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2040 84th Avenue SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206.275.7609
Fax: 206.275.7868
Email: miparks@mercergov.. . .
Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
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Do it Yourself! Take the First Steps Toward Planning Your Wedding

by Bre Caldwell

Planning your own wedding does not have to be a shingles-inducing, blood pressure rising, absolutely overwhelming experience.

With a little ingenuity and decent time management skills, you can create a beautiful, unique, personal wedding at any cost. Throughout the process, you will discover that even more important than money, is your time. Whether it is sitting down for five hours to hand address envelopes, or crafting your own guest favors, time is an essential component to plan the ideal ceremony and wedding celebration.

Step 1: What are your must-haves?

Sit down with your partner and make a list of the items you absolutely must incorporate into your wedding. Naturally, these vary greatly between couples. For some, it’s the music. A professional DJ is a must. For foodies, it might be a specific caterer that they have always admired. Whatever your choices, respect both of your must-haves, and be prepared to finalize these aspects within your budget.

Step 2: Budgeting

According to Brides magazine, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,989. In most cases, nearly half of a couple’s budget is spent on the reception and ceremony venue, catering and, if hosting an open bar, alcohol.

Photography generally rates up there as the second highest expense at a wedding, right underneath ceremony and reception venue, catering and alcohol. Many couples consider photography a “must-have” and are willing to spend over $3,000 on a skilled photographer.

Floral and other décor are often among the most expensive portions of a wedding budget. Usually accounting for about 20 percent of your budget, floral and décor adds up quickly. Consider your basic floral needs: bouquets for every bridesmaid, a bridal bouquet, boutonnieres for every groomsman, a boutonniere for the groom, and oftentimes a couple will also opt for boutonnieres for the fathers and grandfathers, and corsages for the mothers and grandmothers. Additional costs for floral include table décor and any additional venue décor.

General décor adds up as well. If your ceremony venue or reception venue does not include tables and chairs, that is a décor expense. If your ceremony venue or reception venue is outside, you must consider canopy tents depending on location and season.

Step 3: Do Your Research

You will be surprised who comes out of the woodwork with special baking abilities, home-owned businesses you knew nothing about and crafty friends willing to put some elbow grease into helping you prepare for your wedding.

Get creative in your research. For instance, you may have known that your aunt Kathy is an avid gardener and knows the Latin names for anything floral, but did you know that she is also a wiz at wiring bouquets? You will not know until you ask.

In addition, be sure to take referrals seriously. The best research you can do for locating reliable, skilled vendors, is to speak with family and friends who have utilized these vendors in their own weddings and events. Referrals are better than finding an attractive advertisement in a magazine because, while a vendor may have an excellent marketing team, that certainly does not guarantee reliable, skilled service.

Price comparison is also important. Though you may find a photographer that has received rave reviews, if their price goes beyond your budget, you will have to revisit your budget and either cut other areas, or search for less costly services. Do not be afraid to negotiate your price points with any vendor. Many vendors are open to negotiate and, again, you will not know until you ask.

Step 4: Project Delegation

Friends and family members are often among the most interested in helping prepare you for your wedding. While it can be intense and sometimes even unwanted, the fact is, they will usually want to help you. Incorporating their assistance into the preparation is not only a stress-reliever for you, but it is also an honor to be invited to help plan a wedding.

Think of the items you need assistance with, and pair those items with family and friends you think possess characteristics required for such projects. While there most likely will be some tasks you want to control at your wedding, remember not to hold onto too many responsibilities.

You may be asking yourself, “What entails ‘too many responsibilities?’” The answer is simple: The moment your blood pressure rises to an uncontrollable level, the moment you feel absolutely overwhelmed, the moment your childhood chickenpox comes back as shingles – That is when you know that it is time to delegate a few projects.

Step 5: Enjoy Yourself!

Try not to let the stressful thought of planning your wedding overwhelm you. The process is intense, but it is also supposed to be fun! You are celebrating the love you share with your partner, and that alone is beautiful, unique and personal.

The Mercer Island Community & Event Center is an ideal venue for large or small ceremonies, weddings and special events in the Seattle area. This award-winning facility is Modern. Central. Superb.

For more information, please contact:

Rachel Gilbert
Reservation Specialist
Phone: (206) 275-7840

Mercer Island Community & Event Center
8236 SE 24th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040



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