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Group helps grow business for members

Wedding services vendors aim to keep local brides shopping and spending in the SCV

Posted: October 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.

From left, Matthew Sutherland of Matrimony Films demonstrates his wedding cinematography services for Frank Campos and Cindy Cruz at The White Stage at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Oct. 11. The couple is set to marry next year.

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Launching the first “shop locally” effort 15 years ago, merchants came together to create awareness in the community that all the services a bride needs to fashion a wedding event exist right here in Santa Clarita.

Local merchants banded together, forming Santa Clarita Wedding and Event Professionals, to bring every service a bride might need under one virtual roof. When the group first formed, many local brides-to-be didn’t think Santa Clarita was big enough or offered the services they needed, said Charmaine Wojciechowski, founder of the group and owner of Charmaine’s Bouquet Canyon Florist.

There were so many brides going into San Fernando Valley, and local vendors were also traveling outside the Santa Clarita Valley to provide services for weddings of local brides, Wojciechowski said.

“We wanted to keep brides in the (Santa Clarita) valley and keep them shopping locally,” Wojciechowski said. “We wanted to make it easy for them.”

The group consists of 20 local vendors and is a category-protected group so as not to dilute the amount of referral business each business owner receives from the networking group, said Trisha Dahlgren, president of the association and owner of Trisha Dahlgren Events, an event planner. Santa Clarita Wedding and Event Professionals only allow two vendors per category, she said. The group tracks all referrals.

Services offered by member businesses include wedding attire, cakes, catering, DJs/entertainment, event planners, florists, makeup and hair stylists, invitations, photography, party rentals, travel, and videography. And the merchants group makes it easy for brides-to-be to plan a wedding.



Live events

Santa Clarita Wedding and Event Professionals stages wedding-planning events four times a year for brides-to-be, Dahlgren said. An “Evening with the Pros,” bridal seminar is held twice a year giving people a chance to meet and speak with vendors and learn the do’s and don’ts when planning a wedding, she said. Also held twice a year is the groups “White Stage” event at the Hyatt.

“It’s a mock wedding to show off our vendors,” Dahlgren said. “And the bridal show gives brides more one-on-one time with each vendor for planning a wedding.”

The events translate into increased business, she said. Consumers going to shows find local vendors they like and book from their weddings through them. Coming together as vendors, however, reaps benefits for both member businesses and those planning a wedding.



A-team

A business has to be locally owned and operated in Santa Clarita to join, Wojciechowski said. That rule makes it easy for brides-to-be to actually meet with business owners without having to leave the area.

“Vendors have to be people that are highly recommended with a good standing in the business community so that we’re getting the top professionals,” she said. “When we first started the group, they had to have been in business for least five years.”

There are benefits for brides-to-be as well when working with the group’s vendor members, Wojciechowski said. The vendors have worked so well together for so long now that the brides don’t have to worry about their weddings going awry.

“The brides now tell us they have the ‘A-team’ when they work with the vendors in our group,” she said.

Members of Santa Clarita Wedding and Event Professionals also receive education, learning how to use social media marketing to help each businesses grow, Dahlgren said. And networking with each other does more than create referrals for each of the member businesses; it also builds trust between the vendors when working together.

“It’s a very intimate business group,” Dahlgren said. “The referrals and relationships translate into business.”

More information can be found online at www.scvweddingsandevents.com.

jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

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