Coffee with Diana from Napa Valley Linens


Happy Monday my loves! Since this is my first blog post, I want to start by saying HELLO! WELCOME! For those that don’t know me yet, hopefully you will soon. I’m, obviously, crazy in love with weddings which is why I do what I do! But I also read too much, watch a lot of basketball, and have an adorable dog that I’m probably way too attached to.

This morning I had the pleasure of sitting down with Diana Cardenas of Napa Valley Linens at our local Starbucks. I have a serious appreciation of linens so of course Diana was my first choice to welcome you all into our world! Hopefully you have had some caffeine yourself so you can keep up with us as we chat about Diana’s day-to-day, linens, and weddings!

Diana NVL.jpg


Thank you so much for meeting with me today! To start us off, what is your title and the day to day like at Napa Valley Linens?

Originally Outside Sales, but after about 5 or 6 years I wanted an updated title so I became the Director of Business Development. I don’t know if that was the best thing though because now people don’t know I’m in sales, which I am! So I kind of think I need to go back to something sales. Like Director of Sales! That could work! Yes, exactly! Business development is definitely part of the job, but I think I should be the Director of Sales. So what is the day to day like as the Director of Business Development? Well it’s different everyday, which I love! Because it’s outside sales I don’t always need to be in the office, I go in when I have to. I like to make appointments between 11am-2pm to avoid traffic and make the most of my time. Scheduling these appointments can take the most time though! I answer a lot of emails, inquiries from brides that come from my venues, appointments with venues, or helping with design! I’m trying to do more design with clients. Which is one of the best parts! It’s so fun! It is! Most of the time clients just pick everything with someone else and I don’t get to be apart of it, but I love to design! Some days I am at my desk all day doing reports and some days I’m out all day! Keeps you on your toes! That’s what I love about it!


What would you say is the best part of your job?

Personally, for me, with my personality, it is the relationships I’ve made. I’m very social and I love to hear people’s stories. Like yourself, I look forward to saying one day, I remember meeting her at Starbucks and now I’ve watched her business grow and develop! Awww! I definitely think the relationships are one of the best parts of this entire industry! And to see how people grow and where they go! I’ve seen so many young women, and some men, but mostly women in this industry, I’ve seen their businesses grow from the beginning and I love that. I’m all about empowering women and Girl Boss. That’s one of my favorite things, seeing women flourish and building the relationships, making friendships.


Speaking of relationships, that leads me to my WIPA questions! You’re also the president of SF WIPA, that’s so exciting! What does that entail?  *WIPA is the Wedding International Professionals Association*

It’s basically the leader of the group. We have monthly meetings, quarterly chapter meetings, and mixers. We make sure we have meetings that add value to our member’s lives and businesses. I’ve been a part of WIPA at different levels but now it falls on me to make sure it’s the best. When you’re the leader everyone looks to you, especially if it is bad, just like if you’re a principle of a school, everyone looks to you. So there is some pressure that I didn’t expect, but I’m so proud of what we’re doing! I took on a second term, because our terms are just one year, because I felt I was just getting it all together half way through the first year. December will actually be my last meeting as President. I love WIPA and what it stands for and when people come up to you after the meetings feeling inspired. It’s all about personal development and relationships.


For our brides out there, what does it mean for them to have their vendors be apart of WIPA?

Vendors in WIPA are legit! There are certain qualifications you have to meet to join WIPA so you know that you’re hiring a real business and not a casual, just for fun type. You won’t be getting a wedding planner who planned their own wedding and then decided “Oh, I’m going to be a wedding planner!” Exactly! As someone who has worked at different venues as a venue coordinator, there is nothing more frustrating with having an inexperienced outside planner. It becomes so much more work for us because we would never let another planner fail! Exactly, and there are so many of them! They show up to a venue and the venue ends up doing more work than the planner. Many venues require you to have your business license and insurance, they don’t make being a WIPA member a requirement, though I wish, but they have similar qualifications. That’s why I think it’s so important for venues to have preferred vendor lists and really encourage couples to use vendors that have been there before. They’ll know all the people and what to do. Yes! And it saves the couple so much time too! If your vendor wants to have five different walk throughs so they know what they’re doing, the couple is going to be involved and that can waste so much time! I think working with legitimate people who know the business and have had some kind of experience or education is best for everyone. Not to say don’t take a chance on someone new, but that someone needs some idea of what they’re doing

Ok, time for linen talk! I always say linens are highly underrated! A lot of venues will provide linens in white, black, sometimes ivory, and so many people just go with it because it is included! What linen can you not get enough of?


