Three Santa Clarita Valley business women came together Saturday to make the special day a local couple had been waiting for come to life.
In the past year, countless weddings have either had to be canceled or postponed, with couples left waiting months on end for their wedding day.
That’s why locals Tori Chellis, of Tori T Events, an event-planning business; Candice Calcote, of Ink & Magic, a wedding officiant and notary business; and Michele Lutes, of
Bella Lu Photography, partnered to host a micro-wedding event at Tesoro Adobe Park.
“Our goal was really just to get someone married and make their day special — even if it’s just one couple,” Chellis said.
Adapting to the pandemic world
“Last year was supposed to be the big jump in the pool, so to speak, and due to COVID-19, that wasn’t able to happen,” Calcote said of her business. “Everything shut down, everybody moved their weddings, and it was a very rough year, as for most in the wedding industry.”
Both Chellis and Lutes also felt the effects, losing their jobs due to the pandemic and forced to adapt to the ever-changing situation: Chellis created her event business in August as a result, and Lutes made her photography hobby her full-time job in November.
All agree that, with things changing by the minute, navigating the COVID-19 restrictions has been difficult, so when Calcote heard of a similar micro-wedding event in another state, allowing couples to get married surrounded by their closest family with a small ceremony, it was the perfect time to bring the idea to the SCV.
“It’s a nice, little event that can still be everything they wanted, just on a much smaller scale,” Calcote said, adding that the biggest challenge was letting people know it was OK. “There is still a lot of fear … (but) if you and a couple of your witnesses want to come together … we can still adhere to all the necessary guidelines, and we can still do this.”
Ensuring it has that special touch
Being a micro wedding, the women still wanted to ensure couples got everything they’d normally get during their ceremony, like vows, someone to be there to celebrate, the cake and a toast, plus time for photos, all within an hour-long time slot.
“As someone who got married in just the nick of time — I got married in 2019 at the very end — I know the pain of wedding planning in general, so this has to be so much harder for the people who can’t have the wedding of their dreams,” Lutes added. “So hopefully, we can help them have something special that they love for now.”
With so many couples tired of waiting, Chellis said this provides the perfect alternative.
“They still get the experience,” she said, “and it makes it a little more memorable and special.”
Making it happen
Gustavo Gutierrez and Wendy Molina’s ceremony went smoothly, with the couple able to say their vows surrounded by their siblings and parents.
“They were super happy, and you could tell they were just ready to get married,” Chellis said. “It’s just such a rewarding feeling that we are changing their lives. They got to start their life on Saturday together as a married couple, so it’s really exciting.”
All three women now hope to continue providing events like this one while needed with COVID-19 restrictions in different locations across the SCV, and are looking to partner with other vendors, such as florists, to make them bigger and better.