mailing list at some point and having a separate email will keep those promotional emails from crowding your regular email account.

Here are 5 example situations where having a wedding email will help with wedding planning:

1.       Wedding Expos & Bridal Shows

Expos and bridal shows can be overwhelming for any bride-to-be because each vendor will attempt to attract you to their booth so they can sell you on their services. If you’re armed with a wedding email, sign up to receive their information after the expo when you can read the email from the comfort of your couch and can actually digest all of the information on their services without other distractions. You can also ask for a business card or brochure and contact them afterwards when you have more time using your new wedding email.

2.       Wedding Planning Websites

There are several wedding planning websites out there and each one will require you to set up an account using an email. If you create an account using your wedding email then you can be sure any notifications related to your wedding website are all centralized in the same email account and any promotional email lists you may end up on won’t cause your regular email account to get bombarded.

3.       Bridal Shops & Party Supply Stores

Signing up for discounts, sale alerts and wedding giveaways can be a great way to save money on wedding items. Usually a store will require you to give them an email so that they can track you as a customer and send you marketing information. If you use your wedding email you can benefit from the bargains while at the same time keeping your regular email account spam free.

4.       Invitation Design Websites

If you’re planning to design your own invitations or at least use templates found online, you’ll most likely have to save your drafts into an account no matter which website you use. Use your wedding email to create an account so you can save your favorite styles, draft invitation samples with the details for your special day, and have proofs emailed to you to test print.

5.       Vendor Contact Forms

Use a wedding email when filing out online forms for potential vendors. This way when they respond back you can keep track of all the quotes you receive and easily compare their packages and pricing in one email account. Then in use category systems like folders, stars, flags, etc… to categorize vendors by type, potential and who you need to get back to.

Even if you’re like me and starting wedding planning without having a designated wedding email, it’s never too late to get organized. Create the email now and start to respond back to your current and potential vendors using this new email. Let them know that you’d like all future communication directed to this new email, and trust me, it will be so much easier to keep track of all your wedding-related communications from here on out.

Wedding wishes and celebratory cheers!

Kristina Nobriga // A 530 Bride-To-Be Contributor 

*Our Bride-To-Be Kristina is now married! All of her planning tips and experiences were spot on, and we couldn't be happier for her and Mark! 

Northern California Wedding Planner | Creating Your Vendor Team

In the movies wedding planning sure looks glamorous! We won't lie there are some pretty great perks to being a wedding planner like being able to witness so many beautiful wedding days, surrounded by lovely florals and decor.  With that being said, the point we want to hit home is that no one vendor is solely capable of executing the logistics of a wedding day.  We are absolutely a team and we rely on other professionals to be experts at their craft.  We are sharing a handy guide on venue and vendor selection, so make sure to grab your free PDF.

creating-your-vendor-team_The530Bride

Today we met with wedding vendors who each blew us away with their incredible passion for their profession and for serving couples.  A florist who can take a few inspiration photos and pull pieces that took the design to the next level and made the bride so excited about her upcoming wedding she was instantly glowing.  Later in the afternoon we met with a DJ who gave great advice about the floor plan and had excellent song recommendations to help the couple capture the energy and essence of their relationship into their reception.  While every wedding is unique, there are common practices for weddings and large events that are important to not only keep the event running smooth but to also enhance the couple's experience with their guests.

Wedding budgets can be tricky and understandably it is tempting to want to start cutting costs or to reach out to friends and family who have various connections or interests in related fields.  Personally, if I could give one piece of advice to couples it would be to hire professionals across the board.  While aunt Linda bakes excellent cakes for birthdays and family reunions, taking on your wedding cake is another ball game!

So what goes on behind the scenes amongst vendors? How do they communicate and who gets to decide what is happening when? Well first off, you are the client and can decide when you want to cut the cake! Aside from those details, the main goal is to make the most of your day (it goes by so fast!)  Our preference is to help couple's curate their vendor team based on budget and style preferences but often for event management and partial planning packages the majority of the vendors have already been selected.

When we communicate with your vendors we start to gather details like how many hours of service they are providing, when they will set-up/break-down and any needs they have from us.  From a wedding planner standpoint, I like to start with the photographer's timeline first based on the hours of coverage and where the bride will be getting ready.  Then if the photographer's assistant or (second shooter) is able to capture the groom and groomsmen portraits we build that in as well.  Once we have designated the coverage and ensured that you will get everything that you need covered such as getting ready shots, first look photos, all the way through bouquet & garter if you are opting for those.

