Author Archives: Fantasy Sound

Photo of the Week

We can’t stop swooning over this image that Maurice Ramirez Photo captured at Romance in the Vineyards of our new Imperial Chandelier! It’s such an amazing complement to our other crystal chandeliers and it truly is a show stopper!

Photo of the Week

We absolutely love this shot of our new Geometric Chandeliers from Romance in the Vineyards at the Palm Event Center! They are such a unique addition to our inventory and we can’t get enough!

Press: Book More Brides & Wedding IQ

We are so thrilled to share Kevin’s guest blogs that were featured on Book More Brides and Wedding IQ!

He shared his insight on wedding crises wedding pros should anticipate on Book More Brides. Read it all here!

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Take a peek at Kevin’s article on work/life balance in the wedding industry here.

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Proudly serving Bay Area Weddings for over twenty years, Fantasy Sound aims to be engaged couples’ first stop- offering Disc Jockey, Videography, Event Lighting Décor and Wedding Planning services. They are fueled by great ideas paired with strong coffee, and will never turn down a piece of red velvet wedding cake.



Press: The Knot & Ceremony Blog

We’ve got a couple of great features that we are so happy to share!

The Knot covered how to elevate your wedding venue with chandeliers and we were thrilled to share some of our insight. Check it all out here!

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The Ceremony Blog featured a gorgeous styled shoot that we were thrilled to be a part of!  See the full feature in all of its glory here.

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Proudly serving Bay Area Weddings for over twenty years, Fantasy Sound aims to be engaged couples’ first stop- offering Disc Jockey, Videography, Event Lighting Décor and Wedding Planning services. They are fueled by great ideas paired with strong coffee, and will never turn down a piece of red velvet wedding cake.

Style Us Shocked!

We are SO excited to announce that we were involved in two Style Me Pretty features in two days! It’s hard enough to be featured once, so imagine our surprise when we found out that two of the weddings we were involved in were selected, and we were even more surprised when they were published back to back!

Be sure to click here and here to see the full posts. There’s a whole lot of pretty to inspire you!SMP 3

Engagement Shoot Tips!

If you’re anything like me, one of the first questions I always ask before doing anything is “What am I going to wear?!” An engagement photo shoot would be no exception. Engagement photos are a great way to capture the beginning of a new chapter of your lives together, and also serve as a nice way to announce your engagement to friends and family. However, your beautiful, smiling faces are just a part of these photos, there are many factors to consider such as your clothing and props. Now, we are not professional photographers by any means, but we feel like we have seen enough engagement photos to have a good idea about what looks good and what doesn’t. So, with that said, here are some of our top tips for how to look your best for your engagement photos!


Photo by Kelsey Lauren Photography

Be yourselves! No matter what outfits you settle on, make sure they reflect who you are as a couple. The best photos are ones where your personalities shine through!

Be comfortable! This means that the clothes should not only fit well (no one wants to have to constantly remember to suck that tummy in), but also make you feel great. Not sure if you’re going to be able to stand steadily in the brand new stilettos you just bought? Skip them! Go with your trusty wedges that not only make your legs look great, but are also easy to walk in. When in doubt, stick with the classics and basics. If you’re not sure if the clothes you want to wear are just a part of a “phase” or an effort to keep up with a “trend,” consider sticking with a simple dress that will never go out of style instead. The little black dress is popular for a reason; you won’t look back at your engagement photos in 20 years and wonder “what was I thinking?” The typical couple picks 2-3 different outfits for their photo shoot. Your outfits should work well together, but don’t necessarily need to be identical. For instance, it might look kind of odd if you were wearing a casual sundress while your fiancé was wearing a formal suit and tie. Try having him wear a casual button down and jeans to go with your sundress and you can wear a cocktail dress to go with his suit an tie outfit.


Photo by Kelsey Lauren Photography

Don’t forget about your hands, feet, and shoes! Get a manicure and pedicure before the photo shoot. Your hands need to look great because there are going to be a lot of photos of your ring! Some people forget, but photographers will be taking some full body shots. Nothing ruins a great outfit like a scuffy pair of shoes.

Don’t neglect your makeup! Even if you’re usually a no makeup kind of girl, dusting some powder over your T-zone won’t hurt. Heck, even giving your fiancé a light dusting might be a good idea too! Make sure any make up you wear is matte and SPF free as shiny, glittery, sparkly makeup can make you look oily and doesn’t photograph well, and SPF can give you a white cast in flash photography.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and bring props! Does your fiancé play a mean guitar? Bring the guitar and take some photos of him playing the guitar and singing to you. Did you guys meet at a bookstore while reaching for the last copy of Harry Potter? Bring that book! Are you both obsessed with Star Wars? Take a fun photo as Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper! All that matters is letting your personalities shine through.

Coney Island Engagement Shoot

Photo by Clean Plate Pictures

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! If you enjoy yourselves, the camera will capture some truly amazing shots.


Catelyn and Daryl Tie The Knot!

James of Bel Inizio Photography recently posted some pictures of Catelyn and Daryl’s October wedding at Casa Real at the Ruby Hill Winery, and when we saw them we knew we needed to get our hands on them for our blog! We absolutely love working with James and we can always count on him to share his amazing images with us. Thanks for being so awesome, James!







Congratulations Catelyn and Daryl! We hope married life is treating you well!

Ask Kevin: How Much Cake Do I Need?

Hi Kevin,

I’m starting to wrap up all the planning details for my May wedding, but I am struggling with the size cake I will need. I am still waiting to hear back from a good amount of people, but it’s looking like we will have about 75-100 people. Do you have any advice on what size cake I need?


Anna from Tracy, CA


Hi Anna!

Thanks for writing in. This is a topic that many people struggle with, so I am happy to help! To be honest, cake is always tricky because most people won’t eat their slice, but you still need to order as if everyone will. With that being said, I always keep this inforgraphic on hand because it is spot on when it comes to servings for your guest count. Hopefully this helps!


When Should I Have My Wedding?

It’s engagement season, and a lot of couples have just begun their planning. Many questions arise at the beginning of the planning process, and one of the biggest questions is WHEN do we want to have our wedding. Now, there are some brides that have been planning a spring wedding since they were kids, and others have always dreamed of being married in the winter, but for the majority of couples picking a date and season is a struggle. Well, I was browsing Pinterest the other day, as one does, and stumbled across this amazing infographic that could be helpful! Now obviously this doesn’t have all the answers or themes for each season’s wedding, but it does show some of the more popular features that can be seen in a seasonal wedding to help you narrow down your options.

Based on this infographic, which season is ideal for you? Let us know in the comments!

2013 Romance in the Vineyards!

We were SO excited to receive the images from 2013’s Romance in the Vineyards showcase at the Palm Event Center! We were lucky enough to work with a great group of vendors, and we were all really pleased with how our vignettes came out. Each vignette had a different theme, which allowed all of us to showcase a plethora of different and exciting things! Which vignette is your favorite?

Lighting and Decor- Fantasy Sound Event Services

Linens- Napa Valley Linens

Florals- The Flower House

Furniture- Milk Glass Vintage Rentals

Stationery and Favors- Unveiled Bridal

Tabletop Rentals- Pleasanton Rentals and Hartmann Studios













We want to express a HUGE thank you to Tyler Vu Photography, Rhee Bevere Photography, and Maurice Ramirez Photography for capturing these amazing photos!

Ask Kevin: How Long Should My Reception Be?

