Northern California Wedding Planner | The Design Process

We’ve been meeting with a lot of amazing engaged couples who are interested in learning more about the design process and how a wedding planner can help. These days with Pinterest and Instagram, couples can feel overloaded with designs and it can be difficult to hone in on the right aesthetic for their day. Afterall, a wedding you see on Pinterest in an entirely different setting, time of year, and budget might not align with what works for you in your specific wedding venue space.

Photo by  Diane Nicole Photography , showroom featured WeDo Designs

Photo by Diane Nicole Photography, showroom featured WeDo Designs

First things first, let’s chat about how you want your day to feel. What do you want your guests to experience and what do you want your memories of your day to be? If the custom menu cards and extensive signage details are important to you then we would shift to looking to create a very cohesive approach to your wedding. On the other-hand if you are focused on the lighting, food & entertainment to drive the guest experience then we would allocate more of your budget to making the guest experience more focal to what they will be interacting with.

We all love pretty wedding details, and it is always a great idea to start narrowing down the colors that you want to incorporate into your design. A spring or fall wedding can look very different for each wedding so we really want to pull together a palette that feels just right.

Photo by  Diane Nicole Photography , showroom featured WeDo Designs

Photo by Diane Nicole Photography, showroom featured WeDo Designs

Then we take inspiration from your Pinterest and source local items to give you a similar look but still customizing to your wedding. We’ll attend a design meeting with you to go over rentals & decor items and then put together a mock table set-up. Once the mock table set-up is approved we move on to creating your site plan, in certain settings where space is limited we want to double check that we are utilizing the space and creating a great flow for guests.

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As we get closer we can adjust with changes and update your design details, then we’ll work with all of your vendors to ensure that no detail is missed!

Do you have questions about the design process? If you are feeling like you could use a little more help with pulling your design together while staying on budget, be sure to reach out to us and we would be happy to chat!

~ Happy Planning!

Northern California Wedding Planner | Can you do it all?

When I talk to couples about planning their wedding there can be a lot of elements that they feel confident about doing on their own. It’s understandable to want to cut costs, and to want to feel connected to the details of your wedding. What some clients don’t realize is that you are going to have a lot on your plate in the weeks leading up to your wedding so you aren’t able to approach these projects with a lot of free time.

Photo: Grace Aston Photography

Photo: Grace Aston Photography

Even when you have an open schedule, you won’t be able to solve the age-old problem of being in two places at once. We find the most stressful situations that we hear about are when the couple has booked a venue for one day and have 12 to 15 hours total to bring in all of the decor, set-up - hold the event and then break down.

The reason we have our Wedding Management package is to help couples tie up these loose ends and organize some of these elements so that our team can handle placing the details and fine tuning everything while the couple enjoys getting ready with their wedding party or family. They get to walk down the aisle and look around at their venue with all of their special people surrounding them and not worry if everything is ready for cocktail hour and the reception.

So if you are considering doing some of the work yourself, here are some do’s and don’t’s:

Projects that you can tackle early on such as collecting the centerpiece vessels (wood boxes, vases, vintage books, lanterns, jars, etc) that you can take to your florist to use for the arrangements, or creating cute signs & photo prints that you want to place around your venue to personalize your space —> Yes!

Intricate details that need to be assembled on the day of your wedding at each of the 150+ place settings —> No!

Seating charts and escort cards when your guest count is finalized two weeks out —> Yes!

Anything that can melt or wilt (flowers, cake, desserts, bags of ice) etc —> No!

Custom sign-in books, welcome table signs, keepsakes and other handmade items —> Yes!

Cleaning-up/Breaking down the tables, chairs, linens, rentals and garbage on your wedding night —> No!

To learn more about how we can help you have a stress-free wedding day, we can get started with a complimentary consultation!

~ Happy Planning!

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Northern California Wedding Planner | Newly Engaged - Top F.A.Q's

If you’re secretly reading this at work while your boss is away - we get it, the excitement of being engaged is sort of distracting so you are starting to try to get the ball rolling with your wedding plans. We’re going to cruise through the top frequently asked questions from newly engaged couples!

One of our favorite engagement sessions by Matthew Lim Photography check out the full  blog post

One of our favorite engagement sessions by Matthew Lim Photography check out the full blog post

How do we choose a wedding venue?

If you read a few of our posts here, you’ll quickly see a pattern of us recommending to determine your budget before booking your wedding venue. Okay, we know budget isn’t a fun topic right off the bat but trust us when we say how important it is because it will determine how much you can spend in other areas of your wedding such as food, alcohol and entertainment. Comparing amenities and the amount of access you will have to the space is another important factor, a local wedding planner can help you easily compare and narrow down the search. Lastly, sometimes the venue search simply comes down to just knowing how you feel when you’re onsite. Hop over to Butte County Weddings for a list of venues!

What’s the average wedding cost?

