From this Day Forward...
February, 2008 - Issue #40
photography by Val Jean of inSiGHT Studios 222-FILM(3456)
photography by Val Jean of inSiGHT Studios 222-FILM(3456)
There is nothing like a little sparkle during the holidays and if you are now sporting a diamond ring on your left hand, that means you will soon be planning a special event of your own - your wedding.

As you prepare for the big day, deciding a date may be one of the easiest decisions you make. Today's weddings are big productions and there are hundreds of little details you will have to iron out before the day of your dreams arrives. Have no fear, though. There are several local experts who love weddings and are ready to help.

The SCV Wedding Professionals are an elite group of vendors who cater to local brides. From florists and gowns to photographers and rentals, the Wedding Professionals are a one-stop list of everything an engaged couple will need to complete their special day.

"We do seminars throughout the year to teach brides and grooms the ins and outs of wedding planning," said Charmaine Wojciechowski. "Weddings can be local or out of town. Our vendors will travel."

Businesses affiliated with the SCV Wedding Professionals are referred to the group by brides and other vendors. "We all know and work with each other," Wojciechowski said. "Brides know they are hiring professionals that they don't have to worry about. It's a good way to get started."

Wedding Planners
If you saw the movie starring Jennifer Lopez as a wedding planner, you know how valuable this person can be to the frazzled bride and her family. Don't be fooled though; wedding planners are not just for the rich and famous. Whether you want a little extra help on the wedding day or would like to turn the whole event over to them, wedding planners will do as much or as little as the couple needs.

Alice Goetschel of Memorable Occasions has been planning weddings for the past 18 years. "All my life I've been fascinated with weddings," she said. "One thing that is important for wedding planners is to remember that these are not their weddings. You become the fairy godmother who helps wishes come true."

Goetschel said one of the first things an engaged couple needs to think about is a budget. It's important, she said, to be realistic and comfortable about the amount of money spent on the wedding. "Don't start a marriage with a huge debt," Goetschel advises.

A small wedding (less than 200 guests) can run up to $30,000, Goetschel said, and it goes way up from there. "There are people who spend over $100,000 for a wedding."

More and more brides want big productions and a wedding planner can save you hours of time, stress and money. "I realized at other weddings I've attended that someone needs to be in charge, someone who is not emotionally involved," Goetschel said. "I can do as much or as little as needed."

photography by Michael Perez of Toscano Photography 755-8738
photography by Michael Perez of Toscano Photography 755-8738
Maita Henson Miyake, owner of Simply Marvelous Weddings, said planning a wedding can be dizzying. Setting up appointments, visiting potential banquet facilities, meeting and managing vendors is time consuming. A wedding planner can act as a liaison between you and the business aspect of your day. "We coordinate every detail so you don't have to," Miyake said.

"Your special event depends on the crucial timing of many elements. Whether it's the completion of alterations on your wedding dress, the arrival of correctly-printed custom invitations, the timely application of passports or the receipt of your wedding bands, someone needs to stay on top of the countless details which can be time sensitive," Miyake said.

If you are still thinking of asking a friend or relative to coordinate the wedding, you've got to remember just about anything can happen. "Coordinating the day is a big job," said Nanette Marotta of
Affairs 2 Remember. "If certain aspects of the event are not done in a timely manner, everything can be thrown off."

Most of the vendors contracted for your wedding are on schedules, Marotta said. "You have a certain window of time to try and squeeze in everything. Wedding planners step in and make sure everyone and everything that is contracted and paid for is there."

With 15 years in the business, Marotta said she likes to get copies of all the contracts and go over them with a fine tooth comb. "I want to make sure everything runs smoothly and make it a day for them to remember," she said.

Blending families can also be a tricky affair, with one set of parents wanting this and others wanting that. "I step in and cover all sides. I try to make it happen for all entities involved and make sure that no one's feelings are hurt."

And when things do go wrong, rain on an outdoor wedding for example, wedding planners have the connections right at their fingertips to assure a perfect day. "I am always available and can work around schedules and unforeseen circumstances. I make it all happen," she said.

An invitation is the first indication to your guests what your wedding day will look and feel like, said Event Planner Myra Harbour of Celebrate-Planning For An Event To Remember. She has hundreds of custom invitations for the bridal couple to choose from and they are sure to find that perfect announcement that adds a touch of class to any affair.

She likes to do custom invitations with floral designs and plenty of bling. One of Harbour's favorite invitations is the pocket style. "Everything is in the invitation, all with their own pockets," she said. "Addresses, directions, RSVP cards all slide into their designated pocket and everything folds up in one piece."

Just as in real estate, location can be everything in a wedding and reception. There are two beautiful golf courses in the Santa Clarita Valley that offer fabulous settings for ceremonies and parties.

You can have just about the entire facility to yourself at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) in Westridge said Event Manager Gina Saccente. The venue only books one wedding a week, but they are flexible with time. From the small, intimate wedding or seating for up to 200 guests, TPC offers a spectacular view of the Santa Clarita Valley from its patio and greens.

Saccente recommends booking TPC at least one year in advance and they will have contacts for rentals, florists and just about everything the brides will need.

Not far down the road, the Valencia Country Club also offers beautiful locations for the perfect wedding and wedding photographs. With a large room and outdoor patio and barbecue pit, the venue can hold up to 160 guests with a dance floor (190 without dancing). There is also a suite where the bride and her attendants can get ready for the event and safely stash their belongings.

