Marital bliss

Lora Ward

Photo By Larry Dalton

Planning the perfect wedding is no easy task. There are the invitations, the flowers, the decorations, the music, the food and the wedding cake, and of course you have to do it all within your budget. Enter Lora Ward, owner and chief coordinator extraordinaire of A Day to Remember. After more than 20 years in the business, Ward knows how to make any wedding a spectacular event. This successful supplier of romance can be reached at (916) 452-4373.

What’s the most popular month to get married?

The busiest time in the Sacramento region is September and October. They far rival June.

What are the hot wedding spots in the Sacramento area?

The Vizcaya is wedding Mecca because it is so street-visual and the fountain is stunning and the flowers are beautiful. It draws the brides to it like a beacon. But there are those [brides] who want country-club atmospheres, who want rolling hills, golf courses. Grand Island Mansion, out on the Delta, has its own love because of the historical background. Backyard weddings are still very popular. Capitol Park with the Hyatt—that’s a perfect combination, and it’s a frequent combination. Some are contemporary brides. Some want marble, glitz, recessed lighting, spotlights, sheer curtains; they want real modern and pretty. Some want a darker, earthier, richer tone because the man is more comfortable with warm and rich rather than girlie and cute.

Do the grooms participate much in the process?

Generally speaking, the women are in charge. All of my grooms start in with the fiancée. They start it together because I want to hear his input, too. And I will get many grooms that go, “Hey, just give me the tux and tell me when to show up, and I’ll be there.” And then I have others that are really involved—more so than we care for them to be involved, but that’s not that many.

What does the average wedding cost?

The average wedding starts at $25,000, which will cover about 150 people at a basic, nice, simple wedding.

Is the father of the bride still expected to foot the bill?

Not so much, because weddings have become quite pricey. It’s now a combination: the groom’s side, the bride’s side and the couple. I personally think that it’s appropriate. I mean, we’re not in that generation anymore, you know? Where the bride’s family is responsible for sending her off, and a dowry is paid. That’s old-fashioned.

How far have you traveled to plan a wedding?

Santa Barbara is my farthest. Lake Tahoe—easy. Napa. Those will be destination brides. Sacramento brides who are looking for something unusual. The Santa Barbara bride just loved the property. They had vacationed there and just loved the resort. … All their guests had to travel anyway. So, travel to Sacramento or travel to Santa Barbara; it didn’t matter.

Have you ever seen someone left at the altar?

No. I had one scare—believe me, I’ve walked through this one in my mind—of a bride who had a legitimate panic attack at the back of the church. She hyperventilated. I had to walk over to the organist and tell them, “Keep it playing. Keep it playing.” Because I’ve got all the bridesmaids down front, and now everyone is turning to wait for the bride to make her entry. I had to close the doors. And I said, “Honey, Nico looks great up front, everything is beautiful, and the flowers look really nice.” Then she walked down the aisle. So, no. I’ve never had someone left, but I wondered what I was going to do if that bride said, “No, I can’t do it.”

What’s the most common mishap?

Now, I’m going to tell you this. When you work with a wedding coordinator, there are no mishaps. And the mishaps that happen are easily corrected, and nobody knows about them. I always allow enough time in the schedule to prevent a domino effect of disaster.

What’s the most unusual wedding request you’ve had?

My most unusual request was my groom who wanted to ride in on a white horse. That was my Santa Barbara wedding. I would have the same difficulties here, you know? Trying to find a reliable, professional horse company that has a tame, pleasant, white horse that can handle a rider in a venue that’s unusual.

Are you married?

I’ve been married 22 years.

Did you plan your own wedding?

Of course. And I have two teenage daughters.

And you’ll plan their weddings?

If they don’t kill me in the process. Martha Stewart’s daughter wore a man’s suit, you know? Kind of a 1940s-style suit, and she married at the courthouse steps. She didn’t do a big wedding. And there’s the editor of Modern Bride or one of those magazines, and her daughter eloped. She said, "How can I have a wedding when my mother is the editor of Modern Bride?" I think I’ll probably be able to coordinate my daughters’ weddings, but I have a lot of resources to help me out if I start becoming a bridezilla mother.