This question is a little harder to answer because there can be so many factors from the size of the guest count, time of year, style of the wedding, food & alcohol etc. However you can read these posts about budget breakdowns: Service Fees // Alcohol Budget // Catering Budget

Do we really need a DJ/Emcee?

A DJ or a band with an emcee will make a huge difference in guest experience because they will have an idea of what is happening next, and the DJ will be able to interact & read the crowd on what music is keeping everyone on the dance floor. Now, if your wedding is 20 guests enjoying a 5 course meal in a more intimate setting you may be able to find a more suitable music solution such as an acoustic musician if dancing isn’t the main focus.

It feels like there is so much to do, where do we start?

It can definitely feel overwhelming when there is so much noise, from Pinterest and Instagram to wedding websites giving you the daily countdown.. but understanding what is a priority to you as a couple comes first. We’d say that meeting with a wedding planner for a no-obligation consultation right from the start can help you get a sense of the local wedding scene and we can speak from experience that we are always happy to point you in the right direction even if you decide that you want to do the bulk of the initial planning yourself.

Remember, this is a fun & happy occasion so stay true to yourself and to your partner during the planning process. Life does go on after a wedding but our focus is to help you make the most of this amazing chapter in your lives!

~ Happy Planning!

Northern California Wedding Planner | Planning Your Wedding During a Disaster

A week ago today, the world as our little community knew it changed. The amount of loss in from the #campfire is devastating, and unprecedented. With each press briefing and community meeting we learn more details and updated numbers of lives lost, and damaged homes and structures. Our couples, “friendors”, neighbors and friends all are touched by this fire and our own experience of being evacuated was surreal in itself.

While we are working to assist our couples who are affected, and offer support to vendors who have lost their homes or businesses we also want to offer support to couples who aren’t sure how to proceed. Who can you talk to about your wedding plans in a time like this, when everyone around you is in disaster mode? We are here for you with a shoulder, an ear, and a clip board of to-do lists on how we can help you.

Maybe originally you felt that you could plan your wedding with family and friends but now feel like you aren’t sure what life around you will look like a few months from now or even a year. Please give us a call and let us know your situation, as many venues and vendors have offered to help couples with making changes to their existing plans or easing the process for those going forward.

Planning a wedding is an exciting time, one that you want to share with your friends and family and we still want you to be able to have that amazing day!

Northern California Wedding Planner | The Pressures of Planning

When it comes to wedding planning, there is no shortage of excitement but it also brings unsolicited advice and a lot of opinions. If you are feeling the weight on your shoulders, this post is for you.

Photo by Morgan Chantelle Photography

Photo by Morgan Chantelle Photography

Plain and simple, it can be hard to please everyone all the time, at some point you may even hurt some feelings along the way. Trying to have every girl you’ve been friends with since second grade in your bridal party will only cause more headaches down the road, so keeping your bridal party super close knit is probably best!

Aside from hurting feelings, could wedding planning hurt your relationship? What if you are bickering about the smallest details like which flatware style to rent or what style limo you want to book.. yes these are among some of the decisions you need to make but try to take a step back and consider what you will actually remember or care about on your wedding day.

As wedding planners we get to know so many different couples and no matter if they have been highschool sweethearts going on 10 years or a shorter engagement; we know that making all of these decisions and trying to stay under budget can add stress to your relationship. What is important is that from day one of planning you set a realistic budget that you both are comfortable with and agree to communicate about the costs. This will help ease both of your minds and reduce the financial pressure even if it means cutting back on some of those wish-list items.

If you feel like wedding planning has opened up concerns in other areas of your relationship, seek advice and be willing to open up so that you don’t carry forward any resentment or stress post-nuptials! A healthy marriage takes a lot of forgiveness, trust, communication and understanding so try to apply these principles in your planning process and just remember that a wedding day comes and goes - but your marriage needs to always come first.

~ Happy Planning!

Northern California Wedding Planner | Wedding Day Roles & Responsibilities

So who does what on your wedding day?  This can be confusing, and sometimes you just don't know what needs to be done in the first place..read on for just 5 of the many roles that are essential for a seamless wedding day!

It's scientifically proven that you can't be in two places at once so how can you reduce the stress of making sure that everything is done according to plan on your wedding day? This question should be considered long before you hire your wedding vendors, because if you select a venue, caterer or rental company who does not set-up the tables & chairs or handle any of the labor - you'll need a small army to take on the task.  Want the short version? -- > Meet with a wedding planner who can help you book full service professionals! 

1) Tables and chairs - This is one that seems to sneak up on people because you may have only considered that you need 150 chairs for your guest count, but will you need to rent two sets (ceremony + reception) or have one set that needs to be moved over during cocktail hour? Table set-up is straightforward in theory but you do want to ensure that all of the tables are spaced evenly and leave enough room for chairs/guest movement. A full service caterer is well equipped with an efficient staff to handle the set-up and break-down of tables, chairs and food service areas for your event. 

