Pearls of wisdom

Wedding-related businesses give their ‘single most important piece of advice’ to those tying the knot

Suzanne Richards offers a “complete bridal store” with partner Dora Corwin.

Suzanne Richards offers a “complete bridal store” with partner Dora Corwin.

Photo By Kyle Delmar

Who better to give wedding advice than those in the wedding industry? A number of business people who offer services to couples planning marriage ceremonies shared the best tips they would give to customers who might walk through their doors.

Suzanne’s Bridal (since 1991)
169 Cohasset Road, Chico

Suzanne Richards, of Suzanne’s Bridal, and Dora Corwin, of Corwin & Sons, recently merged their businesses and now operate as one entity at the Suzanne’s Bridal location on Cohasset Road. Formerly fierce competitors, they teamed up to beat the recession. They offer a “complete bridal store,” with everything from bridal gowns to bridal undergarments. Bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, flower-girl frocks, veils, shoes and mother-of-the-bride dresses are available too.

Corwin said, “Don’t buy a bridal gown because the gown is pretty or beautiful. Buy the gown that is beautiful on you.” Sometimes, she said, brides-to-be will look at a picture of a stunning gown on a model in a magazine and think, “That’s the gown for me.” What they forget, she said, is that gown is custom-made for that model, and photos are always air-brushed. The gown may look very different when it’s tried on.

“What you should do is try different styles and find the one that suits you the best,” she said. “You want [wedding guests] to say, ‘Oh my gosh, what a beautiful bride,’ not ‘Oh my gosh, what a beautiful dress.’ The attention should be first on the bride, not on the dress, and that’s what we help you find—a dress that is beautiful, but beautiful on you.”

Milena’s Tailoring Custom Design & Alterations (designing/tailoring 30 years, 15 in Chico)
126 W. Third St., Chico

Milena Vrnoga can look at a picture of an expensive wedding gown and make it from scratch—for a fraction of the cost. Or, she can design the gown of a bride’s dreams, and then create it. She also does alterations (which she can have ready within an hour, to accommodate last-minute problems), and she can order dresses. “If a bride sends me a picture of a dress over the Internet along with her measurements,” she explained,” I can make that dress.”

She advises prospective brides to be really sure of what they want. She has them look at many photos of wedding gowns so they’ll think about different possibilities, although she says it’s common for a bride-to-be to come in with “a dream dress” in her head.

Vrnoga says a bride should “have a big dream,” and if she doesn’t have enough money to cover that dream, she can still have her dream anyway—Vrnoga can make it for her. “That’s my best advice to a bride—that she follow her dreams.”

The folks at JB’s Beverage and Bar Service take the hassle out of serving alcohol.

photo courtesy of JB’s

JB’s Beverage and Bar Service (formerly JB’s Bar & Grill—30 years)

“With everything you do with alcohol [at a wedding], you want to be doing it legally and safely,” said Rhonda Burns, wife of Ed Burns, owner of JB’s Beverage and Bar Service. “That’s what we provide—we’re licensed and insured, and we follow all the laws [concerning alcohol use].”

Burns said sometimes people hesitate to include alcohol in their wedding simply because they’re afraid they can’t afford it. “Don’t be afraid of the numbers, and don’t be afraid of not providing everything to everybody the whole evening,” she said. “You can just do beer, wine, soft drinks and champagne toasts and have hard liquor as ‘no host.’ ” JB’s has different packages customers can opt for.

Upper Crust Bakery (creating wedding cakes since the early 1980s)
130 Main St., Chico

“I think the world of wedding cakes has taken some interesting turns in recent years,” said Lori Powers, owner of Upper Crust Bakery. “One of the nice things is that couples feel they can take liberties with their wedding cakes—we’re seeing fun and creative ideas.”

Powers said that if something appeals to a couple, they should follow it and not feel tied to old “tried-and-true” ideas. “We’ve seen flowers, greenery and leaves on cakes,” she said. “We’re seeing lots of color come into the cakes, and interesting shapes.”

Fortunately for those for whom wedding bells will soon ring, they don’t have to purchase a cake “bite untasted.” Powers has tasting appointments for which couples come in and sample some of Upper Crust’s cakes to see if they like them.

Bacio Catering and Carry-Out Cuisine (since 1984)
1903 Park Ave., Chico

Amanda Leveroni, owner of Bacio Catering, said “Your wedding reception is not the time to take chances. Hiring a brand-new company promising you the moon or taking a risk with trendy foods can lead to disaster. Choosing someone with claims that they have ‘lowest prices in town’ can be the biggest mistake you’ll make!”

While sticking to a budget and finding value wherever possible is important, she said, a wedding day is not the best time to “try to cut corners.” There are no “do-overs,” she said. “You don’t get to invite everyone back for a better meal the next day!”

It’s important, she said, to hire a well-established, professional caterer who gets involved in much more than just the menu. “A good caterer does a whole lot more than handle your food.”

Centerville Estate has long been an in-demand location for weddings in Butte County.

photos courtesy of Centerville Estate

Centerville Estate (20 years)
Butte Creek Canyon
891-0641, 510-612-4109

With its lovely Butte Creek Canyon creekside setting, Centerville Estate has long been a desired wedding venue in Butte County. Owner John Bossolo said couples looking for a wedding venue should think about what they really want.

“You have to feel really good about the place you’re choosing and the person you’re dealing with,” he said. “You have to have a good rapport with them. A wedding is really important!”

Bosollo said too many young people nowadays are letting their mothers run their lives—and choose their wedding locations. “They [the couple] should think about only one thing—what they want—because it’s their day.”