Hi Kevin!

I just got engaged over Thanksgiving, and all my family was around so of course I received many questions about what my wedding plans were. One of the questions that came up was how long would my reception be, and to be honest, I have never really given that much thought because I didn’t think I really had a choice in the matter, and that whatever venue I selected would just tell me. So, it got me thinking, how long should my reception be? Are there any things that I should be aware of when I am discussing my reception length with my venue?

Thanks so much!


Antioch, CA



Hi Maria,

Congratulations on your engagement and thank you for your question! I’m sure it is something that many people overlook when they are just starting the planning process. In today’s wedding world, the options for customization are endless, and that certainly applies to your timeline as well. With that being said, we do typically see an average reception length of 4-5 hours, including cocktail hour. The most important thing to think about is that you want to your guests to leave your reception wanting more. I’m sure that you want to have a long reception, and you think that your guests will be partying until the wee hours of the morning, but in reality many of your guests will be ready to leave after you cut the cake. You always want your guests to leave your wedding thinking “Wow that was the best! I could have danced for hours more” instead of “Wow, I’m so glad that thing is finally over. It lasted forever!”.

We have found that the sweet spot for a reception is 4 hours, and I think that the best way to break that down is as follows- 1 hour for cocktails and appetizers, 1 hour for dinner, and  about 90 minutes for dancing. You’re probably doing the math in your head, and noticing that only adds up to 3.5 hours. Well, no matter how hard you try to stay on your timeline, it’s inevitable that there will be delays, so it’s always smart to leave a little cushion of time.

Hopefully that helps, and best of luck with the rest of your planning!

We Are SO Thankful!

Well, can you believe it’s already the holiday season? We sure can’t! This year has absolutely flown by for us because we have been so busy, and it’s made us realize how thankful we are for a lot of things. We are so grateful to be in this industry where we can work with people during the happiest times of their lives because it brings us such joy. We are so thankful for all the amazing vendors that we work with that continue to inspire us. We are thankful for our coworkers who make every day in the office a blast. We are beyond thankful for our amazing clients, who allow us to keep doing what we love and remind us why we love it, even when we are having a terrible day.

We want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Fantasy Sound! We are so thankful for each and every one of you!

We Are Crazy for Chandeliers!

Chandeliers have been one of our most popular inventory items the past few years, and it doesn’t look like the trend will be slowing down any time soon. Our chandelier inventory has steadily been increasing over the past 5 years, and we are always on the hunt for our next favorite chandelier! Want to check out some of our most popular chandeliers? Keep reading!


The first models we ever selected were our 12 Light Crystal Chandeliers. They add the perfect touch of elegance and romance to any event! Many clients have had them  be clustered over the dance floor or dropped low over the sweetheart table, but the options are endless. If you are looking for a classic yet elegant chandelier, these 12 Light Chandeliers are the ones for you!


Love our 12 Light Crystal Chandeliers but looking for something a little bit smaller? Look no further than our 5 Light Crystal Chandeliers! You will get the same effect as the 12 Lights, but just on a smaller scale.


Looking for a really dramatic centerpiece chandelier that is sure to drop jaws? Then our 12’x12′ Beaded Chandelier is what you are looking for! We built this gorgeous chandelier by hand in our warehouse, and we designed it to be a real show stopper. It is a perfect 12’x12′ square, with a 9′ drop of crystal beads. Gorgeous!

tiered chandies

We also designed and built a 9’x9′ and 6’x6′ Beaded Chandelier that can be nested inside the 12’x12′ Beaded Chandelier to really WOW your guests.

Love chandeliers but want something a bit more rustic? We’ve got you covered!

Candle Chandelier - Leal 2 copy

Our 30 Candle Iron Chandeliers are simplistic and beautiful. And yes, those are all real candles! The flickering candle light is so romantic, which fits in perfectly with weddings!

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These 5 Light Iron Orbs are one of the newest additions to our inventory, and we are absolutely obsessed with them! They are so fun and chic.

Want to see some more chandelier options? This is only a little peek at our inventory, which is always expanding, so please contact us for a consultation to see everything we have to offer!

Sneak Peeks- Romance in the Vineyards Edition!

Romance in the Vineyards took place at the Palm Event Center on October 30th, and we had a great time setting up all of our different vignettes. We wanted to wait until we received the professional photos before we shared them with you….but we just couldn’t wait! Here a few sneak peeks of our different vignettes. They were all taken with a cell phone, so please excuse the quality. We will be posting the professional pics soon, so keep your eyes on the blog!
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[Florals/Event Design] The Flower House

[Lighting/Exclusive Ceiling Partner] Fantasy Sound Event Services

[Linens] Napa Valley Linens
[Vintage Rentals] Milk Glass Vintage Rentals

[Rentals] Pleasanton Rentals

[Tabletop] Hartmann Studios

[Favors/Custom Printing] Unveiled Bridal

[Non-Denominational Officiant] Patrick T. Doohan {phone: 510.581.8876}

[Harpist] Krista Strader


Ask Kevin: Is My Bridal Party Too Big?

Hi Kevin,

I have 3 sisters and tons of friends from college that I want to include in my wedding, but I feel like  my bridal party is going to be huge! How do I know if my bridal party is too big?


Jordyn Woods

Dublin, CA



Hi Jordyn,

Thank you so much for your question! I know this is a common problem many brides face, so I am happy to help! It is hard to limit the number of your friends you ask to be in your bridal party, but keep in mind that the larger the group, the more work it will be for you. Remember, you’ll need to budget for transportation and flowers, maybe even hair and makeup, for each bridesmaid as well as boutonnieres for the groomsmen. Coordinating a large group may add unnecessary stress to your wedding planning, so many couples find it easier to keep the number of attendants small, averaging 6 attendants on each side.

Also, just because  you can’t have every single friend in your wedding doesn’t mean that they won’t be involved in the wedding! For example, someone can take charge of the guest book,  perform a song, or do a reading during the ceremony. And let’s not forget the bachelorette party and rehearsal dinners! Those are perfect opportunities to include friends and family members that are not members of the bridal party.

I hope this was helpful! Picking your bridal party can be stressful, but just remember- your friends and family are so happy for you and will love and support you no matter what!

– Kevin


Common Wedding Complaints

One wedding trend that we’ve been noticing is that brides are increasingly more concerned about the guest experience at their wedding. Brides are spending a lot of time making sure that all of their guests have as much fun as she does. We’ve compiled a list of common wedding guest complaints so that you can avoid these faux pas and make sure your guests have the time of their life!

