Wedding fever

Jennifer Zepeda

PHOTO courtesy of jennifer zepeda

With wedding season heating up, event planner Jennifer Zepeda hopes to bring vendors and soon-to-be-wed couples together with the Chico Wedding Gala. Initially from Calistoga, Zepeda moved to Oakland in 2002 to attend Mills College, where she met her husband, Matt. Shortly after marrying and having a son, Conner, the family visited Chico and fell in love with the area. Zepeda graduated last month from Chico State with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an option in marketing. Zepeda recalls planning her own wedding, the hassle of putting it all together and keeping it on a reasonable budget. About a year ago, she started her own business, called Zepeda Enterprises Event Planning, which enables her to take charge of organizing big events, including the upcoming Chico Wedding Gala on June 26 at the Arc Pavilion, so she can help others turn a wedding vision into reality while staying on a budget. For more information, contact Zepeda at 588-8028 or log onto

What would you like to accomplish during the Wedding Gala?

I want to help promote entrepreneurs and small businesses to network with the community and each other. It would help build businesses, brand names, find out who each other are. It should present more opportunities for young entrepreneurs to get their name out there. I think it’s a great way to network with other people and businesses through an event like this.

Why is the Wedding Gala good for Chico?

Not only will it help small local businesses and entrepreneurs to get their feet off the ground, but it also helps a lucky bride and groom change a wedding vision into reality on a budget. We’re not charging outrageous amounts, you know—it’s free to attend the gala, which makes it affordable to anyone in Chico, and it only costs $15 for a ticket if you want the opportunity to win a free wedding.

What’s your long-term goal for this event?

I’d love for it to be a recurring event, and continue to add local businesses and entrepreneurs trying to make a name for themselves who might not have another avenue to do that. When you try to build a business, you can post on Facebook, or put ads in the newspaper, but it’s so much better for businesses to get personal, to know their community so people can apply a face to a name. We’re focusing on businesses and entrepreneurs who might not have been able to get into wedding showcases.

Why did you choose June for this event?

When we decided to do this, we thought, “We need at least five to six months to organize all the vendors and things like that.” Obviously, this is a learning experience, so next time I’d like to have this in April or May.