We at Bakersfield Magazine are suckers for a good love story. And boy, does KGET 17’s Chief Meteorologist (and former Go Red Cover Girl)
Alissa Carlson have a great tale—one that included a beautiful wedding on March 28 to local attorney Neil Schwartz.
We were so honored when she came to us with exclusive details about the big day that we wished we could turn this whole issue into a People-style spread worthy of local royalty.
But enough about us, we know you’re really here to celebrate the couple of the hour…er, issue.
“I met Neil at KGET, actually!” Carlson exclaimed. “Working strange hours in TV news, it’s not as easy to meet people as one may think. One day, I happened to see Neil with one of our marketing representatives through the glass windows outside our studio and I thought he was handsome.” Carlson knew she had to introduce herself. “He was getting a tour of the TV station. After exchanging hellos, I quickly emailed the marketing rep and asked about him. She asked me if I would like to be set up on a date and I said ‘Yes!’ We went to sushi the following week and the rest is history!”
Or so she thought. Just a few months later, Carlson found out that Schwartz had actually arranged the tour in the afternoon so he could meet her. “He just didn’t want me to know. The whole thing was planned from the beginning!”
What wasn’t as planned? The proposal. “It was really spontaneous,” she said. “I had gotten a flat tire and was able to drive my car home during my dinner break. Neil suggested that I take his car back to work. He had just returned from L.A. that day. Before I took his car, he asked me to get his iPod out of the center console of the car. I went to get it and I saw a ring box!”
Carlson didn’t sneak a peek [we’re not sure how she had that fortitude!]. “I brought Neil his iPod and he asked if I saw anything else in there. I pretended that I hadn’t but then went out and returned with the ring box. He said, ‘Open it,’ and tears were already rolling down my face! He proposed right then and there in the kitchen!”
After calling their families and closest friends to share the great news, Alissa returned to work with a ring on her finger to see if anyone would notice. And the following night on the 6 p.m. newscast, she shared the news with viewers.
“I think that was the best flat tire I’ve ever had!”
When it came time to plan the wedding, Carlson and Schwartz agreed: keep things as local as possible. “Since Neil and I have both been in Bakersfield for more than seven years, we consider it our home. We have both established ourselves in this community and have a number of friends here as well as co-workers who are like family to us both. And because of that we felt the desire to spend our dollars locally. We wanted to support the local economy.”
As such, many local businesses were involved from the get-go. Carlson hired Mint Design [Lotta Alexandersson] to handle the planning and design of the wedding and while the dress is a gorgeous Winnie Couture from Beverly Hills, she had Mary Rita Nomenson alter the dress to fit like a dream [Nomenson is a former New York fashion designer].
“I kept my dress a surprise from everyone except my mother! So, I was really looking forward to everyone seeing it for the first time, especially Neil.”
As for bridesmaid dresses, Carlson went with new trends—not traditional! “Since I had a huge bridal party of nine bridesmaids, I knew going with mismatched dresses would be perfect. I wanted every girl to feel special and have her own look. So, I chose gowns at Mon Amie Bridal Salon in Costa Mesa. The girls are in different shades of pink with different dress styles. It makes it easy to work with different body shapes and types.”
Mr. Tuxedo outfitted the groom and groomsmen, while Privato Salon took care of hair and makeup and Glow on the Go handled the spray tans.
Longtime local photography company Valdophye Photography was in charge of capturing the magic, which they did, obviously…
The ceremony was held at St. Francis of Assisi Church while the reception took place at the luxurious Seven Oaks Country Club. “We had a very traditional Catholic ceremony with an added twist…at the end of the ceremony, we performed the Jewish custom of breaking the glass,” Carlson said. “This symbolizes that the newly married couple will never go back to the life they once had and should remain committed to the marriage. Since Neil’s family hails from a Jewish background, we wanted to incorporate this into the wedding.”
The stunning cake was prepared by Tastries. Carlson knew she wanted a suspended cake display from the beginning. “I first saw this on a Housewives episode and the idea stuck. I later discovered that hanging cakes are very trendy on Pinterest. Having the cake suspended in the air with vines and fresh flowers was something I really wanted to make my wedding special. I have to give credit to the staff at Seven Oaks for going out of their way to make this happen!”
House of Flowers prepared the bouquets and floral arrangements. “Mint Design helped create a vision of flowers suspended from the ceiling above the dance floor in the ballroom at Seven Oaks.
I was so excited to see the end results with flowers and greenery hanging from the chandelier as well. I wanted a fairytale effect, similar to what I had seen in Jessica Simpson’s wedding.”
Bryan Easter/Ignite DJ Services set the mood with music (along with Dennis Wilson’s saxophone) and lighting. “We wanted our first dance to be memorable, so we decided to have a musician sing our song and play the guitar. Besides his mad DJ skills, Bryan Easter sings and plays in a band. I knew he would be the perfect fit for the song ‘Marry Me’ by Train. It was his first time doing double duty at a wedding, but he was excited to do something different to make our first dance extra special!”
AZahn Photography & Cinematography filmed everything from start to finish!
“I chose Alex Zahn for the videos because he has cinema equipment. He also has a drone! I was so excited to have him fly the drone over Seven Oaks to capture the outdoor cocktail hour in the rose garden and the overall venue from a different angle. We also chose to do a sparkler exit with our guests.”
Limousine Scene provided transportation to and from, Walker Lewis provided the dance floor and bride and groom chairs. Rich and Ginny Sands provided the vintage Rolls Royce for photos. For invites and paper products, Carlson used All in the Invite. For linens, tables, and gold chairs, she hired All Celebrations. Simply Shabby Chic Rentals provided the frames and easels.
As a treat for guests, the couple made a video for the reception that shows both of them as children and then photos of them now as a couple. They also included interviews in which they talked about each other and so Carlson admitted she was very excited to see what Neil said about her.
After so much planning, you’d think the couple would be ready to jump right into a honeymoon. Not so! “We are honeymooning this summer after all the chaos is over! We wanted to enjoy some time with our families after the wedding since they are visiting California from Illinois and New York. Our honeymoon will include Italy, France, and Spain.” Total romantic hot spots! Who knows, maybe later this month we’ll have exclusive honeymoon pictures for you! We’re teasing, of course.
“As far as married life, I can’t wait! Neil and I both waited for the right person to come along and sweep us off our feet. We are so ready. We feel fortunate to have built a great life here in Bakersfield.”
We wish Alissa and Neil all the best!