Gala Events and Weddings:
Beauty, Meaning, and Inspiration
Alegria Sita’s path to professional party and event planner began in junior high school. The event? A senior citizen’s ball, complete with a brass band and swing dancing. “As really young teens we put together this epic event,” she says. “There were no senior citizens sitting.”
Thus began a lifelong journey that has seen Alegria start her own business, Gala Events and Weddings, and become a local fixture in the industry. “I have a love for creating events,” she says. “It’s such a passion of mine.”
Alegria moved to Humboldt County at age 18 to attend HSU and, like so many others, ended up staying. “I’m a transplant local,” she says. “This is my home.” A fan of hiking, local music, and ziplining, the area was a natural fit for her interests and lifestyle. “I really found myself here,” she says. “I found who I am.”
While majoring in interdisciplinary studies at HSU, Alegria lived in a house in the Arcata Bottoms where she would throw house parties that had something for everyone, including black light art projects, dancing, and samba parades. “Cows were our neighbors,” she said. “We could make as much noise as we wanted.”
Alegria continued planning events throughout college, and while working for local non-profits, schools, and for the county. She began planning friends’ weddings as a hobby in 2010, and was soon ready to make the leap to running her own business and launched Gala Beleza Events and Weddings. In 2013 she dropped the ‘Beleza’, which means ‘beautiful’ or ‘lovely’ in Portuguese, and it became simply Gala Events and Weddings. In 2011 she became a certified wedding and event planner, and in 2012 she graduated from the Longevity Wedding Planning Institute with honors.
Since then, Gala Events has taken off. Her business has tripled each of the last three years, and she planned 24 events last year. Alegria attributes her success to perseverance, focus, and an attention to personal detail.
“I find out who (clients) are,” Alegria says of her process for creating the perfect wedding or event. “What is significant to them? What are their core values?” And just like her house parties in the Bottoms, she tries to have something for everyone. “I want a very engaging experience,” she says. “I want all the guests to be able to plug in somewhere.”
Gala Events also hosts a large number of couples from out of the area who want to get married in the redwoods, and one of Alegria’s favorite things is to introduce them to the area. “I really get to showcase Humboldt County and promote everything local,” she says.
When asked to describe some weddings that have stood out for her, Alegria mentions a wedding at Fieldbrook Winery with living statues and stilt-walking social butterflies, and a DIY biker wedding that featured 1,000 paper cranes and a wedding archway welded from motorcycle parts. “One of the things that’s really fun is helping (clients) achieve their crafty goals,” she says.
Whatever the setting, Alegria says the emphasis is always on creating or allowing magical experiences to happen. “It’s more than just ambiance,” she says. “You are facilitating a very deep process for two people.” Gala Events also plans marketing events, fundraisers, business events, elopements, birthdays, anniversaries, bat and bar mitzfahs, quinceaneras, house parties, and more, so there’s no excuse not to throw an epic party this year.
Now, five years into her run as a successful businesswoman, Alegria says she is trying to balance work and play. But for her, it’s more than just a business. “I’m really into personal growth,” she says. “I wanted to challenge myself…This business has helped me grow as a person.”
The best part? “The happy clients.”