Reception: Seems like the rich people in our ‘hood always have their receptions at the Quiet Canon or Luminarias, but you could have just as beautiful a reception in someone’s backyard decorated with white lights, papel picado, and paper flowers. Even piñatas make pretty decorations, but not the character ones. No one wants a Dora the Explorer piñata in the middle of their wedding reception! It’s best to use the traditional five point star design for a wedding. One thing’s for sure, our community has always figured out how to do things on the cheap and still BEAUTIFUL! The traditional Mexican paper flowers and even papel picado can be made super cheap by a bunch of cousins in one afternoon. Or you can take a trip to Calle Revolucion in TJ and buy all of these decorations already pre-made on. The lights cost a dollar at the 99Cent Store. Then get your cousins or friends to decorate the morning of the wedding.
Catering: If you have a reception at a hall or restaurant you are pretty much locked into the food they already offer. But, if you have your reception at home or at a place that doesn’t serve food you are free to hire a caterer. And in East LA there are a ton of caterers. You can set up an appointment to taste food and get to know the caterer to make sure they are someone you vibe with and that their food es muy rico. You may even consider asking your favorite street vendor to cater. They are used to serving up to a hundred people a night with mobile equipment so they are especially equipped to serve in a place that may not have a large kitchen. And they are much cheaper than restaurant food.
Cake: I am not gonna weigh in on the La Mascota/El Gallo debate. Either one of these bakeries can make you a kick ass cake. But don’t order your cake without taking advantage of tasting for yourself what that they each have to offer. The bakeries let you taste a bunch of cakes before you order. Call ahead of time to make a “tasting” appointment.
Reception: Music Mariachi and DJ all the way! If you don’t know any mariachis, just head over to 1st and Boyle and chat with some of the guys at Mariachi Plaza. Ask them to either play a song for you or see if they have a sample cd you could listen to.
As for the DJ, get recommendations and to be super sure you like them before booking. It’s always best to attend an event they are DJing. Also, I’m sure you’ve been to enough parties to have heard a good DJ or two. Go with what you know. And before the reception, talk to both the mariachi and the DJ about the songs you absolutely need them to play. If you have a crazy aunt or uncle who’ll sing with the mariachi all night if you let them, warn the mariachi so he knows to steer clear of this well meaning tone deaf relative. On the other hand if there issomeone who you want to sing with the mariachis, tell them ahead of time so that they aren’t ambushed with requests on the spot.
Now don’t forget to have fun! Weddings can be super stressful, but they are also beautiful meaningful events so if you find yourself spazing out, just take a deep breath and remind yourself why you are there.
And last but not least, while weddings are fun and exciting, they represent a life time comittment so make sure you are marrying the right person for the right reasons, when YOU are ready. After all, that is what the celebration is for!