  • Complaint: Inconvenient wedding dates
    • Solution: Consider when you want your wedding to be and try not to plan it on a major holiday. Holidays such as Labor Day are going to be easier to swing with your guests than say, Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you are absolutely set on having your wedding on a major holiday, check with friends and loved ones well in advance so you can make sure the people most important to you are able to attend. The earlier you get those save-the-date notices out, the better! Also, it would be wise to check the local events around your wedding venue. It would be most unfortunate if a parade happened to be happening on the street outside your venue during your ceremony.
  • Complaint: Not taking care of out of town guests
    • Consider things like lodging and extracurricular activities for your out of town guests. If everyone is staying together at a hotel, don’t book a block of rooms at an expensive hotel when not all of your guests may not have the finances necessary to pay for such extravagance. Also keep in mind that out of town guests may be flying into town and as such, may not have transportation. Consider finding a way to mass transport your guests to your wedding and reception location. Also, if they’re traveling to attend your wedding, they might want to explore the area a little bit. Designate someone to be a point of contact to refer activities and points of interest to these guests so that they’re taken care of, but it’s one less thing for you to deal with personally.
  • Complaint: Seating issues
    • Solution: Coming up with a seating chart is a daunting task, but a necessary one nonetheless. It’s important to consider not only who you seat together (you don’t want to accidentally seat Uncle Bob next to Aunt Maggie, only to have them remember that Uncle Bob once broke Aunt Maggie’s antique vase at a family reunion and have them get into a heated argument over the soup course), but also where you are seating your guests in the room (Great-grandma Betty probably wouldn’t appreciate being seated next to the speakers while the DJ blasts ‘Sexy and I Know It’). Also, try not to cram too many people at a table. Your guests want to be able to enjoy their food without having to literally rub elbows with their neighbors.
  • Complaint: Poorly scheduled weddings
    • Solution: Having a 1-2 hour gap between your ceremony and reception is okay, but be thoughtful about what your guests are going to be doing while you’re off taking your photos. A popular trend we’ve been seeing is the bride setting out games like croquet or badminton on the lawn so that the guests have something to do during the wait. Having a cocktail hour is also a good solution. Also be aware that if your reception is happening during a regular meal time, your guests are going to be expecting to get fed. If they aren’t, inform them so they can make other arrangements for sustenance. If you’re planning on serving a meal, also make sure to serve it at a normal time. No one wants to be eating dinner at 9PM.
  • Complaint: Cash bars
    • If you’re on a tight budget, having a cash bar is not a good way to save on the funds. Asking guests to pay for alcohol at your wedding is like inviting your guests over to your house for dinner and then expecting them to pay for the wine. If you’re planning on having alcohol at your wedding, consider having a bar with a limited selection of preselected wines and cocktails. This is a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding. You could also create a signature cocktail, like Tia’s Tasty Tequila Treat, if your name happens to be Tia, you like tequila, and have a penchant for alliteration. This way everyone can get a drink, and you don’t have the break the bank.
  • Complaint: Long-neverending-I-think-I-see-my-hair-turning-gray speeches.
    • Solution: Speeches are a wonderful, personal touch at a wedding, but no one wants to sit there forever. If you suspect that one of your toasters is long-winded and will talk forever, have them speak at the rehearsal dinner! The relaxed atmosphere of a rehearsal dinner is the perfect venue for a long speech, and it won’t hold up the flow of events at your wedding.
  • Complaint: Ungracious hosts
    • Solution: You don’t necessarily need an entire receiving line to be able to greet all of your guests and make them feel welcome on your special day. You can spend some time during your reception going around to each table. You don’t need to spend more than a minute per table, but just making an appearance at the table and saying hi to everyone is enough to make each guest feel truly valued. After the wedding, make sure to send out those thank you cards. They may be a pain in the hand to write, but guests will notice if they don’t receive a card. Like your mama taught you, please and thank you’s will get you a long way in life.

What are some faux pas that you’ve experienced at weddings?

Ask Kevin- How Do I Create A Budget?

Hi Kevin,

I’m just starting to jump into planning my wedding, and I am at a loss when it comes to creating a budget. I don’t know what qualifies as a reasonable amount! Can you help me?


Anita- Dublin, CA


Hi Anita!

Creating a budget is a tricky process, so I am glad you asked! The first step to figuring out your budget is to figure out where all the money is coming from. Are you and your fiancé going to pay for everything? Are your parents footing the bill? Maybe you have a generous great aunt on your mother’s side. Regardless of who is contributing to your wedding, make sure to get hard numbers. Someone telling you they will give you $2,000.00-$4,000.00 is less helpful that having a commitment for $2,500.00. The average budget contribution breakdown for 2012 was:

  • 59 percent: You and your groom
  • 12 percent: Your parents
  • 28 percent: A combo of people
  • 1 percent: His parents

Once you have figured out how much money you have, it’s time to figure out how you will allocate the money. There are a couple of ways to help you get an idea of how you much you should expect to spend. One way is to ask your wedding venue how much a typical couple at their venue spends. Another way is to assign a dollar amount per guest that you are willing to spend. For instance, if you are willing to spend $200.00 per guest and you have 180 guests, you will need at least $36,000. Finally, if you attended a wedding that you love, and you are close with the couple, ask them how much they spent on their wedding and ask for some tips.


If you’re looking for a general guideline for how much of your budget to dedicate to each aspect, here is the average breakdown for 2012:

  • Groom’s Formalwear (Rental): 1.1 percent
  • Favors: 1.3 percent
  • Officiant: 1.5 percent
  • Hair & Makeup (Including Attendants’): 1.8 percent
  • Attendants’ Gifts: 2 percent
  • Invitations & Other Printed Materials: 2.8 percent
  • Transportation: 2.9 percent
  • Flowers: 5.7 percent
  • Wedding Rings: 6 percent
  • Music: 6.8 percent
  • Wedding Dress, Veil & Other Accessories: 7.5 percent
  • Photography & Videography: 13.6 percent
  • Reception Site, Meals, Cake & Bar: 47 percent

If you are having problems staying within your budget, figure out what’s important to you. Are you a huge foodie, but flowers aren’t as important to you? Go ahead and get that meal upgrade and cut back on your flowers. Don’t be shy about using any money saving tips you may have. Saturdays are typically the most expensive days, but Fridays and Sundays are almost as good and usually cheaper. Have a crafty friend? Have her help you make centerpieces, place cards, etc. Is your brother-in-law a professional photographer? Have him do your wedding photos. There is no shame saving some money wherever you can because you always want to plan for any unexpected charges, like the gorgeous pair of Louboutins you saw!

Make sure to keep track of your budget, either on paper or electronically. We like from When you keep track of your budget, you are less likely to go over, which is important!

Wedding planning can be complicated, and it only gets more complicated when there are multiple people contributing money and opinions to your wedding. The important thing to remember is that it is YOUR wedding day. Discuss what you and your fiancé want for your big day and make sure you always stay on the same page.

Another Round of Sneak Peeks!

We are coming off an another super hectic crazy weekend, so naturally we have some cell phone sneak peek photos for you! photo 2

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As always, keep your eye on the blog for the professional photos!

Did You Know?

We have a confession…we’re addicted to social media! It’s pretty bad, but we just can’t stop, and we have even been trying to branch out to some of the “newer” platforms. Our current favorites, aside from Facebook and Twitter, are Pinterest and InstagramScreen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.29.34 AM

We have a blast with Pinterest, because it is such a great way to interact with our brides. It seems that every bride has a Pinterest board these days, and we love looking through their inspiration boards together when we meet with them for our consultations. It’s such an easy way to keep track of anything and everything you could ever want, and the inspiration is endless!

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We’ve also been enjoying using Instagram too! Photos are such a valuable part of our marketing, and we love how Instagram allows us to broadcast them so easily. Not to mention all of the fun we have playing around with all of those filters and creative hashtags!

We love being social with all of our clients, and we hope you enjoy it too! Be sure to check us out on all of our social medias:





Cake Cutting Songs

One of the most common questions we receive during our final DJ meetings is “What song should I have for my cake cutting?” Picking a cake cutting song is the most challenging part of the music selection process because while you may have always dreamed of sharing your first dance to “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain, I’ll bet you have never even thought about what song would be playing while you cut your cake.

