Wedding Season at MPCC – By Jason Shriner

Back in November, we announced the new wedding packages and I’m happy to report that so many people have taken advantage of the packages’ simplified process! What’s especially exciting is that our customers are so creative and have asked us if it would be possible to use a wedding package to book other events including quinceañeras. Of course! If the floor plan and the other package components make sense for your event, you can absolutely use it for any event!

Now that the wedding packages have had a chance to settle in, we’re looking for different ways to promote it!

One option we decided to try is the Wedding Experience expo coming up on April 17th at the Dulles Expo Center. Amelia Powell, our Customer Service Supervisor, and I visited one of their expos they had at the Patriot Center and we were really impressed by the sheer number of people who visited the show. We also quickly realized that we need a really beautiful booth if we had any hope of drawing anybody to our facility.

Along with Sarah Barnett, our Operations and Aquatics Manager, and Angi Hanger, our Graphic Designer/Web Developer, we are working on designing a booth that will truly showcase our parks. I was walking through Michael’s last weekend and I felt inspired to explore an earthy bohemian spring theme. Think upcycled farmhouse or country glam. I really love the juxtaposition of rustic and unpolished, against the traditional and formal wedding you typically think of.

Creating a space from scratch is no easy task but I’m hoping the community is willing to help us out! You may have seen a new flyer at the front desk or on our Facebook page asking for donations of old wedding or spring decorations. These items would really help us gather supplies and come up with ideas for our wedding expo booth! I’m a true believer in trying to keep objects out of the landfills as much as possible and reusing decorations is the perfect way to do so! If you have anything you’d like to give to us, feel free to bring it to the front desk!

In addition to getting the word out, we also want to make booking weddings and all rentals even more customer friendly!

Many facilities have a list of businesses they have a relationship with called their preferred vendors or approved vendors list. This list makes it more convenient for renters to plan their event. For our new preferred vendors list, the businesses we recommend are businesses we’ve met, spoken with, and showed them the facility. They also have a copy of our rental contract so they know what our rules and regulations are – it’s so much easier on a renter when they don’t have to explain our rules to every business they hire. If you’re interested in checking out our list, just ask the front desk to see it! If you’re interested in being on our preferred vendor list, feel free to email me!

What better way to announce our new preferred vendor list than with a short blog post extra from one of our preferred vendors! Below is a short article Tiffany Olsen of Sunspark Photography wrote for us. Many of you may know Tiffany as our belly dance and barre instructor but did you know she’s also an amazing photographer? Here she shares tips on how to get the most out of your wedding photographer!

Jason Shriner is the Marketing Manager for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703.335.8872 x3143 or via email at

By Tiffany Olsen

  1. For goodness sake, book a professional, trusted photographer. Weddings are messy, complicated affairs with all kinds of potential pitfalls. You want someone who has enough experience to see them coming. It may seem like a good idea to save a buck by booking a student—or worse, a family friend who just got his first SLR for Christmas. But I’ve rarely seen this work out for the better. At best, it’s a huge risk. You only get one chance to get event photography right. Make it count.
  1. Discuss in detail exactly what shots you want to emphasize. For some people, traditional family portraits are important. Others want natural-looking candid shots. Think about what type of photography you like, and be sure your photographer knows up front!
  1. That said, let your photographer be a photographer. You chose him or her for a reason. If you liked their style when you booked them, let them use it to your best advantage. Most of the best shots in any given wedding are unexpected anyway.
  1. Hold that altar kiss! Give your photographer a few extra seconds to capture it perfectly, you’ll appreciate it later.
  1. If you want formal portraits, make sure you organize someone in advance to round up your family, especially if it’s a big wedding. You may only have 30 minutes or so between the ceremony and the reception to do formal portraiture and couple’s shots with your new spouse. Pick someone close to you with a loud voice and good organizational skills to make sure the “VIPs” are properly herded for formal portraits.
  1. If there’s a choice in how things are laid out, either for the ceremony or the reception, be sure to ask your photographer for input. Rearranging seating to face a window can make the difference between blah lighting and “Holy cow these are amazing!”
  1. Think about your pictures when you make color choices. Rich, vibrant colors make for rich, vibrant color photographs. On the other hand, intricate textures and “contrasty” darks against bright whites make beautiful black and white photos.
  1. If you want natural candids, learn to ignore the photographer. I know. It’s weird. When you spot someone coming at you with a camera, your natural reaction is to turn around and smile or pose. Fortunately, you’ll be so busy on the wedding day, it will be easier than than at other times to go about your business as if the photographer isn’t there. Go with that. Trust me, we won’t be offended
  1. Take some time to pick out sample shots so that your photographer will have an idea of what you’re going for. Pinterest is an awesome place to do this. If you see photographs that you really like, don’t keep them to yourself!
  1. Relax. This is your day. If you’ve done your research, hired a good photographer and given her all the tools to produce what you want, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Tiffany Olsen is the belly dance and barre instructor for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation and owns Sunspark Photograhy. Click here to visit Tiffany’s website or follow her on Facebook.

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