2) Centerpieces & Decor - We love when couples personalize their wedding by incorporating design elements that are authentic to them as well as photos and signage. As wedding planners we assist with overseeing the placement of your rentals and putting the final touches & personal decor together for your welcome table, ceremony area, guest tables etc. 
Tip: Try to hold back the temptation to go crazy on Etsy, Amazon, Pinterest and other rabbit holes so that you won't need a U-Haul just for all of your decor.  We recommend finding focal points that have an impact and being conservative with extra items - sometimes less is more! 

3) Guest tables - You probably have an idea where we are going with this by now - but it is imperative that you have a catering staff on board who is prepared with the correct event details, brings adequate staffing, and will handle bussing/clearing plates & garbage etc.  Don't get left with plates piled high at your guest tables and dishes to wash for 150 guests, that's not cool.

4) Pop Fizz Clink - Thinking of your wedding has you reaching for the champagne bottle - but hold that thought! What will your guests be drinking out of (glassware or disposables?) and who will be providing/delivering/stocking/serving and last but not least - cleaning up your bar? 
Be sure to double check with your venue about required license/insurance requirements for the bartender

5) Order of events - A wedding day goes by so fast and there is only so much lighting to go around, having an organized timeline including all of the photos that you are planning to incorporate is important.  Your wedding planner and photographer will work together on the timeline details along with your DJ and caterer to ensure that everyone is on the same page.  Your wedding planner will be there to cue each element (ceremony processional, wedding party introductions, toasts etc) while your DJ will be the emcee to keep guests informed throughout the evening. 

We hope these 5 wedding day responsibilities are helpful for you, and that you have a rockstar team to handle the details! If you have questions about tasks or need more information to organize your vendors feel free to reach out or leave a comment below! 
~ Happy Planning!~ 

Northern California Wedding Planner | Logistic's For The Win

We've all heard that old saying - "practice makes perfect;" well when it comes to weddings we think it is the logistics that save the day! 

When you book your wedding venue or even when planning a wedding in your own back yard, you are taking a canvas and filling it with tables, chairs, DJ equipment, dance floor, buffet tables, a bar and much more.  Then the task becomes designing the space so that it is not only beautiful, but so that it is nice and open - no bottle necks of traffic at the bar or the buffet line and that everyone can see the events going on throughout the evening.  

Adding tools, features and resources to our planning packages not only improves efficiency on the backend but we know it gives couples the extra reassurance that all of the details are being managed.  When we sit down with our full service and design clients we are able to build the experience with them from day one!

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This process takes vision, and critical thinking skills because we aren't always working with a cookie cutter space.  We also have to consider power supply, lighting, level ground and the logistics for catering to prep and serve the food.  Sometimes we sketch the space and give an outline of the set-up after walking through the space, and getting to hear more about your vision.  Then we can apply these sketches and the couple's wish into a more detailed floor plan design that we can share with all of the vendors ahead of time. 

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Need to figure out how many extra uplights to add on with your DJ? Let's see those lights in action and plan out your space accordingly.  Visualize where the guests will be when the reception is underway!

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Aside from the planning of the space we also build your timeline so that you can make the most of your day.  We don't want to waste any precious moments due to something that could be prevented such as transportation problems, lighting or venue access.  

Our couples can log into their planning dashboard and have 24/7 access to their timeline, guest list, budget, design studio and planning checklist among many other helpful tools!

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When your guest count changes so does your rental order, catering invoice, floor plan and transportation schedule.  Having a wedding planner on board to communicate with all of the event partners you have booked will save you time and ultimately give you a smoother wedding experience overall.  

Are you considering hiring a wedding planner for your special day? We would love to learn more about your vision and help you create the logistics to make it all happen!

~ Happy Planning! ~ 

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Northern California Wedding Planner | Ceremony Planning Tips

To have and to hold..

Photo by Daffodilhill Photography 

Photo by Daffodilhill Photography 

So much planning goes into this day, from the people you invite to the details on the tables.  It is one day where you get to celebrate this amazing commitment you are about to make to the love of your life!

We know that the ceremony doesn't get as much glamour as the reception details but we've gotta say the weddings that emphasized the ceremony details are the ones who have really stuck out in our minds over the years.  Personalized vows and words from the heart gives your guests a glimpse into all the ways the universe brought you two together.  

Cambria and Tyler had their ceremony at Bidwell Presbyterian church and their pastors shared testimony of how amazing these two people are, and what amazing things they will do together in life.  There were beautiful hymns and prayers, and sitting in the pews surrounded by their loved ones was pretty powerful. 