Well, be prepared for a surprise, because I am here to tell you that it doesn’t really matter! I’m sure that is a shock to hear, but the fact of the matter is that you (and all of your guests) will be so wrapped up in the moment that you won’t even remember or hear what song is playing! With that being said, cake cutting is the perfect opportunity to play that song that you almost picked as your first dance song, or the one that was this close to being the soundtrack to your walk down the aisle.

Here is a list of some of the more popular cake cutting songs we have played, ranging from the cheesy to the classic, in case you are at a loss for inspiration:

What song are you planning on having during your cake cutting? Let us know!

Sneak Peeks!

We have been insanely busy these past couple weeks, and we’ve been so excited about the lighting that we have been doing. Typically we wait until we receive professional photographs before we put them on the blog, but we just could not contain our excitement! Here are some sneak peek photos we snapped at events with our iPhones, so please excuse the quality. Let us know what you think!


We love this custom monogram glass GOBO! The little caricatures turned out great!


That same couple also booked our 3 tier crystal beaded chandelier. That is our 6’x6′ beaded chandelier nested inside our 9’x9′ beaded chandelier nested inside our 12’x12′ beaded chandelier. Doesn’t it add some elegance and drama to the room? What a centerpiece!


We love hanging our 30 candle iron chandeliers at the Palm Event Center. They fit so well with the rustic vibe of the property. Adding some hanging light bulbs looks great too!


We love the look of this ceremony site. It’s so airy and elegant!


We just did some market lighting at Wente Vineyards too, and absolutely loved how it turned out. It reminds us of a little bistro!


Here is another shot of the same market lighting, after the sun had set. Check out those clouds!

Keep your eyes on the blog to see more photos from these events!


Guest Blog: Less Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Cheaper by Donnie Brown

Today’s guest vendor blog comes from our good friend Donnie Brown! We recently saw this post on Donnie’s blog the other day, and completely identified and agreed with EVERYTHING he had to say. So without further ado….


“There are few things in the world as exciting, confusing, and frustrating as planning your wedding. Endless are the vendors, the options, the details… And, that is when everything goes well. What if you are hiring someone who isn’t telling you the whole truth???

Having been in the industry for more than 30 years, I have seen it all. I have placed myself front and center for every cause you can imagine. And for those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised to hear that I have my opinions. My opinions are not based on loose information either. But, rather on years of experience visiting and revisiting every scenario at one time or another.

Today’s blog is focused on a topic that has come to my attention recently which has me completely perplexed. A professional wedding planner (not naming names so don’t ask) that I know who has come on the scene the past few years has taken it upon themselves to create a business plan which is completely misleading and unethical. They are demanding wedding vendors such as floral designers, photographers, invitations artists, cake designers, etc. to pay a kickback under the table of 15% of their contracted price with the client back to the planner as an additional fee. The planner then charges a ridiculously low “full service” fee to the bride. The bride is under the erroneous assumption that she is getting a great deal and discounting other qualified planners who work ethically and transparently because of the ticket price difference. What they don’t realize is that the vendors who are forced to pay the kickbacks are marking their services up an additional 15% to accommodate the loss. Therefore, the bride is paying the money anyway. They just don’t realize it. Plus, many talented and ethical vendors will refuse to pay this fee and are therefore never an option for the planner’s bride. This narrows the field and eliminates many excellent options for the client.

I have seen a lot of things in my professional career, but this takes the cake.

My suggestion: Ask the important question when booking your wedding planner. Make sure they are charging you exactly what is in your contract with them and not receiving kickbacks or referral fees from vendors.

I have been offered commissions before by vendors who wanted my referral business. My vendor selection process is based on criteria that has nothing to do with my financial gain, but rather for expert services for my client. That’s what really matters. What I charge my client is all I charge my client.  I always tell these vendor inquiries that they should offer any such discount or extra perk to my client. That plus taking very good care of them is payment enough for me!

Just a little food for thought from my soap box!”

Ask Kevin: When Should I Book?

Hi Kevin,

I just got engaged a couple weeks ago, and we just set our date for late 2014. I want to get everything locked down now, but I don’t know if I am starting too early. When is the best time to start looking for a DJ, Videographer, and Lighting vendor?



Danville, CA



Hi Marina!

Thank you so much for your question!  Typically the best time to start looking for a DJ and videographer would be about 6-9 months before your wedding, if not sooner. This gives you time to get to know both vendors throughout the planning process, as well as get two important vendors booked and out of the way leaving more time to enjoy the engagement period.

 As for lighting, you should begin contacting vendors 9-12 months before your event. Lighting sets the whole mood for the event, and as a result waiting could be risky. The last thing you want to do is wait until a week before your wedding to make the decision to book a lighting vendor only to find out they are all out of those beautiful chandeliers you had your heart set on. You can always add to your lighting down the road, but getting the basics taken care of early is the best way to ensure that you will be taken care of. I always recommend to book early, because then there will be less stress about what your venue is going to look like as the day creeps closer.

In fact, when it comes to vendors I will always tell my clients “If you like a vendor, and you mesh well, STOP shopping and BOOK!” Chances are if you wait and shop around and then decide that the one vendor you met with 6 weeks ago was the best, they will be booked and you will be sorry that you ever bothered meeting the others. Too many times there are clients that wait to book a DJ and by the time they do, that DJ is no longer available for their wedding!

The sooner you book those major vendors, the better. There is no better feeling than knowing who your DJ will be, how your videographer is going to shoot your wedding, and what your venue is going to look like on your big day, 6 months before the wedding. This gives you more time to focus on your florist, cake designer, photographer, and how amazing you are going to look when you take that walk down the aisle towards your soul mate, not to mention actually having the time to enjoy your engagement!

Brides Blogging: Getting AND Keeping Your Groom Involved

Today’s Brides Blogging post comes from Michelle Grant. Michelle and her fiancé Jeff have such an adorable background story, so allow me to let Michelle tell it in her own words:

“We actually went to school together from elementary through high school.  We had second and fifth grade together but somehow managed to not have a class together again ever.   We also lived down the street from each other in San Jose. With all of this, you’d think we would’ve been closer growing up!  Not the case. He was pretty shy and I was an outgoing tomboy. We kind of ran with a different circle of friends and after high school graduation, we didn’t see each other again until we were 21 at a bar called Katie Bloom’s in Campbell.   We both recognized each other from a distance and finally mustered up the courage to say hello. He was twice the size I remembered him as!  At the time, he was a fitness manager at The Right Stuff Health Clubs and I was a waitress. He was just as handsome as could be, I couldn’t stop staring!  After that first night, we made plans to hang out in the next few weekends to come. I messaged him on MySpace a few days later because I couldn’t wait and we made plans for what I thought was the next weekend. The next weekend, I invited my best girlfriend Sabrina (one of my bridesmaids) to meet Jeff and his friends in Campbell.  We waited a few hours and I was heartbroken thinking he had just stood me up.   I messaged him again on MySpace and jokingly said “what the heck?”. He laughed and thought I was nuts, our message had actually said we’d meet up the weekend after next.  So he didn’t stand me up at all, I was so excited to meet him that I didn’t even read the message carefully enough!  We met with a group of friends that weekend and it was all over from there.  We have been inseparable for seven years now. We moved to Arizona 3 years ago to finish our degrees at ASU. I work in commercial banking and Jeff is in the application process with a few different police departments.   He has had his heart set on being an officer ever since I can remember. I’m so proud of him. We are so excited to get married and celebrate with our friends and family in February!”

