Planning a wedding is ... a lot. One minute you’re daydreaming about saying your vows in a simple ceremony on the beach with a few friends; the next minute you’re up at 2 a.m. desperately gluing paper flowers onto napkin rings. And speaking of that beach, do you need a permit to wed there or what?

We’re here to help. Not with the paper flowers — that’s on you, kid — but with the planning. Our listings have a solid roster of local businesses ready to help you with everything from getting outfitted to renting tablecloths.

Like that beach. Are you hoping for a moment under the stars or a canopy of trees? Because if you’re looking to wed on public lands, there’s a process you won’t want to skip unless you like the idea of park rangers as wedding crashers. Alegria Sita has organized enough outdoor nuptials to know the ropes. In “A Wedding in the Redwoods,” she’ll take you through the red tape on the way to your something blue, ensuring you’re following the rules and preserving Humboldt County’s natural beauty.

You’ll need to figure out the band and the bar, too. Local wedding regulars Ghost Train have some tips for you in the music department (special song requests, sound techs), including following your own quirky tastes. (Do it. I went to a wedding with a bagpiper and it was phenomenal.) As for the filling of glasses, Erin Young (who assures me that free Champagne is what your guests really want) takes you through a tasting of local bubbly from sparkling wine to low-key cider to custom kombucha.

The photographer showcase and collection of local wedding photos should give you plenty of inspiration, both for finding someone to document the day and the endless options for style and settings. It'll likely make you less worried about the weather, too, when you peruse the lovely moments photographers shot between the raindrops. There are still more details to obsess over in “Natural Wonders,” where we’ve collected a treasure trove of locally crafted, nature-inspired jewelry pieces to crown your look. Like actual crowns, which you owe it to yourself to at least try on.

Finally, have you straightened out the bathroom situation for your guests? Do it now. This does not mean you have to settle for something like the facilities at the last music festival you attended. In fact, you can have a swanky portable setup with chandeliers. Read all about it in Linda Stansberry’s story on the Queen of Thrones — Brooke Engel’s luxury lavatory business.

And remember, all those folks to whom you’re sending invitations and whose dietary considerations you’re agonizing over? You might be able to lean on them a little, even get them to pitch in with help or suggestions. After all, they just want to see you happy. And to drink free bubbly.

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About The Author

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal. She won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2020 Best Food Writing Award and the 2019 California News Publisher's Association award for Best Writing.

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