For the first episode of the Best Day Wedding Podcast, we meet Zasha Sepulveda. Zasha is a bride and a business owner (Seattle Brides By Z) in Seattle, Washington. She successfully planned her own wedding in just a few short months. We’ll discuss her new business which is helping brides and grooms throughout the Pacific Northwest. Zasha also provides tips when searching for wedding vendors.
Join me for this informative episode perfect for brides and grooms planning a wedding.
Seattle Brides By Z:
0:00:02.1 DJ John: Welcome to the Best Day wedding podcast. My name is DJ John from Best Day DJ. If you’re planning a wedding in the Pacific Northwest, this podcast is for you. Welcome to the show. Hey. [chuckle] I’m laughing because I can see Zasha in the web cam, but I know you can’t see her because this is a podcast, it’s DJ John. I’m here with Zasha and pronounce your last name for me again.
0:00:32.8 Zasha: Sepulveda.
0:00:34.8 DJ John: Thank you. I wasn’t gonna try ’cause I was probably gonna mess that up. Well, tell me a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been doing the last several months, ’cause it’s been big and time-consuming, I guess.
0:00:49.8 Zasha: Yeah, well, thank you for having on the podcast, I’m really excited. This is my first podcast, so we’re in this together.
0:00:56.4 DJ John: Welcome, welcome.
0:00:57.9 Zasha: Thank you.
0:01:00.0 Zasha: So yeah, my name is Zasha Sepulveda, I’m 25 years old. I am working on the light rail project, that’s my full-time job. But I am also planning my wedding, and as I’ve been planning my wedding, I’ve met a lot of great vendors that were really great, but, you know, you can only hire one photographer or one videographer, so… I really wanted to help spread the word of all these great vendors, and during this time I’ve also met a lot of not so good vendors that are maybe not very trustworthy or maybe don’t even get back to you. Sometimes you’ll ask for a quote or you ask for more information, and then they won’t respond for two or three weeks and it’s not…
0:01:45.3 DJ John: Wow, I guess they don’t want any money, I guess. Right, I mean?
0:01:47.9 Zasha: Yeah, it’s really weird. I’m like, “Please let me give you my deposit.” But they don’t want… I don’t know so… Yeah.
0:01:53.0 DJ John: Well, let’s go back to what you just said, because as a wedding vendor myself, I automatically think people are… If they’re a vendor, they’re gonna be trustworthy, they’re gonna get back to people with quotes in a timely matter, but you said vendors that are not so good or not professional… Some advice for couples now planning their wedding for warning signs.
0:02:21.7 Zasha: Yeah, definitely one thing that I have definitely noticed is vendors that just won’t reply to you… I mean within a normal timeframe right. Obviously everyone has businesses and their lives, and so one or two business days has been pretty good for me. And then there’s been people who will agree to talk to you or to chat with you or to send you information and then they either one, never follow up with you, or they send it two weeks later, three weeks later. And it’s just at that point, I view it as a red flag just because as a bride, I don’t want to be struggling to reach out to vendors if something were to change for my wedding or something comes up and I need to contact my vendors. I don’t wanna worry that I’m gonna have a two to three week turnaround time versus the day of or the next day. You wanna feel like a priority as a bride and couple that’s planning their wedding. And I think it’s really important to have vendors that also treat you like a priority versus just wanting you for your money, ’cause that is a big thing in the wedding industry, which is unfortunate.
0:03:38.4 DJ John: Yeah, I’ve heard some stories. So some warning signs there… But you’ve done really well. We were talking off mic, I guess, just a minute ago before we started recording, and you said that you’ve done very well planning your wedding in a very short amount of time. Is this the first time for you? Is this your first wedding, I’m guessing? You don’t have prior experience or anything?
0:04:05.6 Zasha: No, so this is my first wedding. Thankfully, it’s gonna be my last wedding too, but I just… I think it really depends on a person. I am a very decisive person in general, so like when I went wedding dress shopping, I tried on one dress and I was like, ” Yep, this is it.” And that’s how my experience went, it lasted 30 minutes. So that’s not everybody, right?
0:04:29.2 DJ John: So you do well with decision-making because you’re not sitting there for days like, “Oh, I saw that… ” And then you change your mind or something like that.