Oh gosh, I knew you were going to say that! It changes on the daily right? It does! And we get new linens every year. Sometimes I’ll see a pictures from a wedding and just love the way they set it up. One of our newest linens is call Cirrus and there’s two, a gold and ivory, and it has this marble look to it. It’s so pretty. Every time I look at it I love it. It depends on the day, the season, the venue. A lot of clients, we have to educate them on the linens and why they need them. At bridal showcases a lot of people, especially the grooms, ask what they’re for! And I say the tables, “well don’t they have those at the venues”, well yeah, but it’s basic. If you want to create a look or design, or customize it to your personality use linens! I always tell clients a linen is the most square footage of color you can add to that room. Once you look at all those tables with the linens it’s like a whole different canvas. Even your flowers look better! Adding that pop of color or texture changes everything. Ooh, I should say, one of my new favorites is the velvet collection. It’s a whole dining experience. You pet the tables! If you’re in a cocktail dress, they feel so nice on your legs. You can’t help but to fall in love with them.



Patterns vs. Textures for Weddings, what do you think?

I have seen so many weddings, and I tell people don’t be afraid of patterns! When you put a pattern on a linen it becomes almost artistic. There’s more of a design element, because they weren’t afraid, they stepped out of the box. When I do see it, I think it looks phenomenal! I think when you create that pattern for a client at a wedding you have a designer eye. It isn’t a cookie cutter idea, which isn’t bad either, but it’s different. Especially when you mix patterns, you’re stepping it up! It’s almost like another layer to it. We have pattern linens that go together, I call them siblings. They’re all different, but they compliment each other! You and I need to play with some patterns together! That’s an area I need practice in.


What is your favorite wedding trend of the past that’s no longer cool?

Oh gosh, you might have stumped me! Can we start with new things I’m loving. Of course! What I’ve noticed recently, and not with linens, with florals, are the circular structures at the alter with flowers on them. Yes! I’m so obsessed with those! And these new hanging structures that the florist can add floral to over the sweetheart table or dance floor. I love them, it’s really changing the floral design. It’s wedding architecture. Like the huge frame at TPC Stonebrae! I love that thing.

I’m still stumped on the past trend… I have a weird love of the poofy sleeved wedding dresses! I’m glad they aren’t exactly coming back, but I love looking at pictures of them! Oh gosh, I wore one! At my friend’s wedding I was a bridesmaid and they had poofy sleeves with three poofs! I looked like a lavender marshmallow! I’m glad that trend is gone. Oh! I know! Chair covers! Exactly! I really hate chair covers! I’m so glad they’re pretty much gone. They’re outdated. It doesn’t do anything positive, it’s a sea of fabric. I say spend a little more and get a nicer chair!


How long have you been married?

It will be thirty two years in February! I can’t be old enough for that! We eloped in Carmel! We wanted do something different than Reno or Tahoe.


What is your favorite memory of your wedding?

…. There are so many. My dress had a sash with a bow in the back, and puffy sleeves, it was the 80’s, and I never thought about who was going to tie my bow! Since we eloped it was just him and I and as we’re getting ready I said “Oh you need to tie my bow!” And so I had to teach him how to tie a nice bow and he did an excellent job. That’s such a helpful skill to have even thirty years later! That was pretty funny. And just that we were sneaking away and didn’t tell anyone, that was fun.


My favorite question for everyone, I have to ask, what is your get pumped up song?

September – Earth, Wind, and Fire, hands down!  You know you put that on and everyone hits the dance floor. It is timeless, I love it. Excellent choice! I love it! Thank you again for meeting with me, it has been such a pleasure!


*some answers have been shortened or summarized*

If you have made it this far, thank you! I had such fun meeting with Diana today and I hope we were able to teach you something in the process. Stay tuned as I continue chatting with some of our amazing Bay Area vendors, plan weddings, and live my life! <3