"All of our ceremonies are held on the first tee," said Tara Marks, catering and special events manager. "We have several areas to take beautiful wedding photographs."

Marks advise couples to book the Club at least six months in advance.

Let's Dance
Music can make or break a wedding reception - too wild and your parents and their friends will soon be heading for the nearest exit. Too soft and your friends will wonder when you got so old. You want people to wake up the next morning and complain about their feet hurting because they've never danced so much!

There is a way to balance the tunes, said John Pramik of John Pramik Entertainment.

"I've noticed that there has been a change from DJs to bands," Pramik said. "The couples want something new and something different. DJs and bands are coming together and it sort of satisfies the best of both worlds."

Pramik and his associate, drummer Jimmy Carnelli, have just come off a busy holiday season and are gearing up for the brides.

"We like to sit down with the couple and ask them basic questions about the first dance, the father/daughter dance," Pramik said. "Sometimes they will walk in with CDs and other times we can suggest songs."

Today's couples have a wide variety of music media, Carnelli said, with access to satellite, iPods and such. "If they hand you a Beyonce tune that's heavily produced, a smart band will let a DJ handle that," he said. "When you have a great band leader, they can take the silence out of the room and get people out of their chairs easily."

There are a lot of decisions to be made to make the event great, Pramik said. How big is the dance floor, who is coming to the wedding and what are your favorite songs are just some of those questions. "We are good musicians who have played at many venues. We know how to throw a great event," Pramik said.

But how do you get those shy ones out of their seats and on the dance floor? Simple, said Jorge Lopez of J& M Entertainment. You create the fun.

Creating an atmosphere is a necessity at any party - whether using fog machines, bubbles or the perfect lighting, a good time will be guaranteed. "Using the right lighting and unique special effects will ensure a special atmosphere for your guests, from elegant to incredibly fun and exciting," Lopez said.

When it comes to entertainment at your wedding reception, good is not good enough. You want it to be great and make it a memorable event for you and all of the guests. A great DJ will engage the crowd and make them feel a part of your special day. Seasoned DJs also know what songs to play and just how far they can push the crowd. "We make sure you are the focus of the day and then balance that with creative ways to get all of your guests involved," Lopez said.

When it comes to sitting, eating and drinking, brides need to find a vendor who can put it all together and make the guests feel at home. A-1 Rentals has just about everything a bride can use, said owner Robbie Crookshank. Whether it's an intimate affair or a full-on party for over 200, A-1 Rentals can supply the table settings, tenting, lighting and everything in between. "We're always watching the weather and are ready for any unforeseen situation," Crookshank said. "When it comes to weddings it seems as if everyday someone needs to change something. We work with the brides all along."

Capture those Moments
You may be thinking you can save some money by asking your BFF to take photographs of your special day, but beware. You run the risk of losing that friendship if you don't get the kind of memories you were hoping for. Ask a professional. They know how to freeze that special moment in time and give you memories worth keeping. And when it comes to sharing those photos, Matt Sutherland has a great idea. "We do movies," Sutherland said.

Matrimony Pictures is based on creative editing. Sutherland will film the ceremony and reception and encapsulate the entire event in a five-minute montage. Brides and grooms will be able to share this edited version of their day with friends and family over the internet or on CD. From the first dance to the toasts, couples will have an opportunity to watch themselves take a spin on the floor and hear what their friends had to say.

"You can be so caught up in the day, you may not remember much," Sutherland said.

A graduate of UCLA film school, Sutherland said he loves making movies about the most amazing day of someone's life. "I cry at weddings," he confessed.

People are moved emotionally by color and sound and having the right angle and lighting creates a wonderful keepsake of the day, he said. "People don't realize that in a movie, it's the soundtrack that makes them cry."
Sutherland can customize any event whether it's just the ceremony or the entire day. "You want your friends to enjoy the wedding," he said. "I do this every weekend. We know what we're doing and we're good at what we do."

There is magic to be made planning a wedding and a special day to enjoy. Don't stress. Ask for help and everyone, especially the bride, will have a great time.

Kids or No Kids?
There's no doubt that children are a blessing. The question is, though, whether or not they should be invited to your nuptials. Here are key things to consider:

Pro Kids
If you are hosting a day-time, outdoor wedding, chances are your event is casual enough to take on children.

If you can't imagine spending one of the most important days of your life without your favorite nephew, by all means invite the tiny warblers.

If your fear of igniting World War III with your in-laws (who think their precious grandkids are angels) is stronger than your fear of chocolate-covered fingers pulling on your gown, invite the crew.

No Kids
If you are planning an elegant evening with an open bar and after party, it's probably best to help your with-kids friends find a local babysitter.

Regardless of how little they are, if you still need a seat, place setting and meal for the child, costs can add up fast. If money's tight, nixing kids off the list is an easy budget trimmer.

If you aren't OK with the possibility of a toddler yelling loudly to her dad that she needs to use the restroom during your vows, kids probably aren't a good addition.

For More Information
Jorge Lopez of J& M Entertainment 257-1725
John Pramik of John Pramik Entertainment 295-5578

A-1 Rentals 273-6900

Tournament Players Club 288-1995
Valencia Country Club 799-1263
Matrimony Pictures 263-8903

Wedding Planners
Alice Goetschel of Memorable Occasions 270-9448
Myra Harbour of Celebrate - Planning for an Event to Remember 259-8611
Nanette Marotta of Affairs 2 Remember 269-1235
Maita Henson Miyake of Simply Marvelous Weddings 818-224-6534

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