For the most part we very rarely have major changes to make on the timeline, but once the timeline has been reviewed by the couple, photo & video team, hair and make-up, caterer and florist we can pass it along to the remaining vendors.  Now, if couples are using a family member or friend I will also call them and go over the timeline to ensure they understand the expectations.  By not voicing your specific needs to your friend or family member even if they are gifting their services, it can easily lead to miscommunication or disappointment if outcome wasn't what you expected.  

Every couple's priorities are different as far as where they want to allocate their budget. For example, If creating an incredible dining experience for your guests is the top of your list you should start with a full service catering who can staff and execute the event to your standard and discuss venue options that are suitable for this experience.  

Make sure to download our free vendor and venue selection guide, this handy PDF is a great starting point. 

~ Happy Planning~

Northern California Wedding Planner | How to Plan Your Bar Menu

We have all been a wedding guest at some point or another right? In between snacking during cocktail hour and grabbing a slice of cake most guests wouldn't think about the logistics that went into ordering wine and beer for the open bar they are enjoying.  That's the art behind a well planned event, you aren't running out of ice or cups and you certainly aren't out of the white zin that everyone is loving! 

How-to-plan-your-bar

Planning your bar menu is more than just what you will serve, but also about the quantities of each that you will order.  How do you figure out how much red, how much white or how many kegs? Here are the tips we share with our clients and hope you find helpful:

1.  Consider the setting
Many venues have specific rules about hard alcohol or prohibit serving hard alcohol all together, double check your contract before stocking the bar of course! For a summer outdoor wedding you may want to pair more of the chilled and sparkling wines, or plan a few refreshing signature drinks in lieu of a full wine or cocktail menu.  Not only will it keep your guests cooler but it will also keep your bar costs down because you are only buying mixers/ingredients for two signature drinks for example vs a full bar or extensive wine list.  Make sure to plan on getting plenty of ice to keep the kegs and drinks nice and cold! Non-alcoholic beverage station with water, iced teas, lemonade etc will also give your guests more options and keep them hydrated.

2. You know your guests
While your caterer or bar service provider may know a lot about hosting events, you know your group better than anyone.  If these folks are beer drinkers you have to take that into consideration when deciding on how many kegs or cases of beer you will need and how many bottles of wine you will need.  

3. Size Matters
If you are trying to get an accurate estimate on how many servings are in a keg or wine bottle etc you should make sure that you know what cups you will be using to serve the guests.  For example, if you bought personalized 16oz cups off of Etsy, you are using a cup that is considered oversized. 

http://www.dummies.com/food-drink/drinks/beer/buying-beer-in-kegs/

http://www.dummies.com/food-drink/drinks/beer/buying-beer-in-kegs/

4.  Budget
Hosting a wedding or any large event is expensive, plan smart and focus on the essentials.  Here are a few helpful calculators to ensure that you don't overshoot and purchase more alcohol than you need.  If your venue or caterer is providing the alcohol, you will need to set a budget with them to determine the amount that you will be comfortable with hosting.  For example if the country club has a $1200 bar minimum you would have a hosted bar up until that dollar amount, after that it would be become a "no-host bar" and guests would pay for their drinks.  Many couples opt for no-host cocktails which means that your guests can get beer and wine but would pay for their own cocktails.  Make sure to ask about corkage fees as well, these add up!

If you are providing your own alcohol, you can look for deals from Bevmo or World Market for deals or even your local grocery store may offer specials.  Costco often has great pricing for large magnum bottles as well.   How much alcohol do you need? Here is a handy (free) calculator:

http://www.thealcoholcalculator.com/

http://www.thealcoholcalculator.com/

We strongly advise asking for help from your vendor team so that you aren't stressing over how many bottles and servings you need the week of your wedding! Have questions? We are happy to help just shoot us a message on our contact page. 
 

 ~ Happy Planning!

Mmmm Monday cake alternatives | The 530 Bride

To cake or not to cake?

Weddings are a celebration of two people joining their lives together, and typically we celebrate this union with cake but what if these two people don't like cake? How can these two people come together without cake you ask? Lots of ways!  

Cake Alternatives
 

Mini-pie-pops
Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest 

Image via Pinterest 


From Macarons, donuts and even cananolis will keep guests on their toes while still satisfying their sweet tooth! Even a traditional wedding can feature a non-traditional wedding cake alternative!

