Tying the Knot in Santa Clarita
August, 2007 - Issue #34
Weddings are a $25 billion industry and the newly engaged will join the 2,000,000 individuals who will be getting married this year across the United States. With that number in mind, it is wise to begin planning for the big event as soon as possible.

Are you getting married in your parents' backyard or heading off to Vegas? There a ton of options for those planning on tying the knot and there are many professionals who can help walk you through the process. Before you start putting deposits on anything, experts agree the first thing to do is to set a budget.

"Brides today want either very small, intimate weddings or very elaborate and over-the-top festivities," said wedding planner Myra Harbour, owner of Celebrate, a Valencia-based company. "Planning should begin at least one year before the wedding date."

Show Me the Money

Professional wedding planners can help engaged couples and their families set a budget. With an average Santa Clarita wedding costing about $35,000, budgets help keep families from experiencing wedding-day shock. And while many brides have careers and make decent money, Harbour said mom and dad are stepping up to the plate. "Generally it's both sets of parents footing the bill," she explained. "Parents have the money and it seems to make up for the small weddings the Boomers themselves had."

inSIGHT STUDIO Photography<br>661-222-FILM (3456)
inSIGHT STUDIO Photography
661-222-FILM (3456)
inSIGHT STUDIO Photography<br>661-222-FILM (3456)
inSIGHT STUDIO Photography
661-222-FILM (3456)

Color of Love

Charmaine Wojciechowski from SCV Wedding Professionals said many brides have an idea or color palate in mind. Others have no idea. Professionals need to sit down with them and show them how flowers and decorations will enhance their ideas and make them come to life.

When it comes to decorating the reception, a bridal favorite is the Sweetheart Table. "Traditionally, a head table was placed in the front of the room and once the wedding party had a bite of food, the table was empty the rest of the night," Charmaine said. "A Sweetheart Table is decorated especially for the bride and groom and other tables are set around the couple so bridesmaids and ushers could sit with their dates and friends. It's much more social and unique."

Red is a big favorite this season for bridal parties, as well as several shades of brown (think mocha and espresso). Brown can be used for both spring and fall when mixed with golds, yellows and oranges.

Garden weddings are still the top choice for brides, but Charmaine said she is finding many couples combining cultural customs to their event and creating a charming mix of traditions and flavor. "It's neat when they bring back their culture," she said. "It's easy to see how people can mix together and enjoy each other's life."

Toscano Photography<br>661-755-8738
Toscano Photography
Toscano Photography<br>661-755-8738
Toscano Photography

When Cultures Merge

Wedding coordinator Maita Henson Miyake, owner of simply Marvelous Weddings and Events, specializes in traditional Filipino weddings. "No two weddings are ever alike," she writes. "From color and cuisine, to religion, music, jewelry, flowers, fabrics, rituals and vows, each is passed down through generations." Some cultures favor simplicity over extravagance, but as always, a budget will determine the level of the event. Maita says each celebration has its own icons for love, purity, commitment, fertility, prosperity and health.

According to Maita, the planning of any cultural wedding requires the knowledge of cross-cultural similarities and differences to bring the best of many worlds together. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, as well as professional wedding planners can help the couple gather information and traditional wedding attire to make these cultural events spectacular.

It's All about the Guests

You've invited 200 people to watch you exchange vows with your beloved. Now it's time to show those people how much you appreciate them sharing your moment. That usually involves food.

"Brides have become very educated and are truly trying to create a day that reflects who they are," said Cindy Smith, owner of RSVP - The Catering Company. "They are spending a lot of money on food and want to create a menu that is good and creates a fun environment."

Smith said food stations have become very popular. It's informal and it allows your guests to move around and mingle. Each station is decorated to reflect the food choice; for example, Smith offers the ever-popular Farmer's Market Station with fresh grilled vegetables and salads. Boneless short ribs, grilled salmon and duck are also top picks. This, Smith said, is very California-ish.

While the ice sculptures and martini bars have run their course, there are other fun ways to celebrate the day with fresh fruit and signature drinks. "We encourage a signature beverage," Smith said. "We ask the couple what their favorite beverage is and we put a twist on it. Then we name it after the newlyweds."

R & R Photography<br>661-255-8502
R & R Photography
R & R Photography<br>661-255-8502
R & R Photography

Smith also said while wine and champagne are good choices for the reception and can compliment the food nicely, beer should stay at home. "We try to find a drink that goes with the color of the event, such as an island theme with turquoise and lime colors and very cool glasses," Smith said. "It really adds color and fun to any event."

