By Michele Lutes
Signal Staff Writer
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
While the cost of weddings significantly dropped from 2019 to 2020, if your wedding is planned for 2022 or later, consider these numbers.
The average cost of a wedding in the United States in 2019 was $28,000, according to The Knot. That price dropped to $19,000 last year. Keep in mind, the average cost of a wedding in California is $39,000.
When planning your budget consider the number of guests, the size of your venue to accommodate the guests and other vendors.
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.
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,” says Cassandra Copeland, owner of Cassandra Lee & Co. events.
“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.
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 more than 400 hours just in research, according to Copeland. “Biggest thing is the time and resources it takes to plan a wedding. If you don’t have the time or the resources, a good option is to get a planner.”
Planners have connections and can give you referrals.
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 planning for a wedding, from full planning to a 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.”
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 the 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.
One step at a time
You shouldn’t have to worry 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.”
Cassandra Lee & Co. Events can be reached at cassandraleeco.com. The phone number is (661) 802-9572. Silvertunes Entertainment can be reached at silvertunes.com or (818) 533-8863.