Brides: How to get what you REALLY want!

Hailey and me during her bridal beauty process. 
at The Inn at Park Winters
Hair and Makeup by Christi Reynolds Beauty
Photographed by Alison Yin

Each year as what we refer to in the wedding industry as "booking season" comes around (for me, this is usually December through about March before my dates fill up for the year) I get a lot of emails from brides who are drowning in internet information about how to book their wedding, who to choose, what to avoid, and the horrific misinformation that is recycled on blogs and magazines on how they should budget for their day.

While I can't save them all by doing my best to target their needs as best I can via my own self promotion, marketing and information about my own business, I do try my darndest to save as many brides as I can when they approach me with questions like this email I received today.

Note: The wedding images in this post are of a very happy recent bride of mine who was the example in every way of how to get what she really wanted by doing her research and building her dream team of professional wedding vendors- not the author of the following email!

From an email I received today:

"Dear Christi,

 I am recently engaged and would love to be in touch about the make up for my own wedding. I am, however, still in the process of finding a venue and date, so I don't have any much more to share at this time.

I am wondering, however, if you have any recommendations for venues in the Sacramento area that have struck you as extra special? I went to school at UC Davis, so anywhere near there would be ideal. I am enamored with the Inn at Park Winters, but not sure if it is within our budget.

Any recommendations most welcome! After we get this nailed down we can talk make up. :)

Many thanks,

This was my response:

"Dear Bride,

Thank you so much for your email.

My best advice for all brides when choosing ANY of their vendors, even if budget is a factor-which of course it is!- and ESPECIALLY if you are considering NOT choosing the vendor/venue you really love, is to be sure to ask yourself:

-What all is included in this higher rate? What are my risks? 
What do you actually get for your money that will 1)give you that much needed sense of security about your investment 2) eliminate your stress and worry 3) EXCITE YOU about your choice? Beware of vendors who offer only verbal promises, those who work without contracts, and those who eagerly over promise without proof or history of them over delivering. 

-What is the reputation of  this vendor? What is their history of past brides' overall happiness and experience with them?
Reviews, referrals, results, images, etc. are a HUGE factor here! RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. If it is a newer vendor that is tough to find on Google, or you have to dig to find any history about them, or they have no website, or very few (or not so great) reviews-beware. This does not mean they will do a bad job (hey, we all started somewhere) however it may mean that YOU may the bride that is their learning lesson on their way to doing an excellent job. Want to give a newer vendor a chance because of their lower rate so they can help build their portfolio and reputation? Seems like a win/win, right? Not always. It is very admirable to give a newbie a try, however I would recommend doing it for another event-not your wedding day.

And most of all-

-What do YOU value? 
Don't just ask yourself what you can afford, (can we really afford ANYTHING?) but what is truly important to you? For instance, I have heard of brides that have told me they can't fit professional bridal makeup into their budget for their photography, and they opt for a friend to do it for them with a less than stellar, unorganized, not-so luxe or reliable ( ok, even terrible-like, crying in the bathroom later terrible. Or-their artist never showed up, cancelled, because they had no contract etc. terrible) experience...then I see a photo of them posted in their custom Hailey Paige  gown and Christian Louboutin heels. And that is quite all right! Everyone values and prioritizes things in their own way.

I really hope all of this helps! Now-back to your original question-If you are in love with The Inn at Park Winters, I would book them. NOW! (and all of your other favorite vendors too) Before all their dates-the dates you may WANT- are gone. There are only a few things I regret from my own wedding day- the things I didn't just invest in. The day goes by SO fast and all you have after it are your memories! I know from experience that if you choose Park Winters, your wedding will be a dream come true as it has been for all of the brides I have serviced there-because of their excellent customer care, their full service packages, and attention to detail.

Let me know how things go for you! Like many local wedding vendors, I am about 50% booked for the year. I hope that when you nail down your date I have it available, and you will consider my services!

I have gone ahead and attached my 2016 Bridal Beauty Guide  here for you to look over.


The beautiful details.
at The Inn at Park Winters
Event Design by Alluring Events and Design
Photographed by Alison Yin
Hailey and her ladies in shades of violet, among the lavender.
at The Inn at Park Winters
Hair and Makeup by Christi Reynolds Beauty,
Beauty Box Makeup Arts, and Something Blue by Kayci Stoots
Photographed by Alison Yin

The Bottom Line:

I hate to see a bride not get what she want, when she really CAN-just by asking herself what she really, truly values. Not what she can afford. It's not that I feel that we truly deserve anything in life other than our fundamental and primal needs of love, health, safety, and shelter-however, if you are planning your wedding day, and you have a vision of where you want to be, how you want to look, and how you want to feel on that day, I don't think we need to deprive ourselves of something that we truly value. 

Like most vendors, I only require a small amount from my package to reserve my services for a wedding date that is almost a year away. Plenty of time to save for what my brides really WANT.

If there is a class or workshop (ranging in rates anywhere from $250-$3,000 plus!) I want to take  to improve my art or business and help me continue to be the artist I want to be and give the service I want to continue to provide, I will save up to go to it  because I value it-not because I can afford it!

AND-I know that in the long run, and in the bigger picture-I can't afford NOT to either!

With love,


Hailey and Michael and their adorbs fur babies.
at The Inn at Park Winters
Hair and Makeup by Christi Reynolds Beauty
Photographed by Alison Yin

One very happy bride.
at The Inn at Park Winters
Hair and Makeup by Christi Reynolds Beauty
Photographed by Alison Yin


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