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!

Pre-Wedding Fashion Ideas

Sure the wedding dress is important, but what should you wear for other pre-wedding fun like your engagement party or bridal shower, bachelorette party or even rehearsal dinner? Here is a few looks that could work for any of these events.

Casual Bride

 

Pre-Wedding Attire

 

The Maxi Dress

 

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 Dimespring.com

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"]

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 info@The530Bride.com

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!

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!

Planning Your Engagment Photo Session

While save the dates are optional, the majority of couples incorporate their engagement photos into save the dates, invitations, programs, personalized centerpieces and more. Take this opportunity to be playful, and remember there are no rules when it comes to engagement sessions,  so break the mold of  "posed pictures." Think outside the box by using props and backgrounds that are sure to capture your personalities as a couple.  In our area, there is certainly no shortage of beautiful landscapes such as Bidwell Park, Chico State Campus, Bidwell Mansion, Table Mountain, Sundial Bridge, & more. If you have not yet secured a wedding photographer, set up an appointment to meet with potential photographers and view their galleries of past engagement sessions and weddings.  Ask if the photographer has wedding packages that include an engagement session.  Having your engagement session and wedding shot by the same photographer will keep the style cohesive and will help you be more comfortable in front of the camera on your wedding day.  If you have a specific vision that you would like to portray, consider making a pinterest board, or similar inspiration board and send a link to your photographer.  This well enable your photographer to determine the correct lighting, and style elements to create your perfect photo-session.

When preparing for your engagement session bring a few different outfits and accessories so that you have options to change things up.  Consult your photographer for suggestions on the types of clothing to bring and what to avoid.  Hair and makeup can be casual or you can get glammed up for the shoot, it is up to you!  Also consider bringing props such as a hand painted wooden sign with your wedding date or initials, your wedding invitation (if you have them already), and any other personalized props that are meaningful to you.  Your photographer may have other props and backgrounds to use as well.

Feel free to share your engagement session photos with The 530 Bride, or share tips that you found helpful for your engagement session! Just send us a message at features@the530bride.com.  Use our Vendor Directory to find a professional wedding photographer near you.

How To Avoid The After-Wedding Blues

When I tell people about what I do, they think of their own wedding and I often hear them say something along the lines of "I wish we would have..." or "If I could go back and change.." Although as a bride I too had some minor regrets about not dedicating more time to spending time with friends and family before and after our wedding, and not taking more family pictures; the point is you cannot go back and change it.  I encourage couples to remind themselves that no part of life is absolutely perfect, and a wedding is no exception.  Weddings bring together family and friends all to one place, and it will most likely be the first and perhaps only time that you ever plan such a large event.  If you have in your mind a play-by-play plan for your wedding, please accept and embrace the notion that somethings might not go exactly as planned. If there is anything that I can do to help couples avoid having these "post-wedding blues" it is to stress the importance of hiring professionals.    Brides that attempt to plan the entire wedding, and handle the day of coordination most often feel overwhelmed, and upset when things do not seem to be on track.  Having professionals on your side to keep your event running smoothly will certainly calm your nerves on your wedding day.

On some of the wedding forums that I belong to, brides commonly write a "Wedding Day Recap" post which usually describes their experience (good and bad.) Some brides have this overwhelming feeling now that their wedding is over, because they have put so much energy into planning and now its over.  What they should see though is that a whole new chapter is beginning, which is being a homeowner or living together, being a wife, and someday a mother will bring on a much bigger challenge than being a bride!

Some suggestions to help you enjoy your wedding experience, and avoid the post wedding blues:

Ask For Help Allow your wedding planner to assist you in task such as contacting venues, and setting consultations etc.  For the DIY brides, consider using some of the A La Carte Options offered by propesctive wedding coordinators such as site visits, contract negotiations and hourly services.  Meet with the coordinator as much or as little as you need, but you will be able to check in and make sure that your planning is on track.  If you have friends or family that have offered to help, consider delegating some of the tasks such as folding programs, tying bows etc.

Rehearsal Dinner The rehearsal dinner is pretty standard when it comes to a wedding, yet many couples don't take advantage of this time well.  Use your rehearsal dinner to run through the ceremony, and do not be afraid to ask to read the passages that your officiant plans to use.  You then have the ability to ask for any changes, and it may also help you get some of the jitters out.  Make sure to ask if your photographer is familiar with your venue, if not consider asking them to attend the rehearsal in order for them to get acquainted with the space.

Stay Active Before and After Your Wedding It is easy to get consumed with your planning process, so make time to exercise and get lots of rest in the weeks leading up to the wedding.  Stay involved with your friends lives as much as possible, you don't want to go overboard on wedding stuff, so make sure to be a good friend to others.  After the wedding, plan outings for you and your new husband to enjoy together such as sports games, or BBQ's with your families.

With that being said, I should say that every time I talk with someone about their wedding I notice they are smiling! Couples that have been married for 10, 20 or even 40 years talk about their wedding day like it was just yesterday and they remember what it felt like to walk down the aisle and dance together for the first time as husband and wife. Even when talking about some of their wedding day bloopers, they are still smiling because it was an amazing experience and they got married to the love of their life!  Sometimes the best thing to do is to share your frustrations with others, so feel free to drop us a line and tell us about your wedding planning experience!

On the road to 'I Do' Lisa and Justin

Lisa and Justin are one those fun couples that are always up for an adventure and they are definitely the life of the party.  That’s why we know their wedding will be no exception, and we know the couple will be dancing the night away. Did we mention that the groom can do the worm? Just ask him and he will show you! Justin literally proposed to Lisa under a waterfall in Burney Falls and of course she said yes! So after 5 years of dating, this couple is on their way down the altar.   They have set their date to August 13, 2011 and will be getting married in Chico, CA.

The ceremony will be held outdoors at the beautiful private Miller Mansion in Chico, followed by the reception at the nearby Arroyo Room, flowers will be arranged by Chico Florists.

Her bridal party will be wearing black tea-length Alfred Angelo gowns with pink accents,  and the groomsmen will be wearing black tux’s with a pink accent to follow her theme.

We will be highlighting Lisa’s progress in her wedding plans so check back for updates!

Update: Lisa's Bridal Shower had a black and pink theme with zebra print & feather accents.

Her cake was made by Christy's Creations, and matched her theme perfectly.

Lisa and her sister Kelly who is her Maid of Honor, each with a Star Gazer Lily which is Lisa's Wedding Flower.

*Update* Lisa had her Bachelorette Party in San Francisco, CA the weekend before her wedding and The Holiday Inn on the Wharf was the perfect spot! With a light up Bachelorette Sash, a very cute little white dress from Forever 21 and her entourage of ladies, Lisa was ready to hit the town. Ruby Skye was the destination for Saturday night, and this club exceeded expectations, look out Las Vegas!