It doesn’t get much cuter than that, does it?!

So, without further ado, here is Michelle’s guest blog on how to keep your groom involved in the planning process!



When I first got engaged, I frequently heard, “have you started planning yet? Have you chosen the venue?  Have you chosen your colors?”  People assume that there isn’t much “we” involved when it comes to planning a wedding—but it doesn’t have to be that way!  This day is just as important to your groom as it is to you.   As brides, we have to be creative when it comes to including our men in the planning process since we all know they don’t dream about flowers and dresses when they pop the question.  I have a few pieces of advice for my fellow brides to get your men involved and keep them interested in the planning of the biggest day of both your lives.


The first thing I did was just ask!  “Hey babe—what colors do you think we should choose?” Not expecting him to care much, he surprised me when he said he knew for sure he wanted purple.  When I asked him why, he told me, “because The Joker is purple”.  Batman is all time favorite movie and he’s a HUGE comic book fan, I mean HUGE—so this gave me an idea.  I can relate the wedding to things that interest my future husband!  Genius! Purple—the Joker, perfect!  Lucky for me I really wanted a deep purple as one of our colors so it worked out great.  But the point is, if we relate the wedding to things that interest our fiancés, they will actually get involved.  And despite what we as women or society might say about men being a part of the wedding planning process, they do love to feel included and it’s actually quite easy to include them.


I really took the comic book idea an ran with it.   I thought about the parts of the wedding that are fun for the groom—obviously, the first thing that came to mind is when he gets to pull the garter off my leg.   I thought to myself, I should really do something special or fun for him.   Then the idea of making a custom garter came to me—so I’m custom-making a black and yellow garter with a batman patch on it.  Is it my style?  Not really.  But will my husband feel over-the-moon that I surprised him with a Batman-themed garter?  Absolutely.  In fact I think he might cry!  But he will feel so special and loved—isn’t that what a marriage is about?  The point is to make your groom feel like he is a part of the process.  This isn’t just your day—it’s his day too!  You don’t want your groom to show up, look around, and feel that he had nothing to do with the planning.  You want to look around together and feel that togetherness and love.  A marriage is about talking things over, coming to an agreement, and loving the outcome because you chose it together.


Simply asking your man is a great way to start.  What does he envision for your big day?  Is there something that is really important to him that you might not know about?  These are things to think about and ask.  And don’t underestimate yourselves!  We know our men better than anyone.  Whether it’s comic-book themed ideas or his favorite sports team, be creative and have fun with it!  Your men will follow.

Brides Blogging- Planning Nightmares




Today’s Bride Blogging post comes from our very own Bri Reeser! Bri and her husband Kyler met their freshmen year of college, through a mutual friend. They quickly became best friends, and began dating a year later! Bri and Kyler just tied the knot on June 15th, 2013, so they are very recent newlyweds. Keep on reading to find out how Bri dealt with some planning nightmares!

bri bride blog

During my engagement, I would have dreams that I was stuck trying to plan my wedding hundreds of miles away from the venue. I dreamt that my fiancé was living on the other side of the country, being busied with finishing a master’s thesis that left little to no time to help, and that my girls were scattered far and wide–some in other states, others in other countries. I’d wake up with deep breaths, only to realize that my dreams were a reality. I WAS living on the opposite end of California, Kyler WAS thousands of miles away and stressed more than I was, and my girls were nowhere near me to bring me constant comfort. Whenever I told people about our situation, I was met with open mouths of disbelief and eyes of pity. And the recurring question was, “Oh my goodness, how are you doing this?!”

Looking back, I pat myself on the back that I did it! I planned my wedding without my friends or fiancé, while working a full time job and trying to stick to a tiny budget. Now, I can’t say that I was 100% alone in this. My friends, as far away as they were, became huge encouragers and did everything they could from a distance. Kyler sat patiently while I cried from the stress and nodded in agreement and excitement during Skype sessions meant to share my recent crafts. My sister and mother stepped in as my extra sets of eyes, ears, legs, arms and any other vital pieces I may have needed.

For those of you who may be facing a similar situation, first of all, let me say that I’m sorry. It is rough, and there are moments of loneliness, stress, and bitterness. But hold tight, because there are also moments of pride and realizations of strength! If you haven’t quite begun the process, I have a few tips for you that might make everything a little bit easier:

1. Be Thankful for what you DO have!

I didn’t have any of my best friends where I was living during my engagement. I always imagined staying up late giggling and glueing invitations closed. I pictured the Saturdays Kyler and I would spend visiting caterers and discussing how the gazebo would look. I didn’t get that. I did, however, get my mother and sister. They were absolute godsends. Anything I needed, they got me. Any tears I cried, they wiped away. I didn’t have the crowd I had always imagined, but I had my foundation. Don’t wallow in the disappointment that long-distance can bring. Take advantage of those who are sitting there saying, “I’m here to help! What can I do?”

2. Think Ahead!

This is an obvious statement to us brides. We know that weddings take time, and if you don’t call certain places a year in advance, you won’t be getting that for the day-of. This also applies to your time with your fiancé or friends. Think ahead to when you might see them next, and plan the big stuff around that (if it can wait a bit). The weekend before Kyler flew back to Boston, we crammed all our venue tours in and decided on one before he left. We waited and sampled caterers the weekend that he flew out for Thanksgiving. We met with our site coordinator over Christmas break. I made sure to have my dress fitting before one of my girls moved to Minnesota. Thinking ahead not only ensures that you will take advantage of the limited time you have with your fiancé or bridesmaids, but it also allows you to turn otherwise small tasks into big events! And this can really make up for the many things you will do alone.

3. Use the locals!

A lot of people get married in cities or states away from their hometown. In college, the chance of finding someone who’s from your hometown becomes less likely. Inevitably, you or your husband will have friends who will have to travel to the wedding. In my case, I was the one traveling. I lived 6 hours away from my venue, so just “dropping by” to remeasure the gazebo or sample a new menu item was not an easy task. If you have family, future family, or friends that live in the area, use them! I was lucky enough to have my husband’s amazing family living in the same city as the venue. They took care of linens, desserts, and anything else that was hard to handle from afar. Not being involved in every decision can be difficult, but when you’re a long-distance bride, there’s just got to be some wiggle room.

4. Decide: Here or There?

What can you get done in the comfort of your own home? A lot actually! Make your save the dates, invitations, aisle runner, wedding signs. Buy your dress, your shoes, your earrings… the list goes on and on. While I was still in southern California, there were many moments when I just felt alone and unmotivated. But I would always remember that I still had so much to do! I knew that when I arrived to Livermore two weeks before the wedding, I was going to see Kyler for the first time in 6 months! I wouldn’t want to super glue favor tags, draw on chalkboards, or plant succulents. And although we ended up doing all of these things together, there were many other tasks that I finished well in advance so that I could enjoy some time with my soon-to-be husband before the big day.

5. Don’t be a Bridezilla!

I’m so thankful that none of my friends or family have claimed that I was a crazy bride. In fact, they all said I was super calm and level-headed. Whoo! This was due to the constant reminder that none of it mattered. Yea, I just said that. What I’m saying is that the food, decorations, music, or even if Kyler had a suit didn’t really matter. I’m so so happy that all those things worked out, but there were a lot of things that didn’t. I didn’t have many connections where my venue was, so I passed off my cake to a friend of a friend. I had a super simple, super beautiful vision of what I wanted in a cake. Well, one sweet but untrained 15-year-old baker and two very hungry then very sick dogs later, I had an unexpected cake on the dessert table. It was nothing like what I visioned. But you know what? I don’t have even a single memory of what my dessert table, much less cake, looked like. That’s because none of it truly mattered. What mattered was dancing with my new husband, looking over his shoulder at my two best friends dancing with a drink in hand, and all my bridesmaids swaying in a circle, hands held, smiling at the beauty of my wedding.

