The Santa Clarita Valley’s 2018 bridal season may be a few months away from its busiest time, but that’s why this weekend’s event is so important, according to local industry experts.
The Bridal Faire Extraordinaire at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Sunday kicks off the season for vendors, and offers brides their first chance this year to look at the options for what will be one of the most important days of their lives.
“This is just a great thing that the community does,” said Matt Sutherland, owner of Matrimony Films and one of the event’s more than 60 vendors. “It’s the first one of the year, and we know how exciting it is for brides who got engaged over Christmas or New Year’s, to look down the road for one of the best days of their lives.
“This is one of my favorite ones of the year,” he added, “because it’s the first one to go to and there’s so much excitement.”
And for brides and their wedding day entourages, the list of vendors provides options for just about everything, according to David and Dana Colin, Bridal Faire Extraordinaire owners, who also run an award-winning photography business, Genesis Wedding Photography, in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“A bridal show is a bride’s one-stop shopping center,” David Colin said. “She’ll never have a better opportunity to stop and look at photographer’s albums, ask questions of vendors, sample cakes, check out the caterers — everybody’s there.”
Jill’s Cake Creations, for example, is bringing “amazing, new, fun flavors” for future bridal parties to sample at the show, he said.
In fact, the vendor list ranges from Acton Creative Florists, Celebrate Florists and Charmaine’s Florists to Valencia Country Club and everywhere in between.
Another advantage of going to the first event of the year is the scheduling challenges that usually only grow as the year gets on, according to several vendors. The timing of the event, right after the holidays — when numerous engagements take place and lots of family and friends tend to be around — make for a convenient chance to look at some of the options and decisions for that most important of occasions, Colin added.
“When you make individual appointments to visit with vendors, you might not be able to get your maid of honor and your mom and dad altogether – and here you can go ask questions and make sure the vendor is right for you,” Colin said.
While the engagement might still be fresh, or several months along, it’s never too early to start to formulate ideas and plans, according to Rusty Parr, president of AV Party Rentals, a well-known event rental company with more than 40 years of experience throughout the region, which will also be on display.
“For brides and their entourages that go to (bridal events), basically, they get to see a whole collection of wedding vendors all together, rather than having to visit them all individually during their search,” Parr said, adding the ultimate goal is to show bridal parties the advantages of touring through his company’s expansive showroom at a later time.
“For us, we like to have a unique display of what we like to offer,” Parr said, and with AV Rentals having so many options, the bridal show is a great opportunity to display samples of some of the more popular indoor and outdoor options for weddings and receptions. “It gives us, as vendors, an opportunity to talk one-to-one with the brides in their initial search.”
While earlier is always better when it comes to wedding planning, Parr said, for many brides and grooms, among the priorities for early booking should include choosing the venue for the wedding and reception, the music and the photographer, as they tend to be able to accommodate fewer clients per wedding weekend. And during the busy season in the summer, and the best ones also tend to go earlier and book up anywhere from one year to 18 months out.
Sutherland said his business often books a year to 18 months in advance during the busiest summer months, and encouraged would-be brides to start the discussion as early as possible, not just so they have time to book what they want, but so they can look at all their options and have time to discuss with the vendors they want to book.
For Matrimony Films, which touts an ability to capture and create movies of a couple’s most important day, as opposed to just recording it on video, the Bridal Faire Extraordinaire is also their first opportunity to meet with potential clients and understand their wants and needs, which is a crucial part of the process.
“It’s really important that they click with someone on a personal level, because that person can make that day great for you, or they can make it miserable for you,” Sutherland explained, mentioning how his staff prides itself on getting positive feedback from couples at the end of the event — before their film has even been shown.
“(Bridal Faire Extraordinaire) is a great chance for us to get to know the brides,” Sutherland said. “We’re there from start to finish… and I make it imperative to my staff that they understand that it’s our job to make sure it’s a better experience for the bride and groom.”
For Colin, who spends months organizing, screening vendors and making sure the event provides the all-inclusive options for brides and their entourages — everything but the groom, he joked — it’s not just meant to be informational, it’s fun, too, he said.
He mentioned that brides could also experience what it’s like to have a carriage ride around the event, meet with caterers or stylists and receive discounts for great opportunities for known brands, such as David’s Bridal.
“Everybody’s there, in a friendly atmosphere,” Colin said, “and you could actually walk in the door and line up the whole wedding right there, and have a whole lot of fun while doing it.”