Photo by Morgan Chantelle Photography

Photo by Morgan Chantelle Photography

Rose and Harry had seven friends each read a blessing or special words for the couple and it showed how they valued their core group who have cheered them on over the years while their relationship grew.  Their ceremony was officiated by a close friend who gave an emotional testimony about how this couple had already been demonstrating the commitment and unconditional love that marriage requires.  {Photo by Essence Photography via Instagram}

This past weekend at Highland Ranch Resort, Kristin and Greg had us in tears as they read aloud their vows.  It was as if they had invited us all into their thoughts and into their hearts to share all of the moments they felt throughout their relationship that "this was the one."  Greg shared notes that he had kept in a journal ever since he met Kristin, words that he had never told Kristin like how he felt after their first date and when he knew he was going to ask her to marry him.  It was special and so meaningful to see how much thought they had put into the ceremony. {Photo by Daffodilhill Photography via Instagram}

If you're working on your ceremony details and feel like there is no way you could share personalized vows while balling like a baby at the altar, consider writing some short notes that the officiant could read aloud.   Or consider reading your vows/letters to each other during your first look or newlywed photos with just your photographer/videographer..talk about keepsake moments!

Stuck on how to plan your ceremony processional or what to say? Download our ceremony processional planner for more resources or shoot us a message to schedule a complimentary consultation! 
~ Happy Planning! ~

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Northern California Wedding Planner | Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

Hey there Spring! It's been an exciting last few weeks of wedding prep for our spring weddings and now that we are in full on wedding mode we also have planning sessions for our fall 2018 weddings and our 2019 couples.  So what that means is we are working on finding the perfect event partners for our couples from caterers, florists, bakers, DJ's and everything in between.  

If you've been reading our blog you know that we feel strongly about connecting with your wedding team, and that when you are making these decisions it truly is not just a matter of price.  Photo and video teams are going to spend a significant amount of time with you on your wedding day so it's important to vibe with them.  

Regardless of how many months or even year(s) out you are from your wedding day, you may start hearing this phrase quite often "it is your day" or "whatever you like" because it's true we can't simply pick a list of people that we like and expect it to match all of your specific preferences.  However if the process of making all of these decisions feels overwhelming than by all means ask your wedding planner to give you their narrowed down preferred vendor list.

For this example, we will assume you are starting from scratch in the photographer search and we will take you through our process for finding the right photographer for your wedding!
 

Photography Style/Editing 

When our couples are looking for photographers we send them a list of several styles of photography to see which direction they are leaning towards, that could be a natural light photographer who has a lot of light/bright and colorful photos or a photographer who does a darker moodier edit. 

Photo by  Petr Ovralov  on  Unsplash

Photo by Petr Ovralov on Unsplash

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Sometimes we find that couple's aren't set on a specific type of edit but rather the style in which the photographer shoots portraits (posed vs more candid shots) etc.  If you love that one photographer gets really unique angles and uses dramatic lighting and editing techniques then we know your list of photographers to meet with will be much different than a couple who really prefers soft natural light photos with minimal editing. 

Coverage

Now that you have narrowed down the style of photography that you are interested in, it is time to start thinking about your wedding day coverage and what your priorities are for photos.  This is important when you are comparing the number of hours included in wedding collections that you are considering. 

For example if you are looking at photographer A who you really love but are thinking of a 7 hour package, you will need to decide when their coverage would begin.  If sunset portraits are important to you then you can also look up with when the sunset is on your date and assume you will do sunset portraits 15-20 minutes before the sun actually sets.  Then work your way backward for the coverage start time.

If you ask us, we always recommend having at least 8 hours of coverage on your wedding day.  This allows you to plan your reception without feeling like you are rushing through all of the formalities to squeeze everything into a 6 or 7 hour photography timeline.

Pricing

We understand that your wedding budget is a real thing, and we want to provide you with options that make sense for your specific needs.  We help you narrow down the options to then reach out to the photographers and schedule a consultation or phone session so that you get to know them and understand more about the value they provide.  

If you have questions about choosing your wedding photographer feel free to reach out to us, we're always happy to help out!

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Northern California Wedding Planner | Real Talk ~ Budget Breakdown

With the recent news of Style Me Pretty closing it had us thinking a lot about where couples find inspiration for planning their wedding.  If you are engaged and starting to dive into the rentals, decor and design aspects of your wedding you might feel unsure of pricing or how to even go about putting together the overall look.  We're going to break down the budget of a wedding reception and talk real numbers!

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Let's take two side by side wedding tables for example and see if anything jumps out.  At first glance, they are both round guest tables with white linens.  But the full drop linen on the left is double the price of the linen on the right.  

Will your reception chairs be pre-set at the tables or are you using the same set of chairs for ceremony and moving them to reception?  Consider the cost of doubling the set of chairs vs upgrading to full drop linens and see which is a priority to you.  In some cases couples choose to use standard linens on the tables and only have one set of chairs so just make sure you have a plan for getting chairs moved over. 

Now, let's move on to your place settings and visualize what you would like to have on your tables.  The first question we would have is if your caterer will be providing china and flatware or if they use heavy chinette disposables.  If the caterer gives you the option or you are considering renting dishes just make sure to work out the numbers for rentals, and labor for bussing the dishes.