So when you begin to remember that your fiancé is nowhere to be found and your friends are scattered, grab whoever is closest and remember what matters: you’re getting married to your best friend. You may be miles apart for now, but in 2 or 6 or 12 months, you will lay your head next to their head and laugh at the memories from your big day.

Spotlight On: Heather Druba of Wente Vineyards

We have started a new feature here on the Fantasy Sound blog, and it’s called Spotlight On! We created a short little questionnaire that we sent out to some of the event professionals in the Tri-Valley, and we hope it will give you a little insight in to their lives and personalities. Our first post in this new feature comes from the wonderful Heather Druba of Wente Vineyards. Read on to get an inside look at Heather’s life outside the workplace!


1. What are three words that describe you?  Adventurous, Funny and Unconventional

2. What is your favorite object in your home and why? I love my Dia de los Muertos Display.

3. Do you have a favorite time of day? I am a mom of 2 boys under 6…so I enjoy my early morning alone time “run”.  OK – it is REALLY a very slow jog.

4. What is one of your most sentimental pieces of clothing or jewelry? I had a pair of earrings that are only made in a small town near my grandparents childhood home in Guanajuato Mexico, it is family tradition for each girl in our family to get a pair at 16.  Tragically…I lost one.  So the one remaining earing is very special for me.

5. What is your favorite tv show obsession and why?  I love Sons of Anarchy, it is a great show that is so different than my life that it intrigues me!

6. What is one restaurant where we will NEVER find you? McDonalds

7. What’s your favorite meal after a long event? Fish Tacos or ceviche!

8. What is your favorite beverage? I love champagne of all sorts.

9. When you entertain, what’s your favorite thing to serve? Fresh Salsa or Guacamole.

10. What is the one thing in life you’d like to accomplish? I want to see Africa and go on safari.

11. What song do you often find in your head? Anything by Blackberry Smoke!

12. If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be doing instead? Silversmithing! I went to school in Taxco, Mexico where I learned how.

13. What makes you laugh?  Corny Jokes and 80’s fashion.

14. What do you wish you had known in high school that you know now?  Laughing at YOURSELF is very important….if you can’t laugh at yourself you’re not living!

15. What was the most important thing you learned from your parents? Give it your all! Don’t do things ½ way!

16. What movie could you watch on repeat for the rest of your life? Dirty Dancing!  I heart JOHNNY CASTLE!

17. What can we always find in your fridge? Assorted cheese and spreads.

18.What are you reading now? Currently catching up on past editions of both Highlights magazine and National Geographic Kids.  LOL!

19. What irritates you most about modern life? That my parents are not on Facebook!

20. What is your favorite quote? “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet”

Thanks for answering our silly little questionnaire Heather!

Say Hello to Bri!



Hey all! I’m Bri Reeser and I’m the new administrative assistant here at Fantasy Sound. I’m a recent graduate from Azusa Pacific University in Southern CA. After 4 fabulous years there I earned my BA in Music Business. After spending a year interning at Warner Brothers Records I knew I had to have a career where I get to spend my days with fun people, and plan fun parties! Also- I just got married! So this job is a perfect blend of all my hobbies and joys.


Some random facts about me: I have such a big sweet tooth and am willing to eat almost anything chocolate, especially if it’s combined with peanut butter. Reese’s are my weakness. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I would eat cereal or pancakes for every meal if I could get away with it. (Why are all my facts about food?…) I love being outdoors!Before moving up north, when I wasn’t working, I spent my days exploring new hiking trails, pushing myself on longer runs, or taking my humongous, beautiful dog Ryder on walks to the park. I definitely miss being home sometimes, but I’m excited to learn more about all the great things Livermore has to offer. Most important fact, I love my husband Kyler to the moon and back. He is the smartest and funniest person I’ve ever met. I am so blessed with all the wonderful things happening in my life currently.


I’m so pumped to join the Fantasy Sound family! If you have any questions, or suggestions for my next adventure here in the East Bay, you can email me at

Guest Blog: Professional Bridal Hair & Makeup, What You’re Getting For Your Money, and Choosing the Right Artist For You

Welcome to another blog in our Guest Blogger feature! Today’s post comes from Lisa Teller, who is a professional makeup artist specializing in airbrush makeup in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is extremely passionate about each of her bridal clients and is currently booking for 2013/2014.

lisa teller logo

For more information, services, bridal portfolio, or to book her for a session, visit her website.

Also, be sure to stay connected on social media:



INSTAGRAM: @lisatellermua


With bridal season well under way, my inbox has been flooding with inquiries! So I thought I would share with you some of the tips I share with my bridal clients, when they have questions about hiring a professional makeup artist for their wedding day! Of course, my advice might be a little biased being that I’m a professional makeup artist, but it is my opinion and advice from working in the bridal/photography industry. I always try to help steer each client down the path that is best for them, even if they don’t end up booking with me!


Why should you hire a Professional Makeup Artist?

That’s like asking, “Should I hire a professional photographer?” YES!

Yes, your family members own cameras and yes you and your friend’s own makeup. However, on your most special (and most photographed and video-ed day of your LIFE!) would you trust someone inexperienced?

Protect your investment! If your spending thousands of dollars on photography/videography wouldn’t you want to spend a little more on your hair and makeup to make sure you absolutely LOVE your pictures?! Long after the guests have left, the wedding has come and gone, and the honeymoon is over, your pictures will be your most cherished memories of that day – now don’t you want to look amazing in them?!

Not only will this be your most photographed and/or video-ed day of your life but you will also be in various other situations during the day that your makeup should look flawless during: daylight, indoors, from far away(the view of the guests), through teary vows, up close to people, hugging, kissing, eating, drinking and toasting, and dancing the night away – this could mean 12+ hours! You will need a makeup artist who understands all these realities and can choose the makeup that can withstand each of these scenarios and looks best for you and your facial features.

So yes, you can just have a friend do your makeup but will they understand all of these things and have the product knowledge to give you gorgeous photo-quality makeup that will last? Most likely not, unless you have a friend in the industry – then thats just fabulous!


How should you pick a professional?

Now, what makes a professional a professional?  What should you be looking for?

A professional makeup artist is someone who has invested time, education, experience, and lots and LOTS of hard work honing the art of makeup! They understand much more than just applying makeup on a face. They have an understanding of the physiology of skin, color theory, lighting and product knowledge – including photo-quality makeup. They have customer service knowledge, practice hygiene and proper sanitation practices, they are punctual, consistent, and reliable. Above all, they have a passion and fire for makeup artistry and the bridal industry!

Here are some things to consider when looking at professional makeup artists for your big day:

Price. Yes, I said it – you get what you pay for – as with everything else wedding related (& life in general). When budgeting for your wedding a lot of brides tend to forget to factor in their beauty costs for the day! I can’t tell you how many married ladies I meet (often who are bridesmaids of their friends) that wish they had cut out those cute pinterest inspired table favors that most guests left behind or that DIY wedding project that didn’t work out and spent a little more money on incredible looking makeup artistry for their photos on their wedding day!

