Though San Diego — with its (mostly) perpetual “70 and sunny” weather — sees a fair number of weddings all year round, there still exist those few months when almost every wedding professional works an event every weekend. From about April to October, the wedding industry clicks into overtime as couples plan for that perfect day.
And plan they must. For what is essentially a party to celebrate love, weddings involve months of planning and preparation, even for those couples who think they’re putting together a simpler event by foregoing the big traditional affair. Venue, food, drink, flowers, attire, guest accommodations, order of events, music, rings, vows… the list goes on.
Fortunately for couples planning their weddings in La Jolla — one of the county’s most popular wedding destinations — the community offers just about everything one needs to plan such an event within one ZIP code. Even better, couples from all over San Diego will have the chance to come face to face with all the vendors they’ll need for their wedding at the Wedding Party Bridal Show on July 1 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.
Founded more than a decade ago by Pamela Ann Noxon, the Wedding Party Bridal Show brings together all the wedding services a couple could dream of under one roof. But rather than just a trade show pairing up potential customers with potential service providers, Noxon has molded the show into a unique event that showcases carefully vetted wedding professionals and exposes soon-to-be newlyweds to available services that they didn’t even know existed.
“I felt San Diego needed something that would help target better wedding professionals and experts — those that have a positive attitude and that are more talented, who would bring more to the couple’s special day than just a vendor,” she said. “The web is wonderful for researching what you want, but if you’re going to hire people, you need to meet them and feel out if they’re a good fit. You want someone who will create an event that feels like you.”
Noxon said she aims to cater to every type of couple — be they old, young, traditional, nonreligious, goth, same sex, couples on a budget or couples planning half-million-dollar affairs. Every bride, she said, will find something useful at the Wedding Party Bridal Show.
“For the first time in history, we’ve got four generations of brides planning weddings at the same time,” she said. “And this bridal show works for all of them.”
So what do today’s brides want? According to Noxon, modern-day weddings tend to be more about the guests than the bride and groom.
“Today’s bride and groom want to create a guest-centric wedding,” she said. “Twenty years ago, it was more about the bride. But now we have more people doing destination weddings, and they have guests coming from all over the world. Couples just want their guests to have a great time.”
Having a great time, however, can depend on who couples choose to hire for their wedding. Noxon said couples must be aware that the planning process can be indicative of the wedding itself, and “if you’re not having fun planning your wedding, you’re not going to have fun at the wedding.” It is for this reason, she said, that she only lets what she deems the most competent vendors be a part of the bridal show.
And while competency — especially with regards to weddings — comes with a price, Noxon is careful to point out that incompetence also has a price tag, and the cost usually comes out of the enjoyment of the day.
“Because everything comes with a price tag,” she said, “if the price is low you might be paying with your wedding day. There are a lot of talented, enthusiastic wedding professionals out there, but there are a lot of the other kind of professionals out there, too.”
So what does she suggest for the couple that doesn’t have an unlimited budget?
“It’s not all about money,” she said. “It’s not about hiring expensive people or buying expensive things. Everyone has different priorities, so find your top priorities and spend more on those things. Don’t spend a lot on something just because some wedding magazine said you should spend that amount.”
Whatever the price, Noxon urges couples to make sure their vendors lend more than just a service to the event.
“The energy of the people you hire,” she said, “is as important as the product they bring.”
The Wedding Party Bridal Show, themed “Wedding Goddesses,” will showcase vendors for every step of the planning process, from the venue to the honeymoon. From noon to 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, located at 3777 La Jolla Village Drive, guests can watch two couture fashion shows (2 and 3:30 p.m.), play the “Soon To Be Newlywed Game,” taste wines, hors d’oeuvres, cakes and pies, indulge in mini makeovers, and enter to win a five-night honeymoon at the GranSueño Resort in La Paz, Mexico worth $4,000. Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 in advance. VIP tickets are available for $50. For tickets or more information, visit www.sandiegoweddingparty.com or call (760) 635-1120.
La Jolla-based vendors:
• The Bridal Bar (concierge services to help couples find the right vendors for their event)
• A Better Deal Tuxedo
• Va Lena Valentina (custom couture wedding gowns)
• Adelaide’s Flowers
• Classy Event Group (DJ services, lighting design and photo booth rental)
• Siegel Thurston Photography
• Under the Crust (pies)