‘The Big I Do’ turns 2 

Mary Luz and Aldrin Yangat toast during "The Big I Do" event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal
Mary Luz and Aldrin Yangat toast during "The Big I Do" event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal
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What better way to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, than to commemorate the start of a new union with a forever partner? 

The city of Santa Clarita helped seven couples do just that, as they tied the knot in the city’s second annual “The Big I Do.” 

The lucky couples included: Michael Leroy Humber and Sezaneh Tahbaz Shariatpanahi; Alexander Renteria and Yvette Guerrero; Lilian Julissa Galvez and Eva Malena 

Pons; Aldrin Trinidad Yangat and Mary-Luz Salon Tabag; Miguel Leonardo Esersky and Rosa Oprysk; Michael Richard Augusta and Elida Luz Mirshokry; and Nathan Adam Martinez and Kira Najee-Cherri Oshiro. 

Newly weds Elida and Mike Augusta kiss during "The Big I Do" event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Newly weds Elida and Mike Augusta kiss during “The Big I Do” event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

Celebrating big, this year the reception took place at the Canyon Country Community Center. With nearly a year of planning — starting right after last Valentine’s Day — and over $30,000 of donations from over 20 local businesses, the city ensured that its residents celebrated a new chapter the right way.  

The couples’ fees started at $380, which included a marriage license, custom cakes, a photographer, flowers, a professional DJ and a space to bring loved ones to celebrate the occasion.  

One couple even won a set of custom wedding rings, while all seven couples competed to win a honeymoon cruise. Residents were encouraged to vote for the couple of their choosing online prior to the event, and that resulted in Yangat and Salon Tabag being the lucky couple to embark on a honeymoon of their choosing — to Mexico or the Caribbean.  

Couples could sign up until two weeks ago, and had the chance to participate in a mixer to meet each other beforehand — a change from last year’s event, when the couples had not met prior to their big day. 

A week before the event, the couples signed their documents through the city. Gabriela Martinez, a city communications specialist, made sure to highlight the sponsors through the city’s social media accounts. 

“The team came up with this Shark Tank idea of helping the community, helping the local businesses by doing ‘The Big I Do,’ giving them a platform to get to know the community so that people can go ahead and get their services. We’re celebrating love but also helping local businesses,” Martinez said. “We worked with all these different sponsors and we highlighted them on all of our social media platforms, that way people could get to know them and work with them in the future.” 

Carrie Lujan, the city’s communications manager, elaborated on the initiative to benefit the community, while discussing marrying couples every Wednesday throughout the year through City Hall Ceremonies

Mary Cusick, left, officiates as seven wedding couples come to the dance floor during "The Big I Do" event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Mary Cusick, left, officiates as seven wedding couples come to the dance floor during “The Big I Do” event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

“This started in 2019 when the city clerk’s office … had to present enhancements to the services that the city can provide to residents. One of the things that we came up with was marriage licenses,” Lujan said. “We started on Valentine’s Day 2020 and we’ve married 552 couples, plus seven with today. We’re looking for ways to support local wedding vendors.” 

Lujan believes that “The Big I Do” is a stress-free way for couples to not only enjoy the big day, but to also bond with the community members who shared the day and celebrated with them. 

Patricia Gomez, and Leo, 3, get a close up look at the wedding cakes on display during "The Big I Do" event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Patricia Gomez, and Leo, 3, get a close up look at the wedding cakes on display during “The Big I Do” event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It’s such a unique experience that you have a built-in wedding party … planning [a wedding] is really stressful. It takes a lot of time, a lot of stress, a lot of money, and this is a chance to have everything that you can want for a wedding,” Lujan said. “We hope to have more in the future, but it’s a special bond because they’re always going to share this day with other community members.” 

Lujan stated that there will be future wedding opportunities that will be announced soon. 

Nathan and Kira Martinez exchange vows during "The Big I Do" event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Nathan and Kira Martinez exchange vows during “The Big I Do” event held at the Canyon Country Community Center in Canyon Country on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

Guerrero discussed the process of marrying through “The Big I Do” with her new husband, Renteria.  

“It’s been wonderful— It’s been a great experience. I definitely recommend for the next event they throw. It’s a fun adventure we’ve been on and they did an amazing job,” Guerrero said. “I really came in with no big expectations, but being able to see everything, how organized they are, all the effort and everything they put into this, it just turned out really beautifully.” 

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