Northern California Wedding Planner | Re-Thinking Your Wedding Budget

Pop quiz - how many wedding related tabs or apps do you have open at this very moment? Just kidding, we aren’t here to judge! In all seriousness, it can feel like a rabbit-hole once you get started down the path of wedding planning. Once that ring is on your finger or the word gets out that you are engaged, all of the sudden people start asking you questions and giving you advice & opinions that you never actually asked for; the pressure is on to have all of the answers.

Good news! You don’t have to have it all figured out so fast, take your time and think about what you actually want and make an intentional effort to enjoy being engaged. If you have read some of our other posts about you will probably see a trend that we truly want you to make the most of your day and to not try and do all the things because you think you should. Instead, really commit to making the whole event a reflection of your relationship together because if you can do that - you can’t go wrong!

Once you have committed to planning authentically, the fun part starts of building this awesome crew of event partners to support you in this quest to have a kick-ass (*and pretty) wedding day. So the title of this post was re-thinking your budget right? Let’s talk about that, shall we? According to Wedding Wire’s 2019 report, 1 in 3 couples underestimated their budget.


Inevitably there will be logistics to hosting guests in a space no matter if this is in your backyard, or City Hall. Understanding your vision for the overall flow of the day and then working with your planner to fine tune this flow into a fluid experience for you and your guests will take some finesse. What we don’t want is for you to feel rushed to choose a venue that doesn’t really represent or support that vision, and in some cases can hinder it.

We’ve created a blog series PDF full of tips related to keeping your budget in check and thinking through some of the steps in the decision making process. Be sure to grab part 1 of the series by subscribing to the list below, and each topic will be emailed right to your inbox!

You can read another recent blog posts about budgeting here or check out our list of blog categories over in the sidebar!

~ Happy Planning!

A New Twist on Bachelorette Parties: Glamour!

Who says that a bachelorette party has to involve going out, these days staying in is much more glamorous!  What if you can not only have a night of bonding with your gal pals, but also give them a wonderful gift of feeling a little pampered?

Have a favorite salon? Ask about booking services for each of you or reserve the salon for after hours.  Most salons will customize a menu of services with special prices for a group, so often you will spend less on each service than you would if each of you were going individually.  

You can be as silly as you want, and have a good time talking about anything and everything other than your wedding!  You can go out for a nice dinner afterwards since you all will be dolled up, and then even go out on the town if you would like.   

Create a theme like Pin-Up for example and have the hair and makeup artists create similar looks for each of you.


Image Source: LA Bachelorette Party

A few ingredients can make a really fun and memorable night for you and your ladies, not to mention you will have the photographs to look back on (and these are photos that you could show your grandmother without blushing!)

1.  Your closest gal pals or bridal party
2. Hair and Makeup artist (this will cost less than a night out on the town in most cities)
3. Reserve a salon, or hotel room big enough for the slumber party bash
4. Photographer (talk to photographers about their a la carte or portrait packages)
5. Refreshments

Whatever you decide to do for your party, have fun and be safe!

The Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

It is always an honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid or maid of honor in a wedding.  Being by the side of your good friend or family member when they stand at the altar on their big day and sharing in the journey to get there is pretty special!  All of that aside, it does come with some expenses.  We found an infographic on the web aimed to breakdown some of those costs:cost-of-wedding-high

Image courtesy of

Couples should try to keep these figures in mind when planning the involvement of their wedding party and make sure to communicate with everyone in their party to ensure that the expenses are not a hardship for anyone.  Being open to cost alternatives makes the experience better for everyone, a $200 bridesmaid dress may not be doable for some so its good to consider choosing a color and material and allowing the bridal party to find a dress that fits their style and their budget.

Are you a bridesmaid in a wedding?  Take our poll on the expenses of being in a wedding: [yop_poll id="4"]

Wedding Party Thank You Gift Ideas

Some couples choose to give their wedding party members gifts or tokens of appreciation for being a part of their special day, though it is not required it is usually customary to do so.  These gifts can range from the inexpensive, to the ultra luxe it just depends on your particular tastes and budget.  Popular items for the bridal party are jewelry, photo frames/keepsakes, personalized robes or tote bags etc.  For the groomsmen, cuff links, flasks, pocket knifes or mugs are among the most popular gifts. Can you venture outside of these parameters? Absolutely!