0:04:36.7 Zasha: Mm-hmm.
0:04:38.1 DJ John: Okay. Unlike…
0:04:38.8 Zasha: Yeah, that’s really helped. And then another thing, ’cause I’ve heard this with a lot of brides, which is a bummer sometimes, is where they say, “I’m planning this and my fiance doesn’t really care, or they just say whatever you want.” And I found with my fiance something that’s really helped between us is… When it’s something I can’t decide, or something that I really don’t know. And my fiance is like, “Well, whatever you think.” I just say, “I need you to care for this.” Like I’ll do the flowers, it’s fine, the venue, it’s fine, but I need you to care for the DJ or I need you to care for the food, and that’s really helped us because that’s helped us communicate it and he just really sat down like, “Okay, this is really what I think about this.” And it’s really helped us in this wedding planing process.
0:05:28.6 DJ John: So he’s… And what’s your fiance’s name again?
0:05:30.8 Zasha: Xavier.
0:05:31.4 DJ John: Xavier, I can say that name.
0:05:33.9 DJ John: Xavier… So it seems like it’s been a great team effort and something that you guys have done together. I think grooms get a bad wrap, there are a lot of grooms that assist in the wedding planning. And I get a lot of contacts as a wedding DJ from grooms or videography asking about services, but you know, it really depends on the couple and what’s happening, but it’s been a good experience so far for you guys to be planning the wedding, which is coming up when?
0:06:09.4 Zasha: February 20th.
0:06:11.3 DJ John: February 20th, 2022, okay. And so I wanna move on because you’ve done so well, you’re telling me, I’m trusting you on that, that the planning has gone well and that you told me everything’s ready. And then, so you’ve thought, “Hey, I can do this pretty good. I can plan weddings very good.” Not like you’re gonna get married again, but you wanna help other couples plan their weddings in an efficient manner or whatever, so tell me a little bit about your company that you started.
0:06:40.6 Zasha: So I started my company, it’s called Seattle Brides, and essentially the way I describe it to people is a free concierge bridal planning service for brides. I Just want brides to come to me, and say, “Zasha, I need to find a make-up artist, and I need it for this day, and this is my budget, and this is what I can do, and this is the look I’m going for.” And so then I’ll go, and I’ll find the vendors and I’ll vet the vendors. I make sure they’re in the price range, and I get the top three, two to three, vendors that fit this bride’s budget and look and just all the bride’s needs. And then I refer them to the bride, and the bride can then go out and make that final choice, and then sometimes they’ll come back to me and say that, “This is actually not what I was looking for. I thought it was, but I actually like this.” No problem, let me find you some more vendors.
0:07:30.8 Zasha: And it’s just that back and forth process and just making it easier for brides because there’s… I don’t know if you’re on these Facebook pages for Bridal Helps, Seattle Bridal help, but brides will say, “I’m looking for a photographer and this is my budget.” And then you’ll get 150 comments of photographers, and these photographers may not even be in their budget. Then you’ll have bartenders up there being, “Oh, I’m not a photographer, but if you need a bartender, I’m here.” And then it’s just… It’s overwhelming for brides. Honestly, I mean, myself included, when I was going through this, it was just so overwhelming. And I could only imagine for brides who maybe aren’t as decisive as me ’cause I know it’s hard it’s a wedding, and so I just wanted to help couples that way.
0:08:19.8 DJ John: Yeah, I’ve been on those [laughter] those Facebook groups and they’re good. They’re good to a certain extent. But yeah I guess if I put myself in a groom’s shoes, and I’m looking for a vendor and I’m getting a lot of different comments all over the place. And I’m getting confused, and things are spinning in my head and I’m like, what do I do? And I find a lot of couples prefer someone helping them find someone like you, or through a referral because then you don’t have to go through this process, like you were talking about of not hearing back from anyone, waiting, and this person might… And a lot of vendors, it’s up to them, but they don’t put their prices on their website.
0:09:03.1 Zasha: Yeah.
0:09:03.5 DJ John: And that’s a personal choice. That’s fine. But then you don’t even know the pricing. And so you have to wait for that, but you’ve gotta give me something that was the most difficult for you, and maybe some advice. I think I know what it is. I think… Before you say it, I think I know what it’s gonna be. Was it the venue?
