First steps to planning your wedding


Your engagement should leave you feeling happy, loved and optimistic but eventually, when the reality of wedding planning sets in, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, too.

Planning a wedding can be stressful, so it’s important to focus on one task at a time, according to the experts

“Try to enjoy the process,” said Graham Silver, owner of Silvertunes Entertainment. “As you get closer, when you do hire the professionals, they are gonna be there to guide you. “

Whether you have a year to plan or a few months to plan and whether you’re having a huge party, eloping, or having a destination wedding, follow these first steps to start planning your wedding.

Set a Budget

“Some of the first steps people think about right away is their budget and guest list,” said Cassandra Copeland, owner of Cassandra Lee & Co. Events.

The average cost of a wedding in the United States in 2018 was $33,391, according to

The budget will help plan everything else, telling you what you can spend on each vendor or item for your wedding.

The average cost per person last year in the United States was $167, Copland said. “That will tell you what you can afford.”

Your budget should match your guest list, so you can have all the most important people there to share your special day.

“If your budget does not match what your guest list is, you need to lower your guest count or raise your budget,” Copeland said.

Pick a Date and Venue

You can get married anywhere, but the perfect venue should fit in your budget and speak to you as a couple.

“Without a venue, you don’t have a date,” Silver said.

Some people choose their date first, and others choose their venue first.

“Unless you have a date that is extremely important to you, be flexible,” Copeland said. “Venue is a very important thing, because it will create the entire atmosphere.”

Price points may change for during different days of the week, depending on the venue.

Highest costing monts are going to be May, June, September, October and sometimes December, Copeland said.

Pick your bridal party

Who will stand next to you on your wedding day? Hold your dress up, cheers champagne or beer and hold your bouquet while you say, “I do.”

“As soon as you set your venue and as soon as you set your date, then ask your bridal party,” Copeland said. “Ask them anywhere from a year out.”

You can have as many as you’d like or just one. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen are there to support you during your special and stand beside you as you say I do.

Hire a Planner

Planning a wedding can be stressful and time consuming. Hiring a wedding planner can help make your day the way you two envisioned.

“The average couple spends over 400 hours just in research,” Copeland said. “Biggest thing is the time and resources it takes to plan a wedding. If you don’t have the time or the resources, good option to get a planner.”

Planners have connections and can give you referrals.

There is a huge influx of people who are beginning their business in the industry of wedding planning, Copeland said. “The biggest thing to avoid is, ‘I started my business after i planned my own wedding.’”

Some questions to ask your planner include:

  • How many weddings they have planned?
  • Have they planned for their own company?
  • How long have they been in the business?
  • How did you get into the business?
  • What is your role and what is their role?

There are different levels of me planning for a wedding, from full planning to day of coordinator and sometimes on site planners.

“An in-house coordinator will never do what an outside coordinator will do,” Copeland said. “They’re there to make sure the venue looks good.”

This isn’t the same if a venue is recommending or referring you to an outside company.

In-house coordinators and outside companies can work together, Copeland said. “I work alongside a lot of in-house coordinators. They really know the venue, great people to work with, but I don’t think people should rely on them solely if they need a coordinator.”

“If you have a DIY facility, it is an advantage,” Silver said. “The good ones will make sure the champagne is being poured between the toast and more.”

Months go into planning the big day when you get to say, “I do” to the love of your life.

“Almost no wedding planner believes in day-of coordinator,” she said. “You haven’t spent the last year getting to know them and their vendors.”

Copeland offers many different planning services, walking bride and grooms through a realistic timeline to plan their wedding. Making sure her work is the best quality and making sure her couples are comfortable.

“Once they book I am with them the whole time,” Copeland said about offering wedding management. She follows up monthly, has the bride and groom fill out forms to know exactly who their vendors are, builds the entire timeline and so much more.

Her company also offers design for your wedding.

“Every bride and groom are different,” Copeland said.

Some couples decide to elope or have a destination wedding.

“When you’re looking for destination, absolutely have a planner,” Copeland said. “You want someone who is gonna have first hand knowledge.”

Copeland has planned destination weddings with clients, using connections to make sure their day is just as they imagined.

Copeland offers all different types of planning, go to or email [email protected], for more information.

If you do not choose to hire a planner, “a strong emcee can come into play, to help with the flow of the wedding,” Silver said. “If there is someone you like or have seen, it is important to book them as soon as possible.”

Your entertainment creates an atmosphere for your guests, they create the life of the reception.

“You can teach someone how to DJ, but you can’t teach personality,” Silver said. “We are gonna be the direct representation of you. We are in a sense of a host for the day.”

It’s important to have a connection and not to base planners or DJ’s on price alone.

Without good entertainment, your guests could leave early, Silver said. “We are the ones who make or break the event.”

Silvertunes Entertainment offers three different packages to make sure you and your guest enjoy every minute of your special day.

For more information go to or call Graham Silver at 818-533-8863.

One step at a time

You shouldn’t have to worry about if your vendors are gonna show up to your wedding, Silver said.

Your vendors should help walk you through their area of expertise.  

These are just the beginning steps to planning a wedding, follow these to get started and enjoy every minute of planning your big day.

“Sit back and relax and enjoy this moment,” Silver said. “There is so much effort into this one day.”

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