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! 



Northern California Wedding Planner | Planning Your Wedding Over The Holidays

We can't believe it but time has flown by and the holidays are upon us! We're nearing the end of our 2017 wedding season, with one more sweet wedding day to celebrate next month.  With all of the holiday ads and countdowns we know it can be a stressful time for couples.  You might feel extra pressure to start nailing down the wedding details and wondering how to keep your planning on track during this busy time of year.  Here's a handy infographic with our top tips: 


We hope that all of the future couples can take a breath and realize that it's not worth it to be stressed over your wedding day! It really is supposed to be fun, so if you feel like you are carrying the load all by yourself please consider reaching out even if you just need to ask for advice.  We've got your back!
~ Happy Planning!~

Northern California Wedding Planner | Budgeting for Service Fees

Cake cutting fees, plate charges, set-up and breakdown, delivery, corkage, gratuity..the fees may seem to pop up everywhere but here is a little info to help you navigate when budgeting for your wedding.  When it comes to fees think of it as a convenience fee to compensate for time or for additional services.


Here are a few of the common fees that you may have not factored in yet! 

Service Fees
When looking over your agreement, do make sure to factor in applicable tax, service fees and gratuity. 

For example you may see this on your catering contract:

An eighteen percent (18%) service charge will be included in the final billing on all food, beverage and labor. The service charge covers the use of our equipment, kitchen essentials, buffet décor, energy costs, liability insurance fees, and all necessary permits and other administrative expenses. Please note that the service charge is taxable based on California State Regulation 1603(f) and is not a gratuity for the personnel.

Cake Cutting Fees
Typically charged when your venue, caterer or other staff who are not affiliated with the bakery who provided the cake.  The fee ranges any where from a flat fee of $25 to anywhere from $1-$4 per guest.  This mainly is due to covering the staff member designated to cut the cake (especially for large cakes or multiple tiers.) 

Corkage Fees
Corkage is a per bottle fee that a restaurant charges a customer who brings their own wine to be consumed at that restaurant. This isn't allowed in the majority of restaurants in the country, but it's very common/normal in Northern California.

Delivery Charges 
This one is pretty standard - Rental items, florals, cakes or other specialty items will likely have a delivery fee if you aren't planning to pick-up.  Delivery fees are charged to cover fuel and for the driver's time.  

Set-up/Break-down Charges
The set-up and break-down fees covers the time and labor of setting up chairs, tables, place settings etc for your wedding.  Often the break-down is the area where couples underestimate the amount of labor to clean-up after a large celebration.  Not only cleaning up the garbage and packing the personal items/decor but ensuring that all rental items are packed/stored/stacked per the rental company agreement.  Wood chairs often need to be bagged then stacked which is an extra step as well.  Just ask your wedding party, they DON'T want to do this after a long day of celebrating with you! 

Additional Hours/Services 
When you book your vendors such as a photographer, you will often book based on the number of hours they will provide coverage.  If you decide to you would like them to stay longer, you will likely be charged for the additional hour at a premium.  When it comes to additional services, this is called "out of scope" meaning the vendor wasn't contracted for the specific service but will provide it for an additional fee.  

Recently, a few articles have been circulating accusing the wedding industry of price gouging just because it is a wedding.  However, I think when it comes to fees it is more common in the service industry than most people realize.  Until you have planned a wedding, you just aren't aware of them and it can be a sense of sticker shock when you start seeing the numbers.  We recommend starting with your venue search and narrowing down your selection by first understanding these fees associated.  Work with your wedding planner to ensure that you have accounted for these in your budget! 

~ Happy Planning! ~


Northern California Wedding Planner | Tips for Staying Organized

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



Track your goals 

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

Aisle Planner Dashboard

Visualize your progress

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

Take time for yourself 

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

~ Happy Planning!~