Your wedding should be a one-of-a-kind event, tailored to your vision as a couple.
At Kate Whelan Events, we will design your event to radiate style and fun, while ensuring that your unique tastes shine through every detail. We create weddings for couples throughout Northern California and beyond, each one as distinctive and completely unforgettable as the love story it represents. Our mission is to guide and support you through an impeccable experience, from the vendor coordination to the last dance.
We are masters of logistics, coordinating, and quickly smoothing unexpected bumps in the road. Kate’s background in information technology and 14 years of event planning experience have resulted in incomparable organization and an array of online planning tools and expert scheduling tools. These modern resources, paired with our exceptional team, deliver a smooth, stress-free process.
We are driven by Kate’s sharp eye for stunning design and the endless inspiration that your story brings. Expect only the best. After all, you deserve to relax and be confident for a wedding that will live on in your memory as a vibrant, joyful occasion!
Kate Whelan is a true wedding alchemist. Hand her your ideas, and watch them transform into the golden moments and fine details that make your wedding unforgettable! Kate approaches every event with a fresh perspective and makes it her mission to elevate your vision to new heights. Trust Kate and her team to flawlessly execute the plans, and worry about nothing more than having the time of your life celebrating your wedding.
Kate has been voted Best Wedding Planner by Style Magazine Reader’s 2017 Choice Awards for the past five years and was included in The Knot Northern California 2013 Best of Weddings, and the 2012 KCRA A-list.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
We planned a full-service wedding from start to finish in 2 months. The clients didn’t have a venue and no venues in the area were large enough for the rather extensive guest list, so we built a venue. It took three weeks to install the massive custom tents and two weeks to take it down. It had it’s own restroom tent, with a custom walkway, a glass-walled patio, and HVAC. This was before I had a family, so I was able to work 24/7 to make it happen; it was definitely one of those experiences where you didn’t know you could accomplish it until it was done.
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
1. Smaller, more intimate weddings. Currently, with guidelines and safety issues surrounding COVID19, petite weddings will be a significant trend in the coming months. I find this to be an excuse for our clients to have the weddings they truly want – they can splurge on all of the fine details and celebrate with their closest loved ones (or with just the two of them). That’s not to say that I don’t love a big party – but these are special in their own way.
2. Virtual weddings. Similarly, with guidelines and safety issues surrounding COVID19, those clients who have guests with travel constraints will still want to celebrate and technology is a solid answer. My background is in technology, so I love to embrace new exciting software – and there are all kinds of really cool new services that make a virtual wedding more celebratory and fun rather than cold and distant.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
Start your budget first and determine what is most important to you. Then determine what you feel makes an event elegant, as it’s such a relative concept. For some, a clean white linen table with simple votives might be enough – for others, elegance lies in hints of gold. Once you determine what that means to you, it’s much easier to figure out how to distribute your budget in ways that hit the most impact. If you can swing it, hiring an event planner or designer can help you figure out how to do this more efficiently.
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?
I would love to plan a wedding in the Italian countryside. With that said, my dream client probably has a bit of wanderlust, loves elegant design and meaningful details – and most importantly, good food!
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
My relationships with vendors are crucial to our being able to do our best work. While it’s our job to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, we aren’t puppet masters in control of everyone and the human element is often the most difficult element of surprise on an event day. The vendors that get this, that work hard to make sure the perception of the event for all guests is smooth and seamless, become like family to us. We try our hardest to treat everyone with respect and we expect the same in return.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
I would always start with the budget. How much are they hoping to earn? How much do they have to work with? The budget is sometimes the most difficult discussion, but once you get it out of the way, decisions are so much easier to make. Planning a fundraiser is not just a PR move, it’s to earn money for your organization and so often I see events that lose sight of that bottom line.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
We just started our Coaching program to help assist other professionals. We have been told over the years that our colleagues would love to consult with us regarding our unique use of technology and documents. Our timeline is so highly regarded, but I cannot even take credit for it, as our vendor feedback has made it what it is today.
Our technology helps us take the repetitive organizational work and automate it. This means that we’re able to take on more clients and be more focused on working in our business instead of on it. We can help other planners create something similar for their technology processes and documentation that is customized to their unique business.
What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
I had planned corporate events before moving into the tech sector and one friend asked me to join them for a venue tour for their upcoming wedding. They knew that my past experience would be a great assist in knowing what questions to ask during the tour – and as we drove to the venue, we talked. When we arrived, the mother of the bride told me, “we’re just going to tell them you’re our planner.” We later discussed it and I took it as a chance to see if it was something that I loved – I was hooked from day one.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
I had planned my friend’s wedding and I remember not knowing if I would be okay planning a wedding that wasn’t 100% my personal taste. I found great joy in executing an event knowing that it was completely a reflection of the couple and their story. While things didn’t go perfectly, the clients and guests felt that it did. The latter part of this is something that rings true to this day – rarely do ANY of our events go perfectly, but the goal is that the clients and guests feel that it does.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
I wish I had created my business plan first, rather than after I had begun operating. I wish that I had incorporated my business sooner. A lot of my wishes have more to do with business operations, rather than the actual services that we provide.
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
I was asked to keep the identity of a surprise guest magician at a wedding. We weren’t even able to tell the other vendors. After the ceremony, the magician slowly started to reveal themselves to the guests, doing strolling magic. When they sat down for their meal, the groom revealed their identity and the guests enjoyed a live magic show when they were done. The funniest part of this story is that this wedding was very intimate and only had 17 guests. While we were able to fulfill the request, I’m not sure it was effectively kept a secret as long as they would have liked.