Friday, July 6, 2007

Interview With Jeanette Mata-Reynolds, Quinceañera planner

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share this interview with Jeanette Mata-Reynolds, by Latina Magazine. She's very well respected in the Quince community and I just love to share her perspectives. Below is a link to the entire interview:

Jeanette: Color schemes can get pretty wacky, and tacky. Families usually pick a theme, like Cinderella, but they go overboard with colors. It can get too loud and the
damas end up with dresses that they'll never wear again. Also, parents may rely too much on padrinos to help pay expenses, which creates a too-many-chefs-in-the-kitchen-and-no-cooks syndrome. You get bombarded with people offering advice, or worse, getting involved in the planning and decision-making. Some parents don't listen to their daughters. They sometimes have their own agenda, like impressing friends and relatives, and approach the event like a wedding. They'll choose music that's to their taste rather than their daughter's, for example. If your daughter doesn't want a Quinceañera, don't do it. Her lack of interest will reflect on the event. If she does want one, remember that this is her birthday—it needs to be a day that she'll remember and enjoy.

Latina: What is the most critical component of a great
Jeanette: The theme is critical. It sets the mood, and determines the decorations and entertainment. In the end, that's what people will remember most: how it looked, and if the music was good.

Latina: What are the keys to a successful
Jeanette: First, use the yellow pages—they're a fabulous resource when you're putting your budget together. Second, make sure that mom and daughter are on the same page. Third, put together a thorough itinerary to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This is where a good planner earns his or her fee. Finally, make sure this is what your daughter wants. An uninspired
Quinceañera will create an uninspired Quinceañera.

Latina: How soon should families start to plan?

Jeanette: They should start saving at least two years in advance, and begin planning one year ahead, so that they can do so with ease.

Latina: What advice do you give to families about putting a budget together?

Jeanette: I usually ask families to look at how much money they have saved—and how much they can afford to spend—and stick to that. Many times families get distracted by the spectacle of the
Quinceañera and go overboard. I assure them that we can still put together an elegant and memorable event, even on a modest budget.

Latina: What advice do you give moms and daughters about working together?
Jeanette: This is a great time for them to bond. They need to remember to have fun and to listen to each other's opinions. Dads will be excluded, and I think they're okay with that, but if there are sisters, it's nice to include them too.

Latina: Have you noticed any new trends when it comes to celebrating or planning quinces?

Jeanette: The newest trend I've seen is the non-denominational
Quinceañera, where families skip the church ceremony and just have the dance. They're nice, but they do lack the symbolism of the church ceremony, which, in my opinion, is what makes a Quinceañera special.

Latina: What should people be aware of as they begin to plan?

Jeanette: Families don't always realize how expensive a
Quinceañera can get. The average cost is between $7,000 and $15,000. There are a lot of details to pay for—the dress, the music, the crown, the food, the hall, the flowers, etc. It's like a wedding, except without the groom's family to help pay expenses!

Latina: Why do you think families opt to celebrate a
Quinceañera as opposed to a Sweet Sixteen? Jeanette: I think families see the Quinceañera as a chance to embrace our Latino culture. They may also see it as a preventive measure against too much acculturation. Here in the Rio Grande Valley, we're very close to Mexico, so traditions and concepts like becoming a señorita remain very strong.

Latina: Did you have a Quinceañera?
Jeanette: No, my parents asked me, but it just didn't appeal to me. I think it does tend to skip generations. I don't know why. I asked for new bedroom furniture instead to replace the little girl furniture I had. I really enjoyed it.
Jeanette Mata-Reynolds, 33, based in Edinburgh, Texas. She's the owner of Infiniti Ideas, an event planning company.

Interview here:

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