Here are some fun ideas to get you inspired:

1. Welcome Boxes bachelorette-welcome-boxes1 Fill with small items that are personalized for each member of the wedding party. For instance their favorite candy, a perfume scent or nail polish color you know they would like,  mini bottle of their favorite adult beverage, or a new cd by their favorite artist? The options are endless. Photo Credit:

2. Sports Tickets/apparel giants If the best man is a hard core fan of the local team, take advantage by seeing if you can snag some good tickets or official apparel/memorabilia that will be sure to be appreciated.

3. Handmade Goods totes


If you are gifted with craftiness, put your skills to good use and make things like scarfs, jewelry, coin purses, throw pillows or artwork.  Not only will they be original gifts, but will feel more personalized for your wedding party.  Not so crafty? Not to worry, Etsy to the rescue!  Photo Credit:

4. Individual Gifts gift card Who says everyone in the party has to get something similar? If a groomsmen is big into gaming, and a bridesmaid has been wanting to try a new lunch spot who says gift cards or individualized gifts aren't the perfect solution.  If you have a wedding party that is difficult to shop for or is very involved in the community, you could also consider making donations in each bridal party members name to a special cause, like the local animal shelter etc.

5. Gift your talent/services If you are in the service industry or have a side passion such as gardening or painting you could offer your services such as a haircut/color, massage or day in the garden.  Not only is the service appreciated but it is a great excuse to get together and do something non-wedding related!

Keep in mind that thank you gifts do not have to be expensive and are often best when they come from the heart, so don't be afraid to do something different if you would like to.  Of course a personalized flask or shot glass can always come in handy down the line so if thinking outside the box isn't on the agenda you will be fine either way!

Happy Planning!

Keeping Expenses Down For Your Wedding Party

In the August/September issue of Brides Magazine, 103 bridesmaids participated in a poll and gave some insight.  Among many of the interesting questions such as what a bride should know when choosing her bridesmaids, thoughts about the bachelorette party, and of course the dresses; one thing stood out to me.  73 percent of bridesmaids who were asked what the hardest part of being a bridesmaid was, responded that the expense was the most difficult. As a bride you expect that costs are going to add up because it is your wedding, we may not stop and think about the costs for those involved in our wedding party.  Typical expenses are the cost of the attire for the wedding, travel expenses, time off from work, and shower/wedding gifts.

Here are a few ideas on keeping your expenses down without compromising a good time!

1. Choose an affordable dress line for the bridesmaids to choose from, or allow them to choose their own gown.  Allowing your bridesmaids to choose their own gown may give your girls a little more pocket change as well as feel more comfortable in their dresses.

2. Plan your bridal shower/wedding related projects and events close together in dates if you have out of town bridesmaids so that they can make less trips without having to miss out on the fun.  If you have a bridesmaid or maid of honor who can't attend the final fitting, get creative and see if you can come up with a way to face time or Skype with them in the dress store if the store owner allows.

3. Stay local and plan a night out that won't break the bank.  You may be able to live it up in your home town by saving money from airfare and hotels.  Get a limo or talk to some of the local bars about having your own VIP table vibe without the out of town price tag!

4.  Their presence is gift enough, let your ladies and gents know that you understand they have had to spend money to be involved in all of the events and are just happy they were able to be a part of everything with you!

5. Look for discounts for booking as a group, and try to plan things out in advance. Check for rewards programs and other incentives for travel arrangements.

6. Talk your wedding vendors such as your planner for ideas on keeping your budget in check and you may get some creative tips and advice from vendors.  When you network with your professional vendors you are tapping into a pretty great resource!

Money can be a touchy subject, and sometimes you may think that your bridesmaid is checked out from your wedding planning but in reality she may just be stressed with the thought of the financial aspect.  Just remember that you are doing all of this to celebrate your love and commitment to each other as a couple, and want to share this with your friends and family!

~ Happy Planning~

Planning Tip: Avoiding Temptation

When you are in the planning stages for your upcoming nuptials, you may be tempted to go into "shopping mode" where anything wedding-ish ends up in your cart.  To keep your budget in check you should avoid making purchases until you are clear on what you actually need to buy.  One of the side effects of shopping mode is that you end up buying odds and ends which in the end can clash with your overall decor.

DIY Projects are probably the biggest culprit when it comes to blowing your budget because even though the purchases seem small, it adds up in the end and you may not even end up finishing the project or get intended results.

Once you have booked your wedding coordinator, venue, caterer, florist and/or event decor & rental company, you can go down the list of anything that isn't already provided by these vendors and then purchase or rent the remaining items as needed.  Often one vendor may have several services and products under one roof and they may even offer discounts for combining different services or products.

