The Bridal Party event at the historic chateau near Prospect Park offered brides a variety of perspectives on decisions such as setting a date, planning a budget, choosing a theme, sending invitations, personalizing the ceremony, throwing a memorable reception and making a graceful getaway.
The vendors set up their displays on Kimberly Crest's front lawn, and took turns presenting ideas to the audience and answering questions. Between presentations, guests mingled and snacked on food samples the vendors provided.
Make your wedding personal, advised Redlands photographer Mary Hall.
"Think about your favorite wedding," she said. "It was probably unique and personal to the couple."
She and her husband are both coffee lovers, she said, so they had an espresso bar at their wedding.
"That was us," she said. "That was Mary and Michael. It's your first chance to introduce yourself as a married couple, so take advantage of that."
Several of the vendors were married couples.
Cathy Hafer of Simply Divine Cuisine in Redlands offered guests an array of sweet and savory treats to try. Many people lean toward luxury foods at weddings, she said, but the company offers vegetarian options and can work with special diets.
"I really believe people see their wedding as something they are only going to do one time," said her husband, chef Todd Hafer. "So they feel free to go all out."
A good mix of music is one of the secrets of a successful reception, disc jockeys Chad and Franky Hobart of Lake Arrowhead told guests.
"You have your wedding classics from the '40s, '50s and '60s," Chad Hobart said. "Lately we've been getting a lot of requests for classic rock like the Stones and Led Zeppelin."
"Don't forget the Top 40," his wife reminded him.
"Yes, and country music is pretty popular," he said.
They work hard to get music that means something to the couple, Chad Hobart said.
"We can buy just about anything from iTunes, and if they don't have it there we can usually find it somewhere else," he said. "Sometimes if I have trouble meeting a special request, I ask for help. I get some of the best music ideas from my brides."
At one recent wedding, he said, the couple requested Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."
"They knew full well what that song was about, but they liked it," he said.
Corona wedding photographers Troy and Marjorie Miller offered tips for making the photographer's job easier - and thereby getting better photos.
"Take your time," Troy Miller said. "Enjoy the moment. Hold hands."
Also, keep the bouquet low: "We want to see your pretty dress."
The Millers ask brides and grooms to "throw diamonds" at the photographer during the ceremony by making it easier for him or her to get needed shots: Get attendants to make your train look nice when you turn to face the guests, for example, and ask the officiant to step aside during the kiss "so we don't have three heads in the shot."
Jessica Arthur, a bride-to-be herself, attended the party as a vendor. Director of catering at the University of Redlands, she does at least 10 weddings a year on campus and more at other venues. Her focus is sustainability.
"All our food comes from within 300 miles of the university," she said. "We also monitor our suppliers' agricultural practices, including treatment of meat animals."
She will be catering her own wedding in September, she said.
Videographer John Goolsby, owner of Godfather Films of Redlands and Riverside, creates videos of varying lengths - frequently several for the same wedding.
"I'll do a five-minute version for the couple to put up on Facebook," he said. "Also an hourlong version - a feature-length film - they can show to people who couldn't make the wedding. And the bride wants all the raw footage, too, so she doesn't miss a thing."
He talks to the couple before the wedding to get an idea of their style, but the event itself tells him how to document it, he said: "The dress, the location, who the bride interacts with. That tells the story of what's important."
He has sometimes been startled, he said. At a wedding in New York recently, the bride walked down the aisle with a sleek black panther. He keeps the video on his phone.
"That was different," Goolsby said.