Happy Planning!

donut-dessert
Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Northern California Wedding Planner | The Elite Wedding Team

As a wedding planner, we know that it takes a team of professional vendors to execute a seamless and truly memorable wedding experience.  Over the years we have worked with so many different types of wedding vendors from venues, DJs, florists, bands, bakers, caterers, bartenders etc and have learned that the service level can vary greatly depending on experience and skill.  Many times couples find vendors based on cost and book the first provider they meet with if the numbers are right.  While budget is a very real aspect of planning your wedding, it should only be a partial consideration when choosing your vendor team.  Why? Because the budget won't matter if the provider you book is not up to the task that you hired them for.  

This is why you will hear terms like "preferred vendors" from venues and wedding vendors.  When you find others that you work well with and you can stand by their referral, its a win-win.  We are excited to have joined with an amazing team of vendors who really are focused on providing quality services and experiences for their couples.   

The Elite Wedding Team is a collection of professional wedding vendors in the Chico/Butte Area who are curated and screened to ensure that each have 5 out 5 star ratings on Wedding Wire and Yelp from couples who loved their wedding experience. 

We do work with outside vendors of course, but we are happy to direct couples to the EWT when they are looking to secure their wedding vendors.  If you have questions or want to learn more please feel free to check out the Elite Wedding Team's website!
 

~ Happy Planning!~

Northern California Wedding Planner | 4 Reasons WHY you should focus more on your wedding music

Music is everywhere. In malls, in restaurants, and even in hair salons! Have you ever wondered why? Music sets the tone or attitude of your experience.  Have you ever been in the movie theatre and the music starts during the opening scene, you just know it is going to be good.  From the prelude music that guests hear when they arrive, to the very last song think of your music playlist as the soundtrack to your wedding day. 

At a wedding, it's crucial to not only have a solid playlist selected for your entire ceremony & reception, but it is also important to choose the right DJ. This could make or break your special day, but don't you worry, we've got you covered!

These folks held the dance floor down and danced the night away, you can tell from this group shot by Bill Payne Photography that The Chico Wedding DJ rocked the house and everyone had a great time! 

These folks held the dance floor down and danced the night away, you can tell from this group shot by Bill Payne Photography that The Chico Wedding DJ rocked the house and everyone had a great time! 

Here are the top 4 reasons WHY it's so important to put great care into your music playlist:

1. Technical Difficulties are Awkward. 

Although the attention is obviously on the bride and groom, the music leading up to this special moment is crucial. A well rehearsed ceremony is only as good as the music that plays as the wedding processional makes their way down the aisle. Awkward silence or other technical difficulties like the music cutting out when 100 or more of your friends and family are all in one spot in the weltering heat... See what I mean? Make sure to have your processional music ready, and of course your recessional playlist ready as well, to make sure uncle Tom doesn't get too uncomfortable.

2. Hire a Professional

You have prepared vows from the heart, and your maid of honor is planning to rap her own rendition of baby got back during her toast.  You need a sound system and a well timed playlist that corresponds with your the order of events.  Your wedding planner and DJ along with your vendor team work together to ensure that everything flows smoothly.  Your guests look to your DJ for communication of what is happening next. We also love a DJ who can read the crowd and play songs that get everyone out of their seats! Many DJ's have additional services like dance floors, uplighting, monogram/"Gobos" and more.

3. Lasting Vibes

After the wedding for years to come, your friends and family will remember certain aspects like great food and closing out the dance floor because the DJ was killing it, or, one of the least memorable because there wasn't a good selection. Even though it's YOUR big day, entertaining your guests is important too. Live bands or wedding singers always add a nice touch too!

4. Represent Yourself.

During the ceremony especially, the music that is being played is the music that means the most to you. This can also be said for the formal dances. Be sure to think about what songs mean the most to you, and use them to capture memorable moments on your special day.

Guests that have fun on the dance floor will talk about your wedding until... well, forever! Make these moments great for not only yourself, but the ones that showed up on this special day.

We are happy to help you find the professional vendor team for your wedding to make sure you rock the house and have an amazing time.  Hop over to our services page to learn more!

Happy Planning!