So next time you're tempted to make an impulse buy at Michaels or your local wedding store, make sure that you are sticking to your list. Your budget will thank us!

Posted by Veronica Enns

You're Invited!

Sometimes it is fun just to get your hands dirty and do something creative & fun! The workshop is suitable for parents, couples, craft enthusiasts & members of the wedding party . We hope you will join us for our first DIY Workshop, and we also welcome requests for topics & future projects so leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

Free DIY Resources

Tackling a do-it-yourself wedding project is a great way to add a personal touch to your event while impressing guests with unique ideas and creativity. Though many DIY projects can save money and are fun to create with bridesmaids, they can also be time consuming. Fortunately many wedding websites offer free resources for visiting brides—in the form of print templates and speedy projects —that bring the fun back to crafting your special day!

Here are a few of our recent finds online that we'd like to share with our 530 brides.

Please make sure to follow any copyright or use instructions on the following websites. 

We would love to see your finished creations and feel free to share the resources you have found along your  journey!

~Happy Planning~

Free Custom Monograms.

A Whole Collection of Adorable Mason Jar Designs.

DIY Fringe Cake Topper.

Free Guestbook Fingerprint Tree Print.

Free Printable Table Numbers.

Free Chevron Patterned Print for Invitations, Save the Dates and Inserts Cards.


The Chico Bridal Show Recap

Chances are you're coming down from your sugar high from cake samples, and your feet are a little sore from the Chico Bridal Show today.  There is one thing we know for sure, you won't leave a bridal show hungry with all of the food, sweets & refreshing drink samples.  We want to thank all of the couples who stopped by our booth today, we always enjoy having the opportunity to meet new people and share in your excitement.  We look forward to sitting down with all of the couples who signed up for a complimentary consultation.  Don't forget, all of the couples who meet with us for a consulation will be entered to win coordination for their bridal/wedding shower.  If you need more information about the drawing please email us with any questions.  For anyone who wasn't able to attend, here are just a few images we snapped of the show (forgive us for our iPhone photography!) Thank you to WeDoDesigns & Cambray Rose for collaborating on the open concept design of our booth for the show. We hope all of the attendees liked our booth and we are looking forward to a great show in August! For more information on any of the vendors you see here, you can check out our Bridal Show Page for direct links.

Happy Planning!

[gallery columns="1" orderby="rand"]

Budgeting and The Elusive "Average"

As wedding coordinators we meet with couples who may be planning a very intimate wedding of 40 people or under, or on the other hand couples who are trying to keep the guest list under 300.  After the engagement is official and the couple begins making selections for their venue and vendors, it becomes a question of where to start.  There are many tools and checklists that are helpful, and we offer our assistance for every step of the way during the planning process even if a couple books us for Day of Coordination vs. Full Service.    The biggest question that I hear brides ask is "what is the average cost of _________?" The reason this question isn't always easy to answer is because there are many variables to cost, therefore the photographer or venue for one wedding may not be comparable to another event due to some of these reasons: ♥ Location ♥ Time of Year ♥ No. of Expected Guests ♥ Specific Package Selections ♥ Demand for Service/Product ♥ Level of Experience of Vendor

Watching the Wedding Programs on TV or flipping through a magazine may have skewed your grasp of what a realistic budget is in your area.  While it is important to understand what is realistic, it is even more important to establish your budget based on what you feel comfortable with.  Even if a $2k floral budget is average in some areas, it may not be a number that you can or want to spend for your event.

When clients contact us, we ask them to complete a questionnaire and rate what the most important areas of their budget is.

We ask questions such as:

From 1 -5 in importance (1 being most important) rate the following:

  • Abundance of Fresh Flowers
  • Extensive Photography and/or Videographer Package (over 6-8 hours of photography and printed images in album)
  • Luxury Linens, Centerpieces & Decor
  • Venue
  • Food & Beverage

If budget was no option we would splurge on: a. Gourmet Food & Premium Drinks for our guests b. Chandeliers, Draping & Up lighting c. Modern Furniture & Lounge areas d. Gift Baskets /Custom Favors e. An over the top Wedding Cake f. Custom Stationary (Invitations, Save The Dates, etc) g. Other(s) ______________________

These types of questions give us insight on helping you establish your budget, and pair you with vendors that can not only provide the products and services you are looking for but also stay on budget.  We can assist clients prioritize the expenses so that all of the major areas are covered and we can identify some of the "extras" to have on standby if budget permits.

