BRINGING DREAMS TO LIFE | Wheat and Honey Events helps couples plan their perfect wedding day – VC Reporter
Photo above by Innis Casey Photography
by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer
The wedding day is meant to be one of the most beautiful, memorable and special events in a person’s life. A charming location, flowers, delicious food and the engaged couple dressed in their finest wedding attire are all necessary elements for this most splendid of occasions. But a wedding is so much more about her shoulders draped in tulle and lace. It’s a place where the couple’s personality, culture and values take center stage, and no two celebrations are alike.
To truly create someone’s dream wedding, it takes an extraordinarily personal touch. Such meticulous craftsmanship is what Wheat and Honey Events is all about.
“We like to be available for our future bride and groom from the moment they hire us until the end of their marriage,” explains owner Annette Kirkhuff. “A lot of people say I’m like a mama bear – I care about their marriage as much as their parents.”
Bringing a vision to life
Wedding coordinators come in all flavors (and prices), of course. There are those who will help you on your big day, directing florists and caterers, seating guests and encouraging people to walk down the aisle. There are those who will work with the couple for about a month in advance, helping to organize and finalize the details. But Kirkhuff prefers to work with his couples for a year or more, to ensure that every aspect is handled without a hitch.
“I’m not a fan of the ‘coordinator for a month or a day’ model,” she says. “We spend a lot of time together. I need to understand their vision and their ideas.
Wheat and Honey is based in Simi Valley, but hosts weddings (and other events) throughout Southern California. Often, Kirkhuff comes on board once the couple have set a date and booked the location – although she was also the one who helped them find their location. Regardless of which comes first, Wheat and Honey is involved throughout the planning process.
“We work with the bride and groom from start to finish,” confirms Kirkhuff.
Communication is key – to get an idea of what the couple is imagining, but also to get to know them. What do they like and dislike? What are their challenges? What kind of budget do they have and what are their top priorities? Kirkhuff is fully available to offer advice, support and expertise to sort out all the details.
With excellent design sense, Kirkhuff will execute the look and feel of a wedding that reflects what the couple envisions, whether it’s a sophisticated black tie affair or an outdoor soiree. with rustic elegance. But above all, she sees the design process as a group endeavour.
“We love collaborating with our bride and groom to personalize their wedding and collaborate on the design,” she says. “When they walk away, they can feel like it’s *their* wedding.”
But Kirkhuff’s skills go far beyond the looks of the event. She is fully prepared to guide her clients through every step of the wedding planning process. Where and how to spend their budget, find the right suppliers (from rental companies and caterers to photographers and florists, hairdressers and make-up artists), where flexibility may be necessary.
“We get an idea of budget and vision and prioritize suppliers. What is most important? We don’t want any surprises on the day of . . . .[Couples] spend a lot of money on these weddings. They must be executed as you say.
Personal touch with years of experience
Kirkhuff grew up in North Hollywood and came to Ventura County in 2008, working for Command Performance Catering. As a sales and events manager, she perfectly executed about 150 events per year. A photographer friend, who had seen Kirkhuff in action, noted that she had more to offer than just restoration skills. Eventually, she decided to take a risk and go it alone.
In 2016, she opened Wheat and Honey Events with her daughter, Katie, who ran a small business called A Day to Remember. (Katie now lives in Texas and hosts Wheat and Honey events in the Dallas area.) With years of experience under her belt and a solid reputation for professionalism and customer service, she quickly established Wheat and Honey in as an industry leader, putting on dozens of wedding, corporate and non-profit events each year. For 2022, the company was nominated in no less than three categories – Best Overall Supplier, Best Event Design and Best Wedding Planner – by California Wedding Day magazine.
Kirkhuff’s knowledge of all things happening undoubtedly plays a part in the success of Wheat and Honey. But it’s her personal touch and genuine love for what she does that drives couples to seek her services when they’re ready to marry.
“It’s not just a job for us,” says Kirkhuff. “I spend a year with the bride and groom and we say goodbye at the end of their marriage. We miss them! Developing relationships with suppliers as well as with families is one of the things I love the most about this company. “
Planning during a pandemic
“When the pandemic hit, it affected our business. . . along with every other company in the world,” says Kirkhuff.
Weddings may have been put on hold, but she was always there for her couples, who needed her more than ever.
“We have worked with clients to move their wedding dates to 2021. Some we had worked with for over 30 months! We all work together in this industry to make this as smooth as possible for our customers.
Kirkhuff has handled a few styling photoshoots and micro weddings, but never stopped letting her clients know they were appreciated and always had her support. Again, that personal touch that Wheat and Honey Events is known for was a balm for many couples nervous about COVID, their weddings and everything else.
When vaccines became available, weddings were back on the books in 2021, and it hasn’t slowed down since. According to Kirkhuff, customers are delighted that things have opened up even more in 2022, with the removal of mask mandates, for example. But there are still conversations to be had in the wake of the coronavirus
“We talk a bit if COVID hits again,” she explains. “We also have clauses in our contracts to protect our customers. And of course, we fully comply with all health and safety regulations. »
A few points that Kirkhuff insists on over and over again about the wedding process: communication is extremely important and the vision of the bride and groom is paramount. Kirkhuff also believes that engaged couples should be able to *enjoy* their big day. . . don’t feel stressed about it. From start to finish, Wheat and Honey Events will guide, advise and support clients through all aspects. As Kirkhuff states on the company’s website: “We at Wheat and Honey Events. . . allow you to be invited to your own event.
“A wedding coordinator and planner must have a heart for hospitality,” insists Kirkhuff. “Couples should see happy faces from all vendors and guests to make sure their day is a day of love. And they need to know everything is organized — so they can relax.
Wheat and Honey Events, [email protected], 805-624-9350, www.wheatandhoneyevents.com.
hed// Trends 2022
Annette Kirkhuff of Wheat and Honey Events is quick to say that every wedding is as unique as the people who get married, and trends can be hard to pinpoint. But there are a few things that seem to have become popular in recent years.
dek // White on white
“The white is really big. . . People do a lot of white weddings, with white colors and white flowers, or mix white with soft flowers.
She attributes some of that to the prevalence of Pinterest and Instagram, both of which are “huge in our business.” A bride sees a picture of something she likes and tries to imitate it. And on these platforms, “white has been big for the past two years”.
dek// Color Suit
Interestingly enough, she is seeing more color popping up in menswear and moving away from grand formality.
“I’ve seen a lot of tuxedos with color. . . and more casual weddings with cocktail attire rather than black tie.
dek// Stylish sleeves
For wedding dresses, Kirkhuff says, “The current trend is sleeves. Many brides may have detachable sleeves – so they can be taken off for the reception, for example.
dek// Breaking with tradition
As relationships and conventions have changed, so have wedding couples and parties. Weddings for same-sex or non-binary couples are on the rise, and attendants run the gamut.
“A few of my weddings have had flower boys and flower men rather than bridesmaids. I also saw men of honor and women of honor.
dek// Live musicians with DJs
“I find a lot of brides and grooms bring in a live DJ – maybe a drummer or other musician playing while the DJ spins.”
dek// Food truck food for thought
Food trucks have grown in popularity, especially for outdoor and more casual weddings, but Kirkhuff cautions against jumping on that bandwagon too quickly.
“Food trucks don’t work for traditional weddings,” she says. “They don’t have anyone to serve the guests and take care of them. Sometimes brides and grooms don’t feel like food is their priority, and that’s fine. . . However, it is important to have very good service no matter what you eat.