With a higher rate, generally, comes with higher reviews and incredible service experience! You aren’t just paying for makeup services the day of, but all of the wonderful customer service that comes with it! We’re talking all the emails, phone calls, questions, and correspondence that goes along before, during, and after booking.

Remember: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 

Experience and Quality of Work. Do research! Check out their website, read their bio, look over their resume, look over their portfolio’s (especially bridal)! Make sure they have bridal experience and can work under that pressure! Remember often times you will have a pretty strict timeline of when you and your entourage need to be all dolled up and ready to go by! Make sure the artist has quite a few weddings under his/her belt so that they can work swiftly under that kind of pressure and can handle any mishaps in a timely manner with grace!

Your artist’s makeup kit – While I take pride in using the best quality brands that are photo-quality, some clients become so engrossed in brands that have a certain stigma attached. In my experience, one cosmetic brand doesn’t make the best of every product! This way your makeup artist can provide you the best possible makeup services specifically for your needs.

What is “photo-quality” makeup?

Not all makeup is suitable for photography. Photo-quality makeup is HD makeup free from certain ingredients making it great for HD and photo! Have you ever gotten your makeup done or did it yourself for a night out where pictures were taken? Have you ever noticed in the pictures that your face might have looked lighter than your body? If so, the makeup used might not have been photo-quality!


When should you book your makeup artist?

ASAP! Especially if your getting married during peak season like summer! Many artists like myself are already getting inquiries up to 10 months away and into next year! Nothing is worse than finally finding a makeup artist who you connect with, does amazing work, fits into your budget, and has amazing reviews than to find out that he/she is already booked that date and unavailable! Most of the infographics and other timeline objectives from pinterest and other wedding planning sites suggest booking three months before your wedding – WAY wrong! Booking early will guarantee your wedding date is available and can save you money! This can start as early as meeting with a makeup artist for your engagement/save-the-date photoshoot!


What should you expect?

The consultation/trial – The consultation/trial is one of the most important aspect of the entire process! It’s where you and the artist will sit down and discuss all the aspects of your wedding day from your dress, theme, and feel of your wedding and get any questions you have answered. Taking those things into consideration, it will determine your wedding day makeup look beforehand!

I suggest my clients bring in inspirational pictures of makeup ideas for their wedding day. This includes makeup styles they like AND dislike! Getting a visual of what you’re talking about is extremely helpful when you’re trying to explain a “smokey eye” to me, because my version of a “smokey eye” could be very different from yours! I also suggest my clients touch base with their bridal party beforehand and get a headcount of who is interested in makeup services, as I usually complete a contract with the bride after the trial if she wants to book!

Now you may not want to hear this, but I wont book a bride without a trial run! Honestly, you should be concerned if an artist will! Even the most amazing artist’s in the world won’t be able to read your mind, but again, its about protecting your investment! You will get to see every detail of your wedding day makeup beforehand to make sure that it’s exactly what you want and any concerns you may have will be addressed there!

I also do not recommend having your engagement shoot makeup and trial makeup done in the same session. I know that with each minute closer to the wedding your costs are growing exponentially, but they are two very different looks! Your engagement session should be about your and your fiancé and your everyday loving selves! Your makeup and hair should reflect that! It should be more casual and upbeat, yet clean and classic! Your wedding day makeup (the makeup you’d leave with from your trial session) is a more glamorous version of yourself! The makeup may be a bit more dramatic and elegant and needs to go with the more formal occasion of your wedding (imagine you in your fabulous white gown!).

I will, however, allow you to do both together for a higher amount as it requires more time and services as your trial makeup would need to be changed for the engagement photoshoot. My engagement sessions also include optional light hairstyling and travel for at-home service!

Last but not least…

Always remember to keep your expectations high but not unattainable and you will look gorgeous! You deserve to look and feel beautiful and special on your most important day! Keep that in mind when choosing your makeup artist!



Lisa Teller | Makeup Artist

Guest Blog: The Ins and Outs of Engagement Shoots by Fairy Tale Photography

Today’s guest blog comes from our Texan friends over at Fairy Tale Photography. Kevin has worked with FTP’s Laura Parker at many events and she is always an absolute joy to work with, so when we decided to start this guest blogging series, we knew that we HAD to include them! They decided to focus their blog on engagement shoots, and give you some valuable advice on the do’s and dont’s! Without further ado…

Dreams Do Come True…

Award-winning custom photography with two photographers, huge album, editing, and exclusive website for your images. We are fun, full of life and love. Prepare to laugh and cry with us on your big day….

Fairy Tale Photography artistically captures the most adorable moments and goes above and beyond to give their clients the best! Each photographer, whether shooting a wedding or engagement session, is enthusiastic about assisting you and your loved one. Countless couples rant and rave about Fairy Tale Photography’s fast delivery and their ability to gorgeously capture sentimental moments that you will cherrish for a lifetime! For more information please visit


Know your photographer:

It’s important to research your photographer’s past engagement sessions. A good rule of thumb is to find a consistent style in the sessions. Also, referencing one of their engagement sessions helps the photographer better understand the look you’re going for. Fairy Tale Photography works with natural light so it is essential to be on time in order to get the most out of the daylight.

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Location and Props: If your photographer has you select multiple locations, try to make them close together so it wont cut into your time! If you’re both huge sports fans, bring your jerseys! If you are musicians, talk to the photographer about bringing some specific props to the site. How you both met and how he asked are key elements in your story, feel free to incorporate some of those elements into the shoot!


Clothing: Dress comfortable but cute for the shoot. If you’re wearing a dress you don’t feel amazing in, you’ll spend time pulling at it and adjusting it. Choose clothes you feel confident in!  Bring at least one change of clothes. This allows you to combine casual and dressier elements into the shoot. More changes are ok, but remember, cuts into your time.


The more authentic, the better! Each couple is completely unique, your engagement photos should tell the story of your unique love! If your partner has a gorgeous smile, be sure to make them laugh so it’s authentic. If he normally wraps you in a bear hug, make sure to tell the photographer those are key things to look for or draw out of your partner.


Be Specific: The more the photographer knows about you both, the better! Informing them about what you like, dislike will only result in better pictures and you getting  photos that you absolutely adore!

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Have fun! This day is all about you and your soul mate; the photographers want you to walk away with outstanding photos but they need your help! Typically the first couple of shots are awkward and the smiles are plastered on. Crack a few jokes with your partner, don’t hide your face if you start laughing; the authenticity makes the pictures absolutley precious! Relaxing in front of the photographer leads to more natural chemistry!

Thanks, Fairy Tale Photography, for agreeing to be included in our guest blogging series!

Ask Kevin- DJ or Band?

Hello Kevin,

I am having a hard time deciding between a DJ or band. There are so many things to consider! Do you have any insight on the topic?


Kelly from Walnut Creek, California

Hi Kelly!

That’s a great question! There are few things you want to think about when you’re hiring the music for your wedding. The first item on everyone’s mind is usually cost, so let’s break down the numbers. A good party band will cost you anywhere between $6,000-$12,000 while a DJ would start at $1,150. You have to consider that a DJ is just one person, while a band consists of multiple members, and each band member needs to get paid. Also, you need to remember that each member of the band needs to be included in the vendor meal headcount, which is more money out the door.

