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 | 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 | Create a Wedding Email to Stay Organized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.       Wedding Expos & Bridal Shows

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

2.       Wedding Planning Websites

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

3.       Bridal Shops & Party Supply Stores

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

4.       Invitation Design Websites

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

5.       Vendor Contact Forms

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

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

Wedding wishes and celebratory cheers!

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

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