We support the DIY Couples in their projects and creativity, and can even help you budget for your DIY projects to estimate your savings and cost effectiveness for each project.  Our goal for the DIY couple is to help you organize all of the projects and elements that you have worked on creating, and put them together into a smooth timeline with tasks and detailed information to keep everyone on the same page.  If you would like information on our packages, or our upcoming DIY Workshop please shoot us an email at

We will be seeing our Northern California Brides at the upcoming Bridal Shows!

Yuba Sutter, January 27th at the Yuba City Fairgrounds Chico Bridal Show, February 24th at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico

Want tickets? Shoot us your information from our contact us page to get on the list for fast pass tickets!

DIY Inspiration

Does it pay to be a DIY bride?

Some of our most popular pages are related to Manzanita Branches, Wishing Trees and DIY Decor.  If you are considering going the DIY route, make sure to consider the pros and cons of purchasing vs renting and make sure you are making budget friendly decisions.  Some items can easily be resold after your event such as mason jars, tea lights, manzanita branches and linens etc.  Purchasing your own linens and spending the time to hem and sew all of them may be biting off more than you can chew so-to-speak. We recommend meeting with a wedding coordinator and discussing your budget.  Focus on the areas that you feel are most important for you to personalize with a DIY project, for instance if you can't stand the idea of using store-bought escort cards then you should have that on your list of DIY must haves.  Other projects such as cocktail menus or table numbers might not be as much of a priority to you personally, so decide if it would be best to purchase or rent those.  Your coordinator may have some items that he or she includes with their service so it doesn't hurt to ask ahead of time!

A DIY Bride can find items and make things from scratch, or find easy projects to purchase the items and assemble them herself (or hopefully with the help of a small army!) Choose projects that are worthwhile and that will have the most impact on your event.  Making personalized programs, welcome baskets or favors is always a nice touch or focus your efforts on making an awesome DIY photobooth or wishing tree.  The options are endless!

If you want to price things out, Koyal Wholesale is a great place to get started:

Table Settings 10.25" Bulk Dinner Plates - Black from: Koyal Wholesale

PLASTIC CUTLERY - Assorted Fork/Spoon/Knife (288 Pieces) Shimmering Silver from: Koyal Wholesale Comes in other fun colors like magenta, school bus yellow, tropical teal, apple red & more!

Cupcake Stands Laila Large Round Cupcake Tower (Holds 100 Cupcakes!) BEST SELLER! - $29.99 from: Koyal Wholesale

Branches REAL Manzanita Branches (Natural Brown) - 5 Sizes - $13.96 Retail Price: $23.96 You Save: $10.00 from: Koyal Wholesale

Curly Willow Burnt Oak 3-5ft BULK (144 branches) BEST SELLER! - $99.99 Retail Price: $109.99 You Save: $10.00 from: Koyal Wholesale

Centerpieces & Decor 12" Clear Cylinder Pillar Centerpiece Vase (Case of 12 = $13.22/Vase) BEST SELLER! from: Koyal Wholesale

32" Tall Venus Square Crystal Chandelier Tree Centerpiece from: Koyal Wholesale

Regal Table Decoration Personalized Vase Centerpiece from: Koyal Wholesale

Peacock Feather Bouquet/Centerpiece Picks (4/Pkg) - $2.68 from: Koyal Wholesale

Moss Moss, Reindeer Moss Spring Green BULK (BEST SELLER!) - $69.98 Retail Price: $79.98 You Save: $10.00 from: Koyal Wholesale

Votives Hanging Votive Candle Holder w/Wire BULK (72 Holders) BEST SELLER! from: Koyal Wholesale

12 Hour Burn White UNSCENTED Votive Candles (30 Pack) BULK - $11.98 from: Koyal Wholesale

Hanging Crystals Hanging Diamond Crystal Teardrops - 1.5" (BULK 35 Pieces) BEST SELLER! - $19.98 Retail Price: $29.98 You Save: $10.00

Table Runner Damask Flocking Table Runner 12" x 108" Long - Red Damask - $9.98 from: Koyal Wholesale

Aisle Runner Personalized Aisle Runners - Regal Wedding Aisle Runner - $95.00 Retail Price: $105.00 You Save: $10.00 from: Koyal Wholesale

Other popular items: rose petals, paper lanterns, Vintage Burlap Ribbon, washi tape diy bride

These are only a few of the fabulous items that you can find at Koyal, you can get a great deal on bulk items. If price matching is your game, then print out what you find online and ask a vendor if they can price match. You may find that it is cheaper to rent, and less of a hassle because you won't have an abundance of wedding items left over to have to either resell or give away.