0:09:23.2 Zasha: The venue was very tough [laughter] so basically We’re in COVID, obviously, and you wanna be safe. And we were talking to our venue before we booked, and we asked them what their COVID protocols were. Where we were saying like, “Hey, we want to have a maskless event. What do we have to do to make that happen here?” And so they told us their COVID protocols, and then a couple of months later after we’re booked. After we’re having all our catering meetings and all of this stuff is happening, I called them again just to finalize these protocols and just to make sure that this is what we have to do ’cause we’re sending out invitations and I wanna make sure it’s right on invitations and what not. And then they get back to me and they tell me, “No, that’s actually not what’s happening. This is what you need to do.” Which is… Was a total 180 from what we were first told.
0:10:21.4 Zasha: And so I think one thing that brides need to do for that is really stick your ground with venue sometimes and even vendors, because, one, you are paying them, right, and you want the best quality for your wedding. And so when I confronted, me and my fiance, confronted the venue and saying, “Hey, we need to figure this out.” They kinda try to give me the run around saying, “Oh, well, if you find anything or if we find anything, we’ll get back to you and we’ll go from there.” And I’m like no, you can’t do that. You… We’re sending out invitations, I need to know what we have to do. You can’t just get back to me in a month ’cause my wedding will be here.
0:11:00.8 DJ John: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy with COVID and there’s really no… This has never happened before in our lifetime, I guess, and it’s so tough with all these restrictions and mask-wearing, and so it seems like venues especially are trying to…
0:11:18.7 Zasha: They’re trying to adapt, I feel like.
0:11:20.0 DJ John: Are you getting a lot of brides and grooms coming to you, to Seattle Brides, worried about COVID and asking you questions about, “Oh my gosh, should we plan a wedding in 2022? Should we wait another year?” Are you seeing some things like that?
0:11:36.7 Zasha: Not really, because most brides that come to me are very much, “I’m getting married. Whether it’s an elopement or whether it’s a huge wedding, I’m getting married” And so we haven’t seen that yet. I do ask all my vendors if they’re comfortable with large weddings or if they’re comfortable in certain settings because of COVID, you want to be mindful of that, and I don’t wanna put any vendors in any uncomfortable situations or the brides as well. So that is something that I personally keep in mind when I’m talking to brides and vendors. This is just something that I don’t think a lot of people know about Seattle Brides, or what I’ve done so far. But I know a lot of vendors like doing styled shoots, which they’re important and I really agree. Just…
0:12:25.8 DJ John: Styled shoots? Like…
0:12:28.1 Zasha: Styled shoots. Yeah, so vendors will get together and kind of mock-up a wedding right? .
0:12:33.7 DJ John: Oh, yes. Yes, of course, yes.
0:12:35.3 Zasha: So they’ll do stuff like that, which is super important. And I really love them, but one thing that I don’t really like is that there’s not a lot of representation for women of color or women of different sizes, or… Just there’s not a lot of diversity in those style shoots, and I don’t like that. I’m 5’2″, Latina, I’m dark, I’m short, I’m not a stick. It’s something that I think is really important for people to see. And so when I do styled shoots for Seattle Brides, one, the couple is a real couple. It’s not some random models that we find, it’s an actual couple with Seattle Brides. And two, it’s people of any size, people of any ethnicity, anything. I want representation. And so this last style… But watching our first styled shoot that we did, it was a Filipina and Hawaiian couple. I just love gifting the shoots to brides and having them have a great fun experience.
0:13:44.9 DJ John: Sure.
0:13:45.9 Zasha: Yeah, that’s what I, that’s my ultimate goal with all these style shoots, it’s not… It’s for the vendors, but it’s ultimate for the bride.
0:13:53.0 DJ John: Styled shoot. So I’m seeing some photography on your site, I wanna say it’s seattlebridesbyz.com. If people wanna go to that site. I’m looking at the last several years, average cost of a wedding. In 2016, $28,000. And this is according to a wedding report or something like that. It seems legit.
0:14:13.8 Zasha: Yeah.