Northern California Wedding Planner | Tips for Staying Organized

Pinterest and Instagram are only showing you the pretty, tidy photos but let's be real.  Life is busy & messy, and no one is perfect.  The best way to keep your hectic days together and stay on top of all of the to-do lists is to find a system that works for you.  Some of us are visual, while others really thrive with checklists or bullet point journals.  As wedding planners we get to be involved in our clients lives and understand just how busy their schedules are.  Here are a few tips to get your organization rolling:

staying-organized

 

Track your goals 

At the beginning of each week, choose anywhere from 1-3 goals to start with and write them down! These don't have to be earth shattering or life altering goals, heck just start with easy ones like organizing your sock drawer! Then when you have accomplished one of your goals, acknowledge it and move to the next goal.  If you feel like you are getting stuck on one goal in particular try to document the specific issues that are holding you back, maybe its that you need to take a break from it and come back or that you need to break the task down into separate smaller tasks.

Aisle Planner Dashboard

Visualize your progress

When it comes to wedding planning, we love that our clients get the best of both worlds when they log into their personal dashboard.  Not only do they get to see a progress bar moving ever closer to 100% but there are checklists, budget trackers and a beautiful style guide to keep all of the details organized.  Aisle Planner is where we house all of our wedding client's information and we love how streamlined our planning process is from start to finish!

Take time for yourself 

Make sure to allow yourself time for personal care (exercise, sleep well and hydrate!) and enjoying all of the activities you loved before you began your wedding planning journey. 

~ Happy Planning!~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Meet Your Wedding Vendors ~ Diane Nicole Photography Spotlight

We are so excited feature Diane Clifford of Diane Nicole Photography today because not only is she a fantastic photographer she is super sweet and we adore her laugh! When choosing your photographer for your wedding it is so important to take time to get to know them and their personality, after all you will spend the majority of your wedding day with them so you want to make sure you click! Here is a our little Q+A session with Diane!

What inspired you to become a photographer, how did you get started?
Diane: I really enjoy everything about weddings, the happy gathering of people and all that love bouncing around everywhere through out the day. I can’t get enough of that feeling. 

I also cherish my clients so much. I have been so lucky to meet some incredible people and honored to be involved in such an intimate part of their lives. Every one of the weddings I photograph is so special and I enjoy offering my services. 

I don’t see myself doing anything else but be a professional photographer, it feeds my creative side and nourishes my soul. I am so happy I get to do this for a living, don’t be fooled though, I have put in years of blood sweat and tears, thousands of hours behind a computer and believe it of not solo time is abundant part of my job. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

If you could give one tip to couples before their engagement session, what would it be?
Wardrobe, wardrobe wardrobe! I cannot express enough to my couples that these images are going to be on the special list along with your wedding day romantics. And more times than not it is their first professional images taken together as a couple. Also, more than likely these images get used as a “save the date” and become heirlooms framed on the walls of their homes.

 Your wardrobe shouldn’t be just your everyday wear, it should be special, because the session is special and honestly the images will either shine or just look like your everyday photo that mom or dad could have taken of them. 

 Make it unique like you are, have fun and get dressed up. Couples will be so happy they did and to top it off since everyone is looking snazzy why not make it a date night right?!

Engagement (3 of 3).jpg

First looks are quickly becoming a trend, what is your take on it?
First looks or waiting to see your partner for the first time at the altar really depends on the couple and what they want to experience on their wedding day. The timeline is another factor as well. There are pros and cons to both so I try and educate them and see what is most important to the couple. 

I think the main benefit for having a first look is to ease the nerves for the couple. Weddings can be very nerve racking for those that aren’t used to being in the limelight and this gives people a quite moment before being in front of a crowd. This can be really important for some people who want to have this time to enjoy seeing each other for the first time and soak up the moment for just themselves. If their timeline allows it, this is also a good time to have their romantic session photographed and helps with that long wait time for guests after the ceremony. You know that cocktail hour where the guests are waiting for the bride and groom to get back to their guests from taking pictures? You never know sometimes how long photographs might take, even with a timeline, and those romantic shots are the money shots in my opinion. You really don’t want to cut that short in any way.

Now me personally, I’m a sucker for that built up moment of seeing your future partner for the first time and all the emotions that come with it. It really can be an incredible experience for the couple and all the guests and family to share in as well. 

Depending on what time couples have their ceremonies would also be an indication of what to decide. If it’s an earlier time then the timeline allows for those pictures to be taken after the ceremony. If it’s later in the day then doing a first look is something to consider, but it is completely up to the couples and I am more than happy to photograph whatever they decide.

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Do you recommend that couple’s purchase a physical wedding album? 
I absolutely 100% recommend albums! I think having images in print form is incomparable to a USB drive or a computer disk.