Did you find a great resource for savings on event supplies? Share with other brides by leaving a comment with your ideas.

Bouquets without flowers

Looking for a way to cut down on your floral expenses? Searching for something a little different for your wedding? Do you love DIY crafts? If you answered yes to all 3, then these non-floral bouquet ideas might be for you!

And if nothing out there quite catches your fancy, you can always make something entirely unique, like this bride did:

Posted by Kendall Arelleis, Event Coordinator with The 530 Bride

Say 'I Do' Unconventionally!

Who says your wedding guests have to know they are going to a wedding?  Recently, we have seen a spike in Surprise Weddings and we think it is trend that could stick around.  It is perfect for the couple who has gone around and around about where they would want to have their wedding, how much they want to spend, and those who aren't particularly fond of the traditional wedding process. How does one plan a surprise wedding?  Well first thing is first, ..Location!  If you happen to have a spacious home or a large backyard, or know someone who would be willing to host in your honor than you are in luck.  Guests probably won't question a backyard event, so you could use some alternative occasions like an Engagement Party, a Summer Lau, Graduation, or Tri-Tip Cook-off to use as the decoy reason for gathering.  Second, decide who you want to let in on the surprise.  You can choose to tell your parents, maid of honor, best man or whom ever you would like as long as they can keep a secret!  Besides, you will need some helpers to pull this off!

If you do not have the space available, contact some of the local venues for information on the amenities and pricing.  You will need to know your approximate guest count, and a potential date.  Consider asking the venue if they offer lower rates for weekdays compared to Saturday and Sunday rates.

We know a surprise wedding is not for everyone. For brides who have dreamed of their wedding day for years, a more traditional wedding with a set date and invitations may be more appropriate! However, if the thought of a big fancy wedding stresses you out, you may feel relieved by knowing that your guests are going to be blown away by the surprise and it will be a fun and memorable wedding for all!  You can still have a lot of the same elements of a traditional wedding like the bouquet toss, and first dance.  The best part is that it is up to you!

Some of the perks of a surprise wedding are a lower overall budget because you won't have a lot of the formalities such as the cost of invitations & postage, venue (if you are having a backyard event), and you may end up with a smaller guest list which will greatly reduce your expenses.  The biggest perk is getting to be creative, and coming up with a plan on how to carry out your scheme and keeping it a secret until the big reveal!

Want to read more about Surprise Weddings?  Here are some related posts: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla - Surprise Wedding 100 Layer Cake: Marisa + John - Surprise Wedding Surprise..We Got Married! Rebecca & Damien - Suprise Wedding

White Hot Deal ~ Essence Photography

Around here we like to share good news & sweet perks with our readers! So tonight we want to get the word out about Essence Photography's special promotion for the month of February.  What better way to celebrate the month of love, than booking a fabulous photography package for your upcoming wedding.  Essence Photography will be including a free engagement session with EVERY wedding booked in the month of February (valued at $250!)  This includes a 1 hour session and 15 Enhanced Digital Negatives for you to use as you wish, such as save the dates, invitations, ceremony programs and more. Are you wanting to have a beautiful wedding album, but you aren't sure if it is in your budget?  Essence Photography is including a Free Custom Designed 10x10, 10 pages/20 side Wedding Album for all packages of $2,000 or more.  Don't forget you will also get your free engagement session!  Tell Essence Photography that you read about her promotion on The 530 Bride and get an instant upgrade to a 16page/32 side album, a value of $400. 

To sweeten the deal, for all packages of $2500 booked in the month of February, you will receive 1/2 off on your photo booth rental in addition to your free engagement session and wedding album! This includes a professionally run 2 hour long photobooth, with props provided for only $250!! (Regular price $500).  Photobooths make for a fun activity and a lasting memory for you and your guests not to mention all of the funny faces and props!

If you haven't already, make sure to check out Essence Photography's photo galleries and you will surely be impressed by all of those lovely images! Betsy Erickson, owner of Essence Photography has a way of adding something new and fresh while still capturing the beauty of the special moments.  Set up a consultation with Essence Photography today for this great promotion before it is too late!