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Where To Start, Inc. Wedding and Event Management

Wedding Coordinator / Planner
Main Office Location:
By Appointment Only
Newark, California


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Service Area:

Greater San Francisco Bay Area


You Need To Know...
Vendor Type { Coordinator / Wedding Planner }
Company Founded { 1991 }

Here Comes The Guide brides receive complimentary guest list management services included in any package purchased—a $500 value!

Film by Metmedia.

Services Offered

One of the first things any newly engaged gal thinks when it comes to planning her upcoming wedding is, “Where To Start?” Precisely the question Gwen Helbush is there to answer. With hundreds of weddings under her belt, Gwen is incredibly experienced in every detail, logistic and organizational element that goes into planning a seamless wedding day. She’ll guide you through every decision while expertly capturing your vision and style, resulting in a masterfully crafted and completely customized event.

Where To Start’s packages range from event coaching, to event management, to full event planning. Packages are priced as flat fees so you’ll know upfront exactly how much you will pay for their services. Contact Where To Start for one complimentary meeting, where Gwen will assess your unique needs and draft a custom proposal.

Questions and Answers

What 3 words best describe your work?

Personal. Individual. Unpredictable.

Tell us about your company name.

Where To Start was my husband’s idea. He kept hearing people ask me where to start planning a wedding so why not name the company the most commonly asked question.

Why should someone hire you?

I think the clients that fit us best are those who have a rough idea of what they want their wedding to be, but no idea how to make it happen. My strength is digging to the core of what they really want and then giving it to them 10 times more than they dreamed, but still in their budget. All weddings cost money; amazing weddings do not have to cost more if you use the money wisely.

What are the common misconceptions about your services?

That I’m going to take over and either plan the same wedding I’ve done a million times before, or plan the wedding I want with no regard for the couple—or their budget.

What drew you to this field/how did you get started?

Planning parties was a big part of my childhood. My parents entertained a lot and our house was holiday-central, so it was natural. I started professionally planning meetings and events for a major department store chain while I was in college. Then I planned my own wedding and realized very quickly that this was something I could do. I worked at a catering company, a hotel, a floral studio and apprenticed with established planners. After a few years, I felt ready to go on my own.

What are some sources of inspiration or influences on your work?

My inspiration is always the couple—everything I do comes from them: who they are as individuals, as a couple, where they come from, what they love.

Tell us about a favorite, unusual or very interesting moment at a wedding:

I had a very creative couple that were entertainers. The bride performed a fire dance before she walked down the aisle. That was interesting.

What makes a wedding memorable for you?

Personal touches, when a couple is focused on creating a unique day just for their family and friends, surrounding themselves with things and people they love.

What have weddings taught you?

To never underestimate the power of love.

What is the best advice you give a couple when planning their wedding?

To listen to their hearts, not the noise around them. Everyone has an opinion about a wedding. They have to tune that out and focus on what matters to them and will be special not only on the wedding day but on their 50th anniversary.

If you could have any superpower on the job, what would it be?

Cloning. Definitely cloning.

What are 3 words that describe your personality?

Determined, sappy and thoughtful.

What's your favorite book/movie/work of art?

Book: Persuasion by Jane Austen, Movie: The Philadelphia Story. Work of Art: Marriage License by Norman Rockwell.

What's your favorite quote?

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, 'I'm possible'!” —Audrey Hepburn

What's your favorite marriage advice?

“Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without.” —James C. Dobson

Extracurricular activities:

I love going to the theatre—musicals are my favorite but I love it all. I enjoy movies, listening to books on tape, and Pinterest. I’m nuts with Pinterest.

If you weren't in your current profession, what would you do instead?

I went to college to be a teacher; I still think I would do that if I couldn’t be an event planner.

What’s your favorite way to wind down after a hard day?

A long hot bath.

Tell us about your pets, if you have any.

We had a wonderful golden retriever for many years that I adored. But now, no pets—we are not home enough. I can’t bring myself to leave them home alone.

What are some of your favorite places to eat—either everyday spots or special occasion splurges?

Wow that is a tough one; we have a very sweet family run café near my home that I enjoy. I’ve eaten in so many wonderful restaurants around the world; there are too many to list. My favorite kind of food is Mediterranean (Italian, Greek, Persian, etc.) Take me to a good Italian restaurant and I’m a very happy girl.

Why are weddings so expensive?

Weddings are labor intensive and specialty service driven both have high price tags. The simple formula is people + stuff = expensive. Less people and/or less stuff = lower cost.

Where To Start, Inc. Wedding and Event Management Covers These Areas:

Northern California
  - East Bay
  - Peninsula
  - San Francisco
  - South Bay / San Jose
  - Tri-Valley and Livermore Wine Country
  - And other areas by special arrangement.

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Bride Reviews

“My friends and family remarked that they have never seen a happier, more relaxed bride than I was on my wedding day. I owe that to Gwen.”

“Gwen was a very clear communicator, and was very prompt in returning my calls and emails. I really loved that about her.”

“I’m Type A and Gwen could hang! She was so on the ball with everything!

“She made all of the decisions during the planning stage so very easy. She made sure to never overwhelm us with too many choices, but tried to tailor the choices to what she thought would fit with our vision of our wedding day.”

“She made us feel like our wedding was the most important event in her life and ours.”

“She took away all the stress, and came up with some amazing ideas that were over the top and outside of the box.”

“Vendor referrals are one of the top reasons we wanted a wedding planner, and we felt that Gwen had an excellent network of quality vendors to call upon.”

“If I could shout from the mountain tops how great she is, I would! I know this might sound silly, but she is an amazing person and more people need to know about her and her skills.”

“She is an amazing wedding planner because she makes sure that her couples are in the limelight, not her.”

“She was fabulously responsive.”

“Gwen knows what she is doing. I did not realize how relaxed I could be. I wish all of your brides a day like we had.”

“She was a magician. And if it speaks to the true aesthetic beauty of our event, the venue contacted us and asked to use our wedding pictures on their website!”

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