By Natalie MAIER
Angeles National Golf Club held its fourth annual bridal faire on Wednesday night, Jan. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event was a one-stop shop that showcased local musicians, photographers and entertainers available to make a couple’s special day unforgettable. Having the fair at the club also promoted how perfectly the Angeles National Golf Club is situated as a location for the ceremony and reception.
“All the vendors in attendance are local people and [the Bridal Faire] really gives them the opportunity to shine in our community,” said Carrie Contreras, director of Catering and the organizer of the event.
The clubhouse opened five years ago and each year the popularity of the course has continued to grow. Last year, there were 40 weddings performed at the ANGC.
Contreras added that this year’s event was the largest number of participating vendors and attendees.
“More people are aware that we’re here,” Contreras said. “For example, [LAPD] Foothill Division is using us for all their larger events now. The Crescenta Valley Sheriffs’ Dept. has been here before … so it’s not just brides finding out about us, but also community agencies. It’s really great that the community is starting to think of us as their backyard place to go, which is pretty cool.”
A complimentary dinner provided by the golf club introduced attendees to the refined menu available. The dinner included fresh salad, garlic mashed potatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, chicken topped with honey mustard sauce and Spanakopitas, a spinach and cheese Greek pastry.
The clubhouse’s Lake Room was full of about a dozen enthusiastic and welcoming vendors. With a total of 60 guests, the room was packed but not overcrowded, giving each vendor an ample amount of time to talk and connect with potential clients.
One such vendor, DJ/MC Extraordinaire Nathan Murray, was exceptionally friendly and approachable. He said that during 2007 and 2008 there was a “dip” in business, largely due to the recession. However, he now says that business has picked up because a “new generation is getting married.”
“Marriage is still the same,” Murray said. “People aspire to have a wedding.”
He has noticed that with the decade change, brides are adding more personal touches. Murray noted that in one wedding he recently entertained at, the bride wore glowing Viking horns while the groom sported bunny ears.
“That was just them,” he said. “They were silly and they wanted to make it their own.”
Elizabetha Minark of Valley Village Florist, which has been around since 1974, said that the last four years have been the worst for her business. She pointed to her photo album of past weddings she has done. The 1980s were a time of abundance and extravagance, flowers decorated every square inch of reception halls and churches. Minark said that these days the style of floral arrangements is more simple with not too many extras.
“Opulence is out,” Minark said. “People want to have low key weddings. Brides are on budgets and they would rather buy a house than have a grand wedding.”
Suzi Finer is a cake decorator for Hansen Cakes located in Beverly Hills. She decorated Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom’s wedding cake and recently constructed a pyramid shaped cake for the movie “Liz & Dick” starring Lindsay Lohan. She said that the recession has not slowed business.
“Brides and grooms always have a wedding cake,” she said. “Everyone wants a wedding cake.”
Finer has noticed that since the recession, couples have often “splurged on fancy wedding cakes because they are very cost effective.”
Currently, social media is playing a larger role in planning weddings.
Gene Baca from Total Entertainment Experts said that weddings are a “research driven industry.” He started his business in 1991, but recently modernized the website to be more accommodating. Baca mentioned that many of his clients first visit his website before calling to meet with him personally.
On the other hand, photographer Tony Santana from Photography with Heart & Video said that staying traditional is key to being a successful business. He felt that too many businesses “hide behind email” and being face-to-face with someone is the “best, essential tool.”
“It’s easier to make a connection [with potential clients],” he said. “You get the opportunity to chat, answer questions and get more of a direct response from them.”