Image: Matthew Lim Photography 

Image: Matthew Lim Photography 

So let's ball park the numbers for a wedding reception of 150 guests assuming we are using round guest tables that seat 8 guests and basic polyester linens. *Keep in mind the pricing is based on average rental pricing in Northern California and it can vary quite a bit depending on the company* 

148 guests + the couple

1 48 inch round wood table (sweetheart table) 8.00 ea
1  108 inch round full drop polyester linen (sweetheart table) 10.95 ea
19 60 inch round wood tables  8.95 ea
19 120 inch full drop polyester linen 12.95 ea
150 White resin padded folding chairs 2.50 ea
150 China package (dinner plate, flatware, water goblet, wine glass and champagne glass) 2.60 ea

This would bring us to $27 per person and a subtotal of $3,996 for the guest tables and then $4,014.25 including the sweetheart table + linen before tax, delivery and maintenance/wear & tear fees (typically 10%) We would also want to add a welcome table, buffet tables, bar tables, dessert tables etc along with linens for all of your service tables. 

Depending on if you are renting through a full service rental company or your caterer, you will also want to factor in set-up and breakdown fees for ceremony and reception items.    
 

Image: Bloom Portraiture 

Image: Bloom Portraiture 

Choosing a caterer is a big decision not only because it is such a large portion of your wedding budget but because choosing the package can determine the service level for the event.  If you envision passed appetizers, staff going around to keep the beverage glasses full, having champagne poured at the tables and staff to handle cake cutting then you will want to look into a full service caterer.  {For more tips on choosing a caterer check out our recent blog post.}

If you are choosing a buffet and would like to keep costs down, consider using heavy chinette disposables to reduce the rental costs and labor for bussing tables.   You can also have stationary appetizers instead of passed as it will be less labor intensive. 

Hopefully this was helpful to see some line items but if you need some assistance with getting your overall budget together, feel free to reach out and we would be happy to chat!

~ Happy Planning ~ 



 

Northern California Wedding Planner | Engagement Session Giveaway

You still have time to enter into the Engagement Session Giveaway by Julia Lukash Photography!  Head over to our Instgram and follow the giveaway instructions, entries are valid until Sunday 4/22 at 5 pm.

We've been swooning over Julia's work since we first met years ago and we cannot wait to work with her for upcoming weddings.  We love Julia's fun personality, and her passion for photography.  You can check out her website to see more of her work or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.  
 

Don't forget to enter for this awesome giveaway, or feel free to share with other engaged couples!

~ Happy Planning!~ 

Northern California Wedding Planner | Why You Should Hire A Full Service Wedding Planner

Weddings aren't all champagne and macarons, but our obsession comes from the satisfaction of bringing a concept together that start as notes on a page and transform into real life details.  It is exhilarating to send a ceremony processional down the aisle at precisely the right time, and watching the couple as they are announced into their reception surrounded by their guests just as they are about to enjoy dinner and dancing.  These moments are created with so much love and careful planning! 

Image by AnnaMae Photography 

Image by AnnaMae Photography 

Many couples come to us a few months after getting engaged and they feel like they can make a lot of the decisions themselves, but once they start looking at the time commitment to plan and communicate with all of their potential vendors they begin to consider how much they already have on their plates with work and day-to-day life.  Did you know that the average couple spends anywhere from 10-20 hours a week planning their wedding?  

Source: Wedding Wire 2017 Newlywed Report

Source: Wedding Wire 2017 Newlywed Report

Aside from time, budget is another reality check that can be difficult to get back on track if you have been booking vendors and without an understanding of the big picture.  As wedding planners, we can help you select goods and services that fit into the overall vision of what you are hoping to achieve/experience.  Think of us as a match-maker in a way because we can see a good fit for things like photography and videography based on the personalities and style of the couple, it's amazing to see the relationships that grow and how smooth the wedding day goes with the right team.

While every wedding is unique, some of the typical services that we provide for full service planning clients include: 

  • Design concept
  • Budget proposal/outline
  • Venue research and selection assistance
  • Contract reviews
  • Vendor research and communication
  • Arrange consultations and tastings 
  • Source and reserve/manage rentals
  • Guest list management and rsvp tracking
  • Stationery design or procurement
  • Floorplan design
  • Payment tracking, insurance documentation and final detail distribution
  • Provide event production staff for set-up and coordinate all breakdown
    & so much more! 

As a full-service planner, we love being able to support your wedding planning journey from the very beginning. Not only do we ensure nothing is missed, but we also love the friendships that  are built throughout this amazing process! 

Xo,

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Northern California Wedding Planner | Real Talk - Vendor Communication

Happy Spring! Today we're talking all about keeping up with communication during your wedding planning process and how a wedding planner can help you stay organized.  Let's assume you have anywhere from 5 to 10 wedding vendors from your venue, caterer, florist, DJ and rentals to bakers, tent company and stationery designer.  That's a lot of moving pieces!

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As a wedding planner, communication is our top priority because when everyone is on the same page for your wedding day we know things will go smoothly as planned.  If details and updates aren't distributed across the board you can bet there will be a snag in the process which can ultimately cost you money if you need to add something that was missed, or an important detail isn't executed as promised.  It is imperative for your wedding vendors to work as a team, and we want to ensure that everyone is set up for success from day one.