0:14:14.5 DJ John: 2017, the same amount, $28,000. 2018, $27,600. 2019, $27,900. And then 2020 drops down to $24,600. Is it possible, in your experience as you’ve been planning the wedding, because a lot of people that might be listening, a lot of couples want affordability, they wanna be able to go out there and maybe not spend $25,000, they wanna spend 5 or they wanna spend 10 or they wanna spend a thousand, is it possible, do you think?
0:14:49.5 Zasha: I would say you have to keep in mind just the reality of things, right? Because vendors and food and venues and dresses and all that stuff costs money, right? So you have to be realistic with what you’re expecting, but I 100% think it’s possible to plan a wedding for 5000, 4000, 10,000. But with the $4000 wedding, you might not get the venue that you’re wanting, and you might not get the dress that you’re wanting, right? The food, you might have to have a friend prepare the food versus an actual caterer. If you’re having alcohol, you might have to have people BYOB, right versus actually have some… An actual bartender, right. So you have to be realistic with your expectations, but I think it’s 100% possible.
0:15:44.1 DJ John: Yeah, I’ve filmed weddings when I was doing videography more, and they would have a backyard wedding, a country setting, and that would definitely save some money there. And I think a venue in most cases are the most, one of the most expensive things to pay for at a wedding, so that might save some money if there’s an opportunity for some kind of backyard wedding, or even like a beach setting, I don’t know how… I don’t think you’d have to pay for something like that, if you just went on to the beach, you might have to have some kind of permit, but there are some possibilities there for people.
0:16:20.6 Zasha: Yeah, I would say a big, a big help is the venue, right? And you can use your local state parks, there are a lot of beautiful buildings and a lot of beautiful beaches and a lot of beautiful forests here that you can have your wedding at right? You just have to be mindful and get the right permits and go through the right hoops, right, but it is possible and you can save a ton of money. I know there’s this really beautiful place in…
0:16:46.9 DJ John: In the United States?
0:16:48.6 Zasha: In the United States, it’s here in Washington, but basically to rent it, it’s like a rustic building, right, and to rent it, because it’s a state… It’s a locally owned park, it’s only like $500 for the day.
0:17:01.0 DJ John: Wow.
0:17:02.0 Zasha: Yeah. Which it… It’s super pretty and it’s beautiful, you just have to keep in mind with, you might not have it for 12 hours, you might only have it for 5, or the music might have to stop after 10 PM or… Certain rules, like I’m saying you have to jump through, but you’d have a beautiful wedding for $500, which is great.
0:17:19.8 DJ John: Sure.
0:17:20.5 Zasha: And then…
0:17:20.8 DJ John: Any any other advice you wanna give couples, we’re gonna wrap it up here in just a second, but anything else that you wanna mention before I let you go and get on to your… Well, you’re done wedding planning, I don’t know what you’re gonna do after this. Probably go rest but, any advice?
0:17:33.5 Zasha: I would say, it’s your day. And so yes, you wanna keep to your budget, but if there’s something that you absolutely want, do it. If you want that getaway car, that’s maybe $600, seems pointless… It’s not. It’s your wedding day and you’ll remember that. And I would say if you have one thing, even if it’s just sparklers at the end of the day, just make sure to get that because that’s, that’s what awesome about it. It’s what you and your fiance want, and it’s making you happy.
0:18:08.5 DJ John: Yeah, and the photographer and videographer can catch those moments and they’ll be forever for you to enjoy, but just save some money for the honeymoon.
0:18:17.3 Zasha: [chuckle] Yeah.
0:18:18.3 DJ John: Save a little money. Okay Zasha, thank you so much. Once again, your website is seattlebridesbyz.com, and I found you on Facebook and some other social media, so you’re definitely out there doing a great job, great service for couples throughout, and it’s not just Seattle, I’m guessing it’s just the Pacific Northwest, right?
0:18:41.3 Zasha: Right now, it’s just Washington. But eventually we’ll, expand. We’ll expand.
0:18:45.5 DJ John: I’ll keep an eye on, I’ll keep an eye on you. Okay, Zasha thank you so much and congratulations. Have a wonderful wedding.
0:18:52.5 Zasha: Thank you. Thank you so much, John, fully appreciated.
0:18:55.3 DJ John: I am DJ John, and thanks for tuning in to the Best Day Wedding Podcast. For more information on the show, or if you’d like to be a guest, please visit bestdaydj.com.