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Yuba Sutter Weddings: An Interview with Kate Whelan

by Emily Lee

    Wide open spaces. Rolling golden hills. Stunning vineyards, blooming orchards, and areas of dense forest paired with pristine lakes and rivers. With its diverse landscape and rustic settings, it’s no wonder Yuba Sutter makes a picturesque backdrop for all types of weddings! 

    We recently teamed up with one of Northern California’s premier wedding and event planners, Kate Whelan of Kate Whelan Events, to discuss why Yuba Sutter is the perfect place to plan your nuptials. Whether you’re newly engaged or in the final stages of the wedding planning process, this blog post is for you. Brides and grooms, check out our interview below...and happy planning! 

    Photo Credit: 2G20C Wedding Photography

    Tell us a little about yourself, your connection to Yuba Sutter, and your wedding planning business, Kate Whelan Events (KWE)! 

    "I moved to Yuba City when I was 11 years old, so I pretty much grew up in the community. I went to Yuba City High (go Honkers!) and also attended Yuba College. I loved the small town feel and connection of Yuba City; and the local downtown business vibe. Some of my favorite spots, even to this day, are Brock’s and Casa Lupe. I’ve been working in the live events industry for over 20 years, and started my own wedding planning business in 2008. What really sets our team at KWE apart from other planners is our ability to be incredibly organized, all while telling the couple’s unique story through design and experience. Every couple is different and special. Every couple has a unique story. They have a unique style. At KWE, we don’t just incorporate our style – we listen to what the couple wants and bring those elements into their wedding day. We also use the latest and greatest technology and software systems to keep everything streamlined during the planning process."

    For those reading who may not know, what exactly does a wedding coordinator or planner do?

    "Great question! First and foremost, there is a big difference between a coordinator and a planner. A wedding planner is involved with the planning process: helping with vendor selection and communicating with those vendors; attending the vendor meetings with the couple; handling and managing all of the logistics involved with the event. On the other hand, a wedding coordinator is usually brought in a month before to assist with final details. Many times, a coordinator is also brought into the picture for the day of needs, such as set up and tear down."

    Photo Credit: Marissa Maharaj

    Why is hiring an experienced and qualified wedding planner a must-have for your big day?

    "For most engaged couples, this is their first time planning a wedding. And let’s be honest: It is a big deal! There is so much that goes into the event. So many logistics and details that need to happen in the right order. It is overwhelming for any bride and groom to have to tackle the process on their own. This should be a fun and enjoyable experience for couples, but without a planner, it can quickly become a stressful situation.

    Hiring a wedding planner is one of the best wedding decisions you can make as an engaged couple. Wedding planners bring years and even decades of experience being creative problem solvers. We act as your advocate on your wedding day, and throughout the process. Most importantly, it gives a bride and groom the gift of being present on their wedding day! Brides shouldn’t be worried about when the cake is arriving, if the flowers are in water, if the caterer has started setting up, etc. With a wedding planner, you can be present and enjoy your day. Additionally, with a wedding planner it actually allows you to better manage your wedding budget, and stay within that budget as well."

    Photo Credit: Sara Maren

    What makes Yuba Sutter a perfect location to plan a wedding?

    "Yuba Sutter has such a unique feel to it. It can be rustic and organic, yet romantic and beautiful. The weather is fabulous, especially in the fall. There are ample venue options and locations that can host and accommodate outdoor ceremonies and receptions. Also, everything within Yuba Sutter is fairly close in proximity, so accommodations are convenient for guests to stay overnight." 

    What are your Top 3 favorite wedding venues in Yuba Sutter? 

    "There are so many great ones! I don’t think I could narrow to just three, so I am going to include a handful of options. Each one is unique in it’s own way depending on the feel and vibe of the wedding, and what the couple is wanting their wedding to be:

    • River Highlands Ranch & Vineyard
    • The Ranch at Long Oak Longhorns
    • Teegarden Event Center 
    • Peachtree Golf & Country Club 
    • 2121 Ranch 
    • Frenchtown Inn 

    **Click HERE to see a complete list of wedding venues in Yuba Sutter.

    What are some bridal boutiques, catering options and florists you would recommend in Yuba Sutter?

    "There are so many wonderful small businesses in Yuba Sutter! Just a few of my favorites are:

    • Bridal Boutique: Always Elegant Bridal is wonderful. The owner, Bree, is just incredible, and her team has one of the best “dress try-on” experiences! 
    • Catering: Marcellos is true nostalgic classic Italian. The French Whisk is also fantastic. 
    • Florist: The Garden Gate, as well as Yuba City Florist are two trusted and experienced options.
    Photo Credit: Digital Dreamer Photography

    With Covid-19 affecting how couples plan their wedding, how do you and your team help brides navigate this? 

    "The past year has definitely been challenging, to say the least, for couples planning their wedding. For wedding and event planners too, it was also incredibly difficult to know exactly what to do this past year. Unfortunately, the live event industry was not given any real guidance or guidelines as to how to conduct weddings for well over a year. We were essentially required to stop any gatherings, including weddings. In recent weeks, however, the State of California has finally started releasing and approving specific guidelines for “uncontrolled mixing events” such as weddings. This has been critical. We can finally start planning again, and weddings are picking back up. 

    At KWE, we wanted to adhere to all guidelines set forth by the state. Our biggest suggestion to our couples was not to cancel, but to postpone until we were clear to begin planning again. And to those couples who did not want to postpone, some options we suggested to them – especially during the thick of the pandemic and closures – were to host a virtual event or do a small elopement. We saw a lot of creativity happen with the virtual events. There were several local companies who pivoted their services to accommodate couples who needed virtual services for their wedding."

    Photo Credit: Weddings By Scott & Dana

    What are 5 creative ways engaged couples can help their wedding be socially distanced?

    "Even now with gatherings and weddings finally picking back up, social distancing and/or masking will remain for quite some time. There are many ways to encourage social distancing and other guidelines to help keep you and your guests safe. Here is a small list of “Covid-friendly” suggestions we have for couple planning an upcoming wedding: 

    • “Virtual” Wedding Cake: Send a slice of cake to those guests who are unable to travel to your wedding. You can select a local bakery in their area, and have it delivered to their home. 
    • Custom Masks: Tie in your wedding palette and theme with custom masks for both you and your guests, as well as your vendors. This can even be your wedding favor to guests! 
    • Outdoor Venues: Select a venue that can accommodate and host both an outdoor ceremony and reception. 
    • Smaller Tables: Instead of an 8-top round table or longer rectangular dining table, go with smaller tables that seat 2-4 guests.
    • Assigned Seating: Seat guests with their households, keeping close family members together and trying not to mix households at the reception and ceremony.  
    • Hand Washing Stations: Cute and creative hand washing stations that actually tie in to the feel of your wedding and add to the ambiance. 
    • Plastic Dividers: Adding clear plastic dividers between vendors and guests at volume spots like the bar, buffet and DJ. 

    Whenever you visit the Yuba Sutter region, be sure to share your experiences and tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and use our hashtag #VisitYubaSutter.