I know we live in this digital era right now and for a while I actually did not even offer anything but disk’s (ugh I know dinosaur items) and USB drives.  I realized how impersonal that is and how much the client was missing out the full experience of seeing their wedding day come back to life for them. 

Having a gallery online is great to be able to share with friends and family, I do agree with that, but what people don’t realize is how obsolete that will be in the next few years. I don’t know about you but I don’t go back and look at pictures I posted on face book over a week ago, unless I made an album of them or something, and even then I know that I would be the only one going to look at those. Not anyone else. Grandparents and even some parents don’t even know how to use Facebook or are computer savvy to look at a wedding online either.  Disks are becoming out dated and USB drives will eventually too. But a printed album will NEVER be outdated.  I’ve seen how couples react to holding their wedding album and turning the pages and reliving the wedding day, totally absorbed in the memories, it’s an incredible thing to watch.  

An album is an heirloom that can be handed down from generation to generation unlike a USB drive.

What would say you to couple’s who are still deciding on how many hours of coverage to book for their wedding day?
By the time people come to me to talk about working together a lot of the details haven’t been figured out yet. The timeline is a bit in the air, such as getting hair and makeup appointments set or when the caterer is going to show up and so forth. What seems to be the normal in most consultations is suggesting my starting time of 7 hours and go from there. Through experience I know on average I’ll be able to capture most of the story of they day and when they get a little closer to gathering information with their other vendors we tend to adjust the amount of time they need or want me to be photograph.

Obviously we are obsessed with your wedding portfolio, do you shoot other styles of photography (glamour, boudoir etc) 
I have a portrait studio that focuses on modern portraiture. It includes Female Contemporary portrait (glamour photography in a sense) boudoir, maternity, high school seniors and self-branding (marketing and headshot portraits) And if the shoe fits I get clients that want to do a creative session which I love! I recently photographed a client in a bed of flowers and it looks like an image out of a fashion magazine! It takes portraits to the next level and lets me create a magazine styled photo shoot for them. Hair and make-up is included in the session and we go over wardrobe, it’s so much fun and the images turn Vanity Fair style gorgeous!

Do you travel for weddings? And Lastly, Are there any dream locations that are on your bucket list?

I do travel for weddings! I have been up and down California and even back to my home away from home in Florida to photograph weddings. I love being able to travel and experience new locations and venues. I’m a sucker for beachy boho weddings and would absolutely love to photograph weddings in places like Hawaii, Bali or Indonesia. Actually any beach honestly I just love any reason to get to the ocean.

I do have a little bit of a life change coming my way this year with welcoming my baby girl into the world in May. I have decided not to take weddings out of the Northern California area this year and a few for next year. But I plan on picking up what comes my way eventually again. I love my job and I don’t plan on slowing down.

You can connect with Diane by visiting her website or following her beautiful Instagram account at @dianenicolephoto

Northern California Wedding planner | Money saving tips for your ceremony

A lot of thought and energy goes into creating a beautiful ceremony as it symbolizes your commitment to each other.  When you begin your design concept for your ceremony we encourage couples to find decor items or floral arrangements that are not only complimentary to the reception design but that can also be easily relocated to other areas of their wedding.  

Here are some of our top tips on how to use your beautiful ceremony flowers, arches, shepherd hooks, and even the aisle runner at your reception.

1) Altar Decor
How do you envision your ceremony altar? By creating a focal point at the Altar you will draw your guests eyes front and center even before you walk down the aisle.  Large stands, columns, or wood stumps/rounds of varying heights are the perfect way to display large floral arrangements that can be moved to your reception location (On or next to the buffet, framing the dessert table, bar etc).

 

2) Vases With Flowers
Vases full of gorgeous flowers can be a bit pricy, so why not put these gorgeous statement pieces next to, or on top of your dessert table, or near your photobooth? Depending on how large the vases are, this can create an entirely different, yet beautiful ambience at your reception! 

3) Shepherd Hooks
Your aisle pieces, such as shepherd hooks with mason jars, can be utilized as an entry way into your reception venue. This can, not only look absolutely stunning, but it will ensure that your guests know exactly where to go fro the reception! Win-Win!

4) Aisle Runner
Usually aisle runners are pretty wide, but your wedding planner can fix that! You can use it on the dessert table, or as another entry piece as people walk into the reception. If you are having more of a rustic wedding, burlap can also be cut and be used as more decor! 

Using pieces from your ceremony will not only save you money, but it will also ensure that your entire wedding is cohesive, and look seamlessly put together.

~Happy Planning~