Engaged? Start here. SCWEP’s The Wedding Stage, a bridal event hosted by Santa Clarita Wedding & Event Professionals, is your crash course in wedding planning.
By Kirsten Quinn Smith
When I attended SCWEP’s The Wedding Stage, I didn’t realize it would be such a valuable experience in my wedding planning journey — so I didn’t come prepared to make the most of it.
The hosts, 20 wedding professionals who’ve collectively serviced thousands of weddings, truly understand what this experience is all about. They’ve walked countless brides through the process, from the moment you slip on that engagement ring until your big day is nothing but a perfect memory. And they have your big picture in mind, as well as the details.
The people behind SCWEP’s The Wedding Stage don’t just want you to have a beautiful wedding; they want you to have a beautiful engagement and planning process, too!
I feel it’s my duty as a new wife to share with you: my most valuable wedding planning tool and how to get the most out of it.
How It Started
SCWEP members collectively service and/or attend about 500 weddings a year.
“We were watching the mistakes and the struggles, as well as the successes and creativity, and thought: ‘Isn’t it our job to share this information?’” recalled the original members.
And so SCWEP’s The Wedding Stage was born. A private bridal show meets wedding planning workshop, this one-night event isn’t available anywhere else.
“We wanted to give back,” said Matthew Sutherland of Matrimony Films in Santa Clarita. “We wanted couples to have access to our experience, not just our services.”
How It Works
SCWEP knows brides. So the evening kicks off with a cocktail hour, complete with appetizers from Valencia Country Club and Stonefire Grill, as well as a complimentary signature drink. Guests are invited to mingle and find a place to sit in the dining room, where the tables are styled according to popular themes and looks.
“It gives you a taste of the different options in table settings, linens, chairs, florals,” said Claire Middleton of Claire’s Flowers in Santa Clarita. “It helps you see what’s possible.”
Pro Tip: Arrive on time, so you can snag the table you like most.
Your host and President of SCWEP, Mike Diaz, will then welcome the guests and begin the program, while a SCWEP member and Santa Clarita wedding professional sits at each table to chat with the brides.
“Our goal here is to see where you’re at in the planning process,” said Julie Susdorf of Perfect Day, Perfect Look. “We take your specific questions and figure out where you’re stuck. Then we relay those questions to the appropriate professionals, so they can answer them during the Q&A.”
After that brief opening, Mike, of Diaz Entertainment, and Jorge Lopez, with J&M Entertainment, will co-host the festivities. SCWEP members take turns hosting a 5-minute Q&A, during which they cover the Dos and Don'ts for each vendor category: flowers, photography, video, cakes, honeymoons, entertainment — you name it.
“This is where we invite you to pick our brains and ask your most pressing questions,” said Rusty Parr of A V Party Rentals in Santa Clarita. “It’s more a look at the wedding industry as a whole than one wedding vendor in particular. We tell you what questions to ask your vendors, to make sure they’re well-prepared for your big day and the cost is what they say it is. We give you the criteria, so you’re empowered with that knowledge when you sit down for consultations.”
After the Q&As are complete, vendors hold demonstrations. Learn how to cut the cake without blocking out the photographer. Take a turn at the bouquet toss, and get the florists’ secret for the perfect throw. Watch video clips of wedding tragedies, and see how uplighting can change the mood of a room.
Pro Tip: Don’t be shy! Volunteering for the demonstrations means you get prizes!
Wrap up the evening by revisiting the vendor booths, grabbing cards and getting more detailed answers to your questions.
What You Learn
Knowledge is power. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- How to tackle the most important moments of your big day
- How to handle sticky situations in the planning process with grace
- The essentials of wedding etiquette
- The Dos and Don’ts of each vendor category
- What to ask your vendors to get the best deal and services
- How to create backup plans
- How to structure your budget
- A cost range for each vendor category
- Time frames: when to book vendors and in what order
- How to make your big day meaningful — not just beautiful
What You Get
Information, presents and memories — here’s what you get at SCWEP’s The Wedding Stage:
- Access to 20 high-end wedding professionals serving Southern California
- A planning booklet to take notes and write down questions
- Discounts from Santa Clarita’s best wedding vendors
- 2 complimentary signature drinks
- Appetizers from Stonefire Grill and Valencia Country Club
- An fun evening of wedding planning with your friends and family
How To Prepare
Because a bride can never have too many checklists, we created a checklist to prepare for your own visit to SCWEP's The Wedding Stage:
Consider your vision. What atmosphere do you want to create? Decide where you fall on the spectrum from casual to formal, religious to non-religious, small to large, ceremonial to celebratory. Then consider a theme, if any.
Get Pinterest out of your system. Go crazy. Make your dream board. Then hand off your vision to the professionals, so they can enhance it with years of experience and know-how.
Write questions for your vendors. Where are you having trouble? Are you stuck somewhere in the planning process?
Grab your girls. This event is really special when you come with the people you love. It’s great to bring your partner, but if you want to go full-bride on this one, grab your girls, your mom and your future MIL. Did we mention there’s champagne?
Advice From A Wife: Make The Most Of It
My best advice to make the most of this event — and your Big Event? Get yourself in the mindset of being the bride. Think about what brought you here and what your wedding is actually about. My guess is, at the heart of it all, it’s about your love and commitment, your dreams for the future, who you are now, and who you want to be. Soak that in. Be the bride. Let yourself feel special without getting swept up in the craziness of place settings. Get grounded in your purpose and inspired by your dreams. At the end of the day, remember your why: that sexy man or woman you want to lock down forever.
For more information about SCWEP's The Wedding Stage, please click here. Or ...
Your vision is our passion. The Santa Clarita Wedding & Event Professionals is a united group of the most accomplished and sought-after wedding vendors in Southern California. Together, we form a unique network providing access to a wide variety of services in every stage of planning.
Our goal is to provide prospective brides in the Santa Clarita and Los Angeles areas with a comprehensive list of qualified wedding vendors, including wedding florists, wedding and event DJs/MCs, wedding photographers, wedding videographers, wedding hair and makeup artists, wedding invitation makers, and wedding planners. Look no further for the most trusted wedding vendors in Santa Clarita and beyond.
The #SCWEPblog provides useful tips and tricks, and our quarterly educational event, The Wedding Stage, brings Southern California’s best vendors together in one room, where they present their best advice for the season.