Email communication 
As convenient as text messages are these days, it still isn't a professional form of communication and because texts are often very short and sweet it is always going to be more thorough to communicate via email.  This also will be helpful in the long run in case you need to look back through your previous emails to refresh your memory on a decision or update from a few months prior.  

Organized Master Timeline
Without an organized master timeline to serve as the main anchor point for your event, you could easily have several different variations of your wedding timeline with each vendor.  It doesn't seem like 10 minutes here and there make a big difference but when it comes to the caterer pulling lids off of the buffet and food being served fresh and hot, every minute counts.   We also want to make the most of your coverage with your photographer so giving enough time for formal portraits but keeping dinner and toasts running smoothly will ensure you have time for those dreamy sunset photos! 

Efficient Decision Making
A wedding planner can help present options to you in an efficient manner, making side by side comparisons based on your budget and preferences.  This will cut down on the back and forth emails to get the information you are looking for and can also streamline the time that it takes to book vendors.  Decision making was one of the 5 toughest things about planning according to WeddingWire

Details, Details, Details! 
We can only imagine what your day looks like inside your mind until we get to draw this out and break it down detail by detail.  This will ensure that no one is coming to you with questions on your wedding day while you are getting your hair and make-up done.  We will work with your vendors to review set up and breakdown details, and the smallest detail when it comes to your preferences. 

Managing your calendar
We want to assist you with making sure you know when appointments and payment due dates are with your vendors, when you need to have your final guest count, where and when you need to purchase event insurance and if desired we'll follow up on your behalf to ensure you receive your deposit back from your venue after your wedding. 

Planning Dashboard
Our couples have access to their personalized planning dashboard where they can access their wedding details 24/7.  They will have the ability to view and customize their planning checklist, master timeline, budget details, guest list, rsvp tracking, vendor contact info and contracts, design details and more.  This makes us happy wedding planners because we know they can relax knowing exactly where they are in the process. 

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Every couple is different with respect to how involved they want to be in their day-to-day planning, so we have different packages and options to serve those needs individually.  We'd love to chat with you about your wedding plans even if are just looking for an extra set of hands on your wedding day.  

~ Happy Planning! 

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Northern California Wedding Planner | A Full Service Wedding Experience

From IPSY, to Hello Fresh, Birch Box, Dollar Shave Club, StichFix, Blue Apron & Fab Fit Fun to name a few; let's talk about how awesome it is to have a box of curated goodies arrive at your doorstep.  Or furthermore, that companies and retailers are consistently adding more personalized options for consumers.  It makes sense, people are busy and would prefer to have the things that they like come to them.

Credit:  Forbes Article  

Credit: Forbes Article 

In the wedding world we have the same basic elements, our couples are busy but instead of receiving wardrobe items or skincare products, we are using our experience and extensive networking relationships to present them with the best of the best in the local wedding industry to curate their wedding experience. 

Photo credit: SC Stockshop 

Photo credit: SC Stockshop 

When couples are beginning their search for a wedding planner they might wonder what the differences are between the planning packages and which one is the best for them.  If we were going to use the subscription box analogy to lay it out, think of it this way:

The Foodie Couple
Two busy working professionals recently got engaged.  The bride-to-be is working on finishing up her masters program so their time together is already very limited.  Food is their love language so their favorite thing to do together on their one night off a week is to cook.  Lately, they find that it's challenging to make the time to plan the meals and go to the grocery store to get all of the ingredients for their date night dinners. 

They've heard about a cooking/meal subscription service and love the idea of not having to plan it all out but still get to enjoy cooking together.  They've narrowed down their search to two options:

Option A - The couple will speak with the meal concierge service who will ask them questions about their schedules, likes & dislikes on spices, any cultural preferences/traditional cooking styles, , seasonal favorites, allergies or food restrictions etc.  Then the concierge asks them about fun dates or travel destinations they'd been to in the past, so that she knows enough detail to curate and preselect the meals for them based on their food preferences & budget/initial price point selection.  

Option B - The couple will fill out an online survey to get started, and then for each meal that they would need to preselect the type of meal and then choose from 1 of the 10 recipes for that meal the prior week.  Some of the recipes have reviews so the couple can try to read the reviews prior to deciding, but selections will need to be made the 2nd Tuesday each week by 4 pm for the corresponding delivery.  The subscription fee is lower than in option A but the meal price will depend on their selections with each order. 

Which option do you think the foodie couple should choose to make the most of their date nights together?  If you said Option A, then it sounds like you totally get how valuable time really is and that it makes sense pay a small premium in order to receive such personalized service. 

If we relate this back to weddings, we could say that some couples would enjoy taking the time to research the recipe's themselves, shop at the grocery store and prepare the meal themselves; where others would prefer to have that personalized date night experience done for them so that they can both be immersed in the cooking and dining experience instead of the prep work

No one way is better than the other but we want to give the best service we possibly can and that means being from beginning to end to create a seamless wedding experience.  