If cost is not an issue, think about your venue. DJs take up much less space than a full band will, as a band needs space for all of their instruments, equipment, and band members. If your venue is small, a band may not fit, or they will make the space seem cramped. Another thing to consider when it comes to your venue is how much electricity it is able to accommodate. A DJ system uses much less electricity than a full band, so it’s important to keep in mind the constraints of your venue when deciding between a live band or a DJ.


The next thing to consider is the atmosphere you are trying to create at your wedding. There’s nothing like a live band to pump up your guests!  However, a band can’t match the variety that a DJ can bring. Feel like listening to some Diana Ross, Britney Spears, and Garth Brooks? A DJ can play any artist you desire and the songs will sound exactly like you know them. .

There is also going to be a little bit more uncertainty when booking a band. To really get an idea of how a band interacts with it’s audience, you have to see them perform live, because simply listening to audio tracks won’t give you any idea of how they would behave at a live show. However, the same is not true with a DJ. While it is important to see how a live band will interact with a crowd, it’s more important when it comes to DJs to know how they interact with you on a personal level. Here at Fantasy Sound, our philosophy is that it’s more important to find a DJ that connects with you on a personal level. That is why we host monthly DJ Meet and Greets to give our couples a chance to meet all of our DJs to give them a sense of which DJ they mesh the best with.


Finally, the last thing you need to think about is that most bands don’t play weddings full time. However, there are many DJs that do wedding exclusively and have years of experience. You’re not only able to have them play music at your wedding, but you’re also able to utilize their MC services and benefit from their past experiences (and mistakes) for everything from music selection to keeping your bridal party on track on your wedding day.

My personal preference is to hire a DJ. They’re much more cost efficient, more likely to be able to work at your venue, and a good wedding DJ can actually help you in your wedding planning process, as opposed to adding to your already long to-do list.

Thanks so much for your question Kelly!

Guest Blog: How to Pick Your Photographer by Yves Mozelsio of YJM Photography

We are so excited to start our guest vendor blogging series! Our first blog post comes from Yves Mozelsio, owner and founder of YJM Photography. Yves has been photographing weddings in some of the leading hotel and reception sites for over 25 years. His award winning photographs have been exhibited nationally, at prestigious museums such as the Wright Museum, Magnes Museum, and Spertus Museum. His studio is conveniently located in the Walnut Creek area of Contra Costa County.  Want to learn more about Yves? Be sure to visit his website, and “like” him on Facebook!

Without further ado, here is some valuable advice from an expert on how to select your photographer!


1. It’s important to not get caught up in the sales approach! Ask the photographer to show one or two complete weddings – preferably of the venue that you are getting married at. Typically this will be 500-800 images from a single event, which should demonstrate how professional and consistent the photographer is throughout the wedding day. Since most studios are digital these days, it shouldn’t be a problem asking to see complete weddings. If a couple is expecting to receive 500 images, they should not be disappointed when only 50-100 images are acceptable to them when they look at the proofs. The more images shot on the day, the better! It’s also worth asking when the proofs are be ready after the wedding – Typically it’s 3-6 weeks.


2. Meeting a photographer at their studio doesn’t necessarily mean that the person you meet with is going to be the photographer who shows up on the wedding day. In the contract, I would recommend the name of the photographer be written in, since many studios have more than one photographer. The photographer should also have liability insurance. There are some venues that require this from their vendors, because if anyone were to get injured by tripping on photo equipment, the couple and venue should not be held responsible. Also, it’s not unreasonable to ask how the photographer will be dressing the day of the wedding.


3. Meet with 3-6 photographers, and don’t be pressured to sign a contract.  At the same time, don’t wait until that last minute to hire one. I recommend hiring a photographer 6 months to a year before their wedding. Also, it is perfectly acceptable for couples to contact the studio with any additional questions after their initial meeting, as well as having a final meeting prior to the wedding to confirm details.  I prefer meeting in person at the studio two weeks before the wedding to finalize everything and create the timeline. Once a timeline has been made, I recommend asking the photographer to send you a copy by email, so you can forward it on to your other vendors. This will help to cut down on mishaps on the day of the wedding. The photographer is probably going to be spending more time with the couple than any other vendor on the wedding day, so good communication and compatibility is key.


4. The wedding day is one of the most important moments in a couple’s life. They should feel comfortable enough to discuss anything with the photographer, especially shooting style. Technically if a photographer captures images digitally, which the majority of us do, ask if the images are to captured in the raw format. The raw format is a much better way of working during the editing process, and will lead to amazing photographs. Once raw images are edited, they can be converted to jpegs for simplicity.

5. Lastly, referrals are always a good way of finding a photographer. If this is not possible, the Internet is a good way of seeing if the photographer is respected by the industry. Just because an individual owns a $5000 digital camera, doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to use it.

 We want to thank Yves for being our guest blogging guinea pig. Keep checking back to the blog to see some posts from other great vendors in the area!



Natasha and Adam Get Married at Murrieta’s Well on 4/27/13!

Adam and Natasha became Mr. and Mrs. Faville on April 27th, 2013 at the beautiful Murrieta’s Well in Livermore. They couldn’t have asked for a better day for a wedding- sunny and warm with a light breeze that kept everyone happily comfortable during the outside ceremony. The couple’s ceremony was very unique. They had each written a story of when they first met, and the officiant read them aloud during the ceremony. It was the first time Adam and Natasha heard each other’s story and the guests loved it! It was such a cute touch!

ceremony collage

The couple chose a color palette of pink and purple which can be seen in the gorgeous flower arrangements, that were made by Adam’s mom! Didn’t they turn out wonderfully? The combination of beautiful roses and vibrant day lilies really made the arrangements pop.

MW signage collageThe couple had a lot of little touches that were on trend, just like the signage above. We think these personalized signs are so cute, and they work perfectly in a rustic setting like Murrieta’s Well.

MW collage

Natasha and Adam had their reception inside the barn, which they wanted to dress up a little bit. Our champagne GOBO washes on the walls really helped complement their pink and purple color scheme. The addition of one of our 12 Light Crystal Chandeliers over their sweetheart table adds a little intimacy and romance.

Congratulations Adam and Natasha!

Rachel and Donnie Get Married on New Year’s Eve at the Palm Event Center!

We had the pleasure of providing the Event Lighting and Décor for Rachel and Donnie’s New Year’s Eve wedding at the Palm Event Center last year, and we just got the pictures from Brandon Wong Photography (who is AWESOME by the way, you should totally check them out)! We had been working with Rachel and Donnie for about 6 months leading up to their wedding, and they had such a gorgeous view for the wedding that totally inspired us. We were able to provide a couple looks that we had never done before, and we are so excited to share them with you! We also want to give a HUGE thank you to Brandon and Katrina of Brandon Wong Photography for taking such incredible photos of our work, and being so friendly and easy to work with.

sagapolu ceremony collage

Rachel and Donnie really wanted to create an intimate and romantic space in the Barrel Room for their ceremony, and having the drapery in the ceiling was a great way to achieve that look. Add some GOBO patterns down the aisle and a Custom Monogram GOBO on the wall, and we had achieved the look they were going for!

 chandelier collage

Rachel and Donnie had seen photos of our 12’x12′ beaded chandelier, and LOVED it….but they wanted to take it up a notch to create a dramatic centerpiece in the Ballroom. This was the perfect opportunity to nest our 9’x9′ beaded chandelier inside the 12’x12′! We are obsessed with how this chandelier photographs. It looks like rain!


Congratulations Rachel and Donnie! We wish you two nothing but happiness in your future together!