Of course, when it's really hot or you want to add affordable and unique excitement, you might consider having a party cart at the reception. These carts, offered by Lori Parkinson of The Big Chill, come with all the necessary ingredients needed for a funky and crowd-pleasing atmosphere with frozen margaritas and daiquiris. Besides the cups, straws and rimmers, you can order additional items to match your decorations.

"I see more and more people opting for a frozen beverage machine at engagement parties and rehearsal dinners," Parkinson said. "I also see a trend with the young crowds wanting to have specialty drinks at their weddings. Our machines are easy to use, easy to monitor and requires no bartender, so it's also a money-saving option."

Getting the Groove On

The food has been eaten and the cake has been cut; now it's time to get out on the dance floor and party!

One of the biggest fears newly-married couples express is a concern that their guests will be bored and leave the reception early. The celebration should begin the moment the bride and groom enter the room, said Jorge Lopez, owner of J&M Entertainment. Couples today like to create an entertaining entrance, whether it's a dance to a favorite theme song or a fashion show with the bridesmaids and ushers. "Couples are more theatrical," Lopez said. "When you are a playful couple that loves attention, this is huge."

While live bands are making a comeback, Lopez recommends a DJ or master of ceremonies for the reception to weave the event together, create fun and get folks up off their feet and on the dance floor.

Santa Clarita Photographic Studio<br>661-775-0898
Santa Clarita Photographic Studio
Santa Clarita Photographic Studio<br>661-775-0898
Santa Clarita Photographic Studio

"Being at a great reception is like watching a great movie," Lopez said. "When you are able to get your guests out dancing and participating in the event, it becomes a great reception."

Music is a big part of the reception and it's important to have a great sound system and a band or DJ who knows what type of music will get the crowd dancing.

It's important to remember music is a nice touch during the actual wedding ceremony, as well. John Pramik of Pramik Entertainment recommends a string quartet or trio for a large ceremony. Ask around, he said. Maybe you have a friend or family member who has a great voice. "It brings a very personal touch to the wedding and it's a heck of a moment," he said.

If the budget is tight, Pramik said to consider using a solo keyboard that can do string orchestra. Considering using a wireless microphone so everyone can hear you take your vows. Pramik offers live internet feed of the ceremony, too. "We set up a tiny camera and friends and family can just click on a link to catch the moment," he said. "It's very moving and a great way to include everyone, especially if the couple ops for a destination wedding."

Get some Help

With so many details, emotions and money that go into planning a wedding, it's easy to lose site of what the day is truly about. A recent father of the groom explained that the best money he ever spent on his son's wedding was contracting with a wedding coordinator.

Wedding coordinators step in as an objective source that brides, grooms and their families can go to for help, suggestions and problems that may arise.

"I meet with couples at the beginning for a consultation," said planner Alice Goetschel. "There are different levels of service a planner provides, but the idea is to make sure the wedding is everything it should be."

The average Santa Clarita wedding consists of about 150 to 200 guests, Goetschel said. The key to a great wedding is finding the element the bride and groom need to express their individuality while maintaining a budget.

Paige Photography<br>661-297-2799
Paige Photography
Paige Photography<br>661-297-2799
Paige Photography

"Each couple is unique," Goetschel explains. "And each wedding has an aspect or element that is very important to the couple, whether it be the ceremony, the cake, music or food. My job is to give the bride, groom and their families the opportunity to truly enjoy the day."

Wedding planners can help couples find sites for the ceremony and reception, locate vendors, and make sure invitations go out in a timely manner. On the day of the wedding, the planner will be there to ensure guests are comfortable and the wedding starts on time. Coordinators can soothe nerves and attach corsages. They will also make sure the bride and groom take the right photographs, cut the cake, take their first dance and have something to eat. If an emergency pops up, a good wedding planner will take care of it without bothering the bride, groom or their families.

Goetschel, a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants, said today both sides of the family are usually pitching in for the wedding and all have ideas and comments, but she always remembers what the day is about. "No matter who is paying the bill, the members work for the bride and groom," she said.

Harbour concurs. "I'm the person some may hate at the end of the day, but the bride and groom and their families love us," she said. "No matter what happens during the event, everyone must remember what's important and that is the union of two people and the vows they have taken."

Every bride should be a princess on her wedding day and every groom should have his breath taken away at the sight of her walking towards him. It's a wonderful moment in your life. Enjoy every minute and congratulations!


Wedding Professionals Contacts

Alice Goetschel
Wedding Coordinator

Big Chill

Celebrate - Planning For An Event To Remember

Diamonds & Cream Event Planning

Film To Life Entertainment
J&M Entertainment

John Pramik Entertaiment

RSVP - The Catering Company

Santa Clarita Wedding Professionals

Simply Marvelous Weddings
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