- Anyone else hungry after all of that meal selection talk? You can read more about our service options right her on our services page. 

Northern California Wedding Planner | Planning Authentically

If you're knee deep in checklists and wedding magazine's you might be getting tired of hearing what you should and shouldn't do when it comes to planning your wedding.   There's a lot of contradicting advice you've heard along the way and likely a lot of pressure to get it right.  Today's blog post is all about less worrying about all of that and more about finding ways to be authentic and present in your wedding day. 

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Life happens and work gets busy, vacations & holidays or getting the keys to your new place.. it's normal to have things come up and have to sideline planning for a bit.  We promise it will be fine, take a breathe, and take a long walk with your fiance! (we know it still sounds funny to say fiance right?!) If you were to take this long walk together, what would you talk about? What would be the fun memories that make you laugh, or the best food you've ever had together? Those little memories and quirks are what make your relationship so unique and fun, THAT's the good stuff right there.

Now the question is how can we infuse those quirks and those great stories into your wedding day to make your guests feel like they have been invited into the celebration of the most important story of all; your love story.

Hold that thought..you are going to be surrounded by your closest friends and family on your wedding day and likely the few days before or after as well.  How can we create a wedding weekend timeline that makes the most of the time you get to spend with them?  We certainly don't want you to be worrying about centerpieces or chair sashes when you could be drinking mimosas with your girls while getting dolled up.  The answer? Trusting in the professionals that you've hired to produce the event and let them focus on the logistics to ensure everything is set in place just as you've imagined.  

Such a fun tribe at Cate & Chris's wedding, captured by  Julia Lukash Photography

Such a fun tribe at Cate & Chris's wedding, captured by Julia Lukash Photography

Imagine being invited to a friends house for her birthday dinner and everyone is sitting in the dining room while your friend is slaving in the kitchen and buzzing around trying to make everything perfect.  Sure the table settings are beautiful, and dinner smells delicious but it's hard to celebrate your bestie's birthday when she's stressed or MIA. 

So here are our top tips:
1. Keep your guest list in check -
An intimate wedding allows you to connect and interact with your guests and allocate more of your budget on guest experience. 
2. Highlight one of your favorite treats or drinks - You and your sweetie love craft beer? Host your favorite craft beers during cocktail hour or name some of your tables after your top choices.  Guests will get to experience a little more of what you share together.
3. Curate your playlist - Work with your DJ to highlight some of the music that brings back memories that you've shared together or with your guests.  
4. Personalize your Wedding Vows - Naturally we've been to a lot of ceremonies in our day, but we're such a sucker for those sweet vows an notes about what it is that you have found in each other to forge this beautiful union and that you will share the rest of your lives together.  Ugh...tissues please!
5.  Stay Grounded - Keep busy with your normal day to day lives without letting wedding planning and all of the articles cloud your mind, spend time with friends and family doing non-related events.  If you need to vent, get it out but give your friends the ok to let you know if you're borderline bridezilla...


~ Happy Planning! ~

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Northern California Wedding Planner | You Set Your Date, Now Share The News

If you've been staring that beautiful ring on your finger, and wanting to share the news with an official save the date then check out some of these beautiful options and take advantage of special pricing at Minted.com

We're so excited for engagement season, and thrilled to share some of these great options for couples who are looking for predesigned stationery options.  If you are hoping for something custom be sure to send us a message or drop a comment below and we can schedule a time to chat!  

We only share information and promotions from companies that we know and use, the promotion above are affiliate links to Minted.com.  

~ Happy Planning!

Northern California Wedding Planner | How To Organize Your Wedding Details in Under 30 Days

Forget the countdown to Christmas, you're counting down to your wedding day and it is coming up fast.  Aside from watching the forecast you aren't quite sure what else you can do to prepare.  Often we come into the picture when a couple or their family decides that an extra set of hands and some organization would really help ensure that everyone can just enjoy the day without worrying.

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Timeline - We love pretty things we do, and organizing the decor details will come but first it is so important to see all of the variables together on one timeline.  We take a few things into consideration: 

  • Getting Ready - Where do you plan on getting ready before the ceremony? Will you put your dress on there or at your ceremony venue?
  • Transportation - Are you taking transportation to the venue, if not how and when will you arrive to the venue.
  • Photography Coverage - If you would like photos of your gown, shoes, accessories and invitations, this will need to happen prior to getting dressed.  So we look at how many hours of coverage you have and prioritize what they will cover if we are limited.  If you have a huge family - make sure to have a clear shots list with your photographer and account for that on your timeline.
  • Access to Venue - We'll look at decor load in times and if any set-up can be done at the time of rehearsal, if not then we put together an outline of what items are arriving and where everything will be set-up.  This also includes what time everything needs to be cleaned up at the end of the night, so thorough communication with all event partners is key.
  • Food & Beverage for Guests - Everything from what time ice needs to arrive for the kegs/bar items and water, to what appetizers are being served if any and if any additional items need to be brought in by the couple (example: ziplock bags or to-go containers for leftovers, disposable plates and forks for cake if caterer is not providing) 

Ceremony - This often comes together in the last few weeks so don't feel like you are too behind.  Now is the time to start deciding on the processional order of how your wedding party and any escorted guests will come down the aisle, and what music they will be accompanied by. 

  • Any Special Readings/Traditions 
  • Who will have the rings
  • Who are your witnesses and when would you like them to sign the license
  • Who will mail the license after the ceremony? - Make sure to get this in within 10 days of your ceremony!

Schedule a phone session with your officiant if needed to get an idea of how long the ceremony will be.  You don't want to give yourself 30 minutes on the timeline for the ceremony if its going to be done in 11 minutes flat! There are some great guides to planning your ceremony vows, we've linked to some here if you want to check them out.  (Download Link

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Confirmations  & Final Details - You met with your caterer what 6 months ago? Did you have the correct dinner time listed on the consult sheet? Maybe something has changed, and now is the time for the timeline and confirmation calls with each of the event partners you've hired for your wedding day.  If you don't have a wedding coordinator yet, we strongly urge you to consider one even if only for the prep and hourly for assistance.  Otherwise, appoint a very organized friend who can assist with covering all of the bases.  Final headcount, rental numbers, song selections and announcements to shuttle pick up times and arrival time for hair and make-up - you name it, it needs to be confirmed.

Design - Alright, now to the pretty stuff! We'll sit down with the couple or go over their rental orders of what items they are having brought in and identify if any other items need to be on their packing list such as AA batteries for LED Pillar candles.  We encourage couples to take a mock picture of any tables they would like set-up in a specific way or make notes/instructions on the boxes they pack in.  So if you want 4 votive candles, one frame per table in addition to the centerpiece and table number - write it down.  This also helps for clean-up because the boxes will be labeled and super easy to pack back up.  So make sure you have even a basic sketch/idea of: 

  • Floorplan and or seating chart layout
  • Special items (toasting flutes, cake cutting set, card box, guestbook, memory table items, chair signs for newlyweds, etc) 
  • Signage & Frames - Do you want these in a particular place or can these be styled at the discretion of who is setting up?
  • Florals - What time are your bouquets arriving? Where - to your hotel room or the venue? Are your ceremony florals being used after the ceremony in another spot after the ceremony? If so, where are they moving and who is moving them?

Did you know that The 530 Bride offers a la carte services like set-up and break down for weddings, just to make this process a little easier? If you're 30-45 days away from your wedding date (or less) and could use some help, shoot us a message and we'd be happy to schedule a free consultation/therapy session haha.  In all seriousness, it's going to be fine! 

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Northern California Wedding Planner | We're Sort of Psychic

Alright so we can't predict the weather (wouldn't that be nice) but we can steer couples away from red flags during their planning process.  Maybe it doesn't come from a cosmic super power but let's call it "wedding planner intuition."  

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From a bride ordering her custom wedding dress online to a "friend of a friend" DJ'ing your wedding... we try to steer couples away from these potential catastrophe's because it is simply not worth it for you to save a bit in one area and cost yourself the headache or disappointment in the long run.  

It happens to all of us.  We see a good price or an opportunity to save money, maybe even an impulse shopping decision.  I myself was guilty over Black Friday when cruising on Amazon Prime I saw some beautiful sequin linens that were so beautiful in the photos I just had to have them.  So I added them to my cart and right as I was about to check out I saw another listing from the same shop and looked through some of their other items.  That's when I started reading the reviews from customers who unfortunately received the items that looked nothing like they did in the picture.  Not only that, they didn't match the measurements of the linens listed.  Even if it wasn't a wedding day, lets say it was a birthday party or even a gathering that you are hosting and you are so excited about how this linen is going to tie everything together.  You receive it and it's missing sequins or looks like it was sewn by a blind monkey! Now you are rushing to find a plan B.

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What is my point? Rushing to find a plan B when it comes to your wedding is unnecessary stress that you don't need.  We can only encourage you to take our advice when it comes to hiring professionals and quality product that we know is going to meet your expectation.  Why risk a years worth of planning and organizing a timeline when your friend of a friend DJ shows up and pretty much thinks they are there to party instead of following a timeline or making announcements to keep everything running smoothly.  As a wedding planner, there is nothing worse than feeling like you are trying to do multiple jobs at once and still not able to fix the couple's disappointment due to another vendor failing to do what they were hired to do.

So when you hire a wedding planner you are also hiring someone who has learned from years of experience and understands how to avoid these red flags.  We've learned from our own challenges, and we recommendations on professionals who we know and trust to go above an beyond to make a couple's day amazing.

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~ Happy Planning & Happy Holiday shopping -
p.s Read